Ouya game console headed to retail. Here's why I'm excited.

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Source: Ouya

The good news keeps on rolling in for Ouya fans (and the company itself). Ouya is a $100 game console/set-top box that runs Android. It sprang to life as a Kickstarter project that was looking for $850,000 for funding. Instead it pulled in about $8.5 million.

Since then things have gone according to plan, insofar as we can tell from looking in from the outside. Developer consoles went out on schedule and the March release for Kickstarter backers seems to be on track. People who missed the Kickstarter campaign but pre-ordered from the company will get their Ouya consoles in April.

And now there's news of a retail launch. Come June Ouya will be available from Amazon, Best Buy, Target and Gamestop. In fact you can pre-order an Ouya from Amazon right now.

There seems to be some degree of skepticism among certain pundits when it comes to Ouya but I think they're missing the point. They're looking at Ouya as if it was another Playstation, Xbox or Wii. But (in my opinion) Ouya isn't looking to compete with those consoles. Ouya is coming to your living room by way of a mobile OS. Don't expect $60 console games on it. I don't even think $10-$15 indie games will be that prevalent. Ouya is a way to play all those free-$7 mobile games on your TV with a proper controller. Porting a game designed to run on a PC or an Xbox is going to be a challenge given the Ouya's Nvidia Tegra 3 innards. But porting games and apps that were originally targeted at an Android tablet should be relatively easy and mostly about re-doing the controls.

When I get my Ouya in March I don't really expect to see a ton of games available on day 1. I'm sure there are plenty of Android devs who won't even get started porting their titles until they get their 'end user' Ouya units at the same time as I get mine. We (and those who have pre-ordered direct from the company) are really pre-launch customers and we'll get to watch the library build out. When the Ouya hits retailers it should have a rich library of titles in order to entice gamers.

But there's a whole separate audience for Ouya, and that's the Android and set-top box hackers. Ouya is designed to be open and it's pretty cheap. You can buy titles from the Ouya store, or you can install whatever you like on the system. I'm really looking forward to non-game projects that could hit Ouya, too.

Heck, maybe you're an amateur game developer yourself. If so you can make a game and share it with a few friends or just play it yourself on your TV via Ouya. Make a game for your kids without having to connect a PC to the living room TV. Whatever you want to do with it...that's kind of the point of Ouya.

The more exposure Ouya gets, the better the system will become for everyone involved. The larger the install base, the more enticing it'll be to port titles to, or think up original projects for, the Ouya. (This is true of any console, of course.) As a Kickstarter backer I'm delighted to hear that Ouya will be available at retail and I can't wait to see what happens when this hardware is out in the wild.

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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