This is a big selling point because it flies in the face of contemporary console trends: anyone who tries to
upgrade the hard drive on an Xbox 360 knows you have to either pay for an expensive Microsoft-branded drive or try
your Xbox 360 hard drive yourself (voiding your warranty in the process). Microsoft isn't alone, either; many
manufacturers frustrate our attempts to repair or upgrade devices we own by using proprietary hardware (like Apple
with their proprietary screws) or accessories (like Sony's ridiculously over-priced PlayStation Vita memory
The folks behind Ouya are counting on that frustration to sell consoles. When the console launches next March it
should be possible for owners to upgrade or repair their Ouya using standard PC components (hard drives, RAM,
etc.), buy and install interesting peripherals from third-party manufacturers (the Ouya supports both USB and
Bluetooth), and publish their own games to the Ouya service without needing to pay licensing fees.
The Ouya console looks cool on your shelf: the prototype was designed with help from Yves Behar (the same
designer who helped create the
Jambox) and it looks pretty slick on the Kickstarter page. That attention to hardware design and aesthetics may
seem shallow, but it's a big part of why Apple is so successful and thus it's not surprising to see the same
strategy garnering success for the Ouya console. If you're going to pledge money for something that will sit in
your entertainment center alongside your HDTV for a few years, you want it to look sexy on your shelf.
The Ouya controller also looks great, and it addresses a few chronic problems with Android gaming to boot. One
of the most frustrating aspects of Android games (and mobile games in general) is that there's just no good way to
duplicate the complex control options afforded by a joystick and analog buttons with a touchscreen device. The Ouya
console promises to change that, and it'll be interesting to see what sorts of games will be available for the Ouya
when it launches next March. Even if the launch games aren't that great, any developer can publish their Android
app to Ouya, which means that early adopters will at least be able to find solace in adding one more device that
plays Netflix to
their home entertainment center.