Some of you may be familiar with the new crowd funding website Kickstarter.com. I stumbled across this website a number of months ago and I immediately loved it. The main gist of the website is aspiring artists, developers, writers, entrepreneurs, etc. post descriptions of their projects online and then ask you to help them fund their goals. It’s a way of harnessing the do-gooder, helping spirit that exists in all of us while, at the same time, helping someone achieve their goals and realize their dreams.
But Kickstarter is better than just feeling good about what you do with your money – you actually get something in return for your dollars.
The first campaign that I put some money towards was a music project. Believe it or not, there is a woman professional wrestler who is an accomplished country music artist. She’s not half bad, actually! Anyway, this woman was trying to make a second album with funding from Kickstarter and was asking for anyone to contribute $5, $10, $50, $100, and so on towards the costs to develop her album. After the word spread around the internet, she reached her funding goal and is now in the process of making the music. The dollar amount that you contribute to a campaign dictates what you’ll get in return. Personally, I only contribute at a level where I’m going to get something tangible. For this woman’s campaign, I contributed $50 (funded from my website company) which gets me both a physical copy of the new album plus the full MP3 version of the album, my name in the “thank you” section of the album, my CD autographed by the woman, and an invitation-only web concert. Sometimes the rewards are much more extravagant. For example, in this campaign if you donated $10,000, then you received all of these items, a 30-minute in-home concert, a hand-painted t-shirt from the singer, an executive producer listing for the album, and a personalized thank you video.
And each Kickstarter campaign is different. Seriously, check out the link above – I think you’ll enjoy what you find on there.
This entry, though, is about a new video game console that I saw on Kickstarter. Here, watch the video for yourself:
Did you watch the video? It’s a pretty cool concept, right? Some of you might be wondering, “Well, what’s the difference between this OUYA video game system and the Nintendo Wii or the Playstation 3 or something like that?” And that’s a good question. I’ve been doing some research on this OUYA concept and what these folks are trying to do and this is what I think the difference is between this console and the others.
When I say it’s open I mean that you can go in and hack it and it doesn’t void a warranty or become an illegal device or anything like you might imagine. In other words, people can go in and hack the core system’s operating protocols (I’m probably not using the right language) and it’s not a problem at all (assuming, of course, that the hacking doesn’t fry the system). The OUYA system is built on the same software infrastructure as the Droid cell phones out there – it’s an Android-based system. What this means is that anyone who can develop an “app” for a Droid cell phone or an app for a Droid tablet (for example, a NOOK) can have that app operationable on the OUYA system. This creates two immediate outcomes – one interesting and one alarming.
The interesting outcome is that since the console is built on the Android system, there are going to be thousands of apps and mobile games available for download on the first day that this thing is hooked up in your living room. The second, more alarming outcome is that I can’t imagine wanting to play any of the time-wasting games on my cell phone on the big screen of my television.
That second outcome is one of the issues that the OUYA development team is taking very seriously. They are talking to a variety of high-level gaming software companies to ensure that there are blockbuster-level games available for this system as soon as it hits the market. That’s going to be a huge task, but with only one week of starting their Kickstarter campaign these folks have already generated over $5.2 million from over 40,000 backers.
That’s a lot of money to make in a single week!
I admit that I’m not technical enough to know much more about how this thing is going to work, but I do know that if you Bing “OUYA” you’ll find a bunch of positive and negative press for the not-yet-created console. For my part, I like supporting these Kickstarter campaigns and I’ve supported a variety of independent video games on that website already. So I supported the OUYA campaign at the $99 level. This gets me the ability to reserve my username before the console goes live to market, a “Founder” emblem emblazoned next to my username forever, and an OUYA console plus one controller. That’s right – a brand new video game system (expected to be delivered some time in March 2013) for $99 (plus $20 for shipping).
You can’t even buy a used current generation console for $99!
If you’re interested in the OUYA or in at least learning more about it, check out their Kickstarter page. This is a very interesting concept and I’m glad to support it!