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OUYA shipping to Kickstarter backers on March 28th

OUYA announced this afternoon that its Android-powered game console is shipping to Kickstarter backers starting on March 28th. The company took to its Kickstarter page to announce the news, which says, "Parts are in the factory and assembly lines are buzzing." When the console starts arriving to folks who supported the Kickstarter campaign -- wherein the company raised just over $8.5 million dollars -- there'll be a lengthy list of launch games (around 500 last we heard) and more on the way. Alongside news of the console's launch date for backers comes word that Portal creator Kim Swift is developing a "brand new, exclusive title" for the console, and Papo & Yo dev studio Minority Media is also stepping up with a new game. Both Tripwire Interactive and nWay are also bringing games to the OUYA, with the former working on two games and the latter working on one (action-RPG ChronoBlade).

If that weren't enough, Journey developer Kellee Santiago was announced as the newest high profile OUYA employee, wherein she'll "lead developer relations." Santiago has a short history of high impact in the game industry, having helped create thatgamecompany (developers of Flow, Flower, and Journey) as well as leading an excellent TED Talk. She also appeared in this Engadget Show. Beyond working to entice devs to OUYA, Santiago said on Twitter that she'll still be making games. "I will still be making stuff, too, keepin' it real, don't worry," she wrote.

And that's to say nothing of the console's future; company CEO Julie Uhrman told us at DICE 2013 that the OUYA will see annual hardware refreshes, akin to mobile phones. We've yet to get our hands on the device, but we've heard good things from developers who got their early units back in December. Should you wish to hear even more about the OUYA ahead of its late March launch, Uhrman is joining Engadget on-stage for our first ever Expand event in a few weeks -- snag your tickets right here!