You've obviously succeeded in capturing the hopes of thousands of gamers. What is it about the OUYA that is so compelling?
I think it's the surprise factor. For many folks, we came out of nowhere. And we took on some big companies-nobody really does that. But when you think about it the idea isn't so far fetched. In fact, in this Joystiq article, Notch himself was quoted saying, "I am quite frankly surprised this hasn't happened earlier. Me and plenty of other people have tried connecting small PCs to their TVs and plugging in controllers in an attempt to get an open TV gaming experience that they can control, but there's been constant interface and infrastructure problems with that. And frankly, the only really good use of it was to run emulators. Something like OUYA could solve a lot of these issues, making it easier to find and navigate between content, and putting a good community in place around it."
Are you a gamer yourself? What is your favorite console of all time?
I am a gamer. I love playing games on a TV, but I used to love it more, back before so many games moved to mobile and other platforms. I was barely a teenager when I was downloading games from BBS's at 9800 baud. Spent hours playing Super Mario Brothers with my family and a fortune on Galaga. Today, I have every system and play when I can -- mostly family games now with my kids.
Did that provide any inspiration to the design of the OUYA?
When we first brought the concept to [Canabalt creator] Adam Saltsman, he made us promise to let him weigh in on the controller.
Ultimately, Yves Behar and the team at fuseproject will manage the design process. I might have some great ideas, but really, how could I compete with the guy that designed the Jambox?
We're also taking in feedback from our Kickstarter backers and the developers who are excited to build for OUYA. In fact, when we first brought the concept to Adam Saltsman, he made us promise to let him weigh in on the controller. And he's not the only developer excited. We've heard from Brian Fargo and others that the innovative controller design is likely to inspire new types of gameplay. We can't wait. It's an amazing opportunity we have: to create something beautiful and functional put it in the hands of the most creative game designers in the world and let them run with it. It's going to be awesome.
You're about to cross the $5 million mark after having set an original goal of only $950,000. Has this level of early success caused you any concerns?
Not at all. We have been, of course, totally blown away by the level of support OUYA has received. A week after unveiling on Kickstarter, OUYA is almost 40,000 backers strong and more than 500 of our developer reward packages are spoken for. Not to mention, the amazing support we had going into Kickstarter, both from well-known developers and great investors like Digg founder Jay Adelson, Flixster founder Joe Greenstein, and Jawbone founder Hosain Rahman who backed us out of the gate and helped us get to Kickstarter.
Will you be able to deliver product to all of those who have pre-ordered?
We know that we can deliver the goods.
The hardware is doable. We've shared our tech specs and everyone knows by now that we aren't reinventing the wheel here. It's standard stuff that we'll be maximizing to bring great games to life. (And that's why the cost works-putting this stuff under the lid is totally doable for $99.) We've already got a functional prototype-in our Kickstarter video you see me playing Shadowgun on it.
It's really the developer proposition, the business model, and the design that are innovative. As for the developer proposition and business model they are new to the console space, but some of our best ideas we grabbed from the mobile market. Beyond that, the concept of Openness-that was important to us. But that isn't something we invented. If anything we felt that was the way tech was headed. And we wanted to bring it to a new place: console gaming.
[Yves Behar] is the man [behind] the Jawbone headset... and the news-making $100 laptop with MIT's Nicholas Negroponte. I think he can handle our little project.
Given that Yves Behar is tackling design, I don't think that we'll worry about that either. He's the man [behind] the Jawbone headset, Herman Miller's groundbreaking Leaf LED lamp, a line of lifestyle goods for Mini, the reinvention of Birkenstocks, a chandelier for Swarovski, and the news-making $100 laptop with MIT's Nicholas Negroponte. I think he can handle our little project.
And, then, I guess, if the question comes down to our ability to handle the production process we've got that covered too. NVIDIA is collaborating with us, to help us both get production going and to get the most out of our Tegra 3 chips. We've been talking to some of the leading ODMs. They have vetted our plans and are bidding on our business. We are close to picking a partner to manufacture our console and controllers.