The Ouya may be first hitting the market this June, but it won’t be done there. Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman has told Engadget that there will be new releases of Ouya consoles every year for the foreseeable future, with each successor to receive upgraded hardware.
That would make the Ouya’s release cycle closer to those of smartphones or tablets, rather than the typical five-to-seven year time frame of consoles like the PlayStation, Xbox or Wii.
\”There will be a new Ouya every year. There will be an Ouya 2 and an Ouya 3,\” Uhrman said. \”We\’ll take advantage of faster, better processors, take advantage of prices falling. So if we can get more than 8GB of Flash in our box, we will.\”
Naturally, such a strategy could result in fragmentation between owners of different consoles. There could be a risk of alienating users of older hardware, but Ouya hopes to assuage those fears by making all games on future Ouya consoles backwards compatible with older ones. Uhrman says that Ouya game downloads will be tied to whoever bought them, much in the same way that Steam works.
At $99, the Android-based console is cheaper than most of the mobile devices it’s emulating, so an upgrade shouldn’t break the bank. Furthermore, its current Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset is impressive, but will soon be outdated with the release of the Tegra 4 (as in the upcoming Project Shield) and other technologies. If Ouya gamers don’t mind seeing their consoles turn into “last year’s model,” then the move would seem to make sense. But that could be a pretty big “if.”