Birth of the OUYA

OUYA has been all the buzz lately – A Kickstarter project that offers a new kind of video game console running on Android 4.0, with an integrated game store and custom TV UI. Funding for this open source platform began on July 10, 2012 and will end on Thursday, August 9. Kickstarter pledged a $950,000 funding goal and with a handful of hours left, the campaign has already received eight times this amount.

Pros
OUYA is different from the game consoles on the market because it welcomes hackers to root the device – and promises they can do so without voiding the warranty. Everything opens with standard screws and hardware hackers can create their own peripherals and connect via USB or Bluetooth LE 4.0. The console will be powered by Android 4.0, and an SDK will be available to ease the creation of new games and apps. For the first time, players will have full power over the machine – not just the OS.

The console has a Tegra 3 Quad-core processor with an embedded NVIDIA graphics card. This clever feature eliminates the need for two separate cards, which contributes to the small console size. It offers 1 GB of LPDDR2 RAM for users and has an HDMI connection port with 1080p HD resolution.

The 2.4 Ghz RF wireless controller offers standard game controls (two analog sticks, d-pad, eight action buttons and a system button), but OUYA takes open-source to a new level and allows gamers to expand their controller options with the addition of a USB 2.0 port. Players with the drive and know-how can root the system and repurpose their favorite controllers from other consoles.

Cons
While an open-source gaming platform provides players with an array of benefits in customization, do those benefits outweigh the security gaps?

Being able to root the device is an awesome feature, but at what expense? Since users are encouraged to hack, they are going to see how far they can push it, which means users are likely to see a lot of malware.

OUYA CEO Julie Uhrman recently stated that OUYA will be as secure as any other Android device. According to F-Secure, an antivirus firm, 75 percent of all phone-based malware targets Android devices. The inherent security of the console just doesn’t seem very tight.

With the recent hack of Sony’s PlayStation Network, 77 million users had their usernames, passwords, credit card details, security answers, purchase history and addresses stolen. What guarantee does OUYA give players that this won’t happen to them?

Farrah Pappa – writer for ITsecuritywatch.com

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