The Ouya console is doing something that Microsoft, PlayStation, and Nintendo have often frowned upon: encouraging modification for pirating.
The creators and developers of Ouya are supporting modding, which can lead to so many types of mods.
But what is the downside to encouraging people to mod their Ouya consoles? Using the modded console to play homebrew and pirated games, which can be easily achieved, the reason why Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo see a fine line between creativity and breaking the law.
It can be argued that modding isn’t too different from jailbreaking an iPhone, but if it is done to play homebrew and pirated games, then modding the Ouya could become controversial.
Modding won’t just be hardware based either, modding can allow benefits past just hardware changes, such as testing user made titles, or even backing up purchased games.
The creators of Ouya have even stated on the kickstarter page:
Have at it: It’s easy to root (and rooting won’t void your warranty). Everything opens with standard screws. Hardware hackers can create their own peripherals and connect via USB or Bluetooth. You want our hardware design? Let us know.
The Ouya itself is a low grade console, but modding it can make the console on par with a 360. Who’s to say modders won’t make it on par with the 360 just to play pirated 360 games?
Kotaku’s Jason Schreier asked Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman whether their development partners are worried about piracy – her response was: “No the developers haven’t said they’re concerned. Developers should know that—despite the openness of our platform—all paid content on Ouya will require the user’s payment to be authenticated by us. We want developers to be rewarded for the value of the games they make.” She says every game will have optional DRM, which makes it even more likely for pirating to occur.
Anyone who has knowledge of building or upgrading a computer can easily learn steps they can take to mod their Ouya. The console won’t be the same as a gaming computer in terms of specs, but the options for customization are a part of what makes the Ouya unlike other consoles.
I was skeptical at first about the Ouya, but after learning so much about the capabilities and versatility of the system, it might just be a precursor to something bigger among the future of consoles.