OUYA is open… And we’re not just saying that. Since the beginning, we’ve wanted OUYA to be the most open game platform available. Don’t get me wrong, we love console games, but we believe they are suffering from the pandemic of the “closed” platform. Though there’s been a major democratization of computing power, development tools and engineering and design talent, publishing to the console has remained closed to most. As a result, gamers have fewer choices.
But what does it really mean to be “open”? For starters, we told you about some of our choices in our Kickstarter. Today, we’re taking another step.
After hashing out a business-as-usual proprietary license for our software development kit (the OUYA Development Kit — or “ODK”), we realized that there’s really no pressing business reason to protect the ODK. So we thought, “what the heck?” and decided to release it under a well-established free software license: Apache 2.0 (which also happens to be the same license that governs the Android operating system). Though the Apache 2.0 license limits how developers can use, for example, OUYA’s trademarks, it pretty much lets developers take the software and tools and make them their own.
We think we’ve got a great team of developers here at OUYA, but there’s strength in numbers and a wealth of passionate, talented people out there. We want you, the developers of the world, to work alongside us to continually improve our platform. It’s our hope that releasing a more open ODK will help foster such innovation.
Please note that we’re still working on releasing the source code for various elements of the ODK — and since some of it is compiled object code, you won’t have access (at least not today) to every single line we’ve written. We want to be sure things are in really great shape before we release code. Also, we will be holding back some sections of the code to preserve the security of OUYA, especially when it comes to payments for developers and gamers.
Still, we’ve already started to see the community building extensions to the OUYA platform itself. Of course, we will be maintaining and releasing the “official” ODK of record — but we’re excited to see great ideas flourish, making the console experience better in ways we never anticipated. Over time, the plan is to incorporate the best of these inventions into the core ODK. Stay tuned for details on that!
One more thing: It’s worth mentioning that “open” does not mean “anarchy” — and as we continue to build out OUYA’s core services, please know that not every facet of OUYA will be totally open. In order to ensure the best possible experience for our gamers and developers, for example, we will be screening games for copyrighted content and offensive material (which we’ll define under our developer guidelines), and we’ll make sure that OUYA is a secure place to discover great games and conduct business.
It seems like a lot — but it’s simple, really. We are open because we believe it’s the best way to create the console platform we always wanted: one where gamemakers have the freedom to publish great games, developers can create wonderful recombinations of the platform itself, and gamers can enjoy the most creative, immersive and fun gaming experiences anywhere.
Here’s to you in 2013!