Within eight hours of going on Kickstarter the hackable, $99, Android-powered Ouya console made its $950k target. Pledges continued to pour in and the project closed recently with a whopping $8.5m promised. Everyone loves an underdog and the Ouya's clever campaign (fronted by charismatic project founder Julie Uhrman) has played on this notion.
One of the sharpest weapons in her arsenal is that she's employed the amazing Yves Behar (who I blogged about recently) to design the thing. Behar has certainly had to work within some pretty tight confines, not least of which is the low price-point of the device. His work on the $100 laptop project will prove invaluable.
What's really interesting is that in many of his interviews about the Ouya he gives equal airtime to the design of the UI as he does to the the physical console and controller. As consoles have evolved from being single-purpose game machines to media hubs, so the UI has to be capable of allowing users to wrangle these features. Miniaturisation means that consoles are now almost invisible - the Ouya is no larger than a hefty apple. Thus the UI is what people will spend most time looking at, rather than the box that it links to.