If I had to choose a project this year. a flower in the 2012 bunch, I would go for Ouya.
I consider it the perfect technology air du temps (or zeitgeist in
german and Google words) and a true source of learning and inspiration.
Ouya is the perfect 2012 project for 5 main reasons.
1) This is a hardware project
More and more I am convinced that seamless integration with hardware is the new frontier. It may sound obvious but neat user experience is never obvious and if you know of my admiration for Velib (Paris bike sharing system), FitBit or Withings and my impatience for the arrival of Google glasses, you can guess my take is that digital is really not only about screens and that, with the help of open standards, 1,000 devices will bloom. And as Ouya highlights: design matters.
2) On an open platform
Closed gardens are for old empires. Think of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon: in 2012, you simply can not think this way. This is even more true if you start a business. Lead users and pro-am ecosystems are the alpha and the omega of innovation projects in 2012. Hackable is the new 2.0, our new digital black.
3) Android leads the way
I am not an Android user myself, mainly because of the hardware it comes with. But I have to acknowledge that Android is the smartest move Google has made since YouTube and its most complete / stunning achievement. Android appears more and more like the digital tofu. Windows 8, through its customer base and complete multiscreen integration needs to be carefully watched this year but Google is currently far ahead of its competition…
4) Content is back
The video game industry is the root of personal computing and geek culture. It is a tough competition though and in recent years, despite social and mobile revolutions, the industry hasn’t really reinvented itself. It has been looking more and more like movie or music industry. The great experiences (think of Radiohead in Music or Rovio for Video Games) were just epiphenomenons, almost impossible to copy. The whole digital industry, moving from network innovations, to service / diffusion ones commoditized the content. Remember MegaUpload. My bet is that 2012 is a turning point and that content will be key again. Wait for something big as a transmedia creation really soon. Again, as Ouya says: The Revolution will be televised (again).
5) Crowdfunding is an incredibly powerful tool to bootstrap your venture.It offers money first. Fuel for developments and prototyping. But this is not all. It brings traction as a matter of users AND communication. Ouya figures are just unbelievable : almost 40k likes, more than 31k backer for a total amount of over 4 million dollars. In only 4 days. I bet everything will be easier from now on for Ouya’s founders.
It is also noticeable that Kickstarter’s most funded projects are digital devices (either watches, iPhone docks or video game consoles).
is the year of crowdfunding, not only because President Obama refered to
it but mainly because of its real / powerful success. Congrats to
Kickstarter which enters Internet hall of fame, being a site of almost
public service like eBay, Wikipedia, Google or Facebook.
So, whatever you think of when you start an innovative project, you should think and get inspired by Ouya.