Yves Behar and his team at the San Francisco industrial design consultancy, fuseproject, have designed an open source, Android-based gaming console for television called OUYA.
As creative co-founders of the recently launched gaming console OUYA, fuseproject were involved in all aspects of the project from the design of hardware and user interface, to the identity and even the name OUYA.
“The product and experience is designed to be simple and bold, using high-quality materials and ergonomics, all the while remaining affordable, truly embodying OUYA’s open platform,” explains Behar.
OUYA is based in Los Angeles and was founded by Julie Uhrman, a video game entrepreneur. Her aim was to launch an innovative and beautifully designed gaming console that takes the focus of game development away from mobile and web platforms, and makes it easier to develop games for the TV.
The project was funded through the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter, where it raised more than US$8 million. Uhrman also brought fuseproject onboard as partners to ensure that the product provided a great user experience.
With the console design, fuseproject’s aim was to create a small and discreet package in which to house all the interior components. Additionally, the anodised aluminium material acts as a heat-sink and disperses heat produced by the components.
“With the design of the controller, we focused on feel and ergonomics, [concentrating] on making a great tool for playing games. After dozens of form studies and over 50 structural prototypes, we achieved the optimal shape for the highest level of comfort and ease of use,” says Behar.
When it came to designing the buttons on the controller, fuseproject combined its own research with customer feedback garnered during the Kickstarter campaign to create sculpted and well positioned buttons.
“The O, U, Y, A controller buttons are laid out to correspond directly with the user interface in both order and colour. From the tactile and cool to the touch aluminium handle areas, to the surface indentation on the analogue sticks, to the shape and feel of the triggers, the OUYA controller is designed for optimal gaming,” adds Behar.
As well as the hardware, fuseproject also created the design of the user interface, which it wanted to keep simple and bold to not only stand out from competitor products but to also help communicate what the OUYA brand individuality, openness and fun.
“Both the interface and hardware are truly open, available to be hacked, changed and built open in a real way. It is truly ‘gaming for the people’,” says Behar.