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updated 7/30/2012 8:18:24 AM ET 2012-07-30T12:18:24

It's a very busy time for video game consoles, with most homes having Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 or Wii systems, and with Nintendo's next-generation Wii U expected later this year. Now comes a whole new take on consoles, Ouya.

What is the Ouya?

Ouya is a very small console (about the size of a Rubik's Cube) with a controller similar to — though a bit skinnier than — that of an Xbox 360.

The Ouya will primarily offer Android-based games, taking the same titles you might play on a smartphone and putting them on the TV screen. Games coming to the system include "ShadowGun," "Canabalt" and the ever-popular world-builder " Minecraft," among hundreds of others.

In addition, Ouya will require any providers on the service to offer games on a trial basis. Several game publishers have already agreed to this deal: a timed demo for each game will be available, with an option to purchase once players complete it.

Who's working with Ouya?

Along with a number of Android-based developers, the company also has a couple of surprise partners. Most recently, it signed OnLive, a cloud service that offers online versions of hundreds of popular games per month, including hits like "Batman: Arkham City" and "Saints Row: The Third," along with upcoming games such as "Darksiders II" and "Bulletstorm." (You'll need a separate subscription for OnLive, starting at $10 per month.)

[See " What Is Cloud Gaming? "]

In addition, Robert Bowling, formerly with the "Call of Duty" production team, announced that his company, Robotoki, will release its debut title, "Human Element," first on Ouya. Several other publishers are likely to follow, though no other partners have been revealed yet.

How can I get an Ouya?

The system won't be available at retail until early to mid-2013. However, the Ouya Kickstarter  funding program is still going. Contributing $99 or more guarantees you a system before launch (though a specific date hasn't been given), along with other perks, such as having your "username" etched onto the controller and game unit.

TechNewsDaily should have a hands-on experience with the system in the coming months, as the Ouya is expected to appear at next year's Consumer Electronic Show, if not sooner.

© 2012 TechNewsDaily

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