Firefox for Ouya Is Coming, Opening the Platform to Web Gaming
The move could be great for Firefox and for Ouya alike
Mozilla wants to be where its users are. That's why there's a Firefox for Android, that's why there's a Firefox OS. But it doesn't stop there, there are some plans to even go to iOS, even if this means ditching the Gecko layout engine that is the core of Firefox. Now, it seems, Mozilla wants Firefox on your TV.Apparently, the company is working on building a version of Firefox for Android optimized for Ouya, the Android-based gaming console.
Ouya was a huge success on Kickstarter and should start shipping in a couple of months. Its success is highly dependent on the games it manages to attract.
The fact that it's based on Android is a bonus, since there are plenty of Android games out there, but these games still need to be adapted to the big screen and controller input.
The same goes for apps, Ouya will need more than games to be popular. Things like a Netflix app, YouTube and so on, are an obvious choice, but so is a browser.
Especially since there's no Android browser catering to big TVs, for obvious reasons, apart from the version of Chrome that powers Google TV and you're not going to see it on Ouya or anything other than Google TV any time soon.
So Firefox has the opportunity of being the only browser on the platform. While Ouya's user base may not be large, it's a start and it may grow significantly if it picks up steam.
"We're investigating what we need to do to make Firefox usable on Ouya. It already works and we have some preliminary patches for gamepad support, but there's still quite a bit of work to be done to make it really usable," a Mozilla developer, Chris Lord, told an Ouya forum admin.
"Part of this work will be making sure that WebGL and Canvas support performs well on the device, and making sure that the relevant APIs (such as Gamepad API) are also supported," he explained.
A powerful browser is good news enough. But there's another opportunity here for both Mozilla, Ouya and game developers. The web is becoming a powerful gaming platform, with HTML5 Canvas, WebGL, Web Audio API, gamepad support and so on.
Firefox on Ouya would open up the device to a whole new range of web-based games that would make the most of what the console has to offer.