Ouyaby Matt Cholick
I recently kicked in for the Ouya console Kickstarter campaign. There's a lot of well-founded doubt about the project. Many sources question if it can actually deliver. What I personally bought, though, wasn't a piece of hardware. In fact, I've already gotten my money's worth.
First a bit of history - as I kid I loved console and compute games. I still do, though not like I did then. This naturally led to programming; I wanted to understand how to build these worlds in which I spent so many childhood hours. Once I became a developer, I found that I really did enjoy any sort of programing, even though I wasn't creating games. I'll always have a soft spot for game developers though. Their creations set me on the first steps to a career that I enjoy.
This sympathy for game developers leads to me to do things like buy anything the Humble Indie Bundle team puts together. I buy these games, though, knowing I'll probably never get around to actually playing them. I do the same thing with indie Steam games. In fact, just this evening I picked up Legend of Grimrock from a studio founded by four guys in 2011. What I'm buying isn't a game though. I'm buying a little bit of time for my 12-year-old self to dream. I'm pitching in so that somewhere a single developer or a small team can build something directly for their players. These are folks who have bet their homes on a dream. I'm helping build a world where they can do this, just because that's the world I want to live in. It's all the reason I need. When I get around to actually playing a game and I really enjoy it, that's just a bonus.
I've pre-ordered an Ouya for the same reason I buy those games. Crowdsource funding for a console? Even my teenage self didn't dream so big; I want to see someone try. The critical Penny Arcade editorial I linked above states about the Ouya that, "It’s selling a dream, not a solution." This is exactly what I'm buying, though not in the sense that the author meant it.
What have I bought then? I've purchased a ticket to the show. Getting an actual piece of hardware would just be extra.