Ouya; My thoughts so far

I’m not going to lie; I have only just recently started to hear things about this Ouya console/whatever it is. At first I thought it was some bizarre console that an old company had dug up to try and get in on the console game. When I looked it up however, it revealed a Kickstarter project, wanting a $1 million donation from the community. I’ve seen a few of these projects pop up, but none wanting quite such a hefty amount of money. What’s even more impressive though, is that they have made nearly 6 times their goal amount, with 46,726 backers and $5,991,568 in the bank at the time of writing this. Of course this is no amateur project, but one with several industry professionals behind it, seeking to bring gaming back to the living room and away from mobile gaming. If you have read my blog before you will know of my love for mobile gaming (especially anything made by Kairosoft), but I do have to confess that I miss the simple gaming of yesteryear. Reading the pledge on the Ouya Kickstarter page really fills me with confidence that this could, and should, be a good console.

What interests me the most is that this console is going to be powered by Android. Now, I’m no expert on operating systems, and I am an Android user, but if that system is powerful enough to run a console then wow, I’m glad I’m on team Android. It’s nice to see Android power being used for a home console, and not for another mobile console that people will use for their commute and not much else. A new home console competitor on the market excites me. I’m an Xbox fan, and a PS3 owner, but it would be nice to see someone give Sony & Microsoft a run for their money for once, rather than just seeing them have a girly cat-fight with each other each time a new console from the opposition is announced.

Can this little box really compete in the industry?

Can this little box really compete in the industry?

However, I remain sceptical about the ‘free-to-play’ service. I get where they’re coming from, but this does just sound like the same old in-game purchases coming back to haunt us. Gamers want affordable, fun experiences, and the Ouya team aim to provide this; but at what cost? They say they are using the free-to-play model, but they have to make their money somehwere. The console itself is apparently only going to be $99 including the controller, cheaper than any handheld device out there. Couple this cheap market price with free-to-play game and there’s got to be a catch somewhere. I’m not saying the Ouya will fail due to this perhaps unpredictable plan for profit, I just think it needs to be careful about what it promises. I for one don’t just want a giant free-to-play game emblazoned across my TV screen, swarming with ads until I pay up front.  I also don’t want a game that I can play all the way through, but it takes me forever because I can’t defeat that final boss without forking out the extra cash for that shiny sword.

The controller looks currently flawed, but it's still early days

The controller looks currently flawed, but it’s still early days

I suppose I’m kind of excited and sceptical all at once. The specs look good from my point of view, and the freedom for anyone to go in and develop a game on it is brilliant, but also a little bit scary if it is not managed at all. The freedom to root the console is a bit strange, like the developers are inviting us to play around with what they have built, almost like they’re saying they didn’t finish it, but also it allows for excellent customisation for those who want it. In a way though, the Ouya does seem like the Xbox Market Place with its Indie games developers and trials of Arcade games. I won’t judge until the finished product arrives and I get to have a decent look at it, but for now, I am impressed with the Ouya and excited to see what it does for the world of gaming. How do you feel about the Ouya?

Image credit; http://www.facebook.com/ouyas

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9 thoughts on “Ouya; My thoughts so far

  1. I thought you’re right on. The Ouya looks compelling, and I’m excited to see new blood in the gaming world. But like you I’m skeptical about the whole free-to-play aspect of the Ouya.

  2. I thought I heard rumors that the “free to play” model was more for limited content. Like they would allow people to demo a number of levels before having to purchase the game in it’s entirety.

    Though since it’s mainly open source, and they’re not going to be hard ass gatekeepers like Sony and Microsoft (hopefully not), they may leave the option of free to play up to the developers.

    • I think it’s a mix and, as you say, perhaps up to the developers. Not all devs will offer up an entirely free game with in game purchases, and so they will offer a limited trial perhaps. Either way, the success remains to be seen.

  3. It’s apparently pronounced “Oh-yeah”. This disappointed me for some reason, as I was sure it would be “Wee-ya”.

    Aside from that, competitiveness on the console scene is always nice to see. Especially something so unique compared to the rest of the market.

Ramble with me

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