5 Reasons Why Ouya Could Be a Winner (and 5 Why It Won't)

A new console for $99. Too good to be true? Or the best thing ever?

Clearly, the Android-based Ouya console announced earlier this week has got people thinking about a possible new direction for systems that you plug into your TV. Regardless of whether you buy into the concept or not, there's no denying the support it drummed up through its Kickstarter campaign. As we post this story, the company has crowd-sourced over $4 million on an ask of $950,000 (you can check the running total of how much the company has raised so far in the widget on the right), and it has attracted support from numerous games industry luminaries including ThatGameCompany's Jenova Chen, Xbox alumnus Ed Fries, and Interplay founder Brian Fargo.

Because the device doesn't actually exist yet, we can't assess anything specific about the console outside of the idea put forth by founder Julie Uhrman and designer Yves Behar. So let's use this as a conversation starter, rather than a definitive argument. So, here are five reasons why we think it could be a winner, and five why it may not be. Our lists are just a starting point--let us know what you think in the comments.

5 Reasons Why Ouya Could Be a Winner

1. They've already raised $4 million on an ask of $950,000, and they've consequently upped production capacity from an initial run of 5,000 to 84,000. They're off to a good start.

2. It's based on technology that lots of indie developers are increasingly familiar with. The hackable nature of the device will drive innovation, in terms of both how the hardware evolves over time and how the user interface, storefront, and distribution model adapts. It puts the evolution of the ecosystem into the hands of the people creating the content and nurtures a strong connection between the creators and the audience.

Hackable stuff is always good for the emulation and homebrew scene. It has the potential to rekindle the kind of hobbyist culture that existed in the late '80s and early '90s around home computers

3. Hackable stuff is always good for the emulation and homebrew scene. It has the potential to rekindle the kind of hobbyist culture that existed in the late '80s and early '90s around home computers. This could be the retro-box we always dreamed of.

4. Development kits are going to be cheap, and this is really good news for indie development studios that aren't flush with funding. If all goes according to plan, this could lead to Ouya becoming the platform of choice (alongside the PC, obviously) for indie studios. There are no licensing fees, retail fees, or publishing fees. It also means that Ouya and Android phone/tablet development can be hand in hand so indies have a way to position "console" and "handheld" SKUs of each game if they choose.

5. What this means for you is a cheap console with (potentially) lots of free games, which in turn will help the free-to-play model continue to mature. How so? With more and more engaged gamers contributing to the ecosystem, the thinking around microtransactions and subscriptions will evolve based on gamer behavior.

And 5 Reasons Why It May Not Be

1. While more than 30,000 people have given it a vote of confidence and have demonstrated that by pledging millions of dollars, the console technically doesn't exist yet, and no games have been confirmed for it. It may look like Minecraft is confirmed, but it's only kinda-sorta, as demonstrated by the mostly noncommittal quote on the Ouya Kickstarter page: "If Ouya delivers on the promise of being the first true open gaming platform that gives indie developers access to the living room gaming market, yes that is a great idea. We will follow the development of Ouya and see how it resonates with gamers. I could see all current Mojang games go on the platform if there's a demand for it," said someone at Mojang that's not Notch.

Given that the model for everything is free-to-play, and on average only around 5 to 10 percent of players (at best) cough up any cash for these things, that means launch games are relying on 4,000 to 8,000 paying "whales" to make some money.

2. As with any new marketplace, content discovery is potentially an issue. The early glimpses given of the Ouya user interface show a Windows 8/Xbox Live "Metro"-style arrangement, which presumably will be subject to some kind of curation on Ouya's end. Much like the Kindle Fire, or some of the cheap (and nastier) Android tablets, Ouya's storefront is completely separate from the larger Google-maintained Play Store, so though this is an "Android console," that doesn't mean you'll automatically have access to the thousands of Android games currently available. No Angry Birds for you! Unless Rovio chooses to produce a specific version.

3. The last thing the Android scene needs right now is even more fragmentation. While there's plenty of incentive for studios working on an Ouya game to also want to think about porting to phones and tablets (scale, being the most obvious), there's currently little incentive for them to port the other way. Despite the success of the Kickstarter campaign, the launch day installed base is only going to be around 84,000 units. Given that the model for everything is free-to-play, and on average only around 5 to 10 percent of players (at best) cough up any cash for these things, that means launch games are relying on 4,000 to 8,000 paying "whales" to make some money.

4. The flip side of the hackable coin is that hackable = pirateable.

5. People love their tablets; why would you buy an Ouya if you already have a tablet with an HDMI out on it? The Nexus 7 is a comparably powered device, does everything you'd need, plus it's a proper Android tablet--so it's portable, flexible, and runs everything that's in the Google Play Store.

Now it's your turn. Is this the kind of new hardware you want? Do you like the idea of something cheap, open, and hackable, or are you more interested in the PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720? Do you think the whole thing is bunk, and people should just play on PC? Let us know below.

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Discussion

0 comments
gyachup
gyachup

I was initially worried about the amount of good games that the Ouya would have to offer, but upon buying one I was pleasantly surprised.  Knightmare Tower, Minigore 2, Ice Rage and Pier Solar all turned out to be fabulous games that had extremely high replay value.  The Youtube app for the Ouya is the best console version I've seen, and runs significantly faster than the PS3 cersion, and has less hitching and lagging during remote play.  The controllers were extremely comfortable, and honestly (I know this sounds weird) I liked them more than the Xbox or PS3 Dualshock controllers.  I went out on a limb with this console, and I was very, very happily surprised.  I recommend it highly as I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  Hope this console continues the momentum it seems to be building!  It undoubtedly deserves the attention of both consumers and programmers.  Idk I just wanna see it get the credit it deserves :) It's been too long since reviewers looked at it again, cause it's gotten much better.

tionmedon
tionmedon

most CE are more than $99.00 .............why not..................

ann11
ann11

hey 8million thats a good amount of money to start with hope they can hit the international global market

ann11
ann11

I personally think its a great idea i was thinking about something like this and then here it comes  we were playing games on pc then some consoles evolve in the making, even though you can use some tablets with console game controller and mirror this on your hd tv youll still have that anxious desire to do more with new innovation youll actually have more options and new ideas at your finger tips.

Flinet91
Flinet91

ill buy one, just read about it and im gonna try it for $99 either its a win or its a small loss. Either way i like stuff so its a no brainer for me.

GEVDARG
GEVDARG

To me, Ouya is a Game Boy Player for Android Phones, which is not a bad thing in and of itself.  I bought not one GBA game until they released the GBA player for GameCube.  I've bought a number of DS games hoping they'll do something for the Wii or a newer system, but if I don't see it soon, I'll probably sell my DS games because I'm NOT a portable player.

 

Some of us like playing our games with a controller in our hand on our TVs in the comfort of our home.  I use my son's DS to play the games I own sometimes and it just ain't working for me.  I think the Ouya fills that need for us gamers who are want to play mobile games but not play on mobile phones.  The price works if nothing else.  But essentially it's a Game Boy Player for Andriod Phones.  Nintendo got a bunch of money out of me they never would've gotten otherwise because I was not going to buy a GBA.  They got a bunch of money out of me with DS games with my anticipation of a similar device for the Wii.  I may buy a smartphone one day but it will not be to play games.  I leave that to my wife who plays (and only plays) Fruit Ninja and my son whom I'm sure one day will have a serious case of carpal tunnel syndrome.

starduke
starduke

My PC, right now, is hooked to my TV as my monitor. So, I have no reason to get the Ouya, unless they come out with some really good games to make it worth my while. I already have Minecraft and FF3, so they'll have to do better then that to get me interested.

weskeni20
weskeni20

 @belgand42 Dude RAM is really not that important when it comes to games its Needs a POWERFULL Prossesor and good quality graphics card...And 1GB of RAM is a lot considering PS3 only has 250MB of ram and the 360 has 500MB... They just have powerfull processors.

belgand42
belgand42

It seems potentially interesting, but ridiculously underpowered. I mean, it only has 1 GB of RAM and only 8 GB of storage. That's a tough amount of storage to put a single 2 hour film into let alone a reasonable collection of games. Most phones are already more powerful than that. Considering that both of these are pretty inexpensive at the present it feels like they're skimping unnecessarily.

skunkpants
skunkpants

I can see a lot of indie games being released for this, where individual devs release their work cheap and some may get found by bigger companies. What I can't see is top notch games (AAA Titles) with high production value and layered gameplay and story coming to this console because who will want to release their product to a console that is easily hackable and their software available for free after working months or years of developing their game. Unless it's a ''free-to-play'' game that turns out to be a demo until you buy 10 stars or whatever.

Wormkid_64
Wormkid_64

I'll simply have to wait and see. It's been so long since anyone other than the current BIg 3 have succeeded in the home console business that it seems dubious. But I am an Android fan,and if this takes off,gets dev support,and has lots of cool games on it,I see no reason to pick it up. I'm not a loyalist. I'll play any game on any console as long as I think it's fun.

leeko_link
leeko_link

This console reminds me of the Atari 2600, it's hackable and anybody who bought a dev kit could make games for it even some who had no experience with gaming. I sense we'll see another videogame crash if this console became a success. Soon we'll see Barbie, Kool-Aid, Gatorade, McDonald's, Elmo, Katie Perry, Justin Bieber brand games milked to death on this thing and with no licensing fee, companies don't care about quality just like the Atari 2600 at the time.

o0squishy0o
o0squishy0o

Surely being "hackable" could mean that players could give themselves an unfair advantage over other players. The controller input could be changed into a mouse and keyboard input  etc. I like the idea of it, but because its so open it could cause other problems in fairness.

ecurl143
ecurl143

Wouldn't surprise me if you saw a Raspberry Pi inside this thing.

Rafass
Rafass

Who cares? They are releasing FFIII for it, that's all I needed to know.

mqdude
mqdude

ill buy it and i am sort of a developer...i use xna......and this could be used so yeah..ill buy it....and its about 45% cheaper than a PS3

mqdude
mqdude

this will be successful

HD_audio_CoYotE
HD_audio_CoYotE

I am very very confident this box will work and opens TV gaming to more countries and more people out there.

I am really excited about it and we ordered allready a console and a Dev-Console with SDK. 

Lookinig forward to give it a first testrun on the console! 

Cheers

Ceninant
Ceninant

OnLive and XBMC port? For $99? This is the Android version of AppleTV!

Undietaker
Undietaker

I like the idea behind but in the real world it seems kinda pointless. I can already play any older games/Anroid I want on a TV with my laptop and Emus and can use a 360 controller for all of them with the xpadder program....

Zloth2
Zloth2

I think I would rather stick with my PC as long as I can but, with used game sales going as they are and the internet starting to crank up to the gigabit/s range, it's pretty obvious that the Clouds are rolling in.  When that happens, I'll likely go with OnLive's own console instead of this.

ydnarrewop
ydnarrewop

An avenue for creative minds to develop and be recognized. And for only a hundred shekels they will sell like hot cakes as long as the library is good.

KeeseKiller7
KeeseKiller7

I'm excited about it. I think this console is going to bring back some of that dawn of gaming arcade feel. This can be great for indie game developers. It gives them a much better chance reaching out to people on a console. I'm also hoping to see many classics come to the Ouya. If it sells well, and they get some deals with bigger companies, this could seriously become a console with all of my retro favorites. The best thing that they could do is strike a deal with Nintendo, and release their timeless classics on the Ouya. This console, the way I see it, will be mostly tailored for retro gamers. That's something people have wanted for a long time. I think I'll be picking up an Ouya as soon as I can. Even it doesn't do great, it's $99. Couldn't ask for a better price on something as risky as this.

sora_heart
sora_heart

You know, I can see why there is so much hype around this, but this is a pretty small percentage of people. Those who like to trick out there console's software with custom firmware and what not will have a blast with this thing and those of you who really like what on the Andriod Store or are really into the Indie Scene will have a field day with this, espically talanted Indie Devlopers who's only opition these days seem to be Steam.

 

However, for someone like me, a mainly portable gamer who already owns a PS3, Wii, 3DS, PSP, and an iPhone, I don't really see a point in getting this. Yeah, 100 bucks is pretty cheap for this thing, but I look at it this way: I would really only get this thing for the custom firmware and Minecraft, and these are already available to me through my PSP (which is very easy to hack now a days) and my laptop. Mainly I would be intersted with playing emulators on this, but I can already do that on both my PSP and Wii.

 

I'll still keep my eyes on this product, but as of right now, I don't see myself getting this anytime soon. It's a cool peace of hardware and I respect what they are doing, but it's just not for me at the moment.

slayerSS-3
slayerSS-3

Well you can remove the reason 1 because there is already a game confirmed at least :) (FF3)

Vickman178
Vickman178

Honestly I don't get what all you people are hyped for...this thing looks like a total waste of time and money.

minty_cbo
minty_cbo

Well..If you're into the indie scene..then this is all you..if you plan on pwning noobs on bf4 online..no.(And quite frankly...I'm sick of angry birds..Granted the marketing of the game..not the game itself..and also..angry birds may not make it to this Console.)

This may be a fresh change to an old scene..games that are free or cost next to nothing that are played on a home console that can also be played on your tablet or smartphone.. sounds like ps3 and vita..minus ALL of the money required..And seeing as to whom the developers of this are..that's a great thing..The program they started to get laptops to kids in third world countries..that was a win-win..those same children and teenagers (and adults aswell..heh) can finally have a console in their home.

 

Dargoth
Dargoth

Frankly, I don't get what the hype is all about... It's not a cheap PS/XBox, not even close. 99% of the Ouya games will be the casual iOS/Android crap. Yea, with a gamepad and on your TV, but who needs that? Unless you want to play those iOS/Android titles and don't own a tablet because they cost way more than Ouya's $99...

jark888
jark888

Ouya could mark the turning point of gaming history if they play it right.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

After some discussion with others, point #-5 on John's article begins to stand out more and more. Why would you want an Ouya if you have a comparably powered tablet with similar features? Better yet, why is the Ouya not built as a miniature gaming PC? Why can't you just customize it, in everything from hardware to OS to wallpaper, like you can do with any PC?  Then games need not be specifically released for Ouya; they can be released on any of a dozen digital distribution outlets. Developers need not pay Ouya anything and can use whatever OS, not just Android, Ouya users are most fond of using. Essentially you get a game box that lets you play the PC version of Skyrim and BF3 on a console. How is Ouya, as described now, better?

dreemusa
dreemusa

I agree... This is definitely what we've all been waiting for! Let's all talk about this on planetouya.com, they've got a fresh forum there on a new site. Perfect for all this discussion.

Kenjinshi
Kenjinshi

Whoa!  Come on I just found out about this new console and I believe it has some spunk! This is, by definition, exactly what gamers have been wanting.   Sure I have a 360, played some Ps3, and sure yeah the Wii was fun, but nothing compares to what the friend sitting next to you could do. When I say "the friend sitting next to you" what I mean is this is where "independent" developers could be anyone really, whether it's a pro, a gamer, a fanatic, or even your best friend it doesn't matter because with Ouya it's something that allows those Hardcore Gamers to finally jump out there and let themselves be known! For example I could sit there every day playing the same game over and over and keep my gamefly subscription flowing with tons of games I could enjoy for about a couple hours here there.    Now think clearly here sure with a subscription like that I'm bound to be able to have as much fun as possible for endless amount of time, but the main point with most gamers these days is they want a console that they can do what THEY want with it NOT what YOU the DEVELOPER want to do with it. Ouya has BALLS and they mean it.   I finally realize that even if I finished my college degrees for game development I probably wouldn't get anywhere with the games I'd like to make because of what certain companies like Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo want from you. Ouya is like a pandora's box being thrown into a society where gaming is "black and white" and Ouya is Pure Creativity. There is no greater developer then the creator like yourself. The last thing I have to say about this is I have listened and heard about the so called "new generation" systems coming out like the Ps4 and Xbox 720 and this reminds me didn't we already call the Ps3, 360, and the Wii the next generation in gaming?  What is it with the developers these days, we gotta go further and keep the same bland names, but with different numbers or wording? Nah, they'll just slap anything on their console to make it similar to their last one to keep their market funded. Ouya, so far, has the potential to do basically anything.  Now that's not just saying something that's DOING something as well. Sure this console is still in a "prototype" stage and sure it's still awaiting some finishes to come out and show it all, but for what I have seen this is still impressive enough to make a complete impact on ANY gamer out there that wishes to do something else with gaming other then the regular playing or modding.To make things on a personal level as my self for a hardcore gamer, I for one despise going out to get a game at ANY price whether it be online or not and then turn around and not be satisfied with it and not be able to do anything else other then keep it, sell it, or break it.     I know you probably think I should just waste even more money and try renting it and then again I could just get Ouya and maybe use some of my own knowledge to put together something of my own I want to play and then enjoy my time so I can get back to my actual business.    Ouya now makes it possible for gamers to get out of the boundaries of the games they play and now let the gamer themselves do what they want to with the games they have.    Sure it'll go back to "hey they're cheating or hacking", but you know what you're playing on an Ouya.  So if you don't like it go fork out couple $100-$200 dollars on another console and some games to play legit or just jump on the other consoles you have already owned.    Problem solved.Otherwise let the gamers have their fun.   A true gamer is no stranger to a hacker because whether you've played a game that you've been hacked on or someone used a hack in a game or someone cheated or even you have modded or cheated in some games, it doesn't matter you've experienced it in one way or another.I have an Xbox 360 I still play it, I mod my Dead Island saves, and you know what I will still be getting and OUYA!Oh this also goes out to those developers who can't get fighting games right like: Mortal Kombat.

Stolet
Stolet

I'm definetely looking forward to the next generation but the Ouya seems interesting.

jdookee
jdookee

That lady in the video is very annoying.

Tezla35
Tezla35

Well, its pretty late in the generation of current consoles. PS4 and XBOX 720 will be released and Ouya might be left behind. Or maybe it'll be an alternative? Instead of paying 500 dollars for a PS4 or Xbox 720, you also have a 100 dollar game console with cheap games and stuff.

Dragdar
Dragdar

Whatever, i dont even have an android phone. Im not sure how i stand on this.

.

... but name's got to go. Fast.

.

belgand42
belgand42

 @weskeni20 A typical gaming PC will have at least 6-8 GB of RAM, and a video card with at least another GB devoted to video. The tiny amount of RAM on my PS3 is often very apparent. It chokes on websites. More processing really isn't a solution for a lack of RAM. In particular it won't help when you need to load higher resolution textures that take up more space. There's no way that a processor is going to help with that as it's not a computational task.

 

In fact, it's generally quite the opposite. A more powerful processor is rarely as important to games as having more memory.

GEVDARG
GEVDARG

 @Unfallen_Satan

 I don't think it's intended for people who already own a tablet.  I think that's the point everyone is missing.  This is for people who don't own tablets or at least are not buying a tablet for the sole purpose of playing games.  It has a value proposition  for those gamers who can't or won't shell out big bucks for tablets or smartphones but want to play the games that are available on those devices.  And just because AAA games cannot be delivered on the console, it doesn't mean AA or A games can't be as successful.  Unless Angry Birds is a AAA game and nobody told me... 

rarson
rarson

 @Unfallen_Satan 

 

"why is the Ouya not built as a miniature gaming PC?"

 

Cost. Even compared against the tablet, if you don't already own one, the tablet is more expensive and doesn't offer a controller (well, it does, but you have to pay extra for one).

 

I'm not defending Ouya or anything, I'm just addressing this specific argument. I don't own a tablet (nor do I want one).

 

"Essentially you get a game box that lets you play the PC version of Skyrim and BF3 on a console."

The hardware in Ouya can't even come close to replicating the PC version of those games.

pinching_perry
pinching_perry

 @KenjinshiWe are currently in the 8th generation of consoles. Technically there have been 7 "next generations of consoles". It's not a Marketing Scheme. It's a way to signify the leap in technology. And the Tech has definitely leaped , quite a bit so. Instead of the consoles getting twice as good per generation, Example: 8 bit to 16 bit consoles, the technology from 2005/2006 has grown exponentially. It is definitely time for a new generation of more powerful consoles. My PC is 10 times as powerful as a 360, so new tech is definitely needed. And no, no one calls the 360/Ps3 the next Generation anymore, The technology in those consoles is quite outdated.

 

The Ouya looks awesome and innovative though :)

ck10304
ck10304

 @Tezla35 The thing with it being an open source platform is that it will be open to modding/upgrading, both hardware and software (I believe), so it won't even really belong to any generation

jhcho2
jhcho2

 @belgand42 

Like every piece of computer hardware, RAM has the potential to bottleneck performance, but will also be redundant beyond a certain threshold. In the case of a PS3, yes, 256MB RAM is definitely a bottlenecker. However, if the PS3 had say...1GB RAM, it wouldn't be any different than if it had 10GB RAM. In most contemporary PCs, 8GB RAM isn't gonna make games run better than 16GB RAM,

 

RAM is essential to have, but not essential in excess. And the minimum amount of RAM needed is normally not that high. Processing power of CPUs and GPUs however.....the sky is the limit, but not the RAM.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

 @GEVDARG

 I eventually came to that conclusion as well. For a time I did not see the market of "AA or A games" on console.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

 @rarson

 I see your point. I think I've finally placed the device. It's a low-end console that is friendly to both gamers and devs of low-resource-demand games, which include many good indie games. Few would think to get a low-end PC specifically to play indie games, but that possibility is very attractive to some console users. Thank you for your reply. My initial impression of Ouya was all wrong; what I suggested doesn't fit Ouya's role at all.

Kenjinshi
Kenjinshi

 @pinching_perry Well yeah no doubt on those subjects, but I was trying to state that it's quite redundant to keep saying how great a console is by calling it the "next generation" system and then coming out with a console too similar to the last.It's just been redundant, for years, that they keep making Xbox's, Playstations, but at least Nintendo never kept the same type of console forever because they went from game boys to Nintendo DS and from a Nintendo 64 to a Gamecube and then the Wii.Seriously I never cared for the Wii because of it's lack in HD graphics, but I always loved the N64 just wished the games on it got HD graphics.  I liked, for a time, playing wonderful and extremely creative games from Nintendo, but when they hit up for the Wii and then never gave it better graphics I never bought one, but played whenever friends brought one over.My point here to put simply is many people are tired of hearing new consoles being put out that sound exactly the same to the one they just bought yesterday.If you make a next generation console or system please make sure it isn't as annoying as the last one.    At least the people that are making Ouya have a different perspective of gaming because to me THAT is a next generation console to me.  I mean their controller looks beyond amazing and I can't wait to try out the thousands of demos of how many developers out there that couldn't ever get their vision to the gamers.

rarson
rarson

 @ck10304 

 

I'm tired of repeating myself. THE HARDWARE IN OUYA IS NOT UPGRADEABLE. It's "hackable," which means you'll be able to load custom firmware to ad features as you (or other people) are capable of doing. EVERYTHING mention in the specs of this hardware, from the RAM to the SoC (Tegra 3) is soldered directly to the circuit board. The hardware is designed to be low-cost, hence the $99 price. Extra sockets and ports would drive the cost of the hardware up, which is why they aren't included.

 

If the hardware in Ouya were upgradable, they'd advertise it as such.