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Ouya - just how disruptive is it?
Ouya - just how disruptive is it? Exclusive
July 11, 2012 | By Kris Graft




[Gamasutra editor-in-chief Kris Graft puts the Android-based Ouya console to the very first (and probably last) Gamasutra Market Disruption test. Should Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo watch their backs?]

I found it cheeky -- even somewhat obnoxious -- when the folks behind the Ouya game console sent us a link, just prior to their Kickstarter campaign, that temporarily redirected to the Wikipedia entry for "disruptive innovation." It seemed a tiny bit presumptuous, because it's a term reserved for industrial sea changes prompted by elite innovators, and we hardly know anything about the actual product.

I'm skeptical of Ouya, just as I'm skeptical of anything that makes such big promises. Here's a company promising a $100 game console with standardized hardware, a very low barrier of entry for developers, and hacker-friendly openness. Ouya's openness will lay the foundation for community, innovation, creativity, financial success and a health care solution for the U.S. that everyone can agree on.

My goal isn't to rain on Ouya's parade. I'm not here to dwell on how, in usual Kickstarter fashion, we will end up handing over multiple millions of crowdfunding dollars for a product whose business strategy has more information holes than "Prometheus"; or that this sounds like it'll turn into an uncurated mess of random free-to-play games; or that it's essentially vaporware that was able to cash in on starry-eyed notions of what a TV-connected open game console could become; or that piracy will be a big issue; or that it doesn't really sound "open"; or that we don't really know for sure which devs are on board; or that it doesn't seem much different from the current developer ecosystem on consoles, which takes 30 percent chunks of revenue.

(Ok, I rained on the parade a bit there, but Ouya's creators can now afford designer umbrellas, because the Kickstarter is now over $3.4 million in under two days with 28 days to go.)

When a refined sales pitch from an unknown startup with a ridiculous name like "Ouya" (yes I run "Gamasutra") can create this kind of crazy hype over the course of one day, it's strong evidence that the console business is ripe for disruption. And Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony should give some serious thought to what just happened this week, because more than ever, they have giant bullseyes on their backs.

Will the Ouya as we know it today be the product that kills off consoles? No -- and to be fair, that's not what its creators are claiming when they march under the banner of "disruptive innovation" (and disruptive innovation doesn't automatically mean that the disruptee is completely obliterated).

...All right, maybe the Ouya team wasn't being so cheeky or obnoxious when throwing around the term "disruptive innovation."

Disruption Potential

Well, let's examine what disruptive innovation really is. Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen, who coined the term, describes it as "a process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves 'up market,' eventually displacing established competitors."

Whose market exactly is Ouya gunning to disrupt? The traditional TV game console companies Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft, of course. Christensen says market leaders that have seemingly unassailable leads exhibit the exceedingly common tendency to continually pursue what he calls "sustaining innovations." This can be seen easily in the games industry, for example, in previous video game console cycles, when the latest and greatest hardware simply introduces more horsepower and more buttons, while essentially maintaining the status quo. Christensen says companies that primarily rely on customer feedback and market research tend to leave the door wide open for crippling disruption.

This trend of sustaining innovation eventually leads to products like the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 -- high-tech, high-priced devices that offer average consumers way more than they really need, want, or have the ability to utilize. But of course, they've found success for now, because they're delivering exactly what customers expect, and are better versions of their predecessors.

Back to the question, is Ouya a product that will disrupt this market that is reliant on sustaining innovation? Drawing from Christensen's own explanation of the phenomenon of disruptive innovation, we can examine if Ouya:

...Takes root in initially simple applications at the bottom of a market? I'd say that a crowd-funded game platform based on an open source OS is about as bottom-market as you can get. Oh, and it has an open marketplace, and it comes from a no-name startup. Disruption +1.

...Relentlessly moves 'up market,' eventually displacing established competitors? Of course, we don't know yet if Ouya or platforms like it will displace current console makers. Some people think mobile tech will do exactly that. But disruptive innovation is something that happens over the course of many years, maybe even decades. It's technically something that you look back on and identify, or at best aim for, not something you proclaim you're doing before you even have adequate funding. Disruption +0.

...Allows a whole new population of consumers access to a product or service that was historically only accessible to consumers with a lot of money or skill? According to Julie Uhrman, who's heading up Ouya, the console will cost $100 -- much lower than Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft's consoles. Price undercutting is a key factor with disruptive innovations, as this inherently opens up a market to a new population of consumers. At $100, it holds a key component for a disruptive innovation. Disruption +1.

As for the "skill" part of the question, perhaps we can take a slight liberty, and also think of Ouya's audience not only as gamers, but in many cases, game developers. Ouya hardware comes with a free SDK as part of the package, and the game marketplace is apparently wide open for any developer to publish games. Trust me, if this starts to take off, there will be plenty of developers with almost no money and no skill making games for this thing. The question is if Ouya can provide a discovery system that weeds out the garbage. For better, Disruption +1, or for worse Disruption -1.

Christensen also has offered some characteristics that are often unique to disruptive businesses that are in their initial stages. So we can also examine if Ouya is:

...Adopting lower gross margins? Nope, appears not, at least on the software side, where platform holders make most of their money. Ouya's creators have already said that even though it's touted as an "open platform," the company will be taking 30 percent of the revenue from developers' video game sales. We're not privy to the details of expected gross margins for Ouya, but the company's core business model seems to emulate the current digital strategies adopted by today's mobile, PC and console platform holders. Isn't this 30/70 split exactly what's happening within the current developer ecosystems that Ouya is trying to disrupt? Disruption -1.

...Addressing smaller target markets? Ouya's Kickstarter campaign might appear squarely aimed at the mainstream market of console gamers, and the company is surely hoping for widespread adoption in years to come. But it is initially targeting a smaller subset of console gamers, as opposed to going head to head with the established features, services, and marketing muscle of the current console market leaders. Disruption +1.

...Technologically straightforward, consisting of off-the-shelf components put together in a product architecture that is simpler than prior approaches? It's not as though Ouya's creators are buying up a bunch of Nexus 7s at Best Buy and shoving them into a sleek box, but the Tegra 3 processor and other familiar components, along with an included SDK, open source OS and standard controller make for what I'd consider a "technologically straightforward" product that's simpler than, say, a PlayStation 3 with a multicore proprietary Cell processor. Disruption +1

The Verdict


That means the Ouya gets a Gamasutra Market Disruption Rating (GMDR) of +2 or +4. So I guess they are both above zero, and this completely, utterly unscientific exercise shows that Ouya has some ingredients for disruptive innovation, albeit with some very big questions and concerns about actual execution. It's one thing to create hype and have a massively impressive Kickstarter campaign. It's a completely different thing to release a successful commercial product.

Ouya's Kickstarter timing is pretty great -- people have been clinging to the same game consoles for several years, and are wanting something different. People who've backed the console seem to have pledged not because they wholeheartedly think it'll be a success, but because they want to support new ideas. It's exciting.

And speaking of new consoles, of course Nintendo is poised to launch its tablet-based Wii U this year, and Microsoft and Sony could offer something that is utterly surprising (Sony clearly had disruptive innovation in mind with its $380 million Gaikai purchase, so that's one way to go about it).

No matter what today's console kings come out with for the next generation, this initial version of Ouya won't be the one to disrupt the traditional console market, just like the Motorola DataTAC didn't render your landline useless. It's typical for disruptive businesses to enter the market with products that are technologically lacking. But just as General Motors ignored Toyota's crappy little subcompact market, Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo will ignore what's happening with Ouya and products like it at their own peril.

[Gamasutra will have another Ouya article surveying developers' opinions on the device in the near future.]


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Comments


Michael DeFazio
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Kris,
brilliant insight (i share your "raining" skepticism). from a "disruptive innovation" perspective, i get the sense that the disruption potential comes from "new" developers who think:

"it has always been so hard to create/market/sell games, but with this new innovation i (with little or no development experience) can do it." -- which (imho) has led to this groundswell of popular kickstarter support

...if Ouya can capitalize on this idea (be a "tool" for people who aren't "developers" to make/market/and sell games) they are really onto something. (But this is a hard nut to crack, hence my skepticism)

just like :
--how "back hoes" were great "tools" for your semi-average joe tractor owner to dig holes (in leui of more complex cable excavators)
--how facebook became a "tool" for non developers to make web sites

the key here (as i see it from a disruption perspective) is if they can make it easy and accessible... (otherwise, they run the risk of going head-to-head with the big dogs offerings (google's nexus 7) and android which (to be honest) is very "open" (see arduino, kindle fire, ...)

Robert Boyd
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On the price front, the Nintendo Wii is only $150 new and can be easily found used for under $100. The Ouya isn't scheduled to come out for another 8 months (and I wouldn't be surprised if it got delayed) at which point, even a new Wii will probably only cost $100. There's a good chance that the 360 & PS3 will get price drops by then as well.

TC Weidner
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yeah, from what I hear the new xbox and likely the new PS will be as low as 100 bucks too with a 2 year cable/fiberops subscription. So the price point may not be the selling point here.

Gern Blanston
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@Robert Boyd

The Wii will not be dropping in price anytime soon. Nintendo isn't going to make their old console more appealing when they need to create as much momentum as possible for the Wii U. There might be a price drop by the end of 2013, but I would be shocked if they dropped the price any earlier than that. And even if the PS3 and X360 get price drops, the Ouya will still be considerably less and offer something completely different. When it releases, it little-to-no doubt that Ouya will be the cheapest console on the market.

-

@TC Widner

The NextBox and PS4 for $100 w/ subscription? That's one of the silliest rumors I've heard in a long time. So Microsoft is going to sell the X360 and their next-gen console at the same price? And Sony's going to launch their next-gen console at a cheaper price-point than their current one? Bollocks.

Joe McGinn
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Not really the point Robert ... what are the chances Ninty/Sony/Microsoft will overhaul their business model in eight months, in order to attract developers the way that mobile has?

Michael Rooney
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@Joe: Microsoft and Sony both have ways for indies to break into at least one of their stores pretty easily (XBLIG and PSMinis) as well as larger higher quality stores if they are successful at lower levels (XBLA and PSN).

The only real issue is that Microsoft and Sony don't market those services as much as their more closed ecosystems to consumers. Either way, it wouldn't take either of them long to push those services to have higher focus.

Doug Poston
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@Turd: The reason why I don't dismiss the $100 'NextBox' w/subscription is because Microsoft plays "for keeps".

If Microsoft can crush Sony this generation there probably wont be a next generation for Sony.

Jacob Germany
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@Robert You might as well discuss the price fluctuations of the Super Nintendo in March 2013, if you're going to talk about the Wii. It's completely irrelevant and won't affect the Ouya market in the slightest. The Wii U will have already been out for a few months by then, not to mention the entirely disparate specs and marketplaces of the two systems, not to further mention the over-saturation that already exists for the Wii.

Can you really imagine many people, in a little less than a year, with tablets, Wii Us, and Ouyas sitting before them, saying they'd rather go for a system 7 years old (and was drastically underpowered even then) simply because it costs "only a little bit more"?

Daniel Gooding
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Edit: Just shocks me, how many developers posting on here are already set on this failing

First small team to make a good selling game and everyone will jump ship, and claim they were for it the whole time.

Doug Poston
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For the older among us, past experience makes us doubtful.

For those of us who "sold out" to work at big studios, this is "beneath us". ;)

I'm a techno-dewb, so I get excited about every new thing but I've been burned more times than I can count...

Neko Otome
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Agreed, I'm looking very forward to it.
Even without developer support it's useful out of the box

Vincent Hyne
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This is designed to assassinate XBLA and PSN titles.

It will probably succeed.

But they should've went with better hardware which really unfortunately isn't there yet at the price point.

The Tegra 3 will not cut it at 1080 on a big screen.

Michael DeFazio
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i respectfully disagree with:

"designed to assassinate XBLA and PSN titles"
--i believe it is designed for the hobbyest programmer (XBLA and PSN have got some serious games now with the likes of big publishers behind them) (my opinion of course)

"It will probably succeed"
--id say if it does succeed, it wont be by supplanting XBLA and PSN, but rather on offering a new "plane of optimization" (the simplicity with which someone can create/market/and sell a "simple" console game)

"should've went with better hardware"
--the key for disruptive innovation is that you provide a simpler, cheaper, version of something "for the masses"... this console is the very essence of "cheaper" (it's the cheapest "dev kit" around for making "console games")... still dunno how easy it's gonna be (again my opinion)

"The Tegra 3 will not cut it at 1080 on a big screen"
demos i've seen look promising, but again, i dunno if the dev audience they are targeting is going to be at the higher end worrying about high res textures etc.

feel free to disagree (i'm not saying i'm right ... i just have a difference of opinion)

Daniel Boy
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"The Tegra 3 will not cut it at 1080 on a big screen."

1152x640 didn't hurt Halo 3 that much...

Arnaud Clermonté
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Well they are clearly targeting hardware enthusiasts and consumers who have a big TV... They insist a lot on the TV in their presentation.
Those are the consumers who can afford powerful hardware and who care about HD graphics,
and who probably have been playing on HD consoles for a while.

The cheap Ouya hardware doesn't quite fit that audience..

Mike Griffin
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"The Tegra 3 will not cut it at 1080 on a big screen."

To put it in perspective, Ouya is more powerful than a Wii, and capable of rendering out at 2048 x 1536 res to LCD, or 1920 x 1080 via HDMI, at 30 fps.

And while considerably weaker in terms of overall GFLOPs, and taking into consideration how hungry the OS can be, it still has more system RAM than both the 360 and PS3.

Also includes built-in stereoscopic 3D to any 3D display via HDMI 1.4.

Sure, this Ouya spec is going to age by the time it officially streets, but it's not exactly low on the processing totem pole. People have made millions this generation producing titles for much weaker hardware targets.

Tom Hunt
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I believe the wild card in this equation lies within the "hackability" aspect of the console, and may be where it can gain a very clear advantage over the competition, since, as it stands, none of the existing contenders would ever be willing to do such a thing, and, given the right mix of people (hence it being a wild card), hackability can yield immense benefits for a platform.

This all aside, the sheer openness of the platform creates a lot of possibilities. For example, it will actually be possible to do a bona fide indie game jam, like a ludum dare, for this thing, given that anyone with a $99 console can make games for it and (AFAIK) put them up for others to find and play.

The discoverability problem will probably be taken to new heights because of this, at least in terms of game consoles. The web has lived and breathed this since its inception. And then Google came along. Now we google things. So, there will probably need to be some version of a Google for this.

If it is truly as "hackable" as it is purported to be, and the interest that has shown in it continues, then I'm sure something will come along to address this - and it will probably be something that has never been seen in a games console.

Isaiah Gilliland
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I agree, at the very least it's a shout out that gamers and developers are really hungry for new ideas. Whether it succeeds commercially or not, as an experiment showing consoles aren't dead and that people want something disruptive, it succeeded beautifully.

GameViewPoint Developer
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Try as I might I can't see how this fits into the grand scheme of things. In theory, the idea of a very cheap gaming platform, which anyone can developer for, and all games are free to download sounds great, but I just see too many problems along the way.

First you have the chicken and the egg problem. Devs want to develop for platforms that have a big audience, but for Ouya to get that audience they need devs to spend the time/money/energy developing quality games for their system. How do they get that big audience? 30k people owning their console is not a big audience. They need some big name devs developing well known brands on it to make the public sit up and take notice.

2nd, where is this console going to be placed in the minds of the public? You see the problem is that people just won't see it as a "contender" once the new xbox and playstation arrive, which everyone is going to buy, and then everyone will buy their choice of AAA titles for them. Branding and perception is so important, the public need to have a sense of "what is is", is it a AAA console? no, is it a mobile gaming device? no....umm..telling people well it's a console, but just not as good as the console you already have, and well it mostly does 2D games, but it's not mobile, and on and on isn't a simple enough pitch. Mass market on consoles means AAA titles, to be even thought of as a console you need to be able to compete in that sense. When it comes to 2D games, everyone thinks mobile, and very soon tablets will have that all sown up. Ok then you think maybe social games such as farmville and there is a bit of wiggle room with these because they are not as established on mobile as other game types, but I'm not sure if it's going to succeed if it's game library are just those kinds of games.

3rd, Even if this gets going in some kind of way, games will probably within the next 5 years be delivered through smart TV's and the idea of having a separate device to deliver them is going to be seen as a bit odd.

4th, the biggest threat to this console, is not from microsoft or sony because I don't think they are competing with them, it's actually from mobile, i'e tablets, that's where I see most people playing indie games.

And if they really want to be disruptive, why not make the cut they take from games 10% or 20%? taking the same cut that others take just makes people compare them to the others. I think if they were taking a smaller cut it would definitely make some devs give it a try.

So there seems to be lots and lots of pitfalls, but the biggest is simply getting a big enough audience using it to make it worth developing for. I think where it might cause the biggest disruption is actually in the freemium model.

Michael DeFazio
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hmm. lets see:
1) agree
2) agree
3) agree
4) agree
... +1

Alfe Clemencio
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First point: Based on Ubisoft's historic actions, I'm guessing Ubisoft will try to be there. Maybe!

Second point: Media is probably going to cover the record shattering Kickstarter campaign. It'll start spreading to even outside of games press to mainstream press. The press benifits greatly from covering that. OUYA also benefits greatly from that.

Third Point: Well it's not like it's going to take years to develop games for OUYA. So there will probably be a large enough library far before 5 years.

Fourth Point: The main issue with the indie mobile market argument is $0.99 price point. On the PC I know plenty of people who buy indie PC games for $10-$15. I the mobile game market it seems that $5 is so expensive.

Fourth Point part 2: I'd say 30% cut is pretty much the standard cut devs pay for marketing on the PC. On the PC/Mac you can do 10% deals but that won't included marketing.

TC Weidner
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with regard to your 3rd point, the new xbox/PS will be integrated with whatever cable/fios system you have. It will be the cable box/modem/game system in one.

Gern Blanston
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1st - Super Meat Boy, Limbo, Journey, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, Bastion, Braid... these are all Indie success stories by non-big name developers. Ouya doesn't need big names to create new and unique experiences that can create a huge splash. Ouya is set up in order to CREATE big name developers. Granted, there's still a good chance that big developers that have left the AAA console market will be tempted to make something on such a unique console.

2nd- It'll be marketed as the cheapest console available, the lowest cost of entry for both the hardware and the software... as the console with the potential to have most unique gaming experiences at home. They obviously have an incredible amount of consumer support just from a 3-minute PR video. Imagine once those people have that console prior to launch and word-of-mouth starts to spread. No amount of ads can outdo positive word-of-mouth.

3rd - That's the old argument of why consoles should even exist anymore, which I'm not buying. If Ouya becomes a household name, we'll have no idea if there'll be a hardware revision within 5 years that once again sets it apart from other devices such as smart TVs. And we really can't assume that smart TVs are going to be the next big viable gaming platform, either.

4th - Again with the old tablets vs consoles argument. It's a moot point seeing as consoles are not dying any time soon, as tablets have created their own gaming market to coexist with home consoles. They each offer things unique to each other, and will continue to do so. Playing with a controller and a touch-screen without buttons can't be compared. Nor can games on the go vs games at home.

5th - Alfe Clemencio makes a great point that 30% is not necessarily a bigger cut comparatively to other platforms. I would think that to developers old and new would find that sales cut to be worth the incredible amount of freedom they'll have vs other platforms.

Michael Rooney
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On 4, don't forget things like Roku, AppleTV, and google's set top boxes. Those are the things it seems to try to be supplanting most, except this doesn't seem to have the content people expect out of those in addition to games.

@"30% isn't that bad": it's not that bad, but in regards to the article it's more status quo than disruptive. If I were them I'd offer a promotion where the split is more 20:80 for the first year of it's life, or like MS is doing where it's 30:70 for the first X money and after that benefits the developer more.

edit: "4th - Again with the old tablets vs consoles argument. It's a moot point seeing as consoles are not dying any time soon, as tablets have created their own gaming market to coexist with home consoles. They each offer things unique to each other, and will continue to do so. Playing with a controller and a touch-screen without buttons can't be compared. Nor can games on the go vs games at home."

The problem is that there are tablets on the market right now that can plug in to your tv, can support controllers, have touch screens, and already have access to an existing populated market of games.

edit 2: "Super Meat Boy, Limbo, Journey, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, Bastion, Braid... these are all Indie success stories by non-big name developers."

Those were all also released on existing popular platforms.

Gern Blanston
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@Michael Rooney

"The problem is that there are tablets on the market right now that can plug in to your tv, can support controllers, have touch screens, and already have access to an existing populated market of games."

And the cost of entry? To purchase a tablet + controller (and hope there's a game out there that'll support that game pad) would be in the hundreds of dollars, most likely $300+. Compare that with a $99 box that's actually designed specifically for a controller with a touch pad. Tablets are no substitute for a home console gaming experience, it's a dead argument.

-

"Those were all also released on existing popular platforms."

Correct, they were. And you're missing the point. These developers were tiny startups, not big names. I listed those games in reply to the Original Poster that the Ouya doesn't need AAA developers. The Ouya needs/wants small developers to make new, creative, and unique experiences.

But to address your misguided point... What if those developers had complete price control over those games? How many more copies could have been sold? The Ouya allows developers way more freedom in those regards.

Steven Stadnicki
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""Those were all also released on existing popular platforms." - Correct, they were. And you're missing the point. These developers were tiny startups, not big names. I listed those games in reply to the Original Poster that the Ouya doesn't need AAA developers. The Ouya needs/wants small developers to make new, creative, and unique experiences.

But to address your misguided point... What if those developers had complete price control over those games? How many more copies could have been sold? The Ouya allows developers way more freedom in those regards."

The point _is_ that platform popularity matters. Braid sold more than 50K copies in its first week; Super Meat Boy - a runaway success - sold more than 200K copies on XBLA.

That represents an audience of *less than 1 percent* of the 360 user base.

As I write this, the Ouya is sitting at roughly 30,000 consoles presold. Assuming that figure multiplies by an order of magnitude (and one of the key points on the skeptics' side is that nobody has really enunciated where this finds the kind of non-niche audience that could make it much larger than that), that's an install base of 300K units.

For a mid-range, two-man indie project, it's not unreasonable to peg development costs somewhere in the range of $50K-100K. Factoring in the market's cut, let's say that you need to do $100K in total sales to recoup costs. At $5/title, that's 20,000 sales - roughly 7% of the console's install base. That percentage is comparable to the relative sales of titles like Skyrim or Assassin's Creed on the consoles - a developer would need their game to be, essentially, that popular just to break even.

Unless the install base gets much larger - and I don't see a reasonable path to another order of magnitude of sales - or unless a developer 'hits the lottery' and scores one of the runaway, Minecraft-level successes, I just don't see any way to make a living on the Ouya.

Raymond Grier
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@Phil developer

When the gaming hardware in your TV becomes obsolete do you really want to replace the TV even if the the non-gaming components aren;t obsolete? I like the idea of a TV running games directly but it has downsides that no one is talking about.

Leonardo Ceballos
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"Devs want to develop for platforms that have a big audience, but for Ouya to get that audience they need devs to spend the time/money/energy developing quality games for their system."

Erm... its an Android platform. Expect every mayor Android release next year to have an Ouya version. With engines like Unity, its even easier; the Tegra 3 version of Shadowgun was already being shown in the trailer as an Ouya game. Heck, you can bet I'll be spending the three or four days and zero dollars required to add good gamepad controls; and why not? Plenty of people using gamepads with ICS by this point.

Bernardo Del Castillo
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I agree thoroughly... particularly with point 4, it seems to me that in no time we will see an apple "contraption" that will allow you to connect your phone and just output everything in HD to your screen... the Ipad 3 can definately do it already.
Apple tv has been positioning itself in that section foe a while now, and this could be the push they need to go through with it.
If they have the will they can squash the OUYA in a second.

Wyatt Epp
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I've seen mention of 3DO (Cost $2bn and they think they can do it for a couple million?), GP32X (open thing that failed to gain traction), and even Phantom (vapourware from an unknown startup); but I'm not sure any of those are actually relevant.

The financials should be pretty close; study the BOM for something like the Nexus 7 for a minute or two and I think you'll be surprised. It's got no battery, no touch hardware [edit: whoops, yes it does; looking at probably $15-20 there], no screen...that's something like $70 of the costs removed already! If there's one thing we can acknowledge at this point, it's that Yves is pretty good at making inexpensive things. It's already got a good established base of developers because it's Android-- Unity and Unreal: there's your fancy engine support. And the hardware profile is standardised, so they can avoid fragmentation and optimise for that profile (as we should all be aware by now, PC GPU drivers are kind of horrible). To the last, it's hard to call Android "vapourware" with a straight face, regardless of your opinion on developing for it and profiting in that area. They appear to be playing on a prototype, so a half the battle is already over. Phantom was an idea so far ahead of its time that we couldn't realistically envision the future where it existed. Maybe this time we'll do a little better?

k s
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Funny thing I actually saw a 3DO for sale in a shop today for about $60 with 5 games and a controller, I'm very tempted to grab it just to add to my collection of consoles.

Neko Otome
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However this runs on an OS that already is very useful even if this box gets no support at all

Mark Ludlow
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I have a feeling that the "console" itself will be popular for the fact that it is a cheap computer that can plug into your TV, but as a challenger to the established game console market? I'm doubtful.

One of the biggest questions I have is why are people putting their money in? Is it because they want a new console device? Or are they looking at the potential for a cheaper version of something like Google or Apple TV? Is it the same as the Raspberry Pi and people just want small systems they can use for specific tasks? Is the Ouya better off losing the console focus and just being a cheap computer?

My other major concern is the history of this sort of effort by the current console generation. Sony tried something similar with OtherOS but removed it because of the piracy and hacking. Microsoft's XBLIG is suffocating under poor promotion and a tide of shovelware diluting the market because of the low barrier to entry. In a more direct comparison, just look at the Android market in its current form. There are already a very large number of games on there that are both free-to-play and pay for, not to mention that it's an incredibly large gamble each time you download something as to whether it's legitimate or malware.

There's certainly no doubt people want it. However, it still remains to see whether it's because it's a new console or new cheap computer.

k s
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To me personally it's an indie console by which I mean a console for indie developers and indie gamers.

Alfe Clemencio
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I think the key point is HOW will they do the "OUYA market". It could become like smartphone markets, console online shops, or something similar to steam and desura.

Jeremy Reaban
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Well, bear in mind, it was pretty much the cheap computers - the C64, the Atari 400 and the ones in the UK - that did in consoles during the first crash.

Sure, some of it was flooding the market with games, but the computers were also a factor.

So who knows? Probably need to include basic with this, though.

Raymond Grier
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Their sales pitch doesn't revolve around it being a computer for the TV or an Apple TV-like device so I find it unlikely that those were major factors in their Kickstarter success. It's meant to be a game machine, it's marketed as a game machine and they went out of their way to say that Indies have a chance to develop for it cheaply. And people looking for a cheap computer usually want a keyboard, not a gamepad with a touchscreen on it.

Wolf Wozniak
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Deceptive*

Ishaan Sahdev
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It feels a little bit like the Ouya doesn't know who its target audience is.

Is its target audience "casual" gamers? If so, why would they buy a dedicated games device that plays the same kinds of games that their iPhones and iPads already can?

Is its audience enthusiast gamers? I don't see that crowd caring much for this either. They already own Xbox 360s and PS3s, and are likely considering the Wii U or Durango or PS4 as far as future purchases go. And then, of course, there's the large contingent of PC gamers to whom this device offers nothing new.

So, I think the question we need to ask here, as always, is: just what exactly is going to sell this system to people? Who's going to make the killer apps that makes enthusiast gamers plonk $99 down on it? Who's going to make that one breakout hit that makes the casual gamer pay attention to it?

It sounds like what they're selling here is "potential". We've seen other companies try that before.

Nintendo tried to sell potential with the 3DS and failed. Sony tried to sell potential with both the PS3 and Vita and failed. The 3DS and PS3 eventually did see success, but only once they had those surefire hits that made people want to buy the systems. They were also allowed to live on in the market thanks to the fact that both Nintendo and Sony had the financial resources to keep them there. The people behind Ouya don't seem to have those kinds of resources.

So again, I guess the question is, who is this device really aimed at?

Jeremy Reaban
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I dunno, I think they made the target audience pretty clear in their pitch video.

It's for people who want to play games on their TV with a controller, not a tablet or their phone. Mobile gaming is apparently getting the bulk of game development these days - mostly iOS, but Android quite a bit, too. So if you have a console, you're missing out on most of it. Even PC, you aren't getting most of these games.

Granted, there's a big catch - they need to get Android developers on board.

Bob Johnson
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@Jeremy

Console owners are missing out on the fun of using a really nice capacitive touchscreen to control their games. They aren't missing out on playing games with a gamepad.

k s
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@Jeremy Getting Android developers on board is easy because it has a standardized hardware and thus negates the problem of hardware fragmentation (the touch pad was added to the controller to further support ports of mobile games).

Raymond Grier
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The 3DS had a rough start but it didn't fail.

Bob Johnson
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Bear in mind this product may never come out. IT hasn't been designed. It may suck. The controller may suck. Plus everyone in this forum probably has 5 devices that can already play any game that will be every be designed for this thing. Yet everyone is excited. About what?

The fantasy of a new console manufacturer? The fantasy of a supposedly totally open platform?

God I'd be excited if this thing offered something I don't already have.

k s
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You do realize they actually have a prototype?

Bob Johnson
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@k s

Oh yeah? Great. And actually we really don't know what they have. All we have is a slick video.



Joseph Anthony B. A. Tanimowo-Reyes
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No, they've made it pretty clear that they have a prototype. They even used it in the video...

Gern Blanston
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@Bob Johnson

Call of Duty just doesn't work on Tablets. Cut the Rope just doesn't work with a gamepad. Different platforms offer different experiences.

Ouya isn't going to be all ports from other platforms, it simply uses the same architecture. Sure, at first there will be Minecraft, among others. But we're going to see developers that no longer work for AAA consoles gravitating toward it. And possibly even more importantly, since any developer is allowed to make games for Ouya, there will be brand new, unique, creative, visionary experiences that we've never seen before... for the lowest point of entry for ANY platform on the gaming market.

Bob Johnson
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@Turd

new experiences? That is the part that is suspect as we have XBLA and PSN and WIIware that all use gamepads. We also have the pc. More and more folks also have gamepads connected to theirs pcs. Many pc games have gamepad controls as options today.

So this isn't exactly a different platform. More like a subset of current platforms.

And with the current platforms we have had many indie games break through into hits. That is why I don't really get OUYA. I can play indie games already. I can play them with a gamepad. I can play them in my living room.

Seems like the only benefit here is so the financially strapped developer can make a game for the living room first and foremost which is then guaranteed to get "published." Published not meaning anything any more because my dog can get published now.

The other benefit I suppose is freedom to price your game as you choose. We have this on the pc. But the big 3 do control pricing on their platforms afaik. But it seems reasonable. The pricing of games on XBLA, for example, is still generally $10 or under and they do run numerous sales throughout the year.

I am doubtful all of this is different enough to warrant a new console.

On mobile devices there was a complete breakthrough. We were given a unique control scheme that, while not ideal for every game, was a new experience that brought new gameplay to the table. The iphone also brought much nicer graphics to mobile devices.

OUYA brings no such advancements to the table for consoles.

Small developers are also ideal for games on mobile devices because the mobile device user is looking for much shorter experiences. Likewise the low price points also fit naturally with bite-size gaming experiences as does the power of a mobile chipset. And the ease of use buying model is all the more important when buying very short gaming experiences.

There is no such synergy with OUYA and the living room gameplayer.


Tom Hunt
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play indie games on a big screen on a system that treats them as first class citizens.

microsoft doesn't do that. sony doesn't do that. nintendo sure as hell has never done that and probably never will. smartphones and tablets have small screens and no gamepad. PCs are expensive and inconsistent as a rule.

what remains to be seen is how games will be discoverable in a manner that is consistent with the indie gaming community's values. if it involves a hefty advertising budget on the part of the developer, forget it. if people are able to upvote games they like and get them front-paged a la reddit, now we're talking.

the hardware to do this - SoC with 3D capability, bluetooth, HDMI all on a cheap board - has existed for years, since at least 2010, and the roadmap has been there. this was bound to happen. this is simply dotting i's and crossing t's - getting the ID right, getting federal agency approval, getting physical distribution, getting the word out. they'll have to design and build whatever cloud service is going to back this thing up. the ingredients for all of this have been in front of us for some time now, and it's simply a matter of someone putting them together into the right package.


OTOH, suppose it does end up just having a niche audience not much beyond the initial kickstarter backers. Let's say it does only 30,000, a pitifully low number by console standards. Now it's a console with 30,000 SDKs in developer / potential developer hands. Your typical AAA developer would not touch this market with a 40 foot pole, but 30,000 is not a bad number for an indie developer. And since it's running Android, it's possible to port anything written for this to a smartphone/tablet format using touchscreen/gyros instead of a gamepad. Then again, have you tried playing Contra on a touchscreen? Doesn't work.

So, it's not a home run just yet. They still have work to do. There's still one or two things I haven't seen on this yet that they will probably need to have in order to be really successful. But I would say they are on the right track.

Thibault Coupart
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The old gamers retired who want to come back on console are the audience of this.

Since 15 years, we have always seen the same marketing oriented product on console; but my point is : young gamers of 1995 - 2005 are... old gamers in 2012 that dont recognize themselves into the current system.

What do they want ? good content, more content, original content. Because they had some good time on video games (especially on console !)

Gern Blanston
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Nice post. Older gamers aren't the only audience, but they certainly are a significant one. And I'd say that many of the older generation of gamers that are tired of AAA shooters started gaming at least 10 years earlier than the dates you mentioned... I know I did.

It's about new, original, creative and unique content. Why would anyone, regardless of age, not support such an opportunity?

Bob Johnson
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@Turd

Because it already exists.

Gern Blanston
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@Bob Johnson

The Ouya already exists? Well, I guess there's nothing to talk about then. Oh wait, this NEW idea is generating NEW discussions all over the place. And tell me, where can I spend $99 and get a Tegra3 powered home console with a game pad? Go home with your nonsense about tablets already doing this, PCs already do this...

What Ouya does is give consumers and developers a NEW option for gaming. It's ridiculous and backwards to say that more options in this world isn't better. Troll somewhere else.

Donald B.
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The reason I'm excited about Ouya is because it seems like it would give people who wouldn't normally receive a chance, well, a chance. At least on the development side. It's when those people get a chance to do something that the REALLY good stuff happens. Sure, there's probably gonna be a lot of crap... And copies of crap... and copies of copies of crap... But in my mind, the chance to see something spectacular outweighs the crap.

Bob Johnson
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That chance already exists today especially on iOS and the pc.

And XBLA is home to the best of indie titles. And has an indie channel right?

I think too many subscribe to this notion that, only because the indie channel is poorly organized, indie games on the Xbox haven't taken off.

I understand the dreams of developers. And that is where that comes from.

Donald B.
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@Bob Johnson
Except that it doesn't. Some people don't want to design for PC's keyboard and mouse shackles. Some of us don't want to have dealings with Apple.

I've no preconceptions about XBLIG because I've never even seen XBLIG, because I don't own an Xbox.

Tadhg Kelly
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It's like the Indrema, but with the means to talk directly to fans to fund it.

Miguel Castarde
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TecToy tryed something similar with Zeebo, in Latin America. But way low tech, with PS1 level graphics. His target was low-income consumers, what I don´t think is exactly the case of Ouya. The mais problem was that low-income consumers want 360/PS3 games, not subpar games in your home console.

Joe Wreschnig
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I don't understand the comments repeating things to the effect of "it would give people who wouldn't normally receive a chance, a chance." Until they explain what they mean by "open", it's difficult to see how this publishing model is different than Google Play or the iOS App Store or XBLIG.

$100 and a PC (or Mac, for iOS) gets you on any of those too. It doesn't lower the barrier to entry monetarily. Since it's Android-based I can't imagine it lowers the barrier to entry in terms of development complexity (i.e. you'll need to be able to set up Eclipse and have a decent grasp of Java to be able to do anything).

They could make it interesting by:
- Supporting sideloading, independent sales, alternate stores, and allowing their store to still work if you do root the device. This makes the device *actually* open compared to Android and iOS.
- Lowering the cost of the device. RPi-style $15-25, not $100. $100 is within the means of most interested adults in wealthy countries, but $25 gets it into the hands of kids and poorer areas of the world.
- Tooling. If it rolls out day one with tools to help people who have never developed before make a game, that's a big deal. That means really *accessible* tools, not "we have a better version of adb" and not "we have Codea" (but you'll need that stuff too).

GameViewPoint Developer
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I agree with lowering the price, that could definitely open up lots of markets for development.

Gern Blanston
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Joe Wreschnig

Every new game gets equal and upfront marketing on the main page, that's where an extra value comes in for the developer. Devs get to make any game they want, and price it accordingly. Do PCs and Macs come with gamepads? Nope, that's where consoles always come ahead instead of having to create a game around a keyboard and mouse. And how many people have a HTPC to play games on in the living room? Just about none, so again this new console comes out ahead for the average person/gamer.

$25 for an Ouya? Should they be working that hard to reach bankruptcy? At that price, there would have to be some sort of subscription attached (a terrible idea for any console), but then it wouldn't be aimed at the poorer areas of the world... then again, in the poorest areas of the world who has a credit card to buy games? Not exactly a realistic market to be aiming to reach.

They've already mentioned that Kickstarter supporters at certain levels will all receive SDKs (thousands) prior to launch day. So no doubt they'll have the development tools available for anyone else on day one.

Joe Wreschnig
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"Every new game gets equal and upfront marketing on the main page, that's where an extra value comes in for the developer."

That's not the definition of an open platform or open device, and I seriously doubt that is true of whatever store Ouya will have. That's not a good interface for developers or players. You want to feature good stuff, and you want to feature stuff that sells more.

"$25 for an Ouya? Should they be working that hard to reach bankruptcy?"

I didn't say Ouya can do this. I said if someone wants to make a real disruption in the console market, this is one way to do it. Ouya is not doing that, and they're not doing the other things I said, and so I'm finding it increasingly difficult to see how they will disrupt anything.

"So no doubt they'll have the development tools available for anyone else on day one."

Yep. And I bet it's Eclipse and Android SDK and a couple addons. That's not what I'm talking about, and I specifically said it's not what I'm talking about.

E Zachary Knight
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Joe,

The Raspberry Pi was a chip. It has no software, no controller. It was just an all in one chip to make a really cheap computer. So it was really easy to sell it for $25. Even so, I have no idea what makes you think $99 for a full fledged game console is "overpriced" The cheapest console available right now is the Wii. And it is no where near as promising to indies as this is.

I do agree that more information on what they mean by open would be nice, but they have promised that every game that a developer wants to put in its store will be put there (barring certain obvious exceptions such as malware etc).

As for tools, Unity is a launch partner. So you will be able to use it to make games a lot easier. I am sure as development moves on and people get on board, more tools will become available. As of right now, it is still young.

Gern Blanston
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@Joe Wreschnig

I wrote: "Every new game gets equal and upfront marketing on the main page, that's where an extra value comes in for the developer."

You wrote: "That's not the definition of an open platform or open device..."

Joe, I obviously wasn't addressing the open issue, I was addressing the barrier of entry. There are always added costs aside from the original cut taken on a PC or other platform to have games visible.

-

I wrote: "$25 for an Ouya? Should they be working that hard to reach bankruptcy?"

You wrote: "I didn't say Ouya can do this."

Joe, you're right, you didn't say Ouya can do this. You said they SHOULD do this. I'm saying that they can't, and your argument for it is moot.

-

I wrote: "So no doubt they'll have the development tools available for anyone else on day one."

You wrote: "That's not what I'm talking about"

Joe, you think there should be more accessible tools. Name them, you forgot to make your point. I'm reiterating the fact that the tools are readily available for anyone to start programming on, and for many even months before launch. This is just as important, and maybe even moreso than your idealized development process for this console that you're naysaying quite irrationally.

Bob Johnson
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@Turd

Every game won't get equal and upfront marketing. That is impossible or meaningless. Pick your reality.

There will be way too many games for that to come true or mean anything. And so games featured up front will be hand picked or chosen by popularity or by a random roll of the dice. No different than any other platform.

Michael Rooney
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@"Every new game gets equal and upfront marketing on the main page, that's where an extra value comes in for the developer."

Where did they say this? I don't see any way in which that would be a realistic goal or it being a good goal. As a consumer I'd hate to see every game equally instead of just the best games.

Joe Wreschnig
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@Zachary,

I never said "overpriced" and I never even implied it, so please take away those quotes. I said a price of $100 isn't particularly disruptive. That's the price you find Android phones at now, it's a price you find used Wiis at now, it's a price you find new DSs and PSPs at now, it's a price you'll find Android tablets near by the time this launches.

I realize they can't make this for $25. But the price they can make it for is irrelevant to the price they need to make a fundamental change to the market.

As for "open", the more they talk the less open it sounds. They need to get their story straight, and I don't think they'll do that until after the KS closes especially since they clearly don't need to to get people on-board.

Unity's a good tool. But again, it doesn't make this disruptive. Unity itself is disruptive, but it's already working its disruption daily on every other platform. "We have Unity" doesn't set you apart - it's the new tooling baseline. Everyone has it.

On the other hand if they launch with something like WarioWare DIY and mark off a section of their "store" for that - that would be amazing.

Neko Otome
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I agree it is like Google Play, but it's completely different from iOS/XBLIG in that they won't be censoring us like mad. XBLIG is hidden/hard to find even for the developers!

I like that it's a powerful Android device for my TV. Meaning it's already more useful than an AppleTV/SmartTV. It costs less than an AppleTV and has a controller vs a remote.

matt klinck
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its odd to me how people say "30K people isnt enough to make devs make games for it" granted if your a AAA game company than 30k is not a lot of people. but for indie devs (who i believe they are targeting with this console), than having 30K people clambering for something good to play on this new console they just got sounds like a damn good reason to me to get into making something for this. I'm planning on picking one up for just that reason, there's already a massive base of course on mobile for indie devs, but I think this market of 30,000 (at minimum) would encourage developers more to get into this new market just because when you get a new console, you want to play all the new good games on it.

Michael DeFazio
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if you are giving your software away 30K is great...

if you are selling it:

30K people @10% attach rate (which is ridiculously high) for $1 app = $3000

give OUYA their cut
$3000 - $900 = $2100

at that point, what's your time worth? (how much of an app can you make for $2100... that is going to attract 10% of the market?... I think 1% (or less) is realistic so $210.

matt klinck
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assuming selling at 1$ and 10% (of current #) lol

Michael DeFazio
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@matt

"assuming selling at 1$ and 10% (of current #) lol"

yeah, you're probably right, probably too optimistic, more likely $1 and 0.5%, so $105 considering you are going to be competing with the likes of shadowgun, and other (already gamepad supported) games from AAA publishers that will be ported over, and wildly successful indie games (i.e. canabault)

...hey, that'll get you groceries for a week.

Carl Chavez
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@Michael:

But if he sells it at $7 at 10% attach rate, he makes $14,700, which is decent for an indie developer. At $10, he makes $21,000, which is also good for an indie developer.

There's no reason to sell for $1 because he's not competing with smartphone game prices, since the initial buyers of Ouya are specifically looking for a non-smartphone environment.

(And I assume you originally used a 10% attach rate, rather than 0.5% to 1.0%, because you recognize that attach rates are higher on launch titles and on a limited but well-targeted and product-hungry audience?)

matt klinck
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@Carl
Precisely my point.


Also, I am not the developer. I want to purchase one to see what these excited indie devs would have for us.

Michael DeFazio
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@carl

;) i suppose you may try to sell apps for $7 or $10, but i think you are going to see a lot of price pressure at that point. if shadowgun is $5 and cannabault is $3 (and routinely marked down to $0.99 for sales) getting people interested at a higher price point might prove difficult.

given what i've seen with the OUYA demo, they already have very popular indie games coming to the platform (that'll be ported). so i don't know how "barren" the marketplace will be...

i don't want to rain on anyone's parade, if you want to get into game dev, and you have a passion for it then "come on in, the water is fine". i'm just trying to do the math (for my own benefit) perhaps there are things i'm wrong about or missing, but the numbers i am using are (i would consider) realistic. (i don't mind debate about my numbers, they are "back-of-the-napkin" at best and i admit it). i think this is a perfect device for a hobbiest, or for getting started; but making money on it... im still not convinced.

if (the OUYA) is inspiring a person to get into game dev, i would argue to develop with/for the android platform proper and then "port" to OUYA if that platform takes off. here's why:

1) you can get started now : (the tools, ecosystem, community, and market is there)
got a computer already? go out and buy a cheap ($50) android tablet, download eclipse and the google dev kit (free). then get libgdx ( free engine/toolset) and start developing and learning NOW. (As much as they say the OUYA is a dev kit, you'd still need a computer/keyboard to code and load APKs, so OUYA is still going to need a computer or bluetooth keyboard at least). the skills you learn should directly translate (same ecosystem and platform)

2) the market is already there:
android has a large install base already (yeah you might get lost in the sea of "mediocre" or bad games that exist on the market, but if you do succeed, you can win big (kinda like buying a lottery ticket, if you create the next "doodle-jump" you may make millions (verses maybe re-cooping your costs by limiting yourself to OUYA)

3) you should be able to "port" later: that's what they are selling us with OUYA at least.


...this way you can hedge your bets, hit the biggest market possible (best opportunity to "win big") and the costs are minimal

anyways, i'm not against the device (it's interesting) but betting on making money on it (from a business perspective) is hugely risky (IMHO).

Michael DeFazio
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@matt
i know it might come across as rudeness when someone disagrees with you on the internet, (text can "sound" very unforgiving) but in all honesty i had no intent on being rude, i was just responding to your original post (how you found it odd...).

i really thought you wanted a different perspective on why people were "not excited" about 30K users. anyways like my previous post, if this is inspiring to you to "dip your toe" in the game dev business, by all means, please do. (but please realize it aint all roses).

tbh in every industry the only time we make progress is when people make decisions which (on the surface) are looked at as "not business-minded" because they have a passion for it, so if you do, go for it... but please don't quit your job on a hail mary pass to make big bucks in game dev. cheers.

Alfe Clemencio
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@Michael

The $1 scenario would only happen if they approve their games like phone markets do. They could very well do that which would be bad.

Myself and some other really indie game devs usually get surprised looks of disbelief from mobile devs when we say we sell our games for $10-$15.

I'm still trying to get used the times where people want my game more because it's signed. It's also pretty cool to interact with the gamers who play our games and hear their memorable tales of how they went through my games.

Also let's not forget the price of perfume example that always flowing around these business talks on price.

Groove Stomp
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It's very interesting reading all the comments here.
I'm backing Ouya. I skipped out on the PS3 and Xbox 360 this generation, and have no plans to buy their successors. I do have a Wii, and am reaping the benefits of a cheaper library with some truly great games right now, but I won't be buying the Wii's successor either.

It's one thing to pitch and postulate when you're embedded in a very specific niche that views the world one way (ie., hard core gamers and game developers), but it's a completely different thing to see how people outside of that niche actually behave.

My Android tablet has basically supplanted my other gaming devices. I'd almost be happy just having Ouya perfectly replicate the experience on my TV. The potential of having games like Braid and Super Meat Boy on there makes it about the most attractive home console option I can imagine.

Bob Johnson
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Well what you are saying is that there are a lot of poor people like me that need $100 consoles and $0-$1 games.

Erik Rose
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While it's a neat idea, this thing is dead in the water as soon as Apple allows the AppleTV to run apps/games. Or to a lesser extent when Google gets their act together and gets GoogleTV a decent interface. The second those things happen, the OUYA will be forgotten.

Tom Hunt
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Google could buy them. If it gains a bit of traction, and Apple does indeed make their second attempt at a games console, it might even be a smart move on Google's part.

Daniel Smith
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i was going to post something similar. In affect i don't see this as any different from Google TV with native (C++) app support (Which though promised, is not currently available, but who knows in 8 months?). I think vizio is already selling their latest GoogleTV at $99 (with a motion sensing controller)

And like you say, if AppleTV gets apps any time soon...

I think Ouya has to offer something signficantly different/better - and in my opinion "hackablity" doesn't cut it (since it sounds no more hackable than any other alternative.)

While i'm being negative (which i don't feel too bad about since they just got a few million dollars for a video and some vague promises), i think they're going to need significantly more investment than what they have raised so far (which will mostly go towards fulfilling console "preorders")

Urgh - i'm so wary of kickstarter projects like this - i hope my fears are unjustified!

R Hawley
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History suggests nobody has a clue what will happen. Like in banking, nobody has a darn clue unless they weight the dice. How disruptive is it? Look at all the darn comments.

Merc Hoffner
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Which things exactly does this deliver that the onlive microconsole doesn't already? Except, you know, way less available power, way less real-terms support, hundreds of millions of dollars less marketing, actually fewer available cross compatible portals, a less familiar development environment and the addition of royalty fees?

Free to play I guess? Isn't that something Onlive could actualize overnight? If they haven't already? I don't know, I haven't checked it out in a few months.

Neko Otome
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1) It can run OnLive
2) It can run games locally that OnLive will never get
3) You and I can develop for it, something we can't really do for OnLive

Merc Hoffner
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1) That's a very good point! hadn't thought of that, But then that definitely works in reverse too: Onlive can readily virtualise everything: We even saw them get into trouble for offering Windows 7 environments basically for free.
2) True, but it's not like Ouya can exist independent of the internet either. There's also the issue of memory: Onlive essentially has unlimited Romspace while apps for this would necessarily have to be restricted to work in-situ, unless of course you run Onlive.
3) Is that really the case? Presumably you program a game for Onlive on a PC - i.e. the openest of open and most established of establishment environments, and presumably there's absolutely nothing stopping Onlive from virtualising every environment imaginable, if they haven't done so already. As for letting any random developer have a go, I don't think it'll take onlive anything more than flipping a switch to let the flood of $5 and F2P happen. And it will happen. Heck, they even have the potential for the ultimate subscription model imaginable.

Onlive doesn't actually care about what access route you get to their system; it all helps and the microconsole is just another portal for them. But that's not really the point I was trying to get across. This was:

If OnLive isn't making much headway to taking over the world with their microconsole, why would this?

Philip Bemis
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Are they really trying to claim that it will be easier to develop with this than with XNA? XNA is insanely easy to develop console games with. You can practically sneeze on your keyboard and it makes a game for you.

Also, people need to realize that consoles are, by nature, a corporate tool used to sell licensed content. This system is in no way more "open" than any typical PC. If they really wanted to disrupt the console market they should have exposed the fact that consoles are just a scheme to lock you into a proprietary marketplace.

As for low cost, any cost more than zero is too expensive. Nearly EVERYBODY has a computer this good already. In fact, you NEED a computer just to log on to kickstarter and buy THIS computer.

Many aspects of this business plan seem shortsighted so I will gladly wait until it's actually on sale before I think of giving them any money.

Mike Griffin
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Well, you also need a computer to develop XNA and PSN games.
Any game, for any console, begins on a computer of course.
Android development... begins on a computer.

Already owning a capable computer is inherent to game development, irrespective of the target box.
You fire up the Android SDK to build and test games on your PC.

But there is a target box/spec to meet at the end of the Ouya pipeline.

You just won't have to hop through rigid compliance rings, as with big corporate consoles, to produce the end result.

Philip Bemis
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@Mike
I agree with your point. I was actually speaking about the consumer. You don't need to own a computer to walk into Wal-Mart and by a PS3.

One thing I still don't fully understand, and you may be able to help me with this, is the "rigid compliance" hoops that people complain about. Unless you're developing interactive porn or malware or infringing on copyrights it's not that hard to get your game approved on a mainstream digital marketplace.

Mike Griffin
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Speaking more to the Microsoft/Sony/Nintendo spectrum of licensing and the associated stricter QA/Compliance hardware standards they typically enforce. The entire process on Ouya should be comparatively lightweight stuff, given the console's M.O.

Philip Bemis
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You're right. I totally agree that the mainstream console market shuns indie developers by putting them in separate category from the AAA titles.

On one hand, though, that was the key to the success of NES with their introduction of the "Nintendo Seal of Approval".
On the other hand, heavily curating your console's games only makes sense for a physical medium where you are fighting for actual shelf space. In the modern digital marketplace, algorithms can curate the games automatically by always putting the best games at the top of the pile.

The next generation of consoles from S/N/M need to really look at what Apple and Google are doing with their marketplaces. What really drives innovation in games is allowing independent developers to compete in the same market as the huge companies.

Alfe Clemencio
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@Philip

About the curating the consoles games.... Doing at least a little bit of that would prevent the $0.99 race to the bottom pricing issue.

Neko Otome
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Android is much easier to develop for.

"In fact, you NEED a computer just to log on to kickstarter and buy THIS computer."

No you don't. I bought it from an Android device.

Mike Griffin
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So the Kickstarter has roared past $4 million, over quadruple the original goal.
It would be nice to see the Ouya people make an attempt to launch earlier than anticipated (Feb/Mar 2013) based on the additional funding (and before copycats hop on the wagon).

Or, greatly expand the pool of available pre-sale consoles and console/SDK packages --
I.e., to 200,000 or so.

If they were able to claim a pseudo-installed base of hundreds of thousands of Ouya owners and developers by summer's end, certainly that would evoke a very assuring credibility.

Josh Rough
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It's amusing to me how much smoke and mirrors is a part of this whole thing. They've got Minecraft and Madden on their console dashboard, followed by a statement from Mojang basically saying "We'll wait and see on this one." Anybody want to guess whether or not EA is calling and asking about their clever implication of license? Furthermore, anybody feel the least big uncomfortable with the promise of content they haven't yet secured? Most of the time that's called misrepresentation. But here... it gets called cute and people throw cash at it. Hype does wonders, doesn't it?

Oh, and enjoy that "open" console. They're still taking 30% and "currating" their app store. Somehow that bit of double-talk went unnoticed.

Mike Griffin
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Mojang and EA don't really need to declare an approval.

Their titles are being shown in Android format on an Android device, and said titles can be purchased as we speak. Considering the publicity this thing is getting, it's actually positive ancillary PR for all the sample Android titles being shown in the Ouya's dashboard demos.

No need for Mojang and EA to become license holders; the games are for Android, not Ouya. Ouya is not a closed architecture or OS; it's just a box with a standard spec that plays Android apps. If anything, a specific target for Ouya devs is Tegra3 support.

Should this console take off, we'll be seeing a lot of Android releases for phones and tablets that include "Optimized for OUYA" badges and Ouya-enhanced visuals or play/control modes.

Early on it's not going to be about Ouya "exclusives" from established studios so much as shipping an Android game that includes smart support for "multiple clients," if you will, including Ouya. Android devs are quite accustomed to this process, for better or worse.

The Ouya team has suggested that part of over-funding will go into the development of exclusive 1st party titles that fully exploit the hardware.

Other studios may be happy to build games that harness the Ouya, with Ouya video and control modes, but could also reach users of stronger Tegra-equipped Android phones and tablets so as not to miss that potential market.

... Meanwhile, a ton of indie devs will be taking a crack at Ouya-specific games built from the ground up for the console, more than willing to accept the 30% fee for a chance to get their games out there.

Interesting times.

Joe Wreschnig
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"Somehow that bit of double-talk went unnoticed."

Hey, some of us have been making noise about it since the original announcement... (More than that, they said rooting it will remove access to their store. Even Apple doesn't do that in practice!)

I think the time for productive conversation about the issue is over. At this point they have ~100k or so people invested in seeing it launch and seemingly willing to shout down anyone who says "hey, hang on a minute here, maybe it's okay but shit as it stands really doesn't add up."

Alfe Clemencio
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@Jon

About the rooting thing...
That's more the protect the consumer from be conned by pirating shops and having their credit card details stolen when they bring their box. Free full versions of games on android/OUYA? Soon that's the only thing they'll be able to afford.

I mean... they're already doing it on the sketchy android markets.

Jack Everitt
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@Mike Griffin - So you're saying that Minecraft PE (for Android) will work just fine on my Ouya connected to my 60" TV? 1) Both screen aspect ratios are the same? 2) Touchscreen UI auto works with Ouya controller? Oh really?

Bob Ugiansky
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I know it will cost more than $99 but rather than funding the kickstarter, I think I'll build a cheap mini-PC, put Steam on it, hook it up to the TV and be done with it. "Hackable Console" achieved.

Garrett Mickley
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I invested in the $99 price point and plan on developing for it. We'll see what happens.

Flavio Creasso
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Well... Just my two cents about their future games...

...IF (and a big if here) these OUYA guys get some deal with some "Engine Provider Innovative Company" that already has a Kit that outputs games to Android, and convince then to offer the same terms than deploy to iOS if used to an OUYA game...

Quality will not be a problem...

Bruno Xavier
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Unity is in there with them.

Matt Ployhar
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Meh...

Time to just virtualize/sandbox all the Consoles & call it a day IMHO. This would effectively turn them all into something akin to a TV Channel.

Completely ridiculous to buy several different platforms & then dongle it off of one's TV. While I think the overall idea has some merit.. I'm dubious about the longer term viability. I think the real story here is that most Games ISVs are tired of paying the extortive royalties they do now. 70/30 isn't much better... but it does at least allow devs to keep a little more gas in their tanks. They'll need it for the journey ahead.

GameViewPoint Developer
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The extra funding should go into tools for devs.

Neko Otome
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We dont need extra tools. It's Android. That's the best part!

Daniel Martinez
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$4 Million+ as of 07/12/2012 3:00pm PST. Yikes...

Bruno Xavier
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Ok, I change my mind completly after I see this:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ouyatop20

This list is proof that in fact they don't really care about all the indie ideology.
They want to be a platform and that is all. It is a good deal for the platform owner and the players...
But for developers this thing is going to be a nightmare.
This is a scam against indie developers just like many others.
Please note that such list didn't exist before they rised all the hype and all the millions.
But now that they already "think" that they have power they want to exercise it already as a platform holder and this isn't going to end at a good place. before the huge KS success they was all about "indie love", funny how reality quicks in so fast. I will remove my BIG donation and leave the cheap $99 and see what happens until I make a final decision on 9th Aug.

Alfe Clemencio
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So like can anyone vote or only the people who pledged money? That looks like a standard top 20 popular games.

k s
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@alfe from what I understand anyone can vote.

Mike Griffin
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"This list is proof that in fact they don't really care about all the indie ideology.
They want to be a platform and that is all."

Proof of...?
It's a user survey of existing games/franchises people would like to see on Ouya, it's not a list the Ouya people created from scratch.

Besides, apart from the big franchises that made the survey's Top 20, you did notice it also includes Minecraft, Dungeon Defenders, Limbo, FEZ, Bastion, Torchlight, Super Meat Boy...

That list is a pretty good snapshot of existing well-liked games and series, and they have 5 more slots at the bottom of the page for written votes -- likely recognizing the heavy presence of big console franchise names that made the list, and looking for more variety.

Nice that Battletoads made the vote. I miss the Battletoads.

Denis Nickoleff
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it wll be a niche developer toy/platform. it wont take down the big 3. it won't triumphantly stand a top them. it will fit neatly into it's own little crevace.

Michael Pianta
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I don't know if this platform will be "disruptive" in the sense of significantly altering the other company's business strategies, but I think it can definitely carve out a niche for itself, and thrive there. I don't have experience in the industry, but from where I'm sitting, as a lifelong enthusiast, and some one who has thought a lot about entering the industry as an independent developer, this has a lot of appeal. I've seen several people raise this point: it can't compete with the big three, since it can't run AAA games, but it can't survive on simpler games either, since mobile platforms have that locked down - so where does it fit in? Personally I think this criticism is a bit misguided. XBLA and PSN - these are the best things about those systems. If it weren't for XBLA I would hardly ever use my 360 - and I don't think I'm the only one in that boat. As for mobile platforms - I think phones and tablets are quite inferior as gaming devices to consoles and dedicated handhelds, and again, at least from talking to my friends, I'm not the only one who feels that way either. Another concern I've seen repeated is the issue of finding the quality content, but I don't think that's too big of a hurdle either. I'm sure there will be lots of junk, but that hasn't held back Youtube. And in the end that's what a see this as being - youtube, but for video games. I expect a kind of punk rock, DIY mentality to prevail. Every college student interested in making games will need one. It will be a perfect platform for ambitious, young developers to cut their teeth on. Because of that, I imagine that a lot of innovative, interesting, experimental content will emerge. It could well be on the Ouya that we learn the names of developers who in the future may become industry stars.


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