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Developers cautiously optimistic about the Ouya's ambitious promise
Developers cautiously optimistic about the Ouya's ambitious promise Exclusive
July 17, 2012 | By Tom Curtis

July 17, 2012 | By Tom Curtis
Comments
    60 comments
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing, Exclusive



It's far too early to declare it a success, but the crowdfunded Ouya console is at least trying something new. The $99, Android-based device has reached its goal and raised almost $5 million dollars on Kickstarter, and promises to break away from traditional consoles by offering a platform that's cheap, accessible, and open to anyone who wants to make games. It's an exciting promise, but many developers admit that there are still plenty of questions still left unanswered.

Gamasutra recently spoke to a number of major independent developers -- Ouya's target content creators -- to get their thoughts on the console, and the general consensus was one of cautious optimism.

The small-scale development community is excited to see a platform that's appealing directly to them, but with so many details still up in the air, no one knows how it's really going to turn out.

Adam Saltsman, for instance, was one of the first developers to show support for the Ouya (his game, Canabalt, was included in the Ouya promotional materials), but even he is unsure of the console's future. He really wants to see the device embrace some of the values of the mobile space -- namely, it's open nature -- but he's not sure whether its prepared to handle the discoverability and quality control issues that plague mobile platforms.

"As far as I know, [the Ouya] is basically identical to existing platforms like Google Play and the iTunes App Store. Those platforms have obvious discovery problems due to the open submissions, but there are lots of ways a proprietary storefront could mitigate problems like that," Saltsman said. "Whether or not the Ouya store will mitigate those problems, I have no idea! And whether or not they will be truly open or more Apple-style 'open' -- with some editorial vetoing of content -- I have no idea either."

Like Saltsman, Owlchemy Labs' Alex Schwartz (Snuggle Truck) likes the idea of a console that allows developers to succeed without a publisher. Of course, mobile platforms like iOS and Android have proven this model can work, and he also hopes the Ouya will follow in their footsteps.

"To me, openness means that as a developer, I don't need to partner with a major publisher solely to buy a 'slot' on the storefront. The current console development process is pretty broken right now, and if Ouya turns into something akin to the App Store or Google Play, I think they'll find success," he said.

While he's too busy making Wasteland 2 to think of creating games for the Ouya, InXile's Brian Fargo was particularly hopeful for the Ouya's success, and said he's fully behind the console's ideals. Granted, it's quite another thing to put those ideals into practice, but from where he's standing, he thinks the platform is on the right track, and if all goes well, it could become a real alternative to the mainstream, traditional console.

"There are pluses and minuses to open systems [like the Ouya], but when the television is closed to smaller developers they can't succeed... I believe Ouya represents a far better option for accessing the TV than what exists for smaller developers today. I'll take conversations about what the best way to handle discoverability over talks about why only the big publishers get to be on a TV in any meaningful way."

Like the other developers we spoke to, Happion Laboratories' Jamie Fristrom (Energy Hook) is crossing his fingers for the Ouya's success, and noted that if it takes off, it could give his experimental, small-scale games a real shot at finding success on the TV.

"There are plenty of closed platforms out there already," Fristrom said "I'd like to be able to play my own game -- Energy Hook -- on my TV once I finish it, and who knows if I'll be able to get a slot on one of the big three consoles!"

What makes the Ouya so unique?

Given that it's embracing an open marketplace, and even taking a 30 percent cut from app sales (like on iOS), the Ouya is clearly borrowing many ideas from the mobile realm, so the question remains -- why would developers choose that device over one that's... actually mobile? After all, Android tablets can support TV out and Bluetooth controllers already, so what makes this Android console so different?

For Brian Fargo, it's not important that the Ouya's a console, but it's important that it offers a unified platform for the TV. He believes smaller teams need that accessible, centralized marketplace for TV-based games -- otherwise, it wouldn't be a market worth pursuing.

"To me, the semantics of what something is called is somewhat irrelevant," Fargo said. "I am focused on what screen the user is experiencing and so far the smaller groups have innovated some incredible work on PC, iOS and tablet. I don't think we have seen the same level of innovation happening on the television. And while there are tablets that can talk to the television, they lack that unified approach and store."

For Adam Saltsman, it's about creating a comfortable user experience. While he says its perfectly viable to plug your tablet into a television, that experience is "subtly but critically different" from just picking up a controller and getting right into a game.

"When it comes to player experience, I think every little obstacle you remove between players and the thing their device is supposed to do is a big help, and dedicated devices definitely have a head start in that department," Adam Saltsman said.

"Also, it's hard to find tablets for $100 -- and developers typically aren't going to make games for tablets that use separate controllers, because they don't come standard," added Happion Laboratories' Jamie Fristrom.

All in all, the developers agreed that the Ouya's standardized, accessible platform could prove to be a great opportunity for the small and indie developer -- if it delivers on its promise.

When it comes to developing games for the Ouya, none of the developers we spoke to said they'd want to develop original games for the platform. Instead, they're hedging their bets, and eyeing the platform as a new venue for their multiplatform titles for now. Perhaps that's a safe strategy, since despite its ambition and lofty goals, we don't how the final product will turn out.

There are some creative, ambitious ideas there, but the Ouya still has to make good on its word.


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Comments


Kevin Fishburne
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A console is more palatable than hacked tech (HTPCs, etc.) due to a lower barrier to initial participation. It generally has peripheral and AV connection consistency, Just Turns On(TM), and doesn't require (but supports) a mouse and keyboard. Android is a good sacrifice, as it is more open than other mainstream OSs sans GNU/Linux.

If the OS GUI and repositories stay centrally controlled by the project maintainer the system can be made as immediately entertaining as the NES with only Super Mario Brothers and Double Dragon running. The maintainers could slowly expand the library after an approval process.

If the user expressly authorizes opening/jailbreaking the system, the full spectrum of installation candidates could be displayed, hopefully in an equally user-friendly manner.

A console is about accessibility, library, technical capability and user experience management. $99 doesn't buy a lot, but that's not what makes a system great. Ouya should use a hybrid UI of "stable" and "bleeding edge" modes, with "safe" modes between.

Sean Davis
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I mean no dis-respect to you sir, but that read like a college thesis. Allow me to help you break it down in simple terms. If the Ouya comes out with a break-out game that appeals to the masses, it could be the new kid on the block everyone wants to play with. The price ($99) is low enough for anyone to at least give it a glance. Now its all up to the game makers to see if they can make this thing fly. It always was and always will be about the games. Plain and simple.

Kevin Fishburne
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@Sean That theory didn't do much to help the Xbox or the Turbo Duo (popular in Japan) in the US. It's obvious that games sell gaming consoles; that should go without saying. Considering the wealth of competing platforms however, I think it's important for a new system to distinguish itself from its competition, and getting on your knees and praying that the AAA killer games will come flooding in isn't a solid plan. Saying "It's the games, stupid" is a gross oversimplification of what makes a console successful.

Eric Pobirs
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There were very specific reasons for the failure of the Turbo-Grafx and original Xbox that for the former kept the best games from the US market or for the latter, made the machine a money loser regardless of game quality.

Back in the day, Nintendo's US arm had very restrictive contracts for third party publishers. If you wanted to be on the NES and Gameboy you couldn't release the same title on any competing platform for a minimum of two years. Effectively forever in terms of market longevity. This meant that many games that existed on the PC-Engine in versions far superior to those on the Famicom could not be offered to the US audience. For example, Konami's Gradius helped make the PC-Engine #1 in Japan but didn't exist for US consumers. (Those savvy enough to know how to access imported games were too small a subset to matter.)

NEC's game division didn't make a stink over this because the much larger NEC SemiConductor had a very big customer called Nintendo. Sega, after realizing how badly they needed third party support, took Nintendo to court and there was an undisclosed settlement deal. Barely a month later Capcom was shipping a version of Street Fighter II for the Sega Genesis. The US console market was a level playing field for third parties again.

The Xbox story is pretty simple. Microsoft sought to find a new approach to the console market and also wanted to get something shipping very quickly. This resulted in a hardware sourcing deal with Nvidia that went against the needs of a console and ended up being a cost nightmare. They had the most powerful platform of its generation by a good margin but making profits required an absurdly high attach rate for software sales.

The Ouya's biggest challenges will be unique to it, as with the above examples. One issue I see as a possible problem is a reverse of the difficulty of porting console hits to Android phones and tablets: control. Games designed for a touchscreen don't work well on a straight console. Stuff like Fruit Ninja and Cut the Rope aren't well suited to a gamepad. Will it be worthwhile for a company like Sega to implement conventional controls on their ports that have already been given touch controls and have multiple Android versions? How much of the hardware sales will be to those who will download and sideload games off torrents, as the Ouya purposely lacks any hardware safeguards to prevent this?

Every platform has to be considered in its unique aspects.

Jonathan Murphy
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I started the industry right after the PS2 launched. There are a ton of factors. Price point, availability, marketing, timing, etc. However one factor matters every time. As Sean Davis said. It's all about the games.

Bob Johnson
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Yeah and I can play any game coming out for OUYA on my pc, iPad, 360, Wii, Mac, etc.

Gern Blanston
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@Bob Johnson

Wow, what incredible insight! And I'm sure I can play them all on the Wii U, iPhone, Notebook, iPod, PS Vita, 3DS... did I miss any platforms?

Yes, the excitement surrounding this new, super-expensive $99 console is due to the fact that is does NOTHING NEW. And anyway, even if SOME of the games also come out on other platforms, why would anyone want CHOICE? Hopefully you understand sarcasm better than you do the concept and potential for this new platform.

And you do realize that virtually every single one of those different platforms offers a completely different experience, even if you're playing the same game, right? Being dismissive is easy, and takes no rational thought. But by no means am I telling you to evolve your thought-process, I've heard that ignorance is bliss.

Bob Johnson
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@Turd

I can't help that many platforms, in the hands of tens and even hundreds of millions of consumers today, offer the identical gamepad experience that OUYA is is going to attempt to offer.

Being dismissive is easy when there is no product.




E Zachary Knight
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Bob,

How many of those provide an open development environment with a quality store and a standard set of hardware? The Wii, 360 and the Mac offer standard hardware (for the most part, the Mac does not offer a standard tv experience for gaming). The PC, iPad, 360 and Mac offer an open development environment. But none of these offer a quality store that is also open to all submissions.

Eric Geer
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@Zach..."Quality store" is yet an unknown....don't jump to far a head.


I see Ouya having a very full and cluttered gaming landscape. I will wait to see how they organize it.

Bob Johnson
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@Zachary

Seems like you are splitting hairs somewhat here. And already declaring that OUYA has a quality store before they even have a product..

The problem facing OUYA is all these platforms, in the hands of hundreds of millions of consumers today, can fairly easily turn around and offer a very similar experience if they aren't already there today.



E Zachary Knight
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Bob,

I am not claiming that the OYA will have a quality store. I am simply pointing out that the quality of stores on any other those platforms that have an open submission process are not anywhere near easy to use and find new stuff.

The OUYA does have a chance to improve upon the store front, but they could also make the same mistakes other have already made.

Ian Uniacke
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I thought Bob was refuting the "all about the games" argument by suggesting that it looks like most games on the service will be available on other platforms, making any "killer app" unlikely to be a motivating factor to purchase Ouya.

Bob Johnson
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@ian

Exactly. Well said.

k s
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"For Brian Fargo, it's not important that the Ouya's a console, but it's important that it offers a unified platform for the TV. He believes smaller teams need that accessible, centralized marketplace for TV-based games -- otherwise, it wouldn't be a market worth pursuing."

This here is a big reason why Ouya really interests me.

E Zachary Knight
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I agree. The whole "you can just plug an HDMI cable into a tablet and get a bluetooth controller" thing is a logical fallacy. Sure it is "possible" to do the same thing right now, but it is in no way the same.

Luke Quinn
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@E Zachary Knight - Right you are; The simple fact is that the iOS and Android platforms are flooded with games that would simply play better on a controller, but have touch controls crammed in instead.
This says to me that there's tons of other tiny indie devs that are just dying to make a console game, but don't have a chance in hell of getting picked up for an arcade contract.
I think the free to play nature of the OUYA will work in its favour by allowing those devs to experiment a lot more with small creative games and iterative releases for more content heavy adventures.
I would say I'm cautiously ecstatic about the console. :)

Michael Rooney
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@Zachary: I don't think logical fallacy is the word you're looking for.

Jacob Johnson
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I would like to know what sort of approval process they think might be involved with this platform and getting new games approved for distribution. "Anyone" making a game for Android is not necessarily great news. With all the FREE game development kits out there and game templates for sale, there is already a lot of cosmic waste on the android market. (yes I said Android Market) While I feel that OUYA may give us a breath of fresh air and blood, I fear it may end up looking like those free to play flash websites with crappy art and mediocre design mechanics. Too many people "try" to become game developers to make a quick buck. This, IMO, is just another way to make money off of people who weren't made for this industry.

I hope I'm wrong... :)

Casimiro Barreto
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I'm really amazed. And shocked.

Indie games development has been around since day 0 of the games industry business. There has never been any block for indie developers: got an idea, build it as a PC game (and before PC there were Apple, TRS-80, etc) and sell it. Ah... but here are the problems:

1) having a good idea
2) being able to make a product from that idea
3) getting paid for your work

None of these problems have anything to do with hardware platforms, with Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo and more recently Apple, Google, Facebook... Nope, these problems have to do with stuff that takes apart men from children. Children are always complaining about the "little visibility" inside Apple Store or Android Market, but never question if what they did really appeals to public. Because look, if one has something that appeals to public, there are tons of ways of making it viral, to catch public interest.

Neither is the world without open tools for game development. On the contrary, if one wants to develop a game expending zero bucks in software, there are suitable tools including Blender, Ogre, Crystal Space 3D, etc. By the way, Android is basically a stepped down Linux that is aimed to execute java applications (unless you root it and install machine code applications).

But then some people appears with a (really) very stupid (hardware) device concept, heavily underpowered for serious games, amazingly similar to much more performatic devices already in the market and get public attention because... it will be the "stuff" for indie games development... And some people in the press gets the bait...

As someone pointed out somewhere else, the device does not exist yet. All that was shown was a staged video and even in the staged video there are some things that should raise people's brows. For instance, in the video they say they're working with people that cannot openly participate on the project otherwise they'll loose their jobs. Well, if this is the case, then these "people" are working for game companies and are under NDA and under "fair trade" agreements. That means that working for concurrence characterizes unfair/unloyal trade and it is just bad that something new is born as a fruit of a poisoned tree. But there is more.

If the idea was good (meaning OUYA people had a business plan and any perspective of succeeding in the business) they'd seek equity capital. Why? Because equity capital groups provide business support, something that Kickstarter just doesn't do. For instance: if one wants to produce a 99USD device he needs a supply chain for TEGRA chips, memory chips, PCBs, etc, etc, etc. To warrant such supply chain one must show bucks, lots of bucks (like purchaing stuff in the order of million unities or at least hundreds of thousands). To put something in market it is necessary do clear it in terms of patents and other license issues. That's something that Kickstarter doesn't do. Just to give an idea about the size of the problem look the amount Samsung had to pay to Oracle due to the use of java in Android mobile phones... Then there are the government regulatory committees: a wireless device must be certified in the several countries it is intended to be sold, it must be adherent to the standards of safety, non-interference, etc. That's something Kickstarter doesn't do. And it is something that 5 or 10milUSD won't do if the intention is to have a profitable game console business.

Then there are issues regarding how game developer's declarations were used in the promo video. Most developers, when asked by media people just didn't confirm any commitment with OUYA. First, because they cannot commit with something that does not exist yet. Second because it is not possible to commit with a business without model. And the "hackable platform" statement just doesn't help here.

Then there are problems with the "games demo" part of the staged video. First because they just don't show the game being played in OUYA platform, second because the guy is handling something that is not a game pad (seems to be some sort of track ball or even a capsized down mouse) at 36secs of video and that does not correspond to anything presented later as gamepad. By the way, the stuff whatever it may be, is not wireless... And then, at 2min01secs there is something like a PC or PS2 gamepad. There is a "main board" that appears at 58secs and 1min26secs it it seems extremely dissimilar to Tegra 3 board targeted to intensive graphics applications. Moreover that NVIDIA announced the Tegra 3 Karma Kit SDK but it isn't out in the market and I too much doubt a company that wants to raise 950.000,00USD has punch to get a sdk ahead of Google or other companies of the same size.Interested ones can go to NVIDIA site or look at: http://www.cnx-software.com/2011/12/20/nvidia-announces-carma-teg
ra-3-cuda-development-kit/

In short, this story seems smelly to me.

Casimiro Barreto
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BTW, just moments ago I stumbled on this: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/484889112/the-pocket-tv-makes
-any-tv-a-smart-tv and they announce it plays Angry Birds and other Android games and is smaller and under 100USD.

But there's also something cheasier at 40USD http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/581994032/hot_sale_mini_HD_1080
P_android.html

Daniel Miller
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The NeverEnding Stooooooryyyyyy!

Christopher Totten
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We got one of the developer packages from the Ouya Kickstarter so we're getting excited at the prospect of putting one of our projects on it. One thing I would like to see - and this may happen in an update, backer survey, or other thing - is a little more disclosure on what exactly will be in the controller. If devs are looking to port their existing projects to the Ouya for the first run of games, it would be helpful to know what features of their mobile titles can fit in.

There's discussion of a touchpad, but I'm guessing it's closer to what's on a laptop. Does it have multitouch like a MacBook? Is there an accelerometer so tilt games can be implemented? If it has a USB input, can you put a mouse or keyboard on this thing and have it work as a controller alternative without having to hack the device? Addressing these could make the ports they're going to get feel much less like ports of games for other devices and more like games that can highlight their own strengths and those of the system.

Chad Wagner
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This sounds very much like XBox Indie Games. Free to develop for, (near) free to release. Percentage of sales goes to Microsoft.

So when will the first "Massage" app be release for the OUYA?

Mike Griffin
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10 Steps to mitigating risk in the (possible) early life of OUYA:

1. Prepare one's game title for all Android devices that meet the OUYA spec, essentially all Tegra 3-equipped phones and tablets.

2. Include an "Optimized for OUYA" mode that exploits the console's HDTV target, firmware features, dashboard, and most-importantly, the controller.

3. Experience pang of regret after "tacking on" these OUYA modes to a standard Tegra3 Android game.

4. Celebrate as you sell lots of games on both Tegra3 tablets and phones, as well as to OUYA users.

5. Return to the studio with the goal to make a 100% "Made for OUYA" game -- built from the ground up to run on OUYA.

6. Realize it's still too risky to do a full OUYA exclusive, return to blueprint of producing general Tegra3-powered Android game to reach larger user base.

7. Include much better "Optimized for OUYA" features in the next release.

8. OUYA finally catches on and goes mainstream. Your early support pays off.

9. Notify the team that we're finally ready to make a 100% native OUYA game.

10. Build an awesome OUYA game, including some gameplay connectivity for tablets and smartphones, so people can keep playing elements of their OUYA game using a mobile device.


Six months later: Everyone cheers!

Casimiro Barreto
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Oh, another thing that doesn't help is that it is impossible to get any sensitive data about Boxer8, Inc. Just looked for corporated data but impossible to get any information. Besides, http://www.boxer8.com redirects to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disruptive_technology

http://ouya.com gives a page about "Chinese values with Western Characteristics"

Something tells me that even OUYA is not clear trademark.

Kickstarter, in this aspect, resemble fundamentalist churches: "yeah, your money is welcome but expect no salvation until judgment day".

As things go it seems more and more a scam.

Frank Cifaldi
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Ouya has a live U.S. trademark:

http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4004:3kgjqu.2.1

Casimiro Barreto
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[CdAB@localhost tmp]$ wget http://www.boxer8.com
--2012-07-17 18:12:26-- http://www.boxer8.com/
Resolvendo www.boxer8.com... 173.236.236.63, 173.236.237.171
Conectando-se a www.boxer8.com|173.236.236.63|:80... conectado.
A requisição HTTP foi enviada, aguardando resposta... 301 Moved Permanently
Localização: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disruptive_technology [redirecionando]
--2012-07-17 18:12:26-- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disruptive_technology
Resolvendo en.wikipedia.org... 208.80.154.225, 2620:0:861:ed1a::1
Conectando-se a en.wikipedia.org|208.80.154.225|:80... conectado.
A requisição HTTP foi enviada, aguardando resposta... 200 OK

Casimiro Barreto
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Ah... finally I got an address... (but still no telephone number, no e-mail)

Boxer8, Inc.
12243 Shetland Lane
Los Angeles, CA 90049
United States

Interested people can go to google.maps and take a look at the place :)

Casimiro Barreto
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Baby cart is fancy.

Gerald Belman
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"For Adam Saltsman, it's about creating a comfortable user experience. While he says its perfectly viable to plug your tablet into a television, that experience is "subtly but critically different" from just picking up a controller and getting right into a game."

Most telling line I have heard so far. All tablet hardware and software manufacturers/developers have to do is find an EASY way for people to connect their tablet to their TV - and a controller to their tablet. Then it is goodbye OUYA.

http://blogs.nvidia.com/2011/08/cut-the-cord-%E2%80%93-turn-your-
tegra-tablet-into-a-wireless-game-console/

I like the idea of an open source console. But I don't think the OUYA will be successful for various reasons. And by unsuccessful, I mean most people who didn't buy the OUYA out of the kindness of their heart but instead because they wanted a good console - those people will be disappointed.

Mike Griffin
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Again though, hate to beat a dead horse, but -

"All tablet hardware and software manufacturers/developers have to do is find an EASY way for people to connect their tablet to their TV - and a controller to their tablet. Then it is goodbye OUYA."

So, do all the Android tablet hardware vendors need to sit around a table and collectively select just one (1) hardware spec that all tablet makers must adhere to, along with one controller type? And encourage tablet makers to promote their devices as static, stay-at-home game consoles?

No. You're still looking at a fragmented Android hardware landscape, no matter how easy you make it for people to hook up a tablet to a TV and use a third-party controller to play.

You toss the concept of a unified development environment with designated target spec.

It's like some people commenting on the Kickstarter page, desperately requesting a $99 entry-level OUYA, and a $150 OUYA with "faster processor and more RAM!"

As somebody answered: "You're still not seeing the point yet, are you..."

Gerald Belman
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Are you familiar with the iPad by any chance?

Android has been competing with it all along. They'll find a way to deal with the fragmentation. Bluetooth? Wireless controller? They have to.

And if the iPad can do it - you can bet your butt the Android tablets will find a way.

GameViewPoint Developer
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I think this whole situation says more about Kickstarter then it does launching a new console, that's going to be the story that comes out of all of this.

Regarding the OUYA itself, the biggest issue I have is how this completely doesn't take into account how the whole argument regarding gaming entertainment has moved on. If this was launched pre-mobile game revolution than maybe it would of had some legs to grow into something, but as it is, the masses expect great playable (mostly 2D) games on their mobile devices first and foremost. For the living room they expect cutting edge visuals, which will be provided by the new Xbox and PS, or streaming to smart TV's, so I just don't see where this fits in going forward. What would happen if Apple did launch a smart TV? where all of it's iOS games could be played? that would pretty much kill the OUYA dead.

I'm the last person to rain on anyones parade but a lot of people are putting a lot of money into something which doesn't seem to fit into the current or future markets.

E Zachary Knight
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"For the living room they expect cutting edge visuals, which will be provided by the new Xbox and PS"

You honestly believe that after the massive success of the Wii?

"What would happen if Apple did launch a smart TV? where all of it's iOS games could be played? that would pretty much kill the OUYA dead."

The Apple TV currently costs $99 and all it does is tv. Apple's iPod Touch costs $199. Its Mac Mini costs $599. If they were to add a gaming box/console I doubt they would price it at $99 and would thus not be on the same level as the $99 OUYA.

"I'm the last person to rain on anyones parade but a lot of people are putting a lot of money into something which doesn't seem to fit into the current or future markets."

Perhaps not your projected market trends, but I for one have anticipated something like this for a couple of years now and am highly excited to see it come to fruition.

GameViewPoint Developer
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The Wii was a one-trick horse which had it's time, as someone said elsewhere all the people that were playing on the Wii are now playing farmville. And even if you were to take your point about the Wii, does the OUYA have a motion controller like the Wii? or something to offer like microsofts kinect? As far as I can see it's just a basic xbox like controller.

Apple has never priced it's products at the low end of the market, and has that hurt it's sales? If they were to release a new version of their TV which allowed people to play all their iOS games on it (just plug your iPhone/Pad/Pod into it?), it probably wouldn't be low priced either and probably would still fly off the shelves.

For a new console to really make an impact (unless they are happy to just be an indie home brew machine), it needs to offer something new, not just be a re-hash of what's already out there. If I were them I would of nailed my flag firmly to a tool makers mast, Unity or Adobe. I would bundle a keyboard with it so people truly can develop on it without needing a PC, that's something which is missing from todays development, just being able to plug something into a TV, turn it on and start coding, that's what was possible with the home computers of the 80's and that would of been cool to bring that back in some fashion, or offer some kind of radical controller motion control, brain control something! something which makes the public go "oh that's cool, haven't seen that before I'll try it".

I suspect what will happen, is that a lot of people will get their machines with the intention of creating something specifically for it, but never actually get around to doing it because they are too busy coding for other platforms.

Something they just have to do though is lower that 30%, it may be some kind of industry standard, but if dev's knew they would instantly make more revenue just by releasing on the OUYA because the commission was 20%, 25% say that wouldn't hurt it's chances.

Michael Rooney
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@"You honestly believe that after the massive success of the Wii?"

You say that like you think the PS3 and 360 were not successful. Right now PS3 + 360 lifetime sales are greater than wii lifetime sales.

"The Apple TV currently costs $99 and all it does is tv. Apple's iPod Touch costs $199. Its Mac Mini costs $599. If they were to add a gaming box/console I doubt they would price it at $99 and would thus not be on the same level as the $99 OUYA."

The current appletv is also pretty old now, and an update is something that should cause considerable worry. People have been speculating about an appltv that would run mobile games for a couple years now, and you can already nearly do it over airplay. Google TV as well, which already supports the android marketplace for apps.

E Zachary Knight
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Michael,

"You say that like you think the PS3 and 360 were not successful. Right now PS3 + 360 lifetime sales are greater than wii lifetime sales."

No. I am just saying that the Wii outsold both of them with "last-gen" graphics. Why? Because people were looking for something different from what gaming had been up till then. Based on what is happening around the OUYA, people are still looking for something different ad are excited to see it.

Bob Johnson
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@Zachary

The problem though is OUYA doesn't seem that different.

Hey you want a buy a 360 that is 1/4 the size with 1/8 the processing power for 1/2 the price? We have a console for you.

Never mind that the 360 can be had for less than $200 easy enough these days and will surely see another official price cut by the time OUYA comes out.

Then on top of it everyone has a pc that is surely as powerful as OUYA. Most are laptops that can be hooked to tvs fairly easily. The desktops probably have monitors the size of the average tv 10 years ago.


Why bother picking this up?


Geoff Yates
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I'm not convinced its a great idea.

Even if they have all the back end processes to manage this correctly its going to be an uphill battle than to make it more mainstream.

Apple, MS, Sony, Nintendo, etc have all the brand awareness. They spend big bucks.

How do I get retailers stocking this stuff? How do you get production ramped up? How do you stop the me toos? What are multiplayer elements going to be? Client Support desks? Developer support desks? Hate to say it $5 mill is going to disappear very quickly.

E Zachary Knight
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"How do I get retailers stocking this stuff? How do you get production ramped up?"

A $5 million Kickstarter is a great way to get the attention of retailers. It is also a great way to build brand awareness. Why spend big bucks to create brand and market awareness when you could have a legion of 40,000 supporters sharing and talking about it and tons of free advertising from news sites reporting on it?

"How do you stop the me toos?"

What "me toos"? You mean all the other $99 consoles that have massively successful Kickstarters? Or are you talking about the Chinese knockoff "64 games in one" consoles that look somewhat similar to the OUYA?

"What are multiplayer elements going to be?"

Probably similar to what is currently available through the Android platform with as they have already stated leader board and achievement systems. Oh, and it will also have local multiplayer.

"Client Support desks? Developer support desks?"

Seems they already have some of that planned out since developers have email access right now and will probably be provided with forums and other services later. Seriously, they still have 8 months to announce what they have probably already been working on for the last year at least.

Jeremie Sinic
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I was super excited at first, about to buy one, then looked at the specs again, then the potential release date (March 2013).
Then I thought so many awesome things can come to market with better specs before I can put my hands on this device.
$99 is a very impressive price right now, but it might appear almost overpriced and under-powered when it launches.
Furthermore, this is just personal and a rather psychological price point but if a console is under $300, price is not much relevant to me: I'd rather have a $300 higher-spec beast if it's going to sit in my living room.
In my living room, I want to play AAA games primarily. If there is an option to download indie titles now and then (XBLA), then fine, but I wouldn't buy a console just to play XBLA titles (I am aware some people would...maybe).

As much as I love the concept, I am going to wait and compare the Ouya to other options when it launches.
In the meantime, I still wish good luck to the Ouya team.

k s
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I get the impression that most of the negative attitudes come from either people in the AAA scene who feel a little threatened and "kids" who are brand loyalist who feel very threatened. If/when Ouya is able to carve out a space for itself in the market (maybe not as big as Xbox or Wii U) it will be a success and enough of one to create it's own ecosystem.

Michael Rooney
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What about people who don't trust tech startups without websites?

E Zachary Knight
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I would love to see a full website for the OUYA. However, I also like their strategy of using the Kickstarter page as the landing page for the console until it is over. It makes sense since the Kickstarter is the primary focus at the moment. When it is no longer useful as a primary focal point, they will launch the actual website.

Michael Rooney
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Neither the product or the company making it has a website. It would be one thing if it were just the product that didn't have a website. It is not acceptable for a tech company to expect to be taken seriously without at least a landing page saying more is coming soon.

E Zachary Knight
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Michael,

As of right now, the company and the console are indistinguishable. All relevant contact information is available on the Kickstarter. All relevant information about who is behind the company is on the Kickstarter page. All the relevant information period is on the Kickstarter page. Don't really see the point of a dedicated website that will simply mirror the information on the page they are currently using as the primary focal point.

Michael Rooney
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All relevant information in any of the categories you mention is not on the kickstarter page.

If you were an investor, and a company came in asking for $5,000,000 to produce the OUYA and they didn't have a website or a business plan, would you invest in them? Why would that same company asking for $100 from 50,000 people be any more credible?

E Zachary Knight
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Michael,

Who is claiming that they don't have a business plan? Seems to be an odd argument to make.

As for the relevant information, I was able to find contact emails for both press and developers. I was able to find the head of the project, the designer of the product and today the producer of the product. I was able to find a description of the product and associated business model. I was able to "purchase" a console. I was able to do everything that you would do on a normal website.

Sure it all was not packaged in neat little pages with menus and banners and headlines and such, but the information is there.

Not really sure what you are looking for.

Michael Rooney
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Clearly we have different expectations of what "all the relevant information" means for companies we plan to pay money for products that don't exist.

E Zachary Knight
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Michael,

That's just it. I have no clue what you expect to find that you aren't. I took a trip to Nintendo's website and could not see anything there (specific to the wii) that I could not find on the OUYA's kickstarter page, aside from game listings and retailer listings which obviously are not available yet.

Michael Rooney
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Did you actually look around Nintendo's website? There's company history, 4 different support pages, safety/parental manuals, links to their stores, at least 20 different ways to contact their different branches, manuals for all of their products, information on their marketplace, investor reports, careers, etc.

All of those are within 2 pages reach of their home page.

E Zachary Knight
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And none of that is relevant to the OUYA at this time. As time moves on and the company actually has a history, that can be expanded into its own section on a website. When the company actually has a product that needs support, they can add support. When the company actually has a store, they will add one.

All that stuff you are listing is stuff that does not exist yet or would serve no purpose. Once they move out of the Kickstarter phase and into primary production, I would certainly expect to see more of that becoming publicly accessible and needed. At this time, none of it is relevant.

Zachary Hoefler
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It's worth noting that this isn't being made by a bunch of nobodies with no experience. I mean, sure, they may not be as well-known as someone like Miyamoto, but there's notable experience in their ranks.

Jeremie Sinic
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This just came to my mind: what happens when Android OS gets updates? What about in 2-3 years? Will Ouya follow Android OS updates or stick to a version that will be increasingly different from the mainstream Android OS (and increasingly painful to support)?
If developers are not ready to develop primarily for the system, this is going to be a problem, I think.

Michael Rooney
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They'd probably rewrite their modified version of android to support the new features and push an OUYA update a couple months later. I don't see updates being a problem tbh.

Jeremie Sinic
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That's to be hoped. Just wondered if this is really a given or if that could be an issue in the long term, as we see several not so old phones (either Android or iOS) not receiving the latest updates.
What I mean is that if phone and tablet manufacturers stop supporting some OS versions, developers will also stop supporting these, and Ouya might potentially face a problem where their hardware simply cannot receive the latest updates.

John Gordon
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They should spend most of that $5 million trying to develop killer apps. The games are what will sell the machine anyway. The tech doesn't have to be that great, but the games do.

Bruno Xavier
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Lets be honest here...
Boxer8 clearly is ignoring general backers' expectations of running AAA games on a $99 machine.
If you see their survey results and watch from time to time backers' comments, you quickly see that players think "every" game there will be at Shadowgun's quality and higher. The only no intense graphics game they accept is Minecraft.

Also, players attracted by Ouya are those who want it all for free...
Maybe in the first week, there will be already pirated APK files available for download.

If the system is really released, once players figure out that 1 out of 1000 games is at least around Shadowgun's quality and all the rest are Android ARM games ported from Google Play, like Tiny Wings, etc... I fear gamers will rage.
So, probably their biggest mistake is letting anyone to develop to the system, because people will produce a lot of crap for that thing, just like Android/iOS.

The good developers, they can't do miracles; Tegra3's GPU is worse than iPad2's and if Ouya want to survive they are forced to add a way of putting additional GPU hardware just like PCs, else Ouya is going nowhere on the long run.

Mike Griffin
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Comparing Tegra 3 to the newest iPad is even more difficult.
The new iPad concerns itself with outputting to a 2048x1536 Retina display.
While the Tegra 3's "toughest" target display is 1920x1200 on the newer Transformer tablets.

Look up every major benchmark out there, and you see the new iPad easily defeating Tegra 3 in most major fill-rate comparisons, but you consistently see better in-game effects and shader routines executed on Tegra 3.


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