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Ouya's alleged tussle with the ESA at E3
Ouya's alleged tussle with the ESA at E3
June 12, 2013 | By Mike Rose

June 12, 2013 | By Mike Rose
Comments
    48 comments
More: Console/PC, Indie, Business/Marketing, E3



The Ouya team chose to show off its upcoming Android-based games console at E3 in a unique fashion this week, renting out a parking lot across from the Los Angeles Convention Center.

However, E3 organisers the ESA allegedly aren't very happy that the Ouya is being showcased outside of the main E3 show, to the point where they have tried shutting the operation down.

Speaking with IGN, Ouya founder Julie Uhrman claims that the ESA purposely rented out the parking spaces next to the Ouya display, and parked a semi-truck to block the view from the main E3 center.

Uhrman then rented the adjacent spaces in retaliation, and displayed Ouya promotional banners around the truck to guide people to where the Ouya display was positioned.

This allegedly led to the ESA calling the police, who quickly determined that the Ouya team's permits were in order (and stuck around for a photograph or two.)

Uhrman says that she has reached out to the ESA to resolve the dispute, but has not yet heard back. "If ten more trucks show up, we'll come up with another idea. I have a few up my sleeve," she said.

Gamasutra has contacted the ESA for a statement.

ouya police 2.jpg


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Comments


Andy Cahalan
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I'm liking Ouya less and less the more I hear. It's E3, play ball or go home. Their strategy is kind of odd- any gamers in the area will have paid for passes so their "go-get-em indie" attitude is just coming off as cocky. Nobody is going down to E3 without a pass just to see Ouya. I understand from ESA's point of view they're circumventing and exploiting the conference. It's E3's foot traffic and they have every right to protect it. It's a forward thinking problem for the ESA. How long before other indies get the same idea and all of a sudden there's iE3 in the car park across the road? Capitalising on all of E3's organisational efforts and foot traffic but not in any way contributing to the costs of taking care of it? Would they be so willing to do it at PAX or any of the less mainstream events?

I'll wager that they won't be anywhere in 12 months, and that this E3 happening was a cost decision. That might sound harsh because on paper it all sounds great but in practice they should have waited 18 months for Tegra 4/5 and concentrated on building partnerships, library and additional functionality. I just have a million hard questions that they don't answer... yet. I'm afraid they won't weather the storm until it CAN. I only see something like this working mid-cycle- an indie android console with Unity, UDK, etc. support for $129 or under that can outpace a PS3 or 360 with a lot of strategic partnership and great online integration could be perfectly possible but I wouldn't aim for it until nVidia have cracked current-gen quality in a s.o.c. - which nVidia ARE gunning for as a minimum by Tegra 5. There is a new "baby" console war on the horizon, but Ouya is kind of the Dreamcast.

Sorry this turned into a rant but i've been working on something that dips into this kind of speculation, heavily. I really believe that we'll see new mainstream consoles coming from the strangest places that will outright challenge Sony & Microsoft, and not necessarily Valve.

Brendan Gallagher
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Agreed, till the ESA folk got indulgent and rented a tractor trailer to box `em out. If you take bait, you get reeled. Shoulda just ignored `em.

Andy Cahalan
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Haha, it's true. If anything the ESA got them the coverage they wanted. I imagine that without that they would have gone unnoticed by many and be missing out on show floor press. Nobody is winning really.

Kaitlyn Kincaid
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when I was at GDC there were a lot of people outside trying to score passes.

Vin St John
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They were in a parking lot with a permit and every right to be there. They may be presenting what you call an "indie" attitude but it's not like they're avoiding E3 to preserve their own image. Having a booth at E3 is expensive. Having a booth near E3 in a parking lot is not.

Jakub Majewski
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Andy,

I have a couple of questions. If it's unacceptable to set up a booth on a parking lot opposite of the convention center... would it be acceptable to set one up five hundred metres down the road? Two kilometres down the road? Beverly Hills? You know, I'm just trying to understand how far the E3 exclusion zone would have to extend to stretch to satisfy you.

Also, I wonder if you would agree that this same rule needs to apply to other situations. For instance - if there's a really successful game developer in town, they've probably managed to entice quite a few people to move into the area. It's their success, so I assume you will agree that any developer who would try to set up offices in the same city is simply capitalising on their work and not contributing at all.

Also, there should be a law against more than one grocery store on one street. Hey, come on - one of those stores had been there first, it's not fair for someone else to set up nearby and take advantage of all those clients the first store had attracted into the area.

By the way - you do realise that a great deal of business at E3 takes place in the hotels? Is that acceptable to you, or should all hotel presentations and parties also be moved to the E3 showgrounds?

Michael Lubker
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http://www.gamespot.com/news/gods-promised-lot-2451803

Historical perspective ^^

Kelly Kleider
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If I remember correctly they had beer and other snacks. Within the convention center that isn't easy to pull off.

Andy Cahalan
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Clearly people are taking the arguments from both perspectives and that's ok. Ok, point taken. I totally agree with all your arguments, except for the grocery store analogy - this isn't a bricks and mortar retail business, it's a trade show.

My only real sticking point is that Ouya were blatantly there to pick up foot traffic that wouldn't exist if not for E3. The ESA went the wrong way about handling things. They could have offered some communication and talked it out, but they didn't. The politics of it all will never be known and all we can do is speculate. I'm not a big fan of doing things the way Ouya did in this situation, that's just my personal opinion. I wouldn't do it that way myself, but then, who am I to judge anyway? Opinions=assholes, you know the drill.

Francesco Crocetti
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I don't understand if Ouya team paid or not to be included in E3 and this is the most important thing to me: if they paid E3 then I cannot see why they shouldn't be allowed to showcase where better they like; but if they didn't paid and yet want to profit by E3's paying visitors then they are definitely crap and personally will put them aside from my interest.

E Zachary Knight
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This was a very bad move by the ESA. Yes the Ouya was trying to work outside of E3 while still taking advantage of it. However, trying to hide and then sending cops on Ouya was just dumb.

Personally, I am glad that the Ouya is doing their show like this. It fits the image that they are trying to build. An image that is open and inclusive to all gamers and developers. That is something that can't really happen easily inside E3.

On a side note, I really love my Ouya.

Joshua Wilson
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The image I see is of a group that takes advantage of the hard work and success of others and then tries to blame those others for being upset about it, while taking away from all the developers - large or small - who make E3 a success by actually attending the event.

I also don't think it's unreasonable for the ESA to make use of parking lots near its event to park a truck. The fact that it inconvenienced people trying to steal attention from their event would be a happy accident, in my opinion.

Ouya trying to spin this as somehow fighting the good fight, instead of being embarrassed for behaving unprofessionally, is ridiculous. But that's just my opinion.

Lance Thornblad
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@Joshua - Gotta disagree with you. In an industry that is seeing massive layoffs and constant shifting, I think Ouya IS fighting the good fight. Besides, they probably couldn't afford the high cost of an E3 booth. Is the game industry now an exclusive club formed by corporate monsters?

What's unprofessional about renting a space near an event that draws many thousands of potential customers? If people are willing to endure the hot sun and see what Ouya has to offer, why not let them?

On the other hand, if the ESA wants to fight back by parking massive trucks in the way, they have every right to do that, too. :)

Cordero W
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"Besides, they probably couldn't afford the high cost of an E3 booth."

The cost of a booth from what I hear is no more than 100K. They could have afforded to go there, unless 8 mil was wasted in one day. I'm sure to believe that no more than a mil was used to develop the console, leaving them more than enough money for marketing and such.

But I always knew Ouya was a scam to begin with, so I'm not going to sit here and try to argue that they could have done something they never would have.

Joshua Wilson
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@Lance - Attending E3 is not a right. If you can't afford it than too bad? There are other trade shows.

If Ouya wanted to host their own event either before or after E3 to take advantage of the hype and the crowds and push a different agenda, that's fine. Although I think it would still be respectful to at least consult with the ESA to get the go-ahead first.

If you can't see how it's unprofessional to setup a booth outside an event where you should be paying to be inside (and everyone else is) than difference of opinion I guess - but to me it would be like the professional equivalent of showing up at someone's wedding and being like "Hey look at me! I'm getting married too!", because, hey, everyone is here and everything's already setup right?

It's in poor taste at the very least.

It would also be somewhat hypocritical to be against the machine but then try to leech off it at the same time. If you're against what E3 is about/stands for then don't go. Stick to PAX, GDC, etc.

Rick Juang
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Can't say I agree or disagree with Ouya's approach in self promotion but technically there is not much of difference between what they're doing and the food truck selling tacos across street or the local game store/restaurant/club passing out flyers. They're all capitalizing the foot traffic generated by the trade show.

E Zachary Knight
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Cordero,

"But I always knew Ouya was a scam to begin with"

What exactly makes the Ouya a "scam"? I backed them on Kickstarter. I have a console. There are games available on it. The games are fun. I paid $130 for it and it is worth every penny.

So please, explain how it is a scam.

Cordero W
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There are many ways I can reply to this, but I'll choose the simplest.

I'm sorry that you paid $130 for a paper weight. You could have gotten a better deal at Walmart if you're looking for something to keep down the desk items.

E Zachary Knight
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Cordero,

"I'm sorry that you paid $130 for a paper weight. You could have gotten a better deal at Walmart if you're looking for something to keep down the desk items."

Glad to see that your accusations are baseless. Makes me feel a lot better. I sure do have a lot of fun with my paperweight though.

Cordero W
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I have them. I just don't feel like repeating what every sane person has already said about this thing, me included. I won't argue with what pleases you, but the sales speak for themselves. When only the backers and the devs are the only ones supporting Ouya, then you know it's time to move on.

Larry Hendrix
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"...I won't argue with what pleases you, but the sales speak for themselves. When only the backers and the devs are the only ones supporting Ouya, then you know it's time to move on....."

The system doesn't even release to the public until the 25th of this month.

You're entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts.

Lance Thornblad
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@E Zachary - Cordero is clearly from the future. Don't argue with him. ;)

Lance Thornblad
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@Joshua - We'll just have to agree to disagree (cliche as that sounds). Kevin Simpson and Adam Bishop have said it well below. You can call it poor taste and I won't argue that point, but it is simply business.

Attending E3 is not a right, but the space surrounding the expo is not E3.

Lincoln Thurber
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Let's be realistic, a typical paper weight, is about 20 oz. Therefore, an Ouya at only 10 oz would be a lousy paperweight. The papers would fly away, a mess would be created, and confusion would ensue.

Michael Lubker
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http://www.gamespot.com/news/gods-promised-lot-2451803

Historical perspective ^^

Russ Menapace
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Actually, the one I got has terrible controller lag. It is useless for any action game in its current state. They're sending me a new controller though.

What games are you playing? I haven't found anything that really grabbed me.

E Zachary Knight
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Russ,

I have a lot of fun with Saturday Morning RPG, Knightmare Tower, and Final Fantasy 3. I am still trying to go through as much as I can to see what else they have to offer, but those stood out so far.

Graham Davis
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Is there any comment about why Ouya did not try to be part of the main E3 conference in the first place? Was it too expensive? Were they not permitted? Or did they just want to intentionally avoid being part of the main conference while still having an outside presence? I'm guessing the latter, but does anyone know for sure?

Mike Rentas
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I'd like to know this too. If they were refused floor space, assuming they applied on time, could afford it, etc, I'd be thinking about words like "antitrust" - but I assume we'd have heard about it as soon as they got their rejection notice, if that had been the case. This looks more like a publicity stunt/attempt to save money.

Craig Stern
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Considering that they developed the Ouya on what is--for creating a brand new console--a shoestring budget, I don't see what's wrong with them trying to save money.

Lance Thornblad
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I'm guessing a combination of cost and that it fits their indie image.

Let's not kid ourselves, though. Ouya takes 30% of all sales from their store, which is comparable to Apple and Steam. Their indie image will last only for as long as they are unpopular.

Michael Lubker
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http://www.gamespot.com/news/gods-promised-lot-2451803

Historical perspective ^^

James Coote
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Niether OUYA, nor ESA are saying, so really you can take your pick as to who is the baddie in all this depending on your own personal politics

Kevin Simpson
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I do not understand how people are saying this is a sham or Ouya is in the wrong. They legally rented out of a space and wanted to capitalize on pre-existing traffic to push their own agenda. That isn't "wrong", it's business. If people get distracted from E3 to spend all their time at Ouya's thing across the street, that is competition, not some evil underhanded tactics.

What some of you are saying is akin to if a guy opened a pizza shop near another pizza shop and you called him evil because people preferred his pizza and ate there.

Kujel s
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Some people feel threatened by a new contender, especially one who can so deeply under cut the price of the big guys.

Adam Bishop
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I don't understand the argument against what the Ouya people have done. If I open up a store that sells housewares across the street from a Walmart am I somehow stealing from Walmart because they bring a lot of traffic into the area? Am I violating some sort of moral code that entitles Walmart to control the public space near their store? This is silly. If it's outside the convention centre the ESA has no right to it. End of story.

E Zachary Knight
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It is the same kind of arguments made against food trucks by brick and mortar restaurants. They feel that because food trucks don't have to deal the same types of regulations (although many over lapping regulations) and have the ability to travel too customers rather than the other way around, they are somehow unfairly damaging the b&m stores' prospects.

Lars Doucet
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This is all about externalities[1]. Every human activity generates both positive and negative externalities.

Arguably E3 generates some negative externalities (pollution, noise, traffic from the extra people) that the public ends up paying for in various ways that aren't covered by the permits, licenses, etc, required to run E3. It's therefore pretty one-sided to say that it's unfair for Ouya to capitalize on the positive externalities, *especially* when there's nothing illegal about them renting that parking lot if they want to.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Externality

Kujel s
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This actually good for Ouya as they will get some press about this and it will strengthen their indie image.

adam anthony
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I guess Ouya needs to do what it needs to do to stay present. I don't know if I would consider this a smart business move, as it may make them look cheap.

Stephen Norquist
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I'm disappointed by the comments urging conformity to an assumed concept of respect. The parking lots were there to be rented, the ESA should have rented and used them as some kind of promotional event. Instead, an indie console rented them and had a little party of their own.

Competition, stepping on toes, taking advantage? What is this nonsense? Irrelevant! Just because you don't like something doesn't make it illegal nor mean spirited. It simply means you're feeling out of control and threatened. But that's all it is: a feeling.

Immature ESA, very immature.

Michael Lubker
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http://www.gamespot.com/news/gods-promised-lot-2451803

Historical perspective ^^

adam anthony
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Don't think it needed to be posted 5 times, but good find.

Jonathan Murphy
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They did it wrong! They should have gone on stage during the Sony conference, while they were 10-15 minutes late, pretend to be Sony. Unveil the Ouya, scream, "We won this generation!" and run away. People would either confuse them with Mega 64, or an act of marketing genius.

Slo Bu
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I'm glad this little stunt revealed how stratified the game industry is nowadays. Big console makers and software houses have nothing to fear, though. Little Timmy will continue to buy whatever the big 3 dish out to play Face Shooter 2013.

I personally am willing to take on a sub $200 console with a place for riskier, independent game creators. Without affordable tools and open markets Richard Garriot would have been a janitor instead of an inspiration. Let's see what this generations equivalent of a zip lock bag and a few floppy disks can do for game enthusiasts BY game enthusiasts.

TC Weidner
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I think its was a brilliant move, Perfectly illustrates how most small and indies in this industry are basically tossed to the fringe, made to only be able " to look in from the outside".

Kudos to team Ouya, they score some points with me for this.

Christopher Thigpen
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To all the naysayers...what is wrong with this strategy?

Why pay the high price, when you are able to outthink and outsmart the corporate model?!

Kudos to the OUYA team for thinking outside of the box and not conforming to the norm.

I salute their strategy.

Ralph Smash
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Why does every Ouya supporter sound like they WORK for Ouya?
I'm gonna make an assumption here, and it's my personal opinion. Opinion = Asshole
But this console is going to vanish like the Dreamcast. Sorry guys.


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