Many of you might have heard a thing or two about OUYA.
The fundraising kickstarter project for the Android based 99 dollar console started yesterday 10th July and in just 8 hours, the project was funded entirely.
And as I write this, the project has made 2.7 million dollars (3 times its initial goal).
Take a look at the premise and presentation here
I am personally unconvinced by the console. The specs discussed are no more powerful than a Samsung nexus 3 phone, and the idea of a “free games” based console (aka. Microtransaction funded console) is not instantly attractive.
First off, if you have a computer or a smartphone, most of these games are already freely playable there (and designed for that specific casual play style), aside from an initial gimmick, I have never felt the need to display my phone games in my home screen, because my “real” games are already hooked to that.
Secondly, I’m not convinced of the technical performance of the device. Can it really display 1080p content with ease? Can it really rival AAA specs? Will it really be that simple to release a game in the platform? Won’t that mean that it will be filled with rubbish-ware (a-la appStore and Facebook)?
If its hackable and open, won’t that leave it open to piracy too (as many android devices)?
Too many aspects of it are still undefined for me to get behind it.
Sure, unity is a flexible tool that can achieve near AAA quality games, but I don’t see the bigger side of industry shifting their production standards to accommodate this anytime soon. And to be honest the biggest void I see here is games that a big audience wants to play…
Looking at the specs, just off the bat, I’d probably need a bigger hard drive immediately (my 16 gb phone can hardly keep up with the app rotation), and I also fear a single 2.0 usb drive might not be enough. Also as a developer, I’d like to know the user interfaces available to effectively “port” games. Some can say it’s the best of both worlds, but many could argue that it’s actually the worst of both worlds.
All the criticism aside, if the console delivers on it’s promise, it could really be a revolution in the industry and a guideline for future-gen consoles. The open-ness, the ability to bypass established publishers and the general flexibility and the prize all sound great, but mainly for a developer/consumer and maybe the casual gamer (who isn’t really into consoles), but its not a hook for the bigger “real” gamer.
Also, as ideal as it might sound to have an open marketplace, in practice, companies like Chillingo and Zynga, still run the smaller app stores as ruthlessly and with even more impunity than current AAA publishers, so let’s not dream of unicorns and rainbows just yet.
The bottom line is that with the lack of muscle and bulky bodyguards… OUYA is not a safe bet, not by a long shot.