Alright, so defending the Ouya isn’t the most popular thing to do, especially on the internet , but I’m going to give it a shot. First things first. What the fuck is an Ouya? Ouya is a home console that was released in June of last year, that had a ton of progress and forward momentum, but crashed once it hit retail markets. Ouya is one of those romantic kick starter stories, where thousands of backers got behind the project and raised almost 10 times the amount of money that the creators were originally asking for. So you would think that since so many people were behind it before it was available it would be a retail hit…right? Wrong. Kickstarter backers got their limited edition consoles, and a hand full of retail stores got copies, but it was still a strange thing. I actually preordered mine for a local Gamestop and the only reason they even received it was due to the preorder. The retail launch of the console was a disaster. Maybe they figured people who wanted the console at launch had already preordered it through the kickstarter. I don’t know, either way, they weren’t available for the first couple of weeks.
Ouya was the first Android based gaming system in existence. The idea behind Ouya was to make a console that was open source and encourage the users to design content and eventually publish it through the Ouya store. The console is not very graphic intensive and runs more like your smart phone, but as we have learned on the past five years especially, graphics don’t make the game. All sound fine and dandy, but here we are, almost a year after the consoles release and it is, at this point, considered almost dead in the water. Why? Ouya has never released specific numbers, but we know it isn’t good. Why? Why did so many people buy into the idea of a Kickstarter, but not buy into the system once it released? I don’t have an answer to the question. But, as an Ouya owner, I can speculate on what I like about the system and what I feel needs improvement.
I purchased my Ouya on launch date so I feel like I have a pretty good idea of what the console has, and is today. There was a period of time, probably like six months, where I didn’t turn on my Ouya at all. I didn’t see the point. The console launched with some mediocre games and a hand full of apps. There never was really a way to tell which game was better than the others, sure they’re were star reviews, and a “what’s hot” section, but it’s hard to believe shit like that. I would prefer a numerical list of what people are playing and what’s selling. it’s hard to pick through hundreds of games that you have never heard of and decide what looks good and what doesn’t. How many people do you know that could find League of Legends on their own? There needs to be some sort of filter.
A filter system would be nice, but it might also be in vein. I have played a lot of original content on the Ouya and some ports. What sucks is that none of those games really got my attention, or made me spend less time on my computer or on my Xbox. The games just aren’t good enough. I’m all about indie games, if they’re good. There are a few games made by larger studios, but nothing worth mentioning by name. I believe there is a place for both independent and small studios and large studios on the same platform. Look at Sony, Valve, and Microsoft…They all see the value in Call Of Duty, but also see the value in Super Meat Boy. It isn’t a crime to have main stream games on your console, no matter what incarnation they’re in. Hearthstone would be a perfect example of a game that would drive retailers to your system, but also a game that can play on a less powerful unit. I don’t want to see a console die, just because they cannot get popular games.
Bottom line, I still see potential in the unit. I haven’t played any original content on my Ouya since their last major firmware up grade, but the one thing is will say is that I love having an almost complete series of emulators on my home console. NES, SNES, N64, SEGA…. all the good stuff in one spot. For me, have those is almost worth the $100 price tag. that’s right kids, the console is cheaper that collectors edition of Call of Duty Ghosts. Hopefully Ouya can find a way to drive customers to their system, but with Amazon, Mad Catz, and other companies making their own Android based systems…it’s starting to look like Ouya was a guinea pig in a market that is getting ready to explode. It seems that Ouya may be the Atari Jaguar of it’s generation.