OUYA or Oh No?

I ask the question because we don’t know a whole hell of a lot about the console yet. We know what they claim the specs to be, but who knows if that will change, though it’s not likely. We know that the OUYA will be an Android-based system, and that it will carry some games like Final Fantasy III. We also know that the OUYA will be able to stream content from other networked devices via XBMC and Plex, and also from TwitchTV for eSports, but we don’t know of any deals going on with the bigger names like Netflix or Amazon Instant Video.

The three big selling points for the OUYA are the games that will be developed based on Android, the emulators that OUYA has claimed it will be able to run, and the ability to stream media similar to Netflix. The OUYA is a multimedia box that has the potential to blow the competition out of the water.

However, it just seems they are sitting on their hands right now as there has been very little information since the end of the Kickstarter. When you consider that they are still hot news right now, you’d think they would jump on the coverage.

We don’t concretely know what the console will look like, the controller, the UI, hardly anything. I have a problem with just having conceptual images thrown at us, still, with no definite direction on where the console is going. I mean, look at the OUYA site, there is literally no information on the console other than a way to pre-order it if you want.

I would expect to know a lot more by now. Sure the Kickstarter only ended a little over a week ago, but the OUYA far surpassed its goal weeks before that. I would expect to see some prototype boxes/controllers by now. Hell, at least update the website.

Although there is a distinct lack of information, OUYA has claimed that it will be easily hackable and will be able to run emulators, which is probably its biggest selling point in comparison to other multimedia consoles out there. Emulators themselves are kind of a gray area but that’s a whole other article.

I just wonder what will satisfy some gamers, because I don’t see the OUYA breaking passed the PlayStation 1 in its ability to run certain emulators. It probably won’t even run a Gamecube emulator. We will still likely get all of the stuff before it like N64, SNES, SEGA Genesis, some GameBoy stuff, etc. The real big one it misses out on is the PlayStation 2. I just wonder if those will be enough for people to want to purchase a OUYA.

It’s not all negative though, as I do see some potential. The OUYA has the ability to make the process of getting a game on a platform much easier, specifically for indie developers. After a developer goes through all the work of actually creating the game, they then have to convince companies like Valve, Sony, and Microsoft to let their game be sold. All three of those have a rather ridiculous review process and many games don’t actually get through.

The OUYA could make the process easier and allow more games to be put on their console. However, this comes with a whole new set of problems. How would this be handled? Because this will be Android-based, will there be some connection to the Android Market? Would the process then be through Android and out of OUYA’s hands? I don’t know. Maybe their plan is to create their own market, which is likely the case. There will still need to be some kind of process of review to weed out really mediocre/bad content filling their market, though.

Of course, almost everything I discussed before, and will discuss, is just speculation due to the lack of information. We just don’t know what the OUYA will be when all is said and done. What I do know is that the OUYA still has a long way to get to whatever it will be, if it is to be successful.

I mean, the Kickstarter may have raised $8.5 million but the OUYA is still lacking the support, not monetary support, it needs. While it is mostly catering to indie developers, I think there needs to be some backing from larger developers to legitimize it as a console. It already has Square Enix, as well as Mojang with Minecraft, but it would be nice to see some others jump on too if the OUYA is to have a decent amount of success.

The OUYA still needs backing from other places as well, because it is not just for emulators and games developed for it. Without the ability to have Netflix on it, or something else along those lines, a lot of the appeal for many people will be lost. There needs to be more than that even because a lot of TVs and Blu-ray players come with Netflix built in.

After reviewing much of what I wrote and read, I have to bring myself and others a little closer to reality because we have to remember that the OUYA has kind of locked itself into a price at around $100, and even a ton of backing from big name companies won’t change that price. A lot of what people want from it, and a lot of what people see as the OUYA’s potential may be lost in that price.

It may be lost because of limitations on actually making a profit. A lot of the ideas I have seen thrown around for the OUYA are dreams of what people wish some kind of device could do for them. And because the OUYA is saying, “hey we can do almost anything,” people are actually believing that some of what they want to be done can and will actually be done for the OUYA.

In the end, we really have to see the OUYA as a relatively cheap multimedia console that can stream video, play emulators and games, and play music as well. It has a lot of potential for success, but I am also very worried with the lack of information on it so far, especially since the FAQ on the Kickstarter claims they want to have the OUYA out for sale as early as March.

Will the OUYA be worth it? Will it be a huge success? I can’t confidently answer either way because I just don’t have the information to make the decision.

What do you think?


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