We kickstarted the Ouya, and have had our unit for a few weeks now. After spending some time with it – and working on a game within Ouya’s guerrilla booth at E3 – we think the idea is much stronger than its execution, and are doubtful this first product will reach the company’s lofty rhetoric.
We won’t get into the much criticized controller, which has been most critics’ beef (it’s actually not that bad). Our issue is lack of curation and genuinely good games developed natively for the platform. Even if you do your homework to find and download the best games Ouya has to offer – you are quickly reminded that smartphone games are really fun if you are killing time on a car ride or sitting on the subway, but they don’t feel all that exciting on your TV with a traditional controller. There is simply a different level of expectations in terms of production value for console titles, and very few people out there have much patience for “experimental” games or developers tinkering with ideas. And considering what is guaranteed to be a relatively small install base (despite day one sell outs), what AAA developer would focus on it?
All that said, we do believe the company has a future. This is fundamentally a hobbyist box and there are plenty of dreamers out there that want to entertain on the biggest living room screen. It’s cheap and will spawn interesting things – one could even look at it as an educational device for those interested in making games. We like the idea of a small, polished console game for a buck that is simple to buy. It would be great to see developers iterate on ideas that work, inexpensively, without any interference from 1st party or a burdensome approval process. That is today’s vision, but not the reality. As of now, the Ouya is an inspired experiment whose appeal is that it will evolve quickly. We’re ready for a next-gen Ouya, now.