OUYA videogame console Kickstarter madness: What am I missing here?

Bill Loguidice's picture

I'm a big fan of Kickstarter and have personally backed over a dozen projects to date. I'm also a big fan of technology, particularly videogame and computer stuff, and practically gobble up anything new that I can. So why I am not caught up in OUYA videogame console frenzy? It has over $3 million in pledges in a little over 24 hours from over 25,000 backers, so it's already a success, and this will all surely continue to tick up dramatically and impressively over its remaining 28 days of open pledges, perhaps even breaking the Kickstarter record along the way. Clearly then, I'm in the minority when it comes to figuring out the appeal, so let's break it down.

For $99, you get an Android 4.0-based console with controller that encourages both easy hardware and software hacking. The mandate is that all games will need a free demo, and what developers do after that in terms of requiring payment, if any, for a full version, is completely up to them. So far, so good, save for the fact that the hardware itself is relatively modest, their version of Android will be forked, and the hardware hacking aspect, while extremely appealing, may not be so hot for software developers, who will also need a minimum level of protection from piracy other than the honor system. Further, there is an awful lot of computer, console and portable competition in and around that price point, offering similar benefits with far more evolved ecosystems to good developers, even within the Android and forked Android spaces.

My biggest concern though is what types of games this will attract. It's fair to say this will mostly be indie developers supporting it for the foreseeable future, which can be interesting in and of itself, of course, but many platforms - not to mention the elephant in the room, the PC - are already swimming in indie stuff. We don't really need another platform for that type of stuff, at least one without any obvious differentiators outside of possible hardware hacks, which is not really something that more than a niche audience can realistically benefit from. We also don't need rushed ports from Android smartphones for obvious reasons, something that this platform all but encourages.

One angle that I thought might be interesting is to have this be an uber emulation box, but even that, these days, is handled well by many other devices. It can certainly evolve into the ultimate emulation machine at some point, but, as with many things with the OUYA, we just won't know, or be able to directly benefit, for potentially years.

So, with all that in mind, where's the appeal? Why should I back this? Let me know, because I genuinely want to know and feel like I'm missing out on some critical component here. I mean, I'm getting a Vizio Co-Star, which is an official Google TV device plus OnLive player, for $99, so what advantage exactly does the OUYA give me?

By the way, for the record, I'm glad they're getting this type of support as, at minimum, it encourages others to try something similar in the future that may really be "needed," assuming there really is nothing to the traction the OUYA has gained other than good timing and word-of-mouth publicity. It's also important to keep in mind that though this may gain direct financial support from 100,000+ people when all is said and done, the OUYA team's work is far from done when this eventually makes it to a public hardware launch, as without a clear market differentiator for the masses, it's unlikely to go very far beyond that initial wave of support. The reality is there are different levels of success and this has just reached the very first level. It's undeniably a promising start, though, and I'd genuinely love to change my mind about both its present and future prospects...

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clok1966
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Joined: 01/21/2009
Lots brewing with this, been

Lots brewing with this, been following closely as I want to tinker, love how easy android (development side) is to work with compared to its compa tition. Been lots of quotes flaying all over about funding. Kickstarter only, to NO we want more.. (none of the stories will reprint the full context of the quotes, just hat they are exact quotes) which to mne seems a bit fishy. But I also cant see 5 million being enouhg to really get this off the ground (espcially with most people who are putting into kickstarter getting a $99 machine, not alot of left over cash for "work"). So many questions, next phantom.. what scares me is this is the prefect product to kill kickstarter.. 5 million down the drain if they dont produce. you might not hear much about kickstarter on TV now.. just the net.. but if this fails and people smoney is gone.. I bet kickstarter is on every TV news report.. and I PREDICT alot of Android finger pointing too (if this fails, I sure hope I'm wrong).

We are getting close a year now.. some of this "big" stuff is going to be comming out or failing soon Kickstarters Golden age of actual prodcuts is going to be starting soon.. or its swan song is comming becuase of over promising and under delivering.

Bill Loguidice
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Joined: 12/31/1969
That's a good point, Clok.

That's a good point, Clok. The first high profile Kickstarter failure, either a really bad product or no product at all will REALLY force a re-evaluation of the Kickstarter model due to all the negative publicity. It only takes one, though of course it will have to be one of the multi-million dollar ones, not one of the smaller ones. It may or may not be able to weather something like that without some changes in response... That may not be a bad thing, though, as the business model does have some serious flaws from a consumer standpoint (along with all those positives, of course).

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Bill Loguidice
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A positive step for OUYA

There are still many, many questions and challenges for the OUYA people (launching new hardware like this is supremely difficult), but getting OnLive onboard is a positive step: http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/07/27/onlive-available-on-ouya-at-launc...

I'm still personally not sold on the console, particularly with my pre-ordered Vizio CO-STAR coming next month, but the OUYA is getting harder and harder to completely dismiss...

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Matt Barton
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Hehe, I was just about to

Hehe, I was just about to post this news, too.

I actually give the OUYA a good chance. I know it's getting publicity when my academic colleagues start asking me about it, which they have. Apparently, somebody out there is trying to come up with academic apps for it.

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Bill Loguidice
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OUYA
Matt Barton wrote:

Hehe, I was just about to post this news, too.

I actually give the OUYA a good chance. I know it's getting publicity when my academic colleagues start asking me about it, which they have. Apparently, somebody out there is trying to come up with academic apps for it.

I'd love to know their rationale, though. I would think they'd be better off targeting Google TV devices, rather than that, or even various tablets, most of which easily do TV out. We have to remember that the OUYA hardware is not even finalized yet, so we don't know what production issues they'll be running into or what other countless hurdles launching new hardware will present.

Also, what's a good chance? How much can this thing realistically sell? Are we talking a few hundred thousand units at best here? That's what many devices sell in a poor month. This thing will have to sell consistently and get into the millions of units to REALLY take off...

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Matt Barton
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I have no idea. I think a lot

I have no idea. I think a lot of people are probably like me, though--it sure doesn't seem likely that this thing will be anything more than a minor blip. But who knows? Maybe it will be the console equivalent of "Angry Birds" and sell a brazillion units despite common sense.

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Rowdy Rob
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Joined: 09/04/2006
OUYA is Tegra 3-based, which turns out to be quite cool.

I did a little research on the NVidia Tegra 3 processor, which the Ouya console is based, and came away quite impressed. In fact, the Tegra 3 system might make this Ouya thing more than "a blip" in the marketplace. It turns out that the Tegra 3 system is actually a multi-core CPU and GPU system, and delivers very impressive graphics, audio, and video.

I admit initial ignorance on the whole "phone and tablet" gaming experience, so most of what is being demonstrated on Tegra 3 systems might seem old hat to most of you, but based on what this demo reel video (embedded below) demonstrates, this system looks more than capable of delivering great games. In fact, it looks darn near XB360 or PS3 quality! It sure seems to surpass the Wii.

If the Ouya can deliver THAT at $99, then this thing might turn out to be bigger than we might initially expect. Demand might exceed supply!

I admit I'm still skeptical, though. I saw what happened with Bill's enthusiasm for the lofty "Pandora" system, and suspect that there's little chance that the OUYA can deliver on all it's promises. I also seriously doubt that this little startup company has the resources to produce these things at a significant-enough quantity to dent the gaming landscape, and I seriously doubt it has the distribution infrastructure to put these in enough shops, assuming there is enough demand.

If the Pandora people had Kickstarter, things might have turned out differently for them. Anyhow, here's the Tegra 3 demo reel.

clok1966
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Joined: 01/21/2009
targa 3 is for its size quite

targa 3 is for its size quite impressive.. and I agree $99 price point seems impossible to me.. but thats today.. 6 months from now.. its more realistic with how fast this micor stuff is going. By the time its out the targa 3 will be old news (still impressive bit of cpu).

I see the first Few Launch titles are starting to spring up..
http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/final-fantasy-iii-hd-coming-to-ouya/0100427
this is a remake of what some consider the BEST FF game of all time (along with 7) While Im not the Fanboy some are FF 3 remake has a bit of a Holy Grail thing to it.. its been rmoured , etc. for forever and the desire for it seems quite hefty..

Also some talk of lining up fab space and time.. its looking more and more "for sure" you dont line up fab time without planning on doing something.

clok1966
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Joined: 01/21/2009
I'm in.. i resisted as long

I'm in.. i resisted as long as I could.. had to get the last week Limited edition one.. if nothing else it will have some small collector value down the road.. think? One thing I dont like, the size.. this rubics cube size is not good.. Love how small it is, sure.. but hang a few cables off it and it wont sit in place... had that problem with my tiny Roku box.. man i hate moving in 90 degree heat.

Bill Loguidice
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Joined: 12/31/1969
I admit I've been tempted,

I admit I've been tempted, but I still just don't see the value. I've actually been more tempted by the Oculus, frankly, but I can't see spending $300 on the developer version since I can't code! I'll just have to be patient and wait for the consumer version of that.

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