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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VR
Bill Loguidice wrote:

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.

I have 2 sets of VR stuff,
http://www.vuzix.com/consumer/products_vr920.html#overview
and one from IO systems thats no longer made..
its interseting but those screens at les then ainch from your eye are alot like 3d glasses.. i dont know anybody who doenst get a headache using um for anything but very short bursts. Though some of the new 3d glasses have almost eliminated tht, maybe they can in these too. $99 isnt even 2 games anymore.. I'm guessing it wont get used but oh well , neither does my DS, PS3, 360 :) may as well add one more to the pile.

Bill Loguidice
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A Ouya dev unit unboxing and

A Ouya dev unit unboxing and more "unsupportive" thoughts from the PA Report: http://penny-arcade.com/report/editorial-article/ouya-dev-kit-update-rev...

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clok1966
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release, there are supposed

release, there are supposed to be 500 games (see link) now keep in mind release is JUNE.. the early birds will not see this from my understanding. Yes I'm sure alot are old Android games.. but they are all "ported" to use the gamepad .. not just -hey its android, lets slap it up- I'm sure many will be pretty Ho-hum and the port was as quick and dirty as allowed to cash in..but there are close to 50 confirmed games that are enhanced for the OUYA.. many showing up on it first.. with many more suggested that will follow suit, yes, it will depend on the success which is a big if right now.
http://ouyaforum.com/showthread.php?18-List-of-Games-Coming-to-the-OUYA

realistically it sounds like about 18 games at launch SPECIFIC for the OUYA, as in enhanced or only on the OUYA for now. Not a bad launch.. 18 originals and 1--500 others. The game pad issues -should- be resolved.. but who knows that could be a sour point for sure. As we are a couple weeks out I have been reading alot and looking at games.. (friend is a dev so have had some hands on too) I must say im .. not impressed or unimpressed.. I like how small it is and its going to be a great media server (XBMC) but i have several of those.. So far the games I have seen and played.. fun and ok.. but nothing stand out wow.. but many are quite fun and simply play good.. or can i say better then on a touch screen? many do. Some of the big ones Dead trigger? (think that's the name) are quite repatative to me.. fun but quickly boring as they are small levels. Several of the simpler (8-bit) looking dungeon games did keep my interest.. but they could be done on anything.

there really is no reason to own one other then price and being able to play on a larger screen if you really enjoy some of those phone games.. There are so many if's right now.. prices being the big one...

I guess if i can set it up with a few EMU's and it works well I will be happy.. I have a dedicated PC media system.. but its clunky to use.. the old XBOX with XBMC and a HD (hacked) was quit the unit. I had My emus, movies, mp3, etc.. on it.. jack of all trades and run by a simple controler.. worked well.. if i can do the same with that tiny box.. I will be quit happy.

also of note they said it cracked the top 100 (video games) on amazon for awhile #347 now.. .. which means it has sold some.. right now the rumor mill says around 80,000 in kickstarter and with amazon maybe 140,000 sold so far.. (I'm guessing maybe 100,000).. but then.. early adopter sales ramp up normally in the last 2-3 weeks before launch.. so us kickstarter people will get ours in the next few weeks.. sales could spike if things are good.. and tank if things ar not good.

clok1966
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EMU's some real good news..

EMU's some real good news.. its going to have several EMU's at launch, while this is pretty much a "dont they all" thing.. but the NES one has a built in store for homebrew.. so a LEGAL use of a EMU.. and a way for some devs of NES home brew games to get a little coin back. I like the idea of the STORE built into the emu (wonder how that works with the store it already has?) so you can just gt legal NES roms (homebrew) easy.. the Youtube video shows most are free ( but that may be just for testing). SO for Nes, SNES and n64 are confirmed.. Im sure more will follow. I know there are many working ones.. but they my be more a do it yourself thing.. Still haven't heard a ship date other then "last day of march"

Bill Loguidice
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OUYA
clok1966 wrote:

EMU's some real good news.. its going to have several EMU's at launch, while this is pretty much a "dont they all" thing.. but the NES one has a built in store for homebrew.. so a LEGAL use of a EMU.. and a way for some devs of NES home brew games to get a little coin back. I like the idea of the STORE built into the emu (wonder how that works with the store it already has?) so you can just gt legal NES roms (homebrew) easy.. the Youtube video shows most are free ( but that may be just for testing). SO for Nes, SNES and n64 are confirmed.. Im sure more will follow. I know there are many working ones.. but they my be more a do it yourself thing.. Still haven't heard a ship date other then "last day of march"

That's definitely what this type of thing needs to appeal to a broader audience and/or strengthen the bonds with the early adopters who are already on board. Certainly for me, the more stuff like this the Ouya makes easy for me to work with, the more likely I will be to buy it. Right now, it's still not quite enough, but certainly if they started added in some good computer emulators, I'd almost certainly be there with a purchase...

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Bill Loguidice
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Here's another interesting

Here's another interesting one, the MiiPC, just released and already funded: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2102024857/miipc-power-to-the-parents

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clok1966
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Joined: 01/21/2009
interesting

Bill Loguidice wrote:
Here's another interesting one, the MiiPC, just released and already funded: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2102024857/miipc-power-to-the-parents

for gaming i prefer the OUYA (tegra) but in a way i think these guys are more market savy then the OUYA team.. Calling it a PC is a smart move.. that whole $100 PC thing is very smart (but very misleading and could backfire).. and as parents buy.. that Whole monitor with software (instead of , you know, doing it for real) is brilliant too..I actually think the marketing part looks far more impressive then the OUYA..

I like the OUYA as I just simply dont care to play much on my phone (or tablet).. and some games (id made quite a few dungeon crawlers (Orc and Elves?)) i enjoyed but hated it on my phone.. I would love to play them on TV.. as we have seen some tablet/phone games are remakes or old PC games ( bards tale) of course many of can already play them on our PC in many ways.. but 100% legit and just click and go has some appeal.. at $2-5 price points. But I can see your side, so many have this ability already.. and even I know that most gamers wont think a low poly shooter is interesting at all.. and much like the Wii if you judge the games as a whole it pretty much forgotten.. but if you pick the few titles that shine.. it becomes much more appealing.. (again price is huge factor).. OUYA has one thing going for it.. almost zero investment to start programming for it.. I know i read one thing. over half the announced games (was close to 3/4) are being made by first time devs.. huge ???? there.. quite honestly it means alot of crap, unpolished garbage games.. But one can hope some non conventional untainted ideas will come through too.. Some of these guys haven't been told "you cant" yet.. its a giving there will be a HUGE amount of worthless content, poorly ported games.. Its a big guess if anybody will care if they can play a phone/tablet game on a TV.. I doubt anybody who has a tablet will care.. but with Ipads at $500 and far to many BAD Android tablets some Android users only have phones.. I'm not really sure there is any market.. but as i like to try may hand at game dev.. (with pretty much no results since the early 90's) i jumped in to get one to play with and hack on..

But this new one is going a whole new way.. the low buck PC.. I do know the low buck tablets do sell.. I wonder if this approach is brilliant ...it almost seem to be.. E-machines sold very well to start.. (reputation was the problem).. and marketing this as a PC (of sorts) could be the best marketing move i have seen in ages.. (or a huge backfire). it will really depend on expectations and how its marketed.. Again I really like this idea.. it could bring it to the masses. The parent controlling stuff angle is quite good too.. We are starting to tread in those old 80's console/computer thing.. its a game machine.. but it can work too! BUT this one might actually do it.. but again the problem is a function.. people are so used to OFFICE that any other office type suite will have a tough time.

very interesting...

Bill Loguidice
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MiiPC

clok1966 wrote:
... le new way.. the low buck PC.. I do know the low buck tablets do sell.. I wonder if this approach is brilliant ...it almost seem to be.. E-machines sold very well to start.. (reputation was the problem).. and marketing this as a PC (of sorts) could be the best marketing move i have seen in ages.. (or a huge backfire). it will really depend on expectations and how its marketed.. Again I really like this idea.. it could bring it to the masses. The parent controlling stuff angle is quite good too.. We are starting to tread in those old 80's console/computer thing.. its a game machine.. but it can work too! BUT this one might actually do it.. but again the problem is a function.. people are so used to OFFICE that any other office type suite will have a tough time.

very interesting...

My issue with this MiiPC thing is the fact that it's still Android, which is really optimized for touch first, and "regular" input (keyboard, mouse) second. At the least the Ouya will be vetted to the point where everything will work with regular controls (unless I'm missing a custom app store for the MiiPC). I do like the idea of the monitoring software. One side effect of my daughters using Windows 8 is that I get weekly reports in email of all their activities. They don't do anything bad yet, but it's good to have that peace of mind...

In any case, who would have imagined we'd have devices like the MiiPC and Raspberry Pi even five years ago. I remember when it was a big deal breaking the $1000 barrier on workhorse computers, let alone the $100 barrier.

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Bill Loguidice
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An early OUYA review:

An early OUYA review: http://www.engadget.com/2013/04/03/ouya-review-founding-backer-edition/

I didn't expect bad controls, honestly...

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Chip Hageman
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Joined: 10/06/2010
OUYA

Bill Loguidice wrote:
An early OUYA review: http://www.engadget.com/2013/04/03/ouya-review-founding-backer-edition/
I didn't expect bad controls, honestly...

The controller has a very odd profile and looks like it could be uncomfortable to use for extended gaming sessions. Luckily, this is probably one of the easier issues to remedy. Microsoft did a redesign of the Duke controller, so it stands to reason that they may release an alternate controller down the road. If they don't, third party accessory manufacturers will surely step up to the plate.

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