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Why The Ouya Android Game Console Is A Damn Good Idea (Part 2)

Eric McBride
7

A few days ago I wrote about an Android powered home game console called Ouya that was being developed by an all star team and backed by Kickstarter. Literally 48 hours after that article was published, the company behind it (with Kickstarters help) has managed to raise over 4 million dollars, (they only needed 1 million in 30 days) and over 20,000 Ouya consoles have already been sold (I bought one!). Now my ears are certainly open to hearing the opinions of others, but I have noticed that PC World, our friends at Phandroid, Gamasutra, and a few other sites have written some pretty harsh articles about why the new console is a “bad investment”, a “bad idea”, ect. Well, after reading these articles, I felt compelled to say exactly the opposite. As a long time gamer and Android user, I can give you quite a few reasons to ignore the negativity coming from these articles (not to say ALL of their points were invalid), and can also present plenty of reasons why the Ouya console is a damn good idea. Part 1 dissected the “reasons” why many feel it will fail. This article will discuss why the console could potentially be a great idea.

New concept combined with existing concept = new possibilites

The Ouya console could potentially provide more new possibilities than you could throw a stick at. Consumers who enjoy playing Android games on high end devices could take their gaming experience to a new level. People who like casual gaming like Temple Run and refuse to shell out hundreds of dollars for a console (with games that cost 60 bucks a pop) will now have access to a very affordable console with quality graphics, a wide selection of titles, and for little to no cost.

For developers, they now have a chance to reach out more to those consumers. Microsoft and Playstation literally spent millions to create their online gaming marketplace, and the developers of Ouya will naturally have to focus on their own in-console interface, which seems to be coming along very well. Developers who previously could only dream of having the funds to produce a console title now have the chance to do so within a market that’s already extremely successful.

The money needed to successfully market a game like Max Payne 3 or Call of Duty easily surpasses the marketing budget needed to promote a Hollywood blockbuster movie. Developers for Android games and for the Ouya console can rely on already successful marketplaces like Google Play, Amazon, and even 3rd party markets to assist with a big chunk of the marketing costs. Free marketing anyone?

What you’re getting for the price

For 99 dollars, you’re getting a powerful quad core device that can be hacked, rooted, modded, and God knows what else. Does that mean the majority of people will do it? Probably not. But even if the console wouldn’t be a hit, I’m left with a toy that the Android modding community will have a freakin field day with. At the very least, I will be able to play media and great games on my TV, and knowing the power of the dev community, I’d be willing to bet money that they will create ways that I can sync my tablet and phone to this device to make it even more amazing. Netflix, Google Movies, and other streaming services could integrate into a platform like this particularly well. 

If I want to play GTA 5, I fire up my Xbox. That won’t change. But if I want to play Final Fantasy III’s new remastered version, or Max Payne for Android (which has much better graphics than the original version) I can fire it up on my Ouya and enjoy a pure console experience. My tablet already acts as a Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Gameboy, Gameboy Advance, Sega Game Gear, Nintendo 64, and Playstation 1 thanks to emulators. Now I’ll have the option of adding those consoles to the mix without all the workarounds needed for them to work on my tablet? That’s a really nice option to have.

The challenges the console will have

With all this being said, remember that breaking into the console market is no easy task. Lots of consoles from companies that know the business have failed (Sega CD, Atari Jaguar, Neo Geo, ect), so don’t expect this to be easy. The Ouya team will need to address issues such as gamepad compatibility, online gaming, scaling to high def TV’s, and Android updates. This won’t be an easy task, but it most certainly isn’t an impossible one. Remember...the Xbox and PS3 were by NO MEANS perfect when they were released, and it took time to get the kinks out. For some odd reason, people are acting like Ouya will have to be flawless from the outset to have a chance at sucess, which simply isn’t realistic. If that were the case, Android would never exist at the level it does today. Ouya will simply need to improve and evolve to meet consumer demand, and with the competant team backing it, believe me when I say that many of them have already "been there and done that" successfully. 

Bottom Line

The Ouya console is a great idea that’s booming with potential. Sure it could fail. Any new product can fail if the public isn’t ready for it and if its presentation (hardware, software, marketing, ect) isn't properly executed . But with it’s great hardware, the reputable team backing it, and the growing list of amazing Android titles, do people honestly believe the company will release a console that can’t even utilize a gamepad? Really? With over 4 million dollars in funding and 20,000 consoles sold (the Xbox360 sold 320,000 consoles in its first week), I think that this competent team (including Microsoft's ex Vice President who basically got the original Xbox off the ground) will be a bit smarter than that.

And even if the console would not be an overnight hit, fans of modding and rooting (like myself) will still have a hell of a toy to play with. For 99 dollars, powerful hardware, and a huge selection of games that range from free to 10 dollars, I’m more than willing/very eager to take the risk on this very innovating concept. 

Picture credits: Kickstarter

Comments

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  • jesus corona Jul 12, 2012 Link

    99dll is a good price i spend hrs on my phone galaxy note and if i can watch netflix you tube check my face book and MAYBE TXT for free ill buy one for every one in my family

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  • Eric McBride Jul 12, 2012 Link

    EXACTLY bro. You get it :-) The potential is really great for this device.

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  • jesus corona Jul 12, 2012 Link

    :)

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  • Jeremiah Jul 12, 2012 Link

    I think the biggest issue will be that it doesn't have touch screen, and alot of android games dont support gamepads. If you look at google tv's you'll see only about 1% of apps availalbe in the Play store for google tv's. Thats because the Play store filters apps by if they require a touchscreen, so 99% of apps aren't available on google tv's. (touch screen required is turned on by default for apps) and most developers don't know to add "touchscreen not required to their manifests when creating apps). So even if this gets the Play market, you'll only have a few thousand apps or so even available to you, I have a google tv and it has almost no apps available.

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  • Eric McBride Jul 12, 2012 Link

    I totally get your point. I would imagine that what you just mentioned is probably one of the biggest challenges the team for this console is facing, but surely they have some sort of plan for it. Would be a pretty lame console if you couldn't use a controller on most of the games!

    But at least that issue is something they are specifically focused on. Google doesn't seem to take Google TV very serious. The Ouya team seems very serious about this product, and I ll be curious to see the ideas they come up with.

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  • Stefan E. Jul 13, 2012 Link

    I also saw those sceptical reports. And some of those are outright wrong. One e.g. tried to argue that unlike Windows, Android has no mouse pointer to hover over items. Well, as everyone with a Transformer (and many more) knows, it has one and had it for some time. If you connect a mouse, that is. And I suppose the touch pad on the controller (or at least a mouse plugged into the USB port) will do the same.

    I "bought" one as well. If everything goes down and I lose my money, 119$ doesn't hurt me too much (still wouldn't be amused though, of course, but it is a risk I can take). It could also work out just fine, then it was a great bargain. And if they only manage to deliver the hardware, but the platform doesn't take off as a business model, then we still have a great hackable platform that will inspire XDA devs and make many users happy for some years.

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  • Eric McBride Jul 13, 2012 Link

    You see Stefan, exactly what you said hit it spot on. Not only was the information published by many of these sources plain outright wrong, but not thought out at all. I'm glad you also see the potential in the device, and like you said, there's always XDA if it doesn't take off!

    For this small amount of money, the risk for me is totally worth taking.

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Much more disappointed, haven't expected it !