Remembering the Ouya.
(AfroGamers.com) The year is 2012 and a microconsole is making a ton of buzz on Kickstarter. It picked up millions of dollars and had all of the makings to be something big—at least in video and on paper. The Ouya was released in the spring of 2013 and was poised to be a big deal. It fizzled out almost as quickly as it launched.
What Was Right With Ouya
Where to begin? If you loved your Android games but wanted to play them on the screen with a controller and all of that, the Ouya was up your alley. This was a microconsole that came out in the early-2010s. By that time mainstream consoles were doing everything you expected. They were multimedia players.
You could play your DVDs, CDs, mp3s, video files—all of that on at least the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Nintendo consoles always needed some “nudging” but DVDs could be played on them as well. The Ouya did all those things except for DVDs, obviously.
Since the OS was based on a version of Android, it was welcome to adding apps that wouldn’t be on it originally. Since it was in a small box, you could upgrade parts as needed. This was actually one of the major selling points.
While the company was intended to release successor Ouya consoles, if you were somewhat technologically inclined, you could upgrade it yourself. If future Android releases required more power graphically or something like that, you could handle it. Of course, those extra parts cost almost the same amount as the console itself in some cases.
Finally, the price tag was attractive. At launch, the Ouya was the same price as a used PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360. All of the finer points announced prior to and post launch in a $99 package? Not bad. It was priced well below what it should’ve been considering Mad Catz’s MOJO was $249 at launch and more powerful.
So What Went Wrong
In this age of gaming, there are very few games that don’t feel like they could be on a competing console. PlayStation and Nintendo have games that are distinct to the console and all three major consoles have titles that are exclusive. You don’t really expect exclusives on an Android console since you can play most of the stuff in the Play Store.
However, if you release a console with that much hype, that much openness about the development process, and after reeling in that much funding—there should be something that’s exclusive to Ouya from the company.
The other thing is more physical and that’s the controller. This thing didn’t feel…durable. In videos, it was handled as if it was really sturdy but I didn’t get that impression at all. I’ve had Mad Catz controllers on the PS2 that felt more unbreakable. At times, it felt like the manual should’ve included “A carpeted floor is recommended.”
In addition to that, sometimes there was lag while playing games. It wasn’t that noticeable when playing single player titles like RPGs or strategy titles but when playing with someone else? Or when playing a shooter? You’ll have flashbacks to playing games on the NES where your reflexes had to be good to deal with development problems in the game.
For all its faults, the first Ouya would’ve served as a good start for future consoles in that line. Of course, it probably wouldn’t have reached a second console anyway.
Staff Writer; M. Swift
This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.