OUYA’s Creators Don’t Appear to Understand the Console Market

Ouya console

Talk about shooting yourself in the foot before you’re even out of the starting gates – yes, the issue raised by OUYA’s last update is pressing and crucial to the future of the system. If they begin to head down the path they’ve suggested, then there is no doubt they are doomed to failure, and all the power of Kickstarter will have been for naught.

Ouya gaming console

Alienate Consumers

It sounds melodramatic, yes, but it’s ultimately too true. If OUYA goes through with their yearly refresh cycle to ‘take advantage of falling component prices’ then they have failed as a console, and ultimately will alienate consumers.

The obvious point to be made is that consoles absolutely and unequivocally should not be on any kind of set refresh cycle. Even though the console is cheap, it doesn’t matter. Only diehard fans are willing to pay each and every year to get a new OUYA. And because it’s a game console, they will have to pay every year – most developers will have to target the new hardware, and as a result backwards compatibility will be shaky at best, by the time even two years have passed. In addition, it troubles developers greatly – do you target the old OUYA that everyone has or the new one that’s around the corner? In most cases, you’ll have to do both, something no developer should have to contend with when building for a console.

Gaming: console, controller

Consoles Don’t Need to Push the Envelope

The reasons behind refreshing make little to no sense as well. Boxer8 appears to be treating the system as an android device first and foremost, and getting new hardware to constantly push the envelope. However, consoles don’t actually need to push the envelope. It’s exactly why someone would buy a console in fact – with the assurance that EVERYTHING will run on it until the next variant comes down the line. The next variant should be based on necessity, and not on the whim of Boxer8.

As well, taking advantage of falling component prices doesn’t mean getting new components, it means lowering the price of your system. Julie Uhrman, CEO of the company behind OUYA said herself that they’d love to release the system below $99. That is how you do falling component prices – you cut the price of your current system, or add more than the paltry 8GB of storage, not completely overhaul it because you can.

An Absolute Shame

Finally, trying to stick to this sort of rushed, unnecessary refresh schedule puts a massive amount of undue strain on Boxer8 and its thin Kickstarter resources. Once the console is released, they should be able to follow it up with massive amounts of support – firmware updates, feature adds etc. Unfortunately, the firm will have to tear itself in half in order to create another system at the same price point. It’s a massive undertaking to build a console, as I’m sure the company has learned, and trying to endure that kind of nightmare annually, would kill such a small firm.

It’s an absolute shame to see a company with such great, revolutionary ideas sink itself by attempting to overreach. Everything else – from the recommendation metrics to the way the marketplace works – seemed so right, and in a way too good to be true.

While I don’t doubt it will carve its way into the market, it had better do its homework on the way consoles work and what ultimately makes them appealing, or all the hope its Kickstrater backers have vested in it will be for naught.


  1. I think if OUYA acted like other console makers, they would have given up on the whole idea ages ago. If you consider the console will be backward compatible and then imagine the console landscape in June 2014, it starts to make more sense

    1. Mohseen Lala says:

      Not really. Look at it from a consumer’s standpoint; spend $400 on the PS4/720 once and enjoy peace of mind for about 6-8 years? Or pay $100, for six years ($600 total), on system that will end up fragmented and with potentially poor quality games due to underfunded indie devs having to budget for a new console every years? I’d buy the PS4 to be honest. I agree with with Bryn, this was a stupid move by OUYA.

    2. Jack Mcslay says:

      Just because they’re doing things differently that doesn’t mean they have to do everything different, specially given the type of games we can expect won’t need a power boost in quite a while.

      1. Mohseen Lala says:

        Also, who can keep track of six to seven consoles in the home? Shelf space is precious!

  2. OUYA Believer says:

    You look like you’re 12 years old, take your comments to your high school debate club. Leave the real world work for the big boys. I can’t wait to see what all the nay sayers have to say in two or three years time when all the big video game companies are going the same way as OUYA. Look at Sony, already talking about making their “portable” games playable on the PS4. Everyone will be jumping on the OUYA bandwagon within 2 – 3 years.

    1. Bryn Smith says:

      Thanks for the comment, and next time maybe we’ll see an actual rebuttal to the points I specifically made? 🙂 Considering I didn’t even mention the concept of portable games on the system nor did I say that was a bad thing (in fact I agree with it) I’m also fairly certain Sony hasn’t even mentioned any kind of portable game on the PS4, let alone the system itself. I’d like to see the article where you got that if you have it though!

    2. Andrew Mcdonald says:

      If you’re the kind of “die hard believer” that OUYA is producing, you have accomplished the impossible. In one short paragraph you have literally convinced every human being to never purchase an OUYA. You complete imbecile.

    3. Mohseen Lala says:

      Sources please?

  3. Mohseen Lala says:

    Why didn’t OUYA just ask Intel about the Tegra 4? They new their release date would be within the Tegra 4’s release cycle (Intel has a new Tegra chip every year! Duh!), Why not just ask Intel to ship them a few early units, test ’em, and then release the OUYA with Tegra 4 processors? Then start the cycle once again somewhere in late 2015.

    1. Masaaki Hosoi says:

      … Intel? What?

    2. Anoop Toor says:

      Intel doesn’t make the Tegra 4…… but I agree with you otherwise, they should try to future proof the console more.

      1. Mohseen Lala says:

        Right, sorry, meant to say NVIDIA.

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