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Ouya

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Ouya
OUYA-Console-set-h.jpg
The ultimate reason why not all Kickstarter-funded products live up to expectations, with a few exceptions however.
Developer: Ouya Inc.
Release Date: June 25, 2013
Competitors: Wii U
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
Nvidia Shield TV
Generation: Eighth generation


The Ouya was a home console that attempted to compete against the Wii U, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It used an Android-based system and used an online store. On release, it cost $99.

The console was discontinued on July 27, 2015, and all Ouya support was shut down on June 25th, 2019, six years after its launch.

Why It Flopped

  1. The very concept of the console itself was a very bad idea: mobile Android games are mostly designed to be played on a phone in short doses, not on a TV for extended periods of time. There are enough decent Android tablets, handheld devices, Android emulators, and Android TV such as the Nvidia Shield and the GPD XD, that there's no need to make Android into a video gaming console. It should be noted that this was announced and made before game streaming services like GeForce Now and Stadia, or even serious mobile games like Genshin Impact and Guardian Tales, both of which could take advantage of controllers.
    • Unlike Android TV devices such as Nvidia Shield, it does not natively support most video streaming apps such as Netflix, therefore, it mostly cannot be used as a streaming media player.
  2. Most people who did own an Ouya didn't actually buy any games, and just abused the "free-to-play" demos or used it as an emulation machine.
  3. Poorly designed and unfinished controller with many problems:
    • It's not very ergonomic.
    • The D-pad is so sharp that it can cut into the player's fingers!
    • Clunky method of replacing batteries; you remove the two faceplates on the two sides of the controller, which is normally on the back of various controllers that are powered with batteries.
    • As a result, the buttons frequently get stuck in the frame itself.
    • The right analog stick snags.
    • No Pause or Select buttons.
    • An unresponsive touchpad that isn't clearly defined.
    • The standard controller has latency issues, such as input delay and lag. It was so bad that the developers of a game called "Massive Cleavage vs. Zombies" tell the player to plug in a PlayStation 3 controller instead of the standard Ouya controller.
    • The triggers get stuck frequently.
  4. Extremely poor and spotty internet connection.
  5. The ventilation is at the bottom of the console, which means it will almost always be blocked by whatever surface the Ouya is standing on. This could cause the console to overheat drastically, further reducing its durability. In comparison, almost every video game console and computer ever made has ventilation from the sides or from above, allowing the consoles to successfully stay as cold as possible.
  6. Poor marketing, with the infamous "60 Dollars For A Game?" commercial that contained ugly animation and unnecessary gore and barely advertised the actual product, which made it plain horrible to watch.
  7. Even for a microconsole that was similar to the Android TV in concept but focused on gaming, its main hardware was just a quad core ARM Cortex v9 and 1GB of RAM, the same amount of RAM that the iPhone 5 had at the time, which put the Ouya trailing behind flagship phones in terms of processing power at the time. While the Nintendo Switch for example stuck to a Tegra X1 and only 4GB of RAM, it at least had compelling hardware and games that couldn't be matched by flagship phones at that time.
  8. Focused more on casual games as opposed to mainstream gamers, making it hard to justify the launch price of the Ouya. Even today, the weakest smartphones on markets cost around $60, and you can play plenty of free games from the Google Play Store as they mostly run under Android, just like the Ouya.
  9. Many of the games focused on a free-to-play aspect, meaning that while most of the games were free, you had to pay money in order to get more content.
  10. It had a severe lack of games worth playing, close to no exclusives (with the exception of Soul Fjord), and a huge ton of shovelware was made for the Ouya, giving people no reason to pick an Ouya over any other competitors because almost every game there can be found elsewhere. Not even indie developers were interested in making games for it, because Steam, Xbox Live, and PSN were much better options for them to publish games. The best selling game was Towerfall, but it only sold 7,000 units.
  11. You are forced to give them a credit card while making an account. This is not too uncommon, but when you are playing a free game, you will always get a notification trying to get you to buy the full version. Since the console has your card, it becomes easy to click on the wrong button while being interrupted in-game. Before you know it, you've just bought the full version when you probably didn't intend to.
  12. Servers were shut down in June 2019, making most applications unusable. Thankfully, this was done four years after the console's discontinuation.
  13. Overall, if you have a tablet or smartphone (or even a computer with BlueStacks, GenyMotion, Nox, Windows 11 with compatible hardware, Android-x86 (not recommended as not all ARM-based games are supported), Bliss OS, or Anbox, and many other emulators from this Emulation wiki), an HDMI-to-Mini HDMI cable, or HDMI to Micro-USB/USB-C/Lightning (for iPhone/iPad/iPod) cable, (or TV with screen mirroring) and a compatible controller, you already have a better Ouya. It's more powerful and it has better internet connection and even a better and bigger library of games than the Ouya, so the latter was basically completely pointless to buy in the first place.
    • In fact, you can even build even a low-end Android device and still make it better than the Ouya, even if you don't have much technical know-how at doing so.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. It was very easy to hack and mod, and even great to use as an emulation machine.[1]
    • You could use Xbox One, PS4, and Wii controllers instead of the Ouya controller, but only for compatible games.
  2. Soul Fjord is a pretty decent exclusive, due to being designed to be a mixture of Norse mythology and 1970s funk, which is overall a neat concept.
    • However, the APK was made available for all Android systems or systems with Android emulation enabled, making this point moot.

Reception

Initially, interest in the Ouya was extremely high, being developed through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, which promised a developer-friendly and easily hackable console. It raised $8.5 million, making it the fifth highest earned project Kickstarter ever had. Hype quickly dropped and most became skeptical because a tablet could already do anything the Ouya offered. Upon release, despite the successful Kickstarter campaign, the Ouya sold terribly and was a commercial failure. In just two years, Ouya Inc. was unable to pay back the debt of an investor and was forced to sell. It was then bought by Razer Inc., which discontinued the Ouya, but not its assets. Gamers that still owned the Ouya could access Razer's Forge micro-console.

ExtremeTech found that Ouya "has a number of serious faults". They mentioned the sub-par controller, the connectivity issues, and games which worked flawlessly on smartphones but stuttered on the console. Also, they remarked that "there just aren’t enough worthwhile games to play."

Its creator, Julie Uhrman disowned her product and once bashed the Ouya during an interview by saying there was nothing special about the system.

The Ouya has a rating of 2.89 on GameFAQs.

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