Sunday, November 30, 2014

OUYA Thoughts

John Marine | 11/30/2014 03:30:00 AM | | | |
The OUYA is an Android-powered gaming console first released in 2013. I don't own an OUYA, nor have played with one; however, I do have interest in getting or trying one out. Many people have long written off the OUYA console for many different reasons. The way I look at the OUYA, it has potential and plenty of appeal. However, is it appealing enough to justify a purchase? Is it something worthwhile for the long term? I will offer my own personal thoughts of the OUYA- as someone whom has never used or touched the device as of the initial posting of this thread. I invite my readers/visitors to offer their own reaction in case they find my thoughts to be of interest.

BEFORE I BEGIN...

Because I don't own an OUYA as of this post, I am only sharing thoughts on the OUYA based on various impressions I've gotten from others around the Internet.





--- OUYA Thoughts ---

Never seen the OUYA before? Don't know what it looks like? Here is your first look at it:

OUYA
^ from: www.amazon.com - This is the OUYA gaming console, powered by Android.

I have loads of thoughts on this topic. Check out all the different ideas and such I have to share. Each thought of mine is exhibited in each of the headings to this blog post. Have a look around and enjoy your time here...


OUYA: My Introduction.

This is not a formal introduction to the OUYA. Instead, it is the OUYA as I understand it. Here is the OUYA as I understand it...

(NOTE: Some topics mentioned in this blog post may appear again in future blog posts here on "John's Blog Space.")

Circa 2012, a woman named Julie Uhrman founded a gaming console powered by the Android mobile interface called OUYA (pronounced "ooh-yuh"). A Kickstarter was successful for funds to be made to create this system. This console would start being produced and marketed a year later. Throughout its existence, the OUYA has been a work-in-progress for all intents and purposes. It is steadily evolving and steadily trying to find new ways to become a success. Among the consumer crowd at large, however, the OUYA has been a failure. The only people whom have given this console a chance are mostly those who love independent (indie) games and those who play with emulators. Those who prefer industry-level, Triple-A, cutting edge games and technology will be vastly disappointed with the OUYA. What you WILL get, however, is mostly an experience featuring a handful of games from indie developers along with some titles from heavyweights like SEGA.

You may run into problems if you don't have any kind of HDTV because the OUYA only has HDMI output. So if you don't have an HDTV, you may be unable to fully enjoy the OUYA. You may be able to buy adapters and such that convert HDMI input to VGA or various other inputs if you don't have a TV or a monitor that takes advantage of HDMI inputs.

The system allows you to connect controllers to it via Bluetooth. The OUYA controller takes a couple of AA batteries. It has 15 buttons as well as a unique touchpad. If you want to do multiplayer action with the OUYA, you'll need to buy extra controllers. I have, however, heard of people who use a PlayStation 3 controller or an XBOX 360 controller instead as a gamepad for the OUYA. Look around online on how to use those effectively. The OUYA is primarily a gaming device, but it does offer some other non-gaming services like YouTube and Facebook.

I've only mostly found OUYA consoles sold at Target stores. The console sells for about $99 US dollars (excluding tax).


Potential.

The potential of the OUYA is vast. Some people just don't give some things a chance. This is either because they don't want something to thrive or because they don't see much in anything for it to be a success. The OUYA definitely has potential even if it seems like a continual work in progress. OUYA had a celebration earlier this month regarding over 1,000 games you can play on the OUYA. In fact, check this out:


^ "OUYA 1,000 Games"

When something has potential, it means it is capable of much more than what some people may initially think about it. It is usually in response to most critics thinking something substandard is unable to be a success. Think of it like a performance automobile or some device that could do a lot more or perform a lot better than what it is originally capable of. It won't be the best thing money can buy, but with dedication and a vision, it can be become something legendary. Why do you think weak or failing sports teams ultimately become contenders and championship winners? It is because of potential. And in my view, the OUYA has loads of potential. It is just that the OUYA's potential may or may not be realized or recognized among people trying to make it special. The OUYA can remain a "who cares?" piece of gaming junk, or it can be something to captivate and go leaps and bounds among its opposition.

It can take only one person or multiple people to try to make the OUYA into something special. Game developers can make it happen. It can be major companies creating great games for the OUYA. Conversely, it could be indie developers who make games for the OUYA that are every bit as enjoyable and as creative as any Triple-A level developer.

To an extent, I am even tempted to want to develop games for the OUYA. I feel that if other developers can make content for something like the OUYA, maybe I can try my hand at making games for the system. It would be a way just to get myself out there or contribute to the OUYA and its game lineup.

In regards to the indie scene, that leads to my next point on the OUYA...


The Independent (Indie) Gaming Scene and OUYA.

You still have to credit the OUYA as being a competent platform for gaming if developers are making games to be played on the OUYA. At least it shows people actually care and actually want to design titles for a console. I can basically name-bomb a few gaming consoles that failed- one of which I actually wanted back then. At least the OUYA is getting support unlike consoles like... the Virtual Boy (which I actually wanted back then), the N-Gage, the 3D0, and countless other consoles that never became any more popular than they could have been.

I think it is the indie game scene in which the OUYA thrives in. There are people who design mobile games to be run on Android (and even iOS). Some indie games even find their way onto the major consoles. Most indie games and most indie game developers will never garner the attention most industry-standard games and developers. But if to be noticed in any manner, the OUYA offers a great showcase of the indie gaming realm.

A vast majority of the OUYA's lineup of games is developed by independent developers. Some people may probably ask, "why should I care what indie developers make?" This is probably a question that should be answered in a separate blog post. Let me answer that question right here, right now. Indie developers want to make their own titles because they want to offer a gaming experience different from most industry titles. There is a character to indie games that most top-tier developers can't match or better. Not every game has to be at the level of "Call of Duty" or "World of Warcraft" to be worth caring about. I think a variety of indie developers couldn't care less if their games lack the polish and charm of major franchises and systems. Most important to these developers is in providing game experiences outside of the mainstream. The fact they even care to release their material on systems like OUYA shows a level of dedication and respect in wanting to get themselves noticed.


Pay to Enjoy?

One of the first things I am uncertain of with the OUYA is the whole idea of free games, but then have to pay if you want to enjoy the full game. I've heard and seen of prompts by the OUYA interface for you to buy the game if you want to play it for longer or to access more content. This basically sounds like you're getting to play the game for free... up until a certain point. However, and unlike with gaming in the past, you can pay for the game in full without needing to find it in a brick and mortar store. You are getting the full game once you download it to your OUYA- all you are doing is pay for the game if you want additional content or if you enjoyed it. It is similar to buying full versions of games from free trials from PlayStation Network, WiiWare, and XBOX Live.

So how would I explain this? From impressions I've received, you get these digital-only games to play. If you want to fully enjoy each experience, you'll need to purchase the game. I've read a number of stories about poor security of OUYA accounts and trouble regarding the use of credit cards and debit cards to buy games (unless you have OUYA gaming credits you can buy online). This is really the shakiest aspect of the OUYA experience in my opinion. Can I be sure I can enjoy the OUYA for some time to come without feeling my money and/or account are being compromised?

It has been a simple process- if you want to enjoy a full experience from a game that you love, pay full price for it (granted it isn't a completely free game). Most games, from what I've come across in my research of this topic, cost about $2 US dollars to maybe $5 US Dollars. Compare that to paying upwards of between $39.99 US dollars to $59.99 US dollars for games from major companies and developers. OUYA even offers pre-paid gift cards that allow you to buy OUYA games without needing a credit card or a debit card. Unless you REALLY love the OUYA and really want to have a vast library of OUYA titles, you shouldn't have to want to spend too much money to purchase as many titles as you enjoy. What you get for the money depends on what each experience from each OUYA game means to you.


OUYA as a Console Contender.

I think two things make a console unique and respected: (1) offering an experience only it can offer best, and (2) having a list of games that make it stand out apart from others. Where does the OUYA stand in these two departments? According to most people, it doesn't offer much of anything to be worth any attention. It doesn't hit the right notes in being any tour de force in gaming. Let me be a bit more harsh- some people would probably even say the Nintendo Wii U is a bigger force in gaming than the OUYA, since people love taking shots at Nintendo and thinking the company is only a shadow of its former self compared to Sony and Microsoft.

I've always hated the gaming argument of one console and one game. What I mean is, people only buying one console for one game. It is a waste of money if you only get a game console for just one game when you COULD buy a gaming console to play and enjoy many games made for it. Did people buy the Sega Genesis/Megadrive just to play "Sonic the Hedgehog?" No- many bought one for gaming experiences Nintendo couldn't provide. Did people buy an XBOX just to play HALO? No- some love what the XBOX lineup provides that other consoles can't, and of course... XBOX Live. It is all about offering a total experience that keeps people coming back for more. To some people, the OUYA just doesn't do it that well. And therefore- it fails as a gaming console in the eyes of most people because it simply doesn't have that "killer app" or that set of "killer apps" that solidifies the OUYA as a quality gaming console.


These are the various thoughts of mine that I've shared on the OUYA. Time now to bring everything all together and offer some final thoughts.



--- OUYA Thoughts: Final Thoughts ---

My impressions and thoughts on the OUYA point to the fact that this console has plenty of potential and is more than capable of being a better console than most people make it out to be. I have never spent a second using the OUYA in preparing this entire blog post. Despite this, I think the OUYA can really be something special. Many can argue it is already something special as it is. In that case, it can only get better; but HOW much better? It can only get better as people still see potential in the OUYA and want to develop quality games for the system.

One of my other impressions on the OUYA is that it wasn't designed to replace your PlayStation, your Wii, or your XBOX. It is very unlikely the OUYA will be anything to overwhelm the major systems, especially when you consider this is a console running on mobile hardware. I am not even sure this console will be anything to write home about as being anything to trump the major consoles. At best, many people see this as an underrated console mostly good to most people for media consumption rather than gaming. Even still, there is a lot to be had with OUYA as well as a lot to be desired.

The OUYA has immense potential. Its potential alone is enough to warrant a purchase, especially when the possibility exists of it being continually bigger and better into the future. I even have had some interest in developing games and other content for the OUYA. If I ever own an OUYA, I will be sure to look for ways to enhance my experience with the OUYA. The gaming front for OUYA is mostly a showcase of indie gaming. There may be a possibility of more titles from bigger developers, but I don't think the OUYA really NEEDS Triple-A developer support to become marketable. The OUYA has loads of potential that has yet for it to seriously push over the top. Even if just for indie game developers to have their moment to shine, the OUYA is a great platform towards offering such a base for which to be exposed. In fact, here is a quote I heard in a video in regards to the OUYA from one game developer:

"Until now, indie games were still missing a designated hardware platform, an indie console, and that is the OUYA. The OUYA gives indies a home, and we are excited to be part of this adventure."

-Matthias Titze and Felix Möckel of Golden Triangle

The fact the OUYA even has a suite dedicated to helping people build games for the OUYA shows the OUYA team cares about giving developers much needed face time but also to show anyone can make a game that can be enjoyed on the system. OUYA doesn't want to just have big money developers make games for the system. You basically have a chance to be your own top-tier developer and make games for others to enjoy! What creative gamer or game lover wouldn't want the opportunity to develop and sell quality games- even if "relegated" to the indie scene? The OUYA website even said one game was made by an eight-year old! So this is a huge opportunity even if you are a hobbyist game developer.

If you're expecting gaming superlatives for the OUYA, look elsewhere. But if you want a console capable of so many things and has so much potential that most people fail to realize or reach, the OUYA is definitely worthy of at least trying out- let alone buying one.





--- For More Information... ---

I hope you found my impression-based thoughts on the OUYA gaming console to be enjoyable. For more information on the OUYA and all it has to offer, I have prepared the following links for you to visit. Take a look around and enjoy!

OUYA
OUYA on Facebook
Follow OUYA on Twitter (@playouya)!
OUYA on YouTube
OUYA on Google+
OUYA on Instagram

...or you can get one yourself online! Use these:


OUYA on Amazon
OUYA on eBay


If the OUYA Team and/or Julie Uhrman are Reading This...

I have not played the OUYA as of this blog post, nor do I own one. I do have some interest in getting one. People have loved you and loathed you. I am one of the ones who have strong interest in the OUYA as well as in seeing an immense amount of potential for this system. Continue to develop this system to be something truly special- more so than it already is.


And this concludes my impression-based look at the OUYA gaming console.





Before I get to the conclusion, I'd like to know your thoughts...

What do you think about the OUYA gaming console? Do you really care if it is or isn't as capable as the major consoles? Why do you think some people have given up on the OUYA or declare it "dead?"

If you enjoyed your time here and enjoyed my commentary, feel free to Subscribe and Follow my blogging work. I do more blog posts on a variety of topics than this one you just read about. So please take a look at my other blogs to see what other madness I have to offer to the Internet. Thank you for reading!

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1 comments:

John Marine said...

with products sometimes the ad is more important than actual features...I think that sometimes some good products get pussed aside, ignored and forgotten just becuase they don't have as good marketing strategy (or possibility to get on a market in a first place)....I don't know if it is the case with this one...never tried it and it's been a long time since I played any kind of game or used a game consule...but I just wanted to point out that not all is at is seems sometimes.

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