Community J!NX Blog

Thoughts on owning an OUYA

Hey Minions!

I had originally written this post a while ago, and it got put on ice in favor of something more topical at the time. Since OUYA's VP of product Development just officially stepped down, I thought it was an appropriate time to update this post with my thoughts after a few months of Ouya-Ownership.

I know it's not fair, but I'm disappointed in the OUYA. It's probably because I had really high hopes for it. I never thought it was going to run AAA titles, but I like platformers a lot so that wasn't really a problem. On a whim I finally bought an OUYA (at Target of all places.)

Let's talk good: It's pretty, or at least I'd call it sleek. Then again, I think Old Volvos look cool, so your opinion may vary. It does feel well made. The controller fits my big meat paws really well. I've heard it's too big for mere mortals though. The setup is really seamless and easy. It's quick to boot, and seems pretty responsive. It's pretty much impossible to have a hard time setting up. Everyone ever has already said it but I will too: Don't use the original controller.

I played the FFIII 3D remake for a while, and actually really enjoyed that. I haven't sunk my teeth into a jRPG of any sort for a long time, not since Suikoden came out as a digital download for PS3. I've also read various articles across the internet that seem to all agree: If anything, the Ouya is like the biggest collection of game-jam games of all time.

Let's talk about what needs help:

First off, the bundled controller lags. If you look anywhere across the web, it's a well-known fact. OUYA themselves have already produced a V2 in an attempt to mitigate the problem. I am really confused however about what seems to be the most popular solution: Pair a PS3 controller, or plug in a 360 controller. I went the wired 360 route, and it did indeed fix the issue totally. How it's possible that other 1st part peripherals work better on your system than the controller you designed and shipped with it is totally beyond my understanding. If it's a hardware issue, as I imagine it has to be, how did that make it into the production phase?

I hope that people don't give up on trying to make new and exciting things, but that they find a way to set achievable goals.

There's a real lack of games. OUYA was the chosen one, at least according to things alluded to during its Kickstarter. I wanted it to be true so bad, and I still do. Platformers would work really well, it has the technology. That's a huge part of why I bought the console knowing there was a good chance it wasn't going to live up to the hype. I hope that people don't give up on trying to make new and exciting things, but that they find a way to set achievable goals. Hopefully the shortcomings of today's OUYA will help them to either make the system into what it was destined to be, or possibly function as a warning for the next project of the same kind of goal. I know there are a ton of other options, such as a Raspberry Pi-based system, but I like things to look manufactured when it comes to playing games.

The OUYA has a lot of things going against it in the current game ecosystem, the biggest of which is obviously going to be the Steambox. [Note: wrote this part before CES, and man, it's still really true.] The idea that anyone who chooses to can build and sell a version of Valve’s brainchild makes me think of years ago when there were far more pre-built PC options. A lot of them are likely to be wonky. The ones that are truly the best are going to rise to the top and claim victory over the hearts and wallets of many. There's an interesting spread out there now that they showed them off at CES. I still wonder how well the Steam controller is going to work for games like DOTA2.

If people aren't willing to support innovation at the risk of maybe being disappointed, nothing cool is ever going to happen.

I'm keeping the OUYA, and I regret nothing. I want them to have my money for no other reason that I hope this kind of industry continues to grow. If people aren't willing to support innovation at the risk of maybe being disappointed, nothing cool is ever going to happen. There are a lot of things that it can do great, but those are outside the scope of what I'm talking about. If the console doesn't ship with the capability, or it can do something awesome that's not supposed to be a selling point, I don't think those are arguments that the console is delivering on all of the revolutionary promises, it's not, and a lot of people are rightfully bummed out.

Whatever happens next because of the OUYA, I hope it won't be doomed before it starts by overhype. The internet often makes a snap judgment, and often dissent is silenced at a time when asking questions is SO IMPORTANT. If everyone had just been more objective about the OUYA when the kickstarter launched, it probably wouldn't have had as much seed money, but it also would have been more likely to live up to what people expected of it.

Maybe you bought an OUYA, or Kickstarted the project and think I am 100% dead wrong. I’m all about hearing it, post your thoughts in the comments!