When they have development resources that show me that they're taking developers seriously, I'll revisit it (and doing so is fairly cheap for me; I'm using the always-awesome libgdx, which has Android support already). But my initial experience has been pretty bad, and I'm questioning their competency right now to the point where I can't give them money.
I think anyone with hardware or Android game development experience should be healthily skeptical of the tall promises and minimal explanation coming out of this Kickstarter. I love a good chunk of optimism as much as the next guy who loves games, but the fervor seems to really be distorting reality and setting up an inappropriately adversarial tone to these HN discussions.
But to reply to you--their pitch may be "working" in the sense that they're getting pledges, but the amount of the pledge totals is pretty clearly not going to generate a profit. Without the app store, they're not going to be making money. Without developers, they're not going to be selling anything in their app store, which you need to have populated with games by early 2013. Six to nine months is already not a lot of time to put together a game, so you really, really want to get developers excited for and working on your stuff right effing now.
That's where they're falling over. And it is literally-literally as important as getting the consoles to consumers.
Since the hardware is not released yet they should be showing developers how to emulate as-close-as-possible to this on a regular PC (including which commodity joypad you should be testing with) so they can be confident that their game will only require minor tweaking when the final hardware is released.
OT: It seems to be very easy to get HellBanned from HN which makes it seem pretty cruel.
You only need a handful of people not to like your first few posts to effectively kill your chances of contributing to the community and potentially wasting a lot of your time.
Perhaps a system like , you can only downvote comments from users under a certain karma threshold if you also flag them as trolling/spam
I'm sure their wet dream for this is to get an exclusivity deal for a big juicy AAA title.
edit:  http://www.appbrain.com/stats/libraries/details/libgdx/libgd...
If I develop a game for this, using LibGDX seems like a no-brainer because even if this is a total flop I can at least pivot it into a PC game.
Well, how deep of an answer were you expecting on twitter?
Instead of trying to infer what the 140 character limitation suggests, maybe email them?
And, sure, most developers won't put time in to customize a game for a specific platform, but I'd personally be ashamed if I didn't make it good on every platform I say I support. If it isn't done well, I'd rather not do it, know what I mean?
I'm not even sold about supporting the Nexus 7 I've got, because I don't know yet whether I can make it awesome enough. Trash-flood games ruined XBLIG and make finding worthwhile games on the iOS App Store and Google Play way harder than it should be. I won't contribute to the pile of crap.
I'm not a games programmer , but I would certainly be interested in building a small simple game for this and having at least a demo ready for the console launch.
It's interesting that you mention LibGDX as something that could work well here. Let's say I want to build a game that is designed around joypad control would my best bet be to build a game with LibGDX using the lwjgl backend (for PC) and plug in an xbox pad to test the gameplay? What about testing performance?
Slightly OT: LibGDX seems to have relatively scant documentation in terms of examples of significant working code so it is difficult for me to think about how to best structure the code for the engine. Are there any books that cover this specific to LibGDX? I can't find any.
The bigger issue right now, as far as libgdx on Ouya would be, is that libgdx doesn't support controllers yet. But badlogic (who also replied to you--he's the main dev behind libgdx) seems to have some ideas on that one. I wanted to start in on writing a gamepad extension to their input system last night, but pulling down a clone with git-svn took most of an hour and I ran out of time. =)
One thing I noticed when comparing libGDX to XNA was that the basic game framework that you can extend from in XNA has 2 "tick" methods in it's main class, update() and render() (or something to that effect). Also the Java library "slick2D" follows this convention. This makes it simple to seperate out rendering code from logic updating code.
LibGDX on the other hand only provides a render() method which confused me a little. Should my render() method be handling logic updates? Should it call another method that does, but check time deltas on each loop to decide whether it should run, or should game logic happen in it's own thread?
it definitely does build, otherwise jenkins would scream at me all the time :)
We have our reasons to use SVN for the time being, externals being one of them (git modules don't work for our setup), tooling support being another one. We are eager to give people commit rights, provided they follow a small set of rules.
This does not necessarily help you with your dev process of having lots of local changes that you throw away. But that's something git-svn should be able to solve.
Ping me via e-mail at contact at badlogicgames dot com.
SVN is functional, simple, and it works.
If you're doing OSS contribution right, you'll spend far more time talking and coding than you'll spend poking at SCM, and you won't be maintaining a large fork or poor hacks that upstream doesn't want to merge.
Discuss early, merge often.
The completely non-standard gamepad with display is a terrifying hint that Ouya is trying to do their own thing, not build a good solid ecosystem device.
The Kickstarter feels very consumer-focused, which is great but they still need to have games to sell to people.
It raises the question of how this kind of project should be handled. Should they have developer docs ready before fundraising? In the end, that's what it would take to answer your questions.
I'm not taking a side on that, it's quite possible that the answer is "Yes, they should have that level of documentation ready."
Just thinking about what's best for this kind of Kickstarter.
Either the funding is "to develop the platform and make it available for developers to write games" or "to get the platform we've developed into production so that games written for it will have a wide audience."
If its the former then there is a much bigger gamble here, they may not be able to make it compelling enough to actually be a competitive game platform. If its the latter then they should have the 'big' pieces in place software wise and the remainder might be just refinement. Reading their collateral and listening to their pitch I think it is more if A than it is B but I would love to hear differently.
I keep trying to remember the DirectX guy who created a company to make 'game develoment for the masses' and then faded away, damn my aging neurons.
If they were pitching this for, say, Q1 2014, this wouldn't be that much of a red flag. That's plenty of time to get a dev SDK out for developers to have enough time to make something.
However, with less than 9 months to launch, they absolutely need an SDK ready, unless they're serious about only getting ports of existing android games. A 6-9 month dev cycle is on the short side for most quality indie game releases, but it's very possible to get good games made in that time.
I would bet that to a large extent this could be called a land-grab platform--"get in early or don't get in"--and that makes them particularly important to have well in advance.
I am just going to come out and say that the vast majority of the backers are going to be really disappointed, this is far too ambitious a project for that budget, even three times that budget.
If I was Kickstarter I would actually be worrying about this type of project actually damaging the brand itself.
A lot of Kickstarter projects these days seem to be more about building hype and gathering pre-orders, rather than raising just enough money to get off the ground.
That said, I agree Kickstarter should be concerned about one of these multi-million dollar projects failing spectacularly.
I am just very, very, skeptical at their budget for delivering such a beast.
BTW, there is a huge indie game scene on the XBOX, which so happens to be pretty darn cheap, have great development tools and state of the art controllers.
Sure they run $200, not $100, but you also get a world class game console (which you probably already have!) as part of the package.
Seriously, check it out:
It's called the Personal Computer. Everyone has one, and it has several distribution platforms, lots of people working on it, and even can utilize a 100% open source stack.
It's easy to do this in the living room with a Wii (and will be with the OUYA).
Sure, you can have a LAN party. But it's going to be a lot harder to find people to come to that than to come over and play Wii bowling. Sure, you can game online, but the you're not all in the same room hanging out. Physical presence is still a big deal in console gaming.
PC just lacks the games - but then again, so does this platform.
I have an XboX360 Pad plugged into my PC which I use to play some games (a huge amount of steam games seem to support it).
You'd be surprised however by the number of people that this amazes "woah, you can plug a gamepad into a PC?".
It wouldn't surprise me if the same people didn't realise they could hookup to a TV via HDMI.
It's less relaxed - for most people, it involves sitting at a chair and a desk. It's not easy finding a comfortable gaming position lying on a sofa with a notebook resting awkwardly in your lap.
Sure, you can hook up a gaming PC to a TV, but that's more work than most people are willing to partake in.
I have had a bunch of a neat, simple console game ideas kicking around for a long time. I want this console to succeed simply so that I have the opportunity to make them a reality. This console does not need PS3-level graphics to succeed. Even if Ouya only matched the graphics performance of a Nintendo N64 I think it could still be a massive success based on the games that will get created for it.
That's ~226 million consoles. The OUYA is selling well for two days, for sure, but it's a tiny fraction of the big players.
They've had 26k backers in two days. They could do 13k backers per day for an entire year and end up with ~5M consoles sold (8% of the smallest console, or 2.2% of all three). It isn't enough to get the attention of any big games. They best they'll do are Android ports.
It isn't enough to put out cheap hardware for Android. They need a seriously good storefront, a seriously good integration/account system, or a seriously good controller. They aren't taking any of these three seriously, as far as I know, so I do think pessimism is warranted.
If anything, their success at grabbing attention should put more fuel on the fire for Valve's rumored console...
Think that back then the only portable out there was the GBA which had awful specs compared to the GP32. There was literally nothing else, the GameGear and NeoGeo Pocket were dead, and a Palm could barely emulate an old B&W Gameboy.
Today you have smartphones, tablets, smartTVs, set-top devices like the googleTV and appleTV, and all of them can do what the Ouya does. Is not the same situation the GP32 had, when the best you could get was a GBASP with a weak ARM7 with no FPU and a grainy QVGA screen.
When the GP2X launched it was already too late, the PSP was cheaper and more powerful, and the most important part: it could be modified to do what 99% of all GP32 users wanted, which was running emulators. And it was even better at that: a much better screen and enough power to emulate a N64, while the GP32 could barely handle Genesis games.
Ironically that was the PSPs undoing: far too many people buying it for emulators and piracy, so devs who were initially enthusiastic about it (first portable in over a decade that could dethrone Nintendo) eventually gave up on it.
All of them had fan support and all of them failed in the marketplace (and the "open source" Phantom never even made it to market).
There's less vendor lockin with consoles now. Fewer titles are platform exclusive. Online services are much important than they used to be (notice there's little to no mention of this in the promo video). The question becomes bigger than, "How does this console compete with the Xbox?" (which is already a HUGE question), it becomes "How doe this console compete with Xbox Live?".
This product is going to be openly competing with big, established players with lots of cash and decades of experience. And it's not just the big 3 console makers. They're competing with SmartPhones and iPad gaming too, basically any electronic gaming experience you can having sitting on the couch in your living room.
Fans of hackable linux boxen and hardcore gamers are always super enthusiastic, but I don't think that demo is large enough to help a company succeed in the way this company needs to succeed.
But the people who are most likely to buy it day one just did, on Kickstarter. Ouya just crowdsourced the customer, the product message, and the marketplace.
"The question becomes bigger than, 'How does this console compete with the Xbox?' (which is already a HUGE question), it becomes 'How doe this console compete with Xbox Live?'."
How does Steam compete with Games for Windows or EA Origin if it is orders of magnitude smaller than both? How does the iPod Touch and iPhone compete with (and dominate) the dedicated gaming devices PSP/Vita and 3DS? How did the Wii compete with the 360 and PS3?
Smaller players with cheaper devices that require no initial player investment or outlay can be adopted en masse. Think about where HTC or Huawei or LG or Vizio were before they became near the tops worldwide in consumer electronics. Vizio wasn't even on the radar 10 years ago, now they are the #1 maker of TVs in the largest market in the world.
Did you swap this around? Steam is much larger and more profitable, and has been around longer than either.
> How does the iPod Touch and iPhone compete with (and dominate) the dedicated gaming devices PSP/Vita and 3DS?
The iPhone competes because the hardware as a gaming device has an effective cost of $0, because you already bought it for it's phone functions.
> How did the Wii compete with the 360 and PS3?
And it seems weird to compare Nintendo with Ouya, Nintendo is a large game company with a lot of experience in this field, and competes due to a cheaper console that is innovating in a new and novel way.
I don't know if it's the look of the console, or the way this was all presented, but it's all far too reminiscent of the Phantom for me. I'm staying well clear of this.
Just an aside: I miss my dreamcast, best controller ever.
But my question is what will count as success? What will it take for this company to succeed? What are the pieces?
As a visitor to this site, that's the kind of thinking I'm really looking for.
I think the hardware could become popular as a cheap way to run pirated games, however this would probably scare away developers.
I for one really really want this project to succeed! However, I'm afraid that they weren't realistic about the costs associated with building the hardware. But I look forward to be proven wrong.
Unfortunately, the perception that I have is that that when this system is released, it's going to be mostly ports of existing Android games.
The problem is that you shouldn't be getting those games for the system. They were designed for touchscreens, not touchpads. They weren't designed for controllers, and almost none of them actually have multiplayer. Canalbolt, which is the featured "Play on your TV" image, is just a one-button runner. Not anything I want to play on a TV.
So this means that for the OUYA to really succeed, they need games that are for the OUYA. They shouldn't be be straight ports of Android games. They should be unique experiences that utilize the OUYA's unique control scheme. Success for the system is entirely dependent on the software available on it, and I just don't see that happening, especially with the short release cycle.
It's not a character attack.
Given the sentiments expressed in articles like "The Coming War on General Purpose Computing" - and the debate over UEFI / Secure Boot - it's very encouraging to see this kind of thing happening.
The availability of things like Raspberry Pi is also encouraging on the same front.
Here's to the continued development of general purpose computing hardware and open/hackable systems that anyone is free to use as they see fit!
I'm a huge fan of open hardware, but honestly, it doesn't matter if this thing has open hardware or not, if the SDK is available and they encourage independents to build games, that's what matters. It's like the Raspberry Pi, it's open in the sense that they tell you a little about it, I doubt you'll get schematics and data sheets on all the parts, but that's not the point. The point is the price and the SDK and the attitude of the company promoting independent developers.
Was in reference to OUYA, not Rasp Pi.
Regarding Rasp Pi, you don't get a data sheet on the SoC though, as you do for Beagles or Arduino. So, calling it "open" is a bit of a misnomer. Rasp Pi is only "open" till you want to know what all the register addresses are or similar, then you need an NDA which is rather "not open."
But now I'm digressing from the point. Being open doesn't matter for OUYA, just like it doesn't matter for the Rasp Pi. Even without schematics, Rasp Pis would sell like hot cakes, it's a $30 computer for crying out loud. Same thing with the OUYA. It's a $100 game system _WITH_ and SDK. That's an unheard of price the same way $30 for a computer is.
I think it's a lot harder to get crowds of people excited enough about your unreleased social app to raise significant capital than it is for a handful of VCs, who will then have a vested interest in your subsequent success.
> Kickstarter supporters are just excited to get their hands on a shiny new toy.
Every kickstarter project I've supported is always about a product in the future. Including this one. Frequently, that shiny toy is years away.
The only difference between kickstarter and a VC is that consumers are deciding if the company will eventually deliver a product they want. You just cut out the middleman. The VC.
I don't know if that's necessarily true.
The biggest difference is that VCs have an interest in the continued success in the company because they are looking for a return on their investment, not just the product in question.
A bright entrepreneur would have to be crazy not to ask themselves if they can come up with an interesting deliverable (ie shiny new toy) before they give up stake in their company.
I don't think it's a stretch to imagine an alternate history where Instagram raised serious money by offering supporters bonus filters or where Zuckerberg came up with incentives to raise his first few million in the early days. "We want to bring Facebook to all the major midwest universities, but we need $200,000 to build x. We'll open it up to schools X Y and Z if we get to the next level! And you'll get a badge on your profile!"
I doubt that. $99 is probably just above cost with 1 controller, depending on production volume and how you factor in NRE. Generally speaking the big price break on electronics comes at 10,000 units which I imagine would be on the low end of their intended order given the number of backers already.
Most of the cost in mobile devices lies in the screen, battery, touch panel and associated circuitry. This device doesn't have any of those. A Tegra 3 SoC only runs about $15 in volume. For comparison, Apple sells the ATV for ~$100 and the original was reported to cost ~$64 to build, I don't have any data on the newer models but I doubt the cost has changed much, if anything its lower.
At any time they could have not raised the cap on the $99 batch and opened a new one at $125 (for example), and they haven't done so.
So either they know $99 is a good price for their product or they're complete fools...
The controller has a touch panel and battery (pretty sure they're wireless).
> reported to cost ~$64 to build
Is that just the BoM or does that factor in manufacturing, QA, having to hold inventory, etc.?
True, however the issue is different from mobile devices. The battery in a controller is likely a standard off the shelf package, e.g. a pair of AA sized rechargeable cells. Mobile devices generally have a battery custom designed for the needed form factor. That custom design and production is very costly.
> Is that just the BoM or does that factor in manufacturing, QA, having to hold inventory, etc.?
It was a teardown by iSuppli, I can't find the original report now and I believe it was actually the Apple TV 2 not the Apple TV 1 as I originally stated, I forgot there was a huge Apple TV way back and was thinking of the ATV 2 as the original.
The price from iSuppli would be BoM + manufacturing. Manufacturing for a device like this is minimal per unit, just a few dollars and generally includes the factory level QA. For any run of decent size the electronics QA is done by a machine via flying probe or bed of nails setup, its very cheap on a per unit basis. The only manual QA needed would be checking out the packing for defects.
Found the teardown: http://www.isuppli.com/Teardowns/News/Pages/iSuppli-Teardown...
You can buy Chinese TV sticks with Android 4.0 and better GPUs (Mali 400) right now for 50 dollars. http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/581994032/hot_sale_mini_HD...
These will be a lot more powerful by March 2013.
I don't mean to imply anything, I always enthusiastically back these things. I'm just curious. In one year of Kickstarter pledging history I've only received two T-shirts (for well over $1000 worth of "purchases"). Some pens I ordered a year ago are on their way now ;)
My little project today is researching the Million Dollar Kickstarters, seeing how they're doing.
The Elevation Dock has had some production issues, seems to have some QA issues. Has a few very vocal critics. But then anything of any size does. It looks like their main mistake has been lack of communication.
I'd challenge defining this as complicated, you can more or less copy the Tegra 3 dev board and repackage it. Making sure the software (drivers, UI) are smooth will be much more challenging.
The support from indie devs is pretty nice too, since people have proven they'll pay for quality indie games with the humble indie bundle, and sony's co-op with indie devs on games like journey (http://thatgamecompany.com/games/journey/) is a big vote of confidence.
Ultimately, what draws people to a platform are the games, so it's good to have a bunch of proven games already, and more coming. Now, all it needs is a few killer exclusives.
I want the freedom to load any content from anywhere I want.
On the other, hasn't Google been very good with making sure their Android devices (e.g. Nexus *) are pretty open? That was my impression.
Of course, I don't follow this super closely. Moreover, all this is relative--and relative to Apple, even Microsoft seems open. So Google has a rather large spectrum of openness where people would think them open just in comparison to Apple and Microsoft.
This is completely compatible with preventing the distribution of material which infringes copyright.
Yup. Apple just doesn't seem interested in 'lowering' itself to selling anything that might be considered a game console.
But Google? They spent how much effort trying to shove Google TV down everyone's throat. I bet they are kicking themselves they didn't launch a Google Play console instead that was just like this. It could have done most of the things that Google TV did ANYWAY.
Have you seen how much they like to brag that the iOS is an immensely successful gaming platform?
And yet Apple has never created a standard interface for controllers, killing any third party products, and has never suggested they are going to launch their own.
The AppleTV that is out now has a better GPU than the Tegra 3 already. That could easily do everything this console will do. But they choose not to do anything with games on it.
Which isn't to say the Q's inclusion of the amp is a good move overall. It isn't something most geeky people really need --since hooking up a receiver is something learned back from hi-fi systems onward (back when being a sound-system geek was a possible edge in getting laid, so had plenty of motivation/social-currency) or from our dads (who learned it from those hi-fi systems onward)--. And the it doesn't seem to simplify things enough for the non-geeky.
As it's a plug-in device, battery life isn't an issue.
Going with the fastest memory/CPU combination would likely be quite attractive to gaming developers dealing with HD resolution screens, assuming that it would fit in the budget.
Exynos 5250 would also be a great alternative that should be available as early as this fall with a dual core Cortex A15, and a new architecture GPU Mali T604, which should also be at least 3-4x faster than Tegra 3, and should also support OpenGL ES 3.0.
Barring something like Nvidia stepping in and deciding they'll personally help out and give them a deal on Tegra 4 for the publicity or something... I can't see that changing.
It is a bit sad to see that there are 50 dollar Android 4.0 TV sticks selling from China right now. And they are using Mali 400s which are actually faster than the Tegra. http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/581994032/hot_sale_mini_HD...
There will probably be 5 more, all faster, by the time this thing launches in Mar 2013.
Costs are going down. Does anyone remember plunking down $50 to $60 for an 8-bit NES game in 1980s dollars? You don't pay much more than $60 (in highly inflated dollars) for any game today, and yet you get so much more technological advancement for your buck.
Whether you get more value is up for debate, of course.
There's no doubt also some psychological stuff going on. Donating to Kickstarter in exchange for a finished product is probably much more appealing than directly preordering. In both cases you take risk, but in the former case you acknowledge it up front, and can feel good about helping the project even if they somehow fail. In the latter case, you'll just feel ripped off if they fail.
The donor is generally responsible for paying the gift tax.
Hop on the bandwagon!
The video done here is very professional and the whole thing just has to much shine on it.
I'm wondering if projects like this will end up clouding out the original intention of kickstarter.
The founder (Julie Uhrman) has nice credentials but is described as a "digital media executive":
Added: And at least on linkedin ouya is presented as a company and it appears from here background that that is what she is building.
In their video they show shiny, happy developers, sitting at nice desks etc, showing prototype boards. This logically means there was a first financing round to get this far - develop hardware, rent offices, hire people.
The official domain name (ouya.tv) is anonymously registered via dreamhost - again, no information on the company backing Ouya.
I understand the stealth part of startups, but publicly asking for money withot any background information is a risky proposition IMHO.
(I did order one though, call me crazy ;-)
They are taking 30% from all games sold, so it is in their best interest to get as many consoles out there as possible. I would bet that the retail price is at or very near $99
It isn't because I'm pretentious or don't believe in TV, it is just that when my television broke, I realized my laptop had replaced it for almost everything already.
I can easily imagine a day when other people won't own one either for the same reason. The idea of buying a television just to play games strikes me as... expensive.
That said, I do know of someone who bought a TV just for her xbox.
A TV still has it's advantages however, they are cheap for their size because the resolution can remain relatively low (imagine how much a 42" retina display would cost).
There's also a big social aspect that a laptop does not address, you wouldn't want to bring your friends round for a movie or a friendly game of wii sports and all crowd around a laptop would you?
I'm wondering how they are able to put all this stuff in a box, with a nice controller, for their price point. It seems like it would be really hard to make money on this.
I assume retail prices will be higher, probably in the $150 range, when they'll make decent margins on the hardware. Their volumes will be much higher (probably 2 orders of magnitude) than Panda / Beagle boards (Pandas sell for $182, Beagle xM for $150, both are profitable). They'll also probably offer "services" consulting with developers to help them get the most out of the SDK which will be an alternate revenue stream.
No screen, no battery, no mobile phone radio, no requirement for physically small size. All allow quite lower hardware BOM costs than equivalent phones / tablets.
IMO, The kickstarter campaing is to raise enough money to produce a lot of consoles already sold (close to cost, maybe loosing a bit?), creating a big-enough mass of players so that developers can start thinking in actually creating games for the platform, and make money from that. At least, that's what I would do :)
Just seems like a VC might even prefer a group that knows what it wants and how to get things done. They might be more ready to disrupt. And they might have a great culture with the right priorities.
I wonder if we'll ever see "Pixar in reverse". A company that can deliver an entertainment product turn into some kind of revolutionary hardware product manufacturer.
The only way they can spin this is by creating a gaming community around it which, admittedly, is what they're trying to do. Successfully for now.
I pledged the $99 level on this one, with limited expectations. I hope they deliver.
I think this will partly depend on who has been donating. How many of these are developers who want this to develop on, how many are hackers who want some nice open hardware to build something else on top of and how many are general gamers who just want a new console?
It's possible that they ship the kickstarter units once they have finished development but that is more or less it and actual orders0 drop quickly to almost nothing.
The incumbents have several advantages over this:
They have deep wallets and are able to subsidize their consoles heavily (and already do). For example they could offer a sale price for an XboX at around the time that this is released so that the price difference becomes negligible.
They have retail space, even though many would say that retail is dying. Walking past a high street shop that advertised a particular product will certainly increase the perceived legitimacy of that product in the public eyes. They can also use this hook to wrestle things like this out of the physical retail space.
It's going to be hard to persuade AAA developers to develop for this, partly because it is so "hackable".
If this does gain some popularity then it's likely that neighbourhood teenage geeks will do a nice business in taking these consoles, putting custom firmware on them to bypass whatever DRM and installing hundreds of torrented games on them, for some ridiculously cheap fee like $30. XboX gets around this problem by deliberately making this difficult and risky (having to do a hardware mod, risking loss of XboX Live service , voiding warranty on a device with perceived reliability issues).
As an example of this a PayTV service was launched in the UK some years ago but the hardware was made very easy to hack so it was possible to make it able to subscribe to all premium channels without paying for them. They eventually went out of business because the majority of their customers had hacked boxes.
All the titles they are gunning for appear to be indie titles, the problem is that most successful Indie titles will end up on Xbox etc anyway since MS , Sony etc are enabling digital distribution. Unless this can get a massive install base it's likely that Indie devs will only target it as a secondary platform and will concentrate on XboX etc first.
It's difficult to think of a way to sell this device on it's merits to an "average consumer" beyond being slightly cheaper than an XBox (but not cheaper than a second hand one). The only pitch I can think of would be "you can run pirate games on this". Piracy is also a big part of the reason that the PC was such a successful games platform, I remember the arguments at school between console and PC gamers and one frequently trotted out in favour of the PC was "the hardware costs more , but the games are free because we just copy the disks".
The Developer Special, which is the lowest level package ($699) that seems to specifically target devs, is capped at 200 (and sold out).
So if a large portion of the people signing up for these are actually devs, a high percentage of them are being crippled right out the gate. Not a great strategy IMO.
Say it goes crazy and they sell 100,000 units via KS.
Is that enough of an install base to make it work? Would developers target a platform of only 100,000 users? How would they get more users?
And on top of that. If you add gamepad support (which will be trivial for most games, and those which are not won't even bother). And take additional 5 minutes to upload to the OUYA store. Now you're also supporting the OUYA devices, in addition to all other Android devices.
The OUYA is not just its own single thing. It's just a tiny part of a huge ecosystem. And this tiny part is helping shape the direction that the rest of the ecosystem is going. (meaning you'll see more gamepad-friendly games in the future) You can be sure that the OUYA won't be the only Android console-like device we'll be developing for. Many more will come to compete with it in the coming years.
One really big sign of how innovative this is. Is that even many of the HN cannot grasp what they're doing. Watching the critics argue with each other here, reminds me of watching the MPAA discuss anti-piracy measures. No offense intended :)
Changing the input type for a game in most cases fundamentally changes what the game is. It can also mean that the difficultly curve has to be adjusted significantly because things that used to be hard suddenly become easy and vice versa.
For a good example of this , look at the original Unreal Tournament on the PC. The maps on this game take huge advantage of the vertical space and allow for precision shooting over large distances thanks to the mouse.
Now look at popular FPS games on consoles, most use way less in terms of the vertical space and typically incorporate some form of aiming assist to make distance shots possible.
Having the OS based on android will provide some advantage is re-usable game code but I think this overstates the issues when it comes to porting to different platforms.
I've already answered your argument in the very post you're replying to. I wonder if you're even bothering reading. Some games already support d-pad, others don't. For the ones that do, it will be trivial, the ones that don't, won't bother porting.
I often post on HN from somewhat of a devils advocate position (and assume others do the same), since that's more interesting than the sort of "+1 I love this!" type posts I see on other forums.
In reality of course I would love this console to succeed and in principle would prefer something like this to a closed console such as the XboX.
Regards the point about controls: The fact remains that the most popular games for android currently are designed around touch screen controls since the overwhelming majority of android devices out there are phones or tablets.
Sure , there are a few Android games that seemed to be designed for gamepads and were somehow shoehorned onto a touchscreen (the series of COD clone games who's name escaped me springs to mind). Sure, some of these could be salvaged into something playable on this console but I would think the difficulty would still need adjustment since people now have a proper gamepad rather than a touchscreen pad. Also I would doubt many of these games are particularly competitive with equivalent games for the XboX etc even with the controls fixed.
Historically having some impressive launch titles has been an important precursor to success for consoles. The combination of the release timescale combined with the lack of concrete information for developers means that it seems unlikely that such titles will appear in time.
In other words, whilst I personally love this idea, I have no idea how I would encourage less geeky friends to get one, saying "you can play the games that you can already play on your mobile phone" doesn't seem like it would cut it.
But I'm interested to see if they can reach a level where games are targeted at the platform, not its OS. The fact that Android sold 50 times as many devices as they did yesterday kinda hurts them in some ways.
If all they do is run generic Android games, their store becomes completely pointless. As this seems to be how they're aiming to make money, it's not a moot point at all.
Lots of users… very few willing to pay for anything
If instead they are a mixture of geeks who want to hack the hardware and low income families who are likely to run pirate games or buy relatively few games then no.
Basically it's the same situation as with iOS/Android phones. iOS has a smaller install base but the base they do have is generally more profitable.
It will also depend on how difficult it is to port existing titles to this console.
This will manifest itself in terms of controls (for existing touch screen games) and in terms of software compatibility.
Hopefully also, games developed for this will be trivial to port to a regular Linux distro.
Isn't that a subset of the existing Xbox/PS3 market, in which case developers would be better off targeting Xbox.
The market for Ouya has to be people who are willing to spend some money on a console but not $300; it's not clear that such a niche exists.
One place where this might do well is in developing economies, in which case you better make sure that your games are well internationalized and also be prepared that 99% of your players are going to be running a pirate version.
It would also be nice to encourage a culture of developers providing tools for their games (level editors etc) so that games could get large re playability on this console vs XboX where you are mostly restricted to pay-for commercial DLC.