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I was initially thinking the Ouya would be cool. But then I actually thought about the console space and realized that what was true of my younger years is no longer the case. In particular, a NES was significantly different than a Windows or Unix workstation. The console was an entirely different platform/ecosystem, and in a time where they were reasonably complex by comparison other computing operating systems.

These days, we're literally running the same software we run on everything else, but in a little box that has an audio/video output and a port for a controller. And then when I realized that, I immediately realized that the console is mostly dead. The only case where this isn't true is where performance metrics are consistent. This is why development on platforms like a PS3 or 360 result in shorter dev cycles and higher quality results: the hardware is all the same. But that matters when you're writing software that isn't shielded from the system, so with Java, that's a non factor, making Ouya nothing special.

I believe the next Playstation, Xbox, and Nintendo will all have their merits -- high-end hardware that is consistent for years, which will allow developers to rapidly build games without having to concern themselves with the lowest common denominator (it's ridiculous to see software designed to run on a 512MB 1 core machine performing horribly on a 24GB machine with 6 cores, 2 GPUs, and 3GB of GPU memory because it was decided by someone that progressive enhancement of features would be too expensive a development cost, or for those high-end features to be completely non-optimized).

For me, I am summarily unimpressed and not excited. For me, this is packaging Java in yet-another-box that I have to buy. Why can't I just download an app and play Ouya games on my PC? That's a -1 for Ouya and a +1 for what Valve is doing with Steam.

The question is whether PCs are approaching the advantages of consoles from the other side. Are hardware requirements and iterations stabilizing? Are operating systems stabilizing?Are gaming APIs stabilizing?

I bought a gaming computer last summer and was quite impressed with it until its SSD died (I have to get it shipped to me and replace that SSD at some point). With an ordinary Windows 7 installation it ran a full gamut of emulators, ran the Source engine with the quality settings turned pretty far up, and ran everything else available on Steam with good quality, too. It also played DVDs and downloaded movies in high-def and with good sound, as well.

My real question is: over how many years of usage can I amortize the cost of that gaming PC? Because a lightly-used or "last year" gaming PC costs $600-$800, while a new one with top of the line hardware costs about $1000-$1200. If I can keep it for 6 years like I would with a console, the new console can match the one-year-old gaming PC for price, while the PC has general media functions, retains backwards compatibility via emulation, and gives me choice of peripherals.

Hmmm... but the traditional disadvantage of PCs was having to upgrade your hardware, operating system, and APIs continually to keep up with new features in the gaming world, whereas with a console you'd just drop $200-$300 every 4-6 years for the new system. With a PC, upgrading the graphics card, motherboard or the hard drive might easily cost that much, depending on just how up-to-date you keep it.

Seems to me there's a space for a "Ship of Theseus" model of PC, where the cost of hardware upgrades made every few years can approach the cost of a new console with the same frequency while retaining backwards compatibility.

I'm struggling to understand what you ar saying here to the point where I wonder if you've missed the biggest factor for the Ouya which is this.

It's that it's part of a (potentially and to a degree actually) huge Android ecosystem with the same games running on phones, tablets, consoles, Smart TVs, media centers, mini-PCs and netbooks.

Doesn't that change things?

The important part is the controller and potentially a market of games for it.

While it sounds nice to run the same game on a console and a touchscreen I don't see that working too well in reality.

I think the problem is smaller than you think.

Some data points:

1. Many phone tablet games compromise the controls due to the lack of button or stick controllers. They would actually be improved by a gamepad.

2. If a market exists then people will adapt the games to that market. It's not hard to imagine how many touch-only games could be altered in fairly minor to be D-pad friendly.

3. Developers will innovate new approaches to game input if the hardware is out there.

so you are saying that a game must have high end graphics or else it only applies to the lowest common denominator?

What about the fact that this thing boots up faster than a pc, is dedicated to focus on entertainment around the TV space as consoles are and is a system that is priced at $99. Call me a realist but a pc can do alot of the things my mp3 player can. But i dont want to have to lug around by pc just so i can listen to songs.

Oh and you do know steam is also coming out with their own console right? This only solidifies the notion that there is still a growing market for non techie individuals who want entertainment in their living rooms. Personally i prefer crowding around a big tv when playing console style games with friends. Its a bit hard to do that on 1 computer and 1 keyboard.

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