Ouya: Doubts from a console gamer’s perspective

Ouya
Sida Li August 6 Gadgets

Ouya is a new video game console powered by the Android platform. Developers of Ouya are seeking an open gaming platform for developers and gamers alike. One of my friends linked me on Facebook to the Ouya Kickstarter campaign one day after it was launched, at which point it had already raised over $1 million. At this point, Ouya has been featured on many top blogs and news outlets. While their pitch hit all the right spots, I have some lingering doubts about Ouya’s ability to make a lasting impact on the gaming industry and I want to share my doubts from the perspective of a console gamer.

Ouya’s game console is said to be able to play any game on the Android Platform, however, most of these games were built for smartphones or tablets and are not meant to provide the same immersive experience that a console game does. In order to maintain the gamer’s attention, Ouya’s game library will have to expand beyond being able to play the same games on your TV that you could be playing on your smartphone. While the announcement of a Final Fantasy III port is promising, it’s not an original game and has already been ported once to the Nintendo DS, leaving gamers less than exciting.

Ouya will be affordable for indie developers, but there is not much incentive for an indie developer to create an Ouya-exclusive game that won’t be available on another platform. AAA titles and games built specifically for the platform will be scarce during the beginning because of the risks involved in developing a game for an unproven platform. In the long run, playing Android apps and ports of pre-existing games are not going to make par.

The Ouya game console is currently priced at $100, which is much more affordable than the consoles X-Box 360, PS3 and Wii. Games for Ouya are expected to be less pricey as well, however, I expect the Ouya to be a complement, not a replacement of, other consoles. All signs point to the rise of mobile gaming from social media platforms (which the Ouya is not) so is a console even the right avenue to take?

On its Kickstarter page, the Ouya console’s designers wrote, “For gamers, every game will be free to play: what this means is that there will at least be a free demo.” Many existing console games offer a free demo already, so the bare minimum a developer has to offer has not changed by much. It remains to be seen how many games are going to be actually “free.”

I was excited when I initially read through Ouya’s Kickstarter page. The more I thought about it though, the more doubts I began to have. I’ll gladly eat my words if the console ends up being successful, but for now, count me out.

Written by Sida Li

Sida Li is the Social Media Director at fishbat, a digital marketing agency. He has managed social media accounts for brands in multiple industries, including baked goods, convenience stores, beauty products, apparel makers, jewelers and tourism boards. Sida is a published poet and writer. His other hobbies include blogging and maintaining his YouTube channel. You can find his digital footprint at http://about.me/sidali
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