The OUYA Console Gets Reviewed – It Appears There’s Much Work to be Done

Posted on April 5, 2013 9:10 AM by Rob Williams

Reviews of the OUYA “Backer Edition” console have begun to trickle out, and so far, the general consensus is that there’s little to be excited about. It should be mentioned, though, that the retail release of OUYA comes in June, so units that have been sent to Kickstarter backers should be consider “beta” – something that was acknowledged long before they went out the door.

Opinions on the console between The Verge and Engadget are almost exact. The UI at the moment is not that fluid, though it does look quite nice. Interestingly, the fact that OUYA forces developers to offer trial versions of their games actually comes as a downfall as far as The Verge is concerned. Instead of simply being used to buying games out-right, you’ll instead be constantly up-sold – not exactly a fun aspect of a game console. Or anything, really.

OUYA Console - Verge

The hardware itself is competent, but this is a $99 device. It’s mobile hardware and it looks like mobile software when it’s connected to a PC. The unit itself has an interesting design, though I’m not sure I’d say it’s a good one. The gamepad on the other hand does look rather nice, but it’s just as we expected: mediocre. In terms of quality, The Verge said it sits in the middle of a cheapo $20 model you get at a local B&M and a quality gamepad, like the one for the PlayStation 3.

Comments have also been made about the games themselves, which at the moment, are not a lot of fun and are few. There are about 100 games on the OUYA store at the moment, and for the most part, they seem decent only in showing off what the OUYA can do. Games that are fun aren’t unique to the console, so it’s hard to get excited there. Engadget also notes that mobile games tend to not have much depth, so playing them on a TV isn’t going to offer the same level of excitement and immersion that a regular video game console can.

So, things are obviously rough at the moment for OUYA, but again, with the fact that the official launch isn’t for another couple of months, it’d be wrong to harp on its shortcomings right now. However, the retail launch will not fix a couple of complaints – namely those to do with the gamepad. It’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out, because the people behind OUYA have done a lot of things right in the development of their console.

  • madmatTG

    It’s a $99 internet multimedia streaming box that can play a few games. What do they really expect for under $100? A stripper and lunch?

    • ET3D

      It’s marketed as a console, so why would people judge it as anything else?

      • madmatTG

        Precisely. It’s marketed as an ANDROID console. Not a dedicated gaming box like the XBOX or PS4. A console that has access to a ton of time waster games. Expecting it to be anything more is ridiculous.

        • ET3D

          Why is it ridiculous? You go to the OUYA site, you see:

          “Your favorite and soon-to-be-favorite games in 1080p—what’s not to love?”

          “OUYA delivers every genre you love, from shooters and action adventures to RPGs and puzzles.”

          “Conquer worlds and high scores with our thoughtfully crafted controller”

          And then you get the console and you play a bunch of mostly low res indie game with a mediocre controller. Why wouldn’t people be critical?

          • madmatTG

            It’s ridiculous to expect it to be more than what it is. Do you walk into a burger joint, order a burger and then complain it isn’t filet mignon? If you do you are being as ridiculous as anyone that expected the Ouya to be more than what it is.

          • ET3D

            I tried to reply twice, but the page refreshed and delete my message. I’ll try to write offline and post a response later. The short of it: Ouya is selling steak. You say they sell hamburgers. Of course by your definition you’ll be satisfied.

          • madmatTG

            I wouldn’t buy one. Just like I wouldn’t buy any other console or streaming internet device. It’s not something I want or need but if you’re trying to replace your XBOX or PSx with one you’re fooling yourself. If you’re looking for a “fun” alternative to those crappy little internet streaming boxes then it brings enough to the table to offer an alternative.

          • ET3D

            If you’re interested in neither OUYA nor a streaming box, then I’m surprised that you’re complaining about the reviews being negative.

            Personally I wouldn’t get one, certainly not in its current state. On the other hand I think that the concept of a low cost Android console is a good one, and there are enough games on my Nexus 7 I wouldn’t mind playing with a real controller on a bigger screen. It’s just that Ouya won’t let me. It might in the future.

          • madmatTG

            If the Ouya is as open as they claim it won’t be long before someone creates a hack to install the play store on it. As to why I’m complaining about the negativity aimed towards a beta device when it hasn’t really done much to deserve it, well, it bugs me when they expect something to be more than it should be.

          • ET3D

            What would you want developers to do? They said it was a beta, and they said what they felt was wrong with it, what was needed to make this a full release level device. That’s good feedback. It’s the kind of feedback that’s needed, the things that need to get fixed so the device will get good reviews when it gets released to the public at large.

          • madmatTG

            Screw it, this site keeps knocking out my &%#$ing replies. I’m done here.

          • Rob Williams

            madmat’s original comment made me reconsider the use of the OUYA a little bit. Media players in general cost around $100 that stream Internet content and also content from your remote devices, so if the OUYA can do all that and remain pretty configurable, that’s pretty attractive. A media player that can play games if you happen to want to play games.

            I tend to agree a bit with ET3D though that the “norm” is going to misread what this device can do. OUYA’s claims on its site are those of grandeur, but at best, it’s just a mobile phone plugged into the television with a nice interface. I find very few games on Android to be that compelling… and as such I just don’t game at all unless I am out (aka: desperate) or the power goes out :D I do play the odd game of mahjong or solitaire before bed, but that’s about it.

          • ET3D

            Android has some decent games. Here’s a subset of what I have on my Nexus 7:

            Broken Sword
            Plants vs. Zombies
            Waking Mars
            Avadon: The Black Fortress
            Sword & Sworcery
            NFS Most Wanted
            Wild Blood
            The Conduit

            You might say that some of them are dumbed down compared to a console or PC games, but many of them are faithful adaptations and all of them are decent gaming experiences.

            Unfortunately they aren’t currently available on the Ouya. It’s possible that some of these can be installed, but as the review at The Verge said, it’s neither easy nor guaranteed to run. That’s one major problem with the Ouya: it’s not as good as an Android tablet for gaming.

            Still, it’s promising. As you say, the price isn’t bad, and it has the potential to run these games. It’s just that at this moment it lacks good games, the
            interface isn’t that great, it’s probably not as convenient as a streamer for that particular job. It could mature into something better.

            I still think that it will be a future device which nails this. An Android console isn’t a bad idea, but the Tegra 3 is rather weak and the ecosystem is not there yet for the games.

            And by the way, yes, the site is terribly annoying in that the page refreshes and loses the reply. I lost a couple and I’m now writing replies elsewhere and copy-pasting them.

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