The Ouya is, in a way, the little engine that could of the gaming world. A lot of the support for the Android-based gaming system is based around the fact that gamers and people inside of the industry want to see the “little guy” make an impact and for there to be an increased focus on the indie gaming scene. Over the past few years we’ve seen a serious uptick in the amount of indie games that have made decent money, enough for developers to turn a profit and continue developing games on their own, without a big publisher behind them. The same seems like it could be possible for a gaming console, but the reality of it in action might be a bit underwhelming.
The first thing to look at with the Ouya is the games that are available and going to be available for the platform. It seemed acceptable that there was such a small list of games for so long because it had yet to become a tangible product yet. That all changed today when they began shipping Ouya units to backers from the Kickstarter campaign and the reality is that there are very few games available for the console at launch and for using Android, not allowing the use of the Google Play market is kind of like crippling the device and why people were excited about the Android OS in the first place.
That isn’t to say that it is hopeless, as there has been talk of them allowing users to root the device, even including instructions on how to do so. Hopefully that will lead to loading in non-DISCOVER (Ouya’s market) applications and hoping that they’ll run on the larger screen. As of right now, the prospect of people developing emulators for Ouya seems to have gamers the most excited, that, along with the $99 price point make for the only real visible way that the Ouya appeals to gamers on a wider basis right now.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with open source gaming consoles and consoles that are indie by nature, but for the average gamer, the Ouya will offer them little compared to what Microsoft and Sony will offer with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720. There are already the same tried and true big developers and publishers lined up and ready to release games on said systems and we’ll probably see more indie games released on them just like we did in the last generation of consoles. Things could be different, but we are close to Ouya’s big release and there is still a distinct lack of support and games as a whole.
As of press time there aren’t even guarantees of the Ouya having Netflix and Hulu+ support, stuff that even inexpensive BluRay players and just about every consumer electronic device can offer these days. It will take a lot for Ouya to be a success and as of right now, I’m just not seeing what it has to offer for gamers or the market as a whole.