The End of the Ouya
By Peter Nolan-Smith
Note: The opinions expressed in this editorial are not necessarily the views or opinions of Cliqist.com.
It was supposed to be the little gaming engine that could, tragically the Ouya, seems to have never made it out of the station.
The Android based console garnished high hopes and over 8 million dollars in crowdfunding on Kickstarter. With promises of allowing developers a unique space to sell their games and easy to design on platform, Ouya’s creators billed it as technology that would revolutionize the industry.
Results were less than expected.
The robust influx of funding, slick presentation and unwavering faith of CEO Julie Uhrman, sold a larger than life product. When the results were in however, game reviews were poor. Ouya sold out on Amazon but everyone owed consoles because of Kickstarter orders wouldn’t receive them.
The system delivered on the promise of being extremely open, to a fault. Extreme openness led to extreme hackability and the system became a host to emulators of old Nintendo games. The company failed to offer a commercially viable alternative to profitable mobile games.
Amidst all this the Ouya did sell and even produced Towerfall, a game that made more than a few must play lists.
All has been for naught however with a recent announcement that Ouya will allow other consoles to host their software. Ouya Everywhere, the newest idea out of the company, will see their store, games and anything else that 8 million in funding was supposed to have bought the company sold out to other companies.
At the top of this list is the more expensive, more powerful, Mad Catz’s MOJO Microconsole.
As of printing, Ouya has not responded to Cliqist’s requests for comment but through a post on the company’s website Uhrman defended the decision.
“Ouya is about games and game developers, not about the way you get it. So we’re embarking on a new project to embed the Ouya platform into other devices on the market.”
She hopes that Ouya Everywhere will be viewed as a savvy business decision in the wake of the release of a better system as well as one that keeps in line with the company’s philosophy. However with this move Ouya is leaving behind what sold it to thousands of investors, a cheap console for gamers and developers alike.
Ouya’s relevancy was primarily its low price. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have opened themselves up to indie development but still hold large price tags, even the MOJO Microconsole is going to cost $170.
The Ouya is still available for sale but don’t expect that to last; thanks to news of their plans to open up, coupled with poor game performance and a business strategy that was abandoned even after garnishing $8 million in support .
The purpose of a Kickstarter, of crowdfunding , is for the consumer to invest in a company or product they believe in. Obviously that also involves a fair amount of trust in the capability of the business to make proper decisions.
Ouya was clear on their mission from the outset, a cheap console for gamers and developers alike to play on their televisions. This change in strategy is not only the abandonment of those promises but also the final poor decision by a company that couldn’t deliver to make itself irrelevant.