If, for some reason, you search for “Ouya” on YouTube, the first results show titles like “the console that ripped off the entire internet”, “I bought a failed game console”, “the “best” Ouya exclusive games” (with “ best” in quotes) or something as resounding as “one of the biggest disappointments on Kickstarter”.
I admit that in recent weeks I have considered buying a second-hand Ouya for pure and hard collecting, but it is not even worth that and it is one of those cases of “with a Raspberry Pi, I have something better”. But why did this happen? join us, let’s see what happened with Ouyaa tremendously ambitious Android console that ended in tragedy.
The home console revolution that swept Kickstarter (and failed to convince anyone else)
Year 2012. The video game market was more open and accessible than ever for two reasons: in 2006, Nintendo with its Wii revolutionized the market and it allowed even your grandparents, who had never touched a console controller, to start enjoying video games. With WiiU they went too farbut Wii was a tremendous success that ‘casualized’ video gamesbringing them closer to an even more global market.
Besides, Android and iOS were becoming better platforms to play. Everyone had a cell phone in their pocket and, as they became more and more powerful and companies paid more attention to this segment, the ‘casual’ sector ended up exploding. I still hallucinate when I remember Infinity Blade for iPhone 4 (and how sadly cannot be purchased currently).
Also, in those years (thanks to both Steam and, above all, Xbox Live Arcade) the indie gaming scene boomed with jewels like Fez, Limbo, Minecraft either braid. So: it was easier than ever to develop and distribute games, more and more people were playing, and Android was a great system for portable games.
Taking advantage of all three factors, Ouya was announced to much hype in the press (with headlines of “the console that will revolutionize ‘gaming’) and launched on Kickstarter on July 10, 2012. Affordable price -99 dollars-third-party support such as Square Enix with Final Fantasy III either bandai namcoopen source, free games or games with free parts and a powerful multimedia center were some of the hooks that excited the industry.
Within 12 hours of starting the crowdfunding campaign, the Ouya had raised $1 million. They were asking for $950,000 to get the project off the ground and in half a day they had achieved more, but the really amazing thing is that, one month later, 63,416 backers closed the funding process with a total of -hold on to the chair- 8,596,475 dollars.
In addition to native games, they were going to have OnLive support and it was announced VEVO compatibility, as well as XBMC, so it seemed like it would be an all-in-one entertainment center. In December of that year it began to reach developers and we can say that it was the last positive news for the console.
It promised to be a ‘JOUYA’ and it came to nothing: untimely repairs and premature abandonment
The launch of the console got off to a bad start. After a delay of a few weeks compared to the previous date at the beginning, some founders began to report that Ouya was reaching ‘regular’ buyers sooner than those who had participated in the Kickstarter. Yes, everyone is entitled, but someone who has trusted the machine from the beginning should have the boot console.
This may seem silly, and it’s certainly not enough to make a console fail. What we are going to detail below, on the contrary, is. And it is that, the reason for the delay was because they were polishing final things of the console and the command, improving their quality. Well, that didn’t seem to be enough either because Users talked about controllers whose buttons got stuck or sticks that peeled too easily.
But the worst thing was that the launch catalog was thin, bad and full of Candy Crush clones. there were great games like the umpteenth version of Final Fantasy III or Towerfall, a great game that had a review for more platforms in the form of Towerfall: Ascensionbut little else. The store was a desert And yes, although the games that were either free or had free trials, it was not a very attractive catalog.
The problem is that if this looks bad, it gets worse. On July 17, 2013, it was published in Vidaextra Ouya’s analysis and the truth is that the introduction could not be more resounding since they did not talk about the console, but about the terrible customer service and a delivery delay of several months. But hey, beyond this, the difficulties when configuring the console and the software almost in beta state, the console had reached users without them having much to play.
Time after, Ouya fixed the factory knobs for them to arrive without the failures of the first units, but less than a year after launch, Julie Uhrman, CEO of Ouya, confirmed that they were working on Ouya Everywhere. The -few- system-exclusive games could be played without needing an Ouya. As? On an Android Box, televisions and other devices.
That is to say, they marked a Steam, but backwards: built the console and then the software platform. The problem was that practically no one cared about Ouya. Not only were expectations not metbut in 2014 both Xbox One and PS4 were launched and the eyes of the players were simply elsewhere.
Razer bought OUYA in 2015 and the next thing we knew it was closing in 2019
One year after launch, Ouya was considered a commercial failure, nobody paid attention to the console and we did not remember it. However, and out of nowhere, Razer came to the rescue. Or, well, we thought so.
Before continuing, we must go back a bit: shortly before the commercial launch, Ouya confirmed that there would be an annual renewal of the system, as in mobile phones. There would be an Ouya 2, an Ouya 3 And it was a plan that had its logic because, ultimately, the Tegra 3 inside the original model would be out of date and the mobiles would overtake it on the right.
However, there was something strange: it was said that the games would be compatible with all systems. And, well, let’s be clear, with zero support from developers, I find it difficult, first, for them to develop for Ouya, but even less for them to optimize downwards for a less powerful SoC.
That said, when Razer came into play in July 2015 by buying Ouya, all rights to the store, the hardware, the few users of the platform thought it would rise from the ashes. Razer actually wanted AAA and independent developers for the system and for its Forge TV, but they simply wanted Ouya users to migrate to Forge TV.
That is, they could use their controls and games on much more powerful hardware, since it mounted the Snapdragon 805. Time passed, we all forgot about the console that was going to revolutionize the gaming market and so, in May 2019, it was announced that Razer was killing off Ouya.
No refund, no access to games or anything at all: everything would be lost and the following month, in June 2019, the accounts would be deactivated, leaving Ouya as a very well built paperweight and pretty cool, but a paperweight.
And the saddest thing of all is that almost every time a console dies, a feeling of nostalgia remains, of the good old days. With Ouya, honestly, I doubt that was the case. It is not easy to fight with giants established in the world of video games, ask Google Stadia…
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