Ouya has the potential to Change the Video Game Industry

I originally posted this article over at my personal tumblr, Loud and Pithy a few days ago and thought it might be good to have on here as well.  To see the original post- check out here. 


So I saw this thing a few days ago, and thought “Huh, that’s a nifty idea…” and left it at that. I didn’t really dig into it because … I don’t know, it was interesting to me, but not overly much. I’m primarily an MMO gamer these days, and while I still rock out some other games, I spend most of my time in MMOs. I loathe mobile games. Not because mobile games are as a genre bad, but just because they never seem to think about the game beyond the quickest and sleeziest way to separate me from my money. Of course there are exceptions to this, but by-and-large, this is the primary type of game you will find on either Android or iOS. 

So looking at a console platform, built on Android, I immediately thought the same which is probably why I went “Huh, neat.” and moved on with life. But it happened to come across my feed that Ouya set a Kickstarter record. I thought “Huh, neat again.” and moved on with life. Then, a day later, I saw that it had made an ridiculous amount of money, to the tune of about $4million in funding, just 2 days after the project launched on Kickstarter. 

Ok, NOW you have my attention. I did some digging and some reading, and realized that Ouya has potential for more than just the stupid, give-me-your-money-NAO! GluMobile type of game (Full Disclosure: I hate GluMobile, so my perception of them will be likewise somewhat biased). Ouya is working to get some big name games ported over to the platform and with the amount of interest generated here, and a sizeable install base BEFORE launch, I think they’ll get some big publishers to bite. Simultaneously, new development will be a huge portion of the platform too, as each and every console will ship with the free SDK, and there’s no complicated licensing procedures to go through to get your game on the market for people to try. And everything has to be free-to-play (for a portion of the game, anyway — this piece makes me a bit nervous). 

Overall, the business plan seems solid in theory, but the actual implementation will be the deciding factor. I for one, think that this platform has a lot of potential to upset what is quickly becoming a stagnant industry. While it’s been brewing for a while, there’s been a pretty marked increase in the dissatisfaction with the game industry in recent years (more on this in an upcoming post). I think that if Ouya executes well, it has a the potential to sooth that pain point for a lot of modern gamers. 

As I read more information about the platform and it’s vision, I see lots of similarities between Ouya and Steam, Xbox Live Arcade, and Playstation Network (or whatever they call it now-a-days). Those platforms have been wildly successful because they allow development of games on much smaller budgets (and occasionally, astronomical profits). Ouya sort of bridges the gap between the console indie dev market and the steam indie market — it’s a console indie market, but instead of the licensing and exclusivity deals that comes with the current generation of consoles, it’s much more open and developer friendly – like Steam. 

They’ve got a ton of crowd funding, and as such, a ton of support from gamers. But gamers are fickle and demanding mistresses. I’ll be interested to see how they progress the platform and manage the gamer expectations over the next few months.