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5 Ways the Ouya Game Console Failed

5 Ways the Ouya Game Console Failed
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"The Walking Dead," one of 2012's most acclaimed games, is officially on tap for the Android Ouya game console. That's great news — except you don't need an Ouya to play it, or much else.

The Ouya had one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns in history, raising more than $8.5 million, but it seems that everything's been going downhill since then. Plagued by console shortages, half-baked firmware and a library that still lacks a killer app after five months, the Ouya has a long way to go before it finds its niche somewhere between traditional consoles and Android or iOS mobile devices — if it ever does. Here are the Ouya's five fatal flaws:

1.     Few original games

Video-game consoles live and die by their library of games, and by that logic, the Ouya is already dead. Make no mistake: There are good games for the Ouya but very few you can't already get on other consoles. You can play "Angry Birds" on everything short of a toaster, and the "Final Fantasy III" remake came out for the Nintendo DS in 2006. Even "The Walking Dead," which was just announced for an Ouya release, has been on other platforms — including Android and iOS phones and tablets — for more than a year. There are a few Ouya-exclusive titles en route (including a soul-music-inspired dungeon crawler called "Soul Fjord" from "Portal" designer Kim Swift), but if you have any other kind of gaming device, you already have access to 99 percent of Ouya's library. To add insult to injury, although the Ouya is an Android-powered device, you can't play stock Android games on it unless you hack it first.

MORE: PS4 vs. Xbox One: Console Comparison

2.     No audience

In theory, the Ouya is an affordable console that bridges the gap between Android and iOS mobile devices and traditional consoles like the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. However, the audience that Ouya is courting doesn't appear to exist. The asking price is low at $100, but if a user already owns an Android (or iOS) device, it's $100 more than he or she really needs to spend. Consumers can buy a low-end Xbox 360 or PS3 for $200, complete with a huge selection of high-end games and streaming video apps. When placed between a powerful mobile device and a robust traditional console, a cheap jack-of-all-trades may not seem that attractive.

3.     Poor controller

The Ouya itself is a slick little cube that can weather a bit of a beating. Its controller, however, seems to be held together with spit and elbow grease. To be fair, the peripheral looks pretty enough — something like an elongated PS3 controller with Xbox 360-style buttons and analog sticks. The device falls apart — almost literally — in actual use, though. The analog sticks lack precision, and the buttons also get stuck. Replacing batteries is a pain, thanks to removable faceplates that aren't quite as removable as advertised. You can hook up a PS3 or Xbox 360 controller instead, but offering an alternative to a peripheral that works poorly right out of the box is not encouraging.

Follow Marshall Honorof @marshallhonorof and on Google+.

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  • -2 Hide
    tarun316 , August 28, 2013 11:41 PM
    PS, Xbox and Wii brands are so popular and dominant that it's an uphill task for others to capture the gaming market.
  • -3 Hide
    tarun316 , August 28, 2013 11:47 PM
    PS, Xbox and Wii brands are so popular and dominant that it's an uphill task for others to capture the gaming market.
  • 0 Hide
    Jordon Dicks , August 29, 2013 8:20 AM
    Sure i could go by a xbox for $200, but then pay to go online? then pay $60 for each game? yeah I think not... Oh sure I can get a ps3, but pay $50 per game? yeah no thanks. I'd rather pay $100 for this amazing android OPEN SOURCE gaming console, with games that are free, with tools to create my very own games. I can upgrade/open it up if i want without having to worry about some company getting down my back about legal issues.. And you have to understand the Ouya isn't made for that "hardcore" gamer who plays call of duty for 5 hours straight screaming at his/her tv. It's made for that indie old school gamer, whos inside all of us. Who loved to just sit down as a kid and play the nes, super nes, game cube, and all of that amazing things. Thats the part you're not realizing. In my opinion, Ouya is the #1 indie game console.
  • -1 Hide
    Jordon Dicks , August 29, 2013 8:21 AM
    Sure i could go by a xbox for $200, but then pay to go online? then pay $60 for each game? yeah I think not... Oh sure I can get a ps3, but pay $50 per game? yeah no thanks. I'd rather pay $100 for this amazing android OPEN SOURCE gaming console, with games that are free, with tools to create my very own games. I can upgrade/open it up if i want without having to worry about some company getting down my back about legal issues.. And you have to understand the Ouya isn't made for that "hardcore" gamer who plays call of duty for 5 hours straight screaming at his/her tv. It's made for that indie old school gamer, whos inside all of us. Who loved to just sit down as a kid and play the nes, super nes, game cube, and all of that amazing things. Thats the part you're not realizing. In my opinion, Ouya is the #1 indie game console.
  • -1 Hide
    raindog469 , August 29, 2013 11:49 AM
    I agree that existing Android devices make the Ouya superfluous, but not your phone or tablet unless you sit right in front of your television thanks to most Android apps assuming they're operating on a touchscreen in your hand. (Even then, many tablets reuse the charge port for the mini-HDMI connection, forcing you to run a device that's physically connected to your television on battery.)

    However, I think it's telling that you mention "Angry Birds" as an Ouya game you can play on other platforms. Actually, you can play it on the three last-gen consoles, but not the Ouya unless you sideload it and do some work to map the touch controls to sticks (if that's even possible, since your launch point moves from level to level) or use an air mouse. If you actually had an Ouya, or even spent 30 seconds perusing their game list as I did, you would have realized this before perpetuating the "Ouya = Android = Angry Birds" myth. Further, there are dozens of games that are only on Ouya, far more than the 1% you claim (by stating that 99% of the games aren't exclusive). I don't really want to play most of them, and I'm sure you don't either, but they're exclusive nonetheless.

    But that's understandable. After all, you have other consoles, a gaming PC, a phone, a tablet. I have other consoles, a phone, a tablet, and a $40 Chinese Android stick that's hooked up to my TV. All my stuff but the consoles is rooted. We are both fiddlers, and therefore we're not the Ouya target market. The people who are in that market, like the vast majority of game console users, don't want to buy something, take it home, then go on the Internet and read forums to figure out how to root it, order a bunch of parts from Newegg or Amazon because they're too obscure to be sold locally (like my Samsung tablet's HDMI and USB OTG dongles), buy a controller and/or paid software like Sixaxis or USB/BT Joystick Center to make the sticks work right with games, map touch zones to sticks in each game, sideload apps and only then have it behave kind-of-sort-of like a video game console. They want to buy something, take it home, plug it in and start playing games. What is "a tiny bit of effort" to you or me is literally impossible to my sister-in-law, the high school guidance counselor, my niece, the cheerleader, or my father-in-law, the oncologist, all of whom own last-gen consoles and two of whom have asked me about the Ouya because it's a new console. (Each time, I said to wait and see if it takes off, but that I wasn't getting one myself yet.)

    It remains to be seen whether that target market is interested in what Ouya has to offer -- I think we'll know by January whether they've succeeded enough to go for 2.0, or failed completely -- but your "5 ways the Ouya game console failed" are really just 4 ways it failed to impress people like us and 1 valid criticism of something that will affect most users (the controller's incredibly poor build quality compared to the unit itself which you'll barely ever touch).

    The Ouya isn't for you and me, and isn't very well-executed. But due to the difference in expectations, I'd say the Wii U (which I myself will probably buy someday) has actually had a more disappointing debut.
  • 0 Hide
    Bonny9 , August 29, 2013 2:32 PM
    I love my ouya. My son got one and when I tried it I had to have it. Give it a chance it will grow. I also use it with xbmc, and it is the best way to access the media streamer. funny being xbox descendent it works great on the ouya. I do agree that the buttons stick, but on the whole the paddle feels great in my hand. I fall asleep with it in my hands sometimes it feels so nice.I have even considered brushing up on my programing skills to try my luck at a game. To be fair I and you are right about the awareness of the system. I live in a small town in upstate NY and my son and I are probably the only 2 people that know about the ouya, say nothing of owning one. But everytime one of my friends complains about how much cable or sat costs I say, get an ouya and watch xbmc, Unless you are willing to dedicate a lap top to the task there is no other media streamer that you can get that runs it. Maybe they should look at marketing to a whole new crowd.
  • 0 Hide
    Bonny9 , August 29, 2013 2:36 PM
    PS typo I meant myself and my son are the only two that know about ouya. Also he has Wii XBox and playstation and plays the ouya the most. Plus, it is linux based which rocks and it feels more like it is part of the open source idea, which I support. Once again thanks Bonny
  • 1 Hide
    Benjamin Jimenez , August 30, 2013 10:58 AM
    I think the OUYA has it's company issues, but they are not trying to be like other big companies, they are trying to make their own market. Relying on the current Android market games is no that great of an idea since most games suck. They just need to spend some of that 8.5Mil to have a few good games developed for the console.
  • -2 Hide
    LatanyaRPowell , August 30, 2013 12:57 PM
    my father inlaw just got a new blue Audi TT Convertible only from working parttime online. try this out w­ww.wℴ­rk25.ℂ­ℴm
  • 1 Hide
    megamanx00 , September 4, 2013 1:01 PM
    I'll give you point 3. Sure there's point 1, but I'll remind you that the PS2 launched with Fantavision, yeah, while the Dreams Cast had a great launch line up but still had an early death. As for your other points you seem to be missing the point of the system. Raw power isn't everything as various examples of gaming history will prove. If there truly was no audience it wouldn't have made it's kickstarter goal.

    It's true that it may seem redundant for a game that's been ported over from your phone, but some games just run better with a controller. Nintendo recognizes this which is why they are trying to get some of that OUYA indie spirit goodness on the WiiU like Ittle Dew. OUYA needs to attract the indie developers that can make those new experiences for gamers, to get those indie developers to understand their audience, and perhaps most importantly to help those indie developers earn a decent buck so they can churn out more great games.
  • 0 Hide
    C00lIT , September 16, 2013 8:28 AM
    This is a terrible article and this is not news at all.

    It is an "Opinion" of someone who does not like or own an Ouya.

    Also, it claims that it has failed, when it isn't really the case.


    It's market are young tek savvy people who want a side console to toy around with, plug in to a tv to stream from their computer using xbmc, run emulators or play some 4 player fun games...

    Again, terrible opinion based article that should not have been.

    Better off calling it a negative review, not a claim of failure.
  • 1 Hide
    synapse911 , November 26, 2013 7:52 PM
    Someone please invite Marshall over and show him what the Ouya is all about! Clearly he hasn't got a clue who the makers were targeting and just sounds ignorant in this article. The controller is quite nice aside from the touch pad, and I just finished playing Mario Kart 64 using an emulator. XBMC is virtually flawless on the device and external storage is now supported. While Microsoft and Sony are eliminating backwards compatibility, consoles like the ouya are where old-skool gamers can get their fix and catch the latest episode of Game of Thrones! I for one don't mind tinkering with this open source system and find satisfaction in learning ways to tweak it to my liking. Catch a clue man! This was never meant for the hardcore gamer hell-bent on 4K resolution at max frame rates!
  • 0 Hide
    twistedumbrella , December 2, 2013 7:32 PM
    Why does it seem every article I read on this site about some failure is after stumbling onto the article when searching something I have heard nothing but rave reviews about?
  • 1 Hide
    jnonline , December 20, 2013 5:34 PM
    I believe Jorden Dicks has it right, the OUYA game console may not be for the hardcore gamer but for price you can't beat it. And the fun of playing the indie games, coupled with the fact that there are many game creator software out there that do and will be supporting the OUYA Platform that you just cannot do with PS2, PS3, wii or any of the higher priced game platforms. For what the OUYA is and the fact that it is a new comer to this game console business I v
    believe they should be proud of what they are offering, as it is a game console that can be updated and changed without violating someone's strict TOS (Terms of Service). I say bravo to them and cannot wait for the next big thing they have in store in the future. This is but one man's humble opinion.
  • 0 Hide
    truth123 , January 10, 2014 8:02 AM
    #1 reason it failed. An arrogant self absorbed women as a CEO
  • 1 Hide
    truth123 , January 10, 2014 8:03 AM
    #1 reason it failed. An arrogant self absorbed women as a CEO
  • 0 Hide
    truth123 , January 10, 2014 8:04 AM
    #1 reason it failed. An arrogant self absorbed women as a CEO
  • 0 Hide
    Candy Cab , January 10, 2014 9:39 AM
    So I guess failure now describes a product that is currently doing just fine with no hint of going under any time soon ? It would appear that a lot of "Gamers" have lost sight of what gaming is supposed to be about, you know ....Fun ! The OUYA is not trying nor was it ever going to be competition for the major consoles [ pretty obvious when looking at the hardware] so to make that the comparison is idiotic to say the least. Why is it such an issue for people to actually sit down and enjoy a piece of hardware for what it is and what it can do instead of acting like it was supposed to be something it never could be then slamming it without trying it first? I guess people like cheating themselves out of what could be a lot of fun. Yet these same "gamers" buy the same games over and over on consoles [ sports titles,COD etc] and have no issue with it but piss all over something that offers an experience you can tailor to your liking and enjoy for a long time to come all for the price of a couple of ew console titles.Its definitely your loss!So keep crying about what a waste of money it is etc while others have a blast with their new cheap fun box ;) 
  • 0 Hide
    awm , January 28, 2014 3:54 AM
    The way I remembere it, OUYA was suppose to be the next big thing... It was suppose to be an unique and new way for the game industry and a way to free the games for the users. OUYA was suppose to be what the game boy was, when it came out... But they totally failed. I mean, come on! Give me 8.5 million dollars and hell! I'll for sure give you games what you want! I swear! But here is where I ask myself, what the fuck is OUYA doing with our money?
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