Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Happy Ouya Day

Posted by Rampant Coyote on June 25, 2013

I try not to be a cheerleader for the Ouya, but dang it – it’s the first big “indie console.” It’s hard not to be rooting for it.

Today is kind of crucial, as the Ouya is finally being launched to the rest of the world. Sales today may determine whether or not the little console with big dreams turns out to actually be a significant, viable platform for developers, or just a weird Android to consider for a quick port.

All has not gone perfectly. Shipping problems have still left some backers without their systems as of today, which means they did not get their Ouya prior to launch, as promised. They are mostly international orders. I only got mine a week and a half ago, so “prior to launch” wasn’t a big window. I’ve put some additional playtime since my quick take on the Ouya last week, and I really don’t have much more to add. I’m still playing around with it.

It’s still all about the games, and they are coming. 176 are here now, which is an impressive quantity at launch. Quantity? Check. Quality? It’s mixed. But you can almost call that the definition of “indie” right there. That’s the glory and frustration of it all, with no (significant) gatekeepers.

The thing that is really cool about it – for me, as a guy who’s been playing the “indie evangelist” for years – is that these games are in many cases something that wouldn’t have been out of place on older consoles – including the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo (or even older).  Or in the arcades in the late 80s or early 90s. This isn’t a platform limitation, or even a limitation of the game developers (although it might derive from a mandate for making games cheaply). It’s a choice. But even though these games technically could have been on these consoles, in many cases there was nothing exactly like it before.

Yes, you can probably identify the games that are the spiritual ancestors of these titles – as every game out there is based in some way on predecessors. But they are still pretty original,  and plenty of fun. They try to improve upon the examples of the past without getting swamped by high technology. The Ouya will be something of a test-bed to see if we’ve finally reached a state of maturity in this industry where appreciation of a game no longer hinges upon its use of the latest special effects.  It’s been slowly getting there with a gradually growing audience… so maybe the time has come.

And this may only be the beginning. We’ve got the GameStick coming soon, and more games about to make an appearance, and… well. Exciting times. In spite of all the problems and challenges of indies in the modern world, this is the time I used to dream about when I first started trying my hand at making games as an indie. So yeah. I’m rooting for the Ouya.

Early reports claim that Target Online is already sold out of the box, and apparently Amazon is “temporarily out of stock” as well . Amazon is out of stock on controllers, too. Not bad. If you can’t find one a store in your area, you can go to the Ouya order page and either order it direct, or from one of the other sellers. I don’t know if this means its selling like hotcakes, or if – as with the backers – they just couldn’t get the systems shipped fast enough to meet expected demand.

Still, this is a very hopeful news. I don’t know if people really know what they are getting with the Ouya. If not, hopefully they are pleasantly surprised.


Filed Under: Biz, Indie Evangelism - Comments: 8 Comments to Read

  • eedok said,

    I’m still waiting for mine to enter the country, they guaranteed I would get it before retail, but it’s not the case. Hoping their guarantee means something

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Yeah, they biffed that one. I realize it’s not entirely their fault, but they were delayed across the board. I was expecting mine back in April. Anyway, contact them, and hopefully they’ll swing you a free game or something to make it up to you.

  • Jesse Chounard said,

    I got mine today at Best Buy. I’m lucky I ordered online, because the shelves were empty.

    Now I just need my dayjob to calm down so I have time to play with it.

  • Michael A. said,

    I’d love to see the Ouya succeeed, but I think it’s difficult to see how this is going to become a big success. Every platform needs a killer app (or usage); that one thing that it does better than anyone else, if it is going to be successful. Nintendo have their Super Mario; XBox has the Halo franchise, etc, etc. As far as I can see, the Ouya has nothing of the sort.

    Is there anything that one can do with an Ouya, that one can’t do just as well (or better) on another platform? Until there is, it is not going to sell in numbers that will make it a viable platform.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    There are some “exclusives” for Ouya, but I’m not sure what “exclusive” really means in that context. A lot of the time, “exclusives” may mean, “six months before it’s available on another console, but in the meantime it may be available on PC.”

    I mean, most of the time, any game on one platform *could* be done equally well (or better) on another from the same generation, so it’s not about the potential, but on what actually arrives for that console.

    Are any of these a “killer app?”


    I dunno. I honestly don’t know. I’m sure they are trying, though. I think I’d personally have a tough time making a game that was truly an Ouya exclusive *unless* it was a relatively cheap and easy venture… like a side project. That’s not exactly a recipe for a killer app.

  • poopypoo said,

    I dunno, I’m not sure conventional logic applies. I certainly could be wrong, and it may be more significant to retail sales than to internet sales… but here’s my point: ouya appeals not to the Mario crowd, but the Newgrounds crowd. Everyone who wishes their TV played Flash games should be satisfied by the Ouya. Ofc there are critical mass issues to keep the ball rolling, but I can’t see why people who are making Android minigames wouldn’t port them to Ouya, if it stays stable. The company has been able to leverage Kickstarter, so I think it comes down to good management, more than a killer app. The Cream Wolves will come, the bigger question is will Ouya be solvent when they get there? …and that’s my complete guess… ^^;

  • Bad Sector said,

    I’m happy that OUYA is finally released, but i’m skeptic about its future. There seems to be a huge negativity surrounding the console with almost every piece about it being bad (most of them seem to be from people who have no idea about the console and a lot of people who do actually say positive things, but still there is a lot of damage done). I don’t think giving unfinished versions to regular users was a good idea since they can’t distinguish between something that is still in development and is bound to have issues from something that is done.

  • Michael A. said,

    Re: Killer App. I doubt any of those qualify. 🙂

    A killer app is something that would make you buy-in to the platform, simply for the sake of that app. Which usually means that it has to be unavailable on other (better) platforms, or at least unavailable for some amount of time. E.g., when I eventually bought a Wii several years ago, instead of an XBox/PS, it was in large part due to the Super Mario franchise.

    The problem for the Ouya, as you say, is that there is really no way that a killer app gets made – because it requires significant resources (or genius), and there is no incentive for anyone to pour that kind of effort into the system, other than the Ouya folks themselves. But then again, most killer apps for a platform are developed in-house – this is true for any new platform. It seems to me that the Ouya folks basically feel that “openness” is going to be their “killer app”, but fail to understand that most people don’t really care all that much about openness.

    Maybe ppp is right, and conventional logic doesn’t apply. It would certainly be revolutionary if that turns out to be the case, but it would be a good revolution.

    My main thoughts for why this is unlikely to be the case is
    1. Would you recommend the Ouya to anyone? Currently, I can’t personally think of a reason why I’d suggest an Ouya to anyone (or at least non any non-developer/techie). That – it seems to me – is a really big problem (which goes back to the no killer app/use-case = no reason to buy it).

    2. I think the “Want to play phone games on my TV” market is hugely overrated. In general, it boggles the mind for me why anyone would want to play a phone game on the TV, when they could do simply do so on their tablet (and not disturb everyone else in the room).

    3. As an Android developer, I don’t see any reason why I would port my games to the Ouya. Firstly, it is not as small and effort to port as people seem to think; a touch screen and a gamepad are NOT the same thing, people. Secondly, even if the effort to port was relatively small, there is still effort involved. Unless sales/conversions on the Ouya are uncommonly strong, a 100K platform users are not going to be worth the effort.

    I’d love to be proven wrong, though.