Jul 11, 2012

Is the Ouya console going to do what Apple TV and Google TV could not, and do it for $99?

If you haven't heard of it, Ouya is an Android powered, inexpensive game box that is in the midst of a kickstarter campaign that has raised well over $2 million at last count. It has 1GB of RAM, a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, and, as noted, runs on Android. The idea is to bring Android games, which are much, much cheaper than console games, into the living room. I personally don't think the quality of most Android and iOS games is comparable to console games, but then again $0.99 instead of $50 can make me forgive a lot. Anyway, if it is Android based, it seems that it would be a simple thing to integrate Android apps beyond games into the living room, even though at the moment I think Ouya is just looking at native games and ports of existing games. Stream Netflix, check your Google calendar, edit some docs, read email, IT World, etc., easily and simply on your flatscreen TV. Sure you can do a lot of that now either through an expensive game console or hooking up your laptop, but that costs more, doesn't have the capabilities of a smartphone/pad, or is simply a hassle. I think Ouya is a clever idea, but can it succeed where Google and Apple so far have not?


You miss stated that “Apple so far have not”, however the Apple TV has not yet been opened up to developers. If Apple introduce a Bluetooth game controller and enable 3rd party development and distribution through the App Store, I suspect they will own the indie space.  Ouya looks great, but they have yet to face their biggest challenge.

It's an interesting project, but I doubt it will have much of an impact. How will it be sold? Who will provide customer support and service? The Apple TV is sold at all Apple stores, and Apple has a world class customer service operating. Eventually I think we'll see iOS games and apps offered on it. When that happens I think this new Ouya product will probably get blown out of the water.

At $100 it would almost be worth picking up as an impulse purchase.  I am definitely intrigued by Ouya, and I wish that the projected ship date wasn't next year.  It will be interesting to see how broad the appeal will be for an inexpensive device like this, it could potentially bring a combined media experience into the home in a way that hasn't yet occurred IF the actual device works well.  I would suspect the odds are pretty good for that, since they are not really developing new technology, and there are already tons of Android developers out there that can fill out the game/app catalogue quickly and at low cost.  Apparently a bunch of other people think so too, judging from the article on the front page if ITWorld about the millions of dollars that have been raised.      

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