Thursday, 27 June 2013

The Ouya Launches; First Reactions

The little cube has landed, but how rough was the trip?

The little cube that rocked Kickstarter has just been unleashed on the public. The people behind the Ouya have touted it as a much needed different direction for gamers to go in when it comes to get their entertainment. However, does the reality live up to the expectations? A few sites have already weighed in now that anyone can get their hands on the little machine, not just those that endorsed the Kickstarter at a certain level.

Before we get down to the brass tacks I feel that it might be best to get this out of the way first. The Ouya is the kind of system that most people don't have much trouble rooting for. It comes off as the underdog, whether self-styled or just by actual coincidence, it's something that seems to have been made out of a genuine want for something different. I can understand that, it's a noble ambition. However, noble ambitions do not guarantee success.

From what I've seen and heard, the reviews are somewhat mixed. Most agree that as with all new releases that the Ouya still needs a chance to fine its feet, not to mention get a hold of something that will serve as a game to actually move units. After all, what would the NES be without Super Mario Brothers, or the Xbox without Halo.

Before we can even get to that point though, there is one thing that apparently needs to be addressed, and addressed badly: the controllers. The controllers have been a source of contention in the reviews that I've seen, with Jim Sterling from Destructoid saying, "As I got further into games like Deep Dungeons of Doom, however, where timing and precision become more important, the Ouya controller simply is not up to the task," he goes on to say that, "It's reported the controller lag gets worse the further away from the system you get. I was actually playing with the Ouya maybe three feet away from the controller, and still found it insufficient for playing games with any degree of precision."

Considering that controls are the very thing that make interaction with the game possible, having an inadequate controller can mean big trouble, regardless of what system you're dealing with. Although certainly you can swap out for a more standard controller (that's part of the beauty of the system) it's not something that should be necessary, let alone recommended for serious play.

Throughout the review Jim seems a little more lenient than usual towards the flaws, and admittedly there are flaws. Controller, high drive space, lag on games past a certain graphical quality, and yet in the end he resolutely wants to like the system. I think that many people feel the same way as he does, and yet even with a $99 price point, such optimism may be misplaced. I really hope that it isn't, but I'm going off of what I'm seeing here.

That being said, at the same time, I believe that Penny Arcade has hit one reason why people may be buying the system after all rather on the nose:

Of course, advertising this particular feature isn't exactly something that the more legitimate Ouya crowd is too keen on doing. Whether or not the allure of putting emulators and things of that nature on the machine will draw people in, and to that effect whether or not companies will have anything to say about it in the long run, is something that I can only speculate on at the moment. Hopefully it doesn't lead to too much trouble, but I'd expect to be hearing something of it at least.

I do think that it's fair to say that there's potential here. It's very dependant upon whether anyone will want to actuslly utilize the system, and whether or nor gamers will care. I can't be as hopeful as others, but I can wish it the best. Well, Ouya, good luck to ya.

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