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Ouya Android Game Console Launches, Quickly Sells Out 279

Posted by Soulskill
from the consoles-that-double-as-tennis-balls dept.
Ouya, the Android-based game console that arose out of a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign, officially launched today. The $99 device quickly sold out at a number of retailers, including Amazon and GameStop. "According to Ouya, the console currently has more than 170 downloadable games, as well as a built-in software development kit that enables people to create and test titles right from the hardware." Many reviews of the console suggest the controllers are not very good, and there are reports that the Wi-Fi connectivity can be flaky. There's also a lot of commentary about Ouya that clearly came from unrealistic expectations of what a $99 device can provide. Most of the backers from the Kickstarter campaign have received their consoles, but some are still waiting as Ouya tries to sort out shipping problems with DHL.
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Ouya Android Game Console Launches, Quickly Sells Out

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  • by BasilBrush (643681) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @03:31PM (#44104875)

    The information "sold out" means nothing unless we know how many they released.

    • by danomac (1032160)

      Well, I preordered mine June 14, and I still got one. I got notification yesterday that it was shipped out. Maybe there was a surge of last minute orders? Also, I ordered it from Amazon.ca - maybe not many Canadians are ordering it. The original proposed delivery date was July 5th for me, so I was a little surprised I was going to see it today or tomorrow...

      I can't wait until I get it. Price was right, some of the games right now look to be interesting, and others are still in development.

      • by danomac (1032160)

        I just went and looked, amazon.ca still lists it as in stock.

        • I was going to order one, but with the early reports of problems with controllers, and wireless. Then thinking about summer coming soon and wanting to get outside and enjoy the nice weather. I decided to hold off, and think about it again in September.
          Maybe I will get myself one for my birthday.
  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @03:34PM (#44104925)

    Are people so trained on sub-par, cheap Asian electronics that there's an expectation of suckage on a device that "only" costs $99 ? Is $99 the new throwaway price, where you use something, expect it to fail, then go buy another one? It's the Walmart generation I guess.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @03:47PM (#44105083)

      Heh. I used to have this daily ritual that started when I bought a complete piece-of-shit rice cooker from Walmart. I'd walk to Walmart, rice cooker in hand, to get a replacement unit. Walk home, plug it in, and poof! Rice cooker go boom. I think this kept up for just over a week before they finally got sick of me (and lord knows who else) and pulled all the things off the shelves.

      The replacement (an Oster or some such) never failed me.

    • by kamapuaa (555446)

      It's not so much that it's $99, it's that it's being compared on an equal basis to products that are $200-$500.

      • by Holladon (1620389)

        I don't think it's being compared on an equal basis, but probably on a fairly weighted basis. You can get an Xbox 360 with 4GB of storage for $199 (the Ouya has 8GB of storage, so the 250GB Xbox is a further-out comparison), and that machine can play absolutely any modern game disc with all the eye-popping graphics and bells and whistles that come with them, as well as any modern DVD, if you still watch movies using physical media (in addition to Xbox Live, if things like multiplayer functionality and Netfl

        • by aztracker1 (702135) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @06:22PM (#44107005) Homepage
          I bought the Ouya specifically because my anticipation was that it would be a better legacy platform emulator for old ROMs (SNES, NES, Sega, etc) than what has happened with the likes of the Wii, XBox and PlayStation consoles... and I was right. It isn't perfect, but definitely a pretty smooth operation. I'm not a huge fan of the controllers (I just got mine in about a week ago, and got it hooked up on Saturday evening, though it's been pretty fun so far.

          It's a lot harder to play some of those old games than I remember it being as a kid. I do wish the "Discover" area had a better interface, with better classifications around. I also wish that you could see a "video presentation" stream of a given game without having to install it first, some of them are pretty big when you only have 8GB of space available.

          Also, I would expect to see a "Media" category with the likes of Netflix, Revision 3, and other video services soon enough. I think that this box has a lot to offer, and even centering on games, the entertainment and more social (online co-op gaming) aspects have barely been touched.
      • by Kjella (173770)

        Whatever, if they were complaining about things like what the Wii was to the XB360 and PS3 that'd be one thing but when you get quotes like

        Sadly, it's also presently an ungainly mess of a consumer product that requires more work than it's worth to get the most out of it.

        The controller sounds nice on paper, but it's sadly close to being outright junk. The touchpad is the worst touchpad I've ever used.

        That is real hardware and software usability issues, not just lack of eye candy. It's an entertainment device, if it's more annoying and frustrating than entertaining it'll be a $99 paperweight.

    • I think the problem was the opposite: given the hype, people expected this to be on par with the xbox one or xbox 360 at least. From the reviews I've read, it's actually on par with... a smartphone.

      Which is still actually pretty good given that a smartphone costs six times as much and doesn't have a real controller.
      • , people expected this to be on par with the xbox one or xbox 360 at least.

        Well, I guess those expectations were exceeded then; No DRM. Can share games with friends. Doesn't require an internet connection. Doesn't spy on you and send pics to the NSA of you naked walking from the shower to bathroom...

      • Given that a smartphone can run GTA, then it is at least on par with an XBox. And it is closer to the 360 in power than the original XBox.

      • I would put it ahead of the Wii U and the PS/2... Though the game selection, and UI need some real work. I think it is entirely possible to work this out though.
    • by mcmonkey (96054)

      Are people so trained on sub-par, cheap Asian electronics that there's an expectation of suckage on a device that "only" costs $99 ? Is $99 the new throwaway price, where you use something, expect it to fail, then go buy another one? It's the Walmart generation I guess.

      Different features set doesn't mean "suckage" or "throwaway." Do you expect the Rav4 to have the same features and capacity as a Land Cruiser? I don't. That doesn't mean if I bought a new Rav4 I'd expect it to quickly fail, and I'd ust buy another one when it does. It means, when I pay less than one third the price, I expect to get to less.

      Likewise, the folks that expect less from a $99 console than they'd expect from a $400 console don't necessarily expect the cheaper one to be disposable or "sub-par,

      • by hedwards (940851)

        Precisely, the issue here was one of cost and what was being provided.

        The promises were way too big for what they could provide for $100. I have an onLive miniconsole that was retailing for $100 and it's actually pretty nice. But, the rendering is done offsite and the controller doesn't have a touch pad in it. Not sure that I would have bought it, but they gave it to me for free, so what the hell.

    • by MBGMorden (803437)

      What sucks is that it really doesn't cost THAT much more to make a good product.

      We live in a world that is not only incredibly stupid, but wasteful. They'd rather buy a $99 widget that they replace every single year than a $140 one that will last a decade.

      "Hey, it's cheaper" has become the rallying cry of or society with not even the slightest bit of attention focused on actual quality.

      • by crakbone (860662)
        Right now our technology is still rapidly expanding. Ten years for a p/c video card is super old. Ten years for a game console is out of date. xbox, playstation 2 and the game cube were the platforms of choice in 2003. HDMI didn't really come out till 2006 and the US started the transition to digital in 2009. So even your television is out of date. The average internet speed of residential was 263 kps. The Iphone did not even come out till 2007 and the US shutdown analog phones in 2008 so even the c
  • is that Sascha Segan is a douche who can't comprehend the difference between a device at $100 and others at $500-$700.
  • People would be complaining about the shape, and the fact that it doesn't use Phillips screws.

  • by Frag-A-Muffin (5490) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @03:46PM (#44105069) Homepage

    that hasn't recevied their ouya yet :(

    Early backer from day 1. Was hoping to get mine BEFORE retail to develop on. Guess I should have got the dev edition at $699?! Hrm. /me fustrated

  • by mattso (578394) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @03:47PM (#44105091)

    I got my Ouya a few weeks ago. I feel sorry for the people that were part of the Kickstarter but haven't gotten theirs. I had a tracking number for weeks but the US Post office delivered it before the tracking number ever was recognized. DHL from Hong Kong is not exactly a good shipping partner. They took the cheap route on shipping and it looks like it really hurt them. Doing order fulfillment from HK was a mistake. They should have bulk shipped them to the US and shipped them out from here.

    As for it's value as a game console. It's kind of disappointing. I've yet to actually pay money for any games, since not one of the demo versions were interesting enough. While the Tegra 3 is a decent chip, somehow they have managed to make it have about the same power as an old SNES. Oddly enough Final Fantasy 3 is one of the few name brand titles. A best seller on the SNES.

    As as platform for Android development (one of the reasons I got it) it is fairly disappointing. Their "every game has a demo" model pretty much means anyone developing for it is giving them free content. It' is rare that a game will convince me with a great demo. More often than not a demo just gives me enough to know it is not worth buying.

    It also has strange issues with it's sleep mode/power on (I almost always have to walk up and press the button on the top). The gamepad feels awful. The box itself is not exactly easy to place in the living room.

    It does seems like a good addition to my collection of failed consoles though, joining my Atari Jaguar and 3DO (among others).

    • I was also a backer.

      I think the most compelling example of how bad the controls are is to compare the 'pinball arcade' game they have to the PC or mac version.

      On the PC or Mac the flippers work instantaneously and the game is quite fun.

      On the Ouya it is unplayable, with half second latencies, it is almost impossible to pull back the plunger to start the ball, etc.

      • Have you tried pairing a different controller? I mean, it's one kind of fiasco if they shipped with a bad controller. That can be fixed in future versions, or by the user (with a purchase, which stinks, but hey: bleeding edge is aptly named). If it is the OS that causes the latency, they may be able to fix it. So, option two is bad, but still salvageable. If they shipped hardware that causes serious latency in basic games, then it's pretty dead.

        • I think it has to be the game in question... though I haven't played any games that make use of the lower triggers, it's the only thing I've played with nearly that kind of lag... and that's with relatively new setup, with all the recent updates.
    • by tlhIngan (30335) <.slashdot. .at. .worf.net.> on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @05:04PM (#44106171)

      As as platform for Android development (one of the reasons I got it) it is fairly disappointing. Their "every game has a demo" model pretty much means anyone developing for it is giving them free content. It' is rare that a game will convince me with a great demo. More often than not a demo just gives me enough to know it is not worth buying.

      If that's the case, the free-to-play model will come to Ouya like it has Android and iOS.

      The only real reason I want an Ouya? Emulators. Stick in a MAME for Android emulator on there and a USB hard drive full of ROMs, and you've got a nice gaming machine right there. The controller could be better I suppose, but meh, it's one of the few ways to play arcade games on your big screen with controller, without having to set up a PC and front end and all that.

      • This was exactly why I got mine, not for MAME as much as the platformers (SNES, Genesis, etc).. been a lot of fun so far on that front... but outside of that, not nearly as useful. As an emulator platform, it's the best option I've ever had bar none. I've got an HTPC and every time I've thought about getting an emulator front end setup, just seemed like too much work... with the Ouya it's a single hardware platform, so don't have to worry nearly so much about controller setups.
  • by Nyder (754090) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @03:51PM (#44105151) Journal

    While I haven't yet used a controller that has a touchpad on it, I have used touchpads on numerous computing devices over the decades. They suck. While I'm sure it seems like a great alternative to having an actual touchscreen on the controller, it's not. You have analog sticks on the controller, if you need to control a mouse, then use a stick.

    It's almost as bad as the idea of using your phone or tablet with playing games on your PC or console. Here you are, with your hands full either mouse/keyboard or gamepad, and then you need to drop that to use the smartphone or tablet to do stuff (inventory, whatever)? Really?

    Sometimes I don't think real gamers are the one designing these products. I guess that is too much to hope for?

    • I don't get that either... I really wish I just had an extra button/toggle to use a stick as the mouse pointer... the sticks even have a button to "click"... the touchpad is really sensitive and very hard to use.
  • by goffster (1104287) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @04:04PM (#44105331)

    It will get sued for patent infringement.

  • Lots of articles have been posted about XBMC on Ouya, but most of them have to do with early adopter Kickstarter backers sideloading XBMC onto the device, with promises that performance will be better when the real version ships. So, it's launch day. How's the XBMC? Does it stream Blu-Ray ISOs well? I think I speak for many people when I say this is the only reason we are interested in Ouya.
    • Tried sideloading the latest version on Saturday night, and it crashed whenever I tried to add a network share.. :-(
    • by RanceJustice (2028040) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @09:50PM (#44108503)

      The Ouya's ability to act as a networked media player (including from SMB shares) is one of the main reason I backed the project. I was in the market for a "WDTV" like device and figured that the added openness and game-friendliness were great bonuses for the price!

      When my Ouya arrived a few weeks back, I loaded and installed XBMC using the AOSP Browser that is installed under the "make" tab. It is very important to note that the mainstream XBMC package, even the XBMC for Android and/or ARM etc.. did not support hardware acceleration on the Ouya. There was a very specific Nightly version compiled to be compatible with the Ouya's hardware - at the time, it was " xbmc-20130604-249ada1-Gotham_alpha4SF-armeabi-v7a.apk ". There is likely a newer one now. I encourage you to check the XBMC forums and find the Ouya threads, and also head over to XDA Developers who have Ouya boards that are involved in more advanced hacking around the Ouya in general - there are instructions there for how to get the Play store working, and lots of others etc..

      Once installed, XBMC is easily activated from the Ouya's "Make" screen (where all Sideloaded items go at the moment) and works very well. It plays 1080p mkv content w/ subtitles perfectly, thus far, from Samba shares hosted on the local network. There may be a few issues with very particular setups (ie I hear DTS passthrough isn't active yet), but on average it seems to work well. There were a few recoverable crashes here and there, but nothing I wouldn't expect on any alpha build - its very workable. I am to understand it will only grow to be a better experience. I expect in the future as it matures for the Ouya, well vetted builds will be included in the Ouya Store to make installing XBMC more accessible to Joe User.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      So far, for me, it's pretty good but crashes when playing some things which I can actually play in XBMC on my 2011 SEMC Xperia Play... On the other hand, when it's not crashing it's a hell of a lot nicer to use than XBMC on RasPi because it's far more responsive.

      My biggest problem with the unit so far is that the scaler is underutilized. If your display does not handle one of the two "native" (weasel words for hand-picked, since only one of them is a standard native resolution) resolutions then you wind up

  • Looks interesting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rob_Bryerton (606093) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @05:16PM (#44106357) Homepage
    I'll probably pick one up when Amazon has them back in stock. I like the idea of an underpowered console, as weird as that sounds.

    RANT
    Modern mainstream games (360 and PS3 I'm specifically referring to) just suck. Endless rehashes with overblown budgets, 10 million polys per frame that look pretty great, but the games themselves pretty much just bore me to tears. 0 substance. Not to even mention the $60 price-tag for these overrated, over-hyped, disappointing excuses for a game. I'm not even using my 360 or PS3 these days, they just sit there. I'm no longer willing to give MS, Sony or the big publishers one more cent, or even a minute of my time. They just disgust me. AAA to me means "stay far away", it's rehashed vanilla crap for the masses. Actually, modern mainstream games remind me of Hollywood (that's not a compliment, BTW).
    /RANT

    Anyways, I like the idea of a console released by a small company that anyone can write games for, and I plan on supporting them with a purchase. I think it's a huge plus that there's no Call of Boredom or Gears of Boredom type games on this platform.

    Wait a few days until actual retail buyers get the units in their hands. Right now on Amazon for example, the majority of the reviewers are kickstarter people, and half of those are whiners who are surprised they didn't get the thing delivered on a silver platter w/a complementary BJ. The sense of entitlement that some of these kickstarters display is pretty sickening. It got to the point reading the Amazon reviews where, when I saw the word "kickstarter", I immediately skipped to the next review.

    If I've learned one thing, that is the fact that you don't buy rev. 1 of *any* tech related product. I've got better things to do w/my time than pay to alpha test hardware/firmware/software.

    Congrats on the release OUYA! I wish you the best of luck.
  • by bentwonk2 (2793825) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @05:45PM (#44106683)
    I am a kickstarter backer, last I heard was "thank you for the money, here is a receipt number", I received no other communication let alone the infamous tracking number. My experience directly contradicts Operations Chief Ken Stephens public statement that "All of these units HAVE left Hong Kong, and you have received your tracking email." I suspect I am not the only one.
    • by Teancum (67324)

      In fairness, these guys are still pretty much new to dealing with these issues. None of this is surprising if you were dealing with a new start-up company, of which Ouya and their employees clearly are. I'll admit that they need to work through the issues related to Kickstarter backers as well as anybody else who pre-ordered the game units, but they haven't really had time to sort things out.

      You are expecting them to behave like some fictional being (superman, a god, or whatever) when in fact they are jus

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