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Ouya Dropping 'Free-to-Play' Requirement 107

Posted by Soulskill
from the free-as-in-pay-me dept.
itwbennett writes: "One of the Ouya micro-consoles's selling points has been that you can sample every game for free. That requirement is going away soon. In a recent blog post, Ouya's Bob Mills said, 'In the coming weeks, we're going to let devs choose if they want to charge up front for their games. Now they'll be able to choose between a free-to-try or paid model.' Good news for developers, perhaps not as good for customers. 'Maybe this new policy will attract new developers that can offer something compelling enough to be a system seller,' writes blogger Peter Smith."
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Ouya Dropping 'Free-to-Play' Requirement

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  • Dumb move... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @11:31AM (#46574851) Homepage

    They are a barely alive gaming platform and they are starting remove features they were built upon...

    Not smart.

    • Re:Dumb move... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by SirAstral (1349985) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @11:35AM (#46574893)

      Maybe you operate from a foreign dictionary.

      "Requirements" and "Features" are very different things.

      In regards to this article I am focused on pay vs free.

      They never should have made this a requirement... I want open, so that people can charge nothing OR what ever the heck they like!

      • Re:Dumb move... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @11:39AM (#46574925) Homepage

        I'm guessing you know nothing about OUYA. they started this as a selling point for the whole platform. It was one of the underlying features ans selling points of the platform.

        • by noh8rz10 (2716597)

          this is the best possible move for the platform. customers win when they can play great games that they feel are a reasonable price. OUYA is giving devs freedom to experiment with different ways to pay. the best games and ways to pay will float to the top. As somebody who invested a couple hundred $$ into onlive, I'm a big fan of online gaming.

          • by iamhassi (659463)

            this is the best possible move for the platform. customers win when they can play great games that they feel are a reasonable price. OUYA is giving devs freedom to experiment with different ways to pay. the best games and ways to pay will float to the top. As somebody who invested a couple hundred $$ into onlive, I'm a big fan of online gaming.

            Maybe, but OUYA still received $8 million in funding with the promise that "ALL GAMES FREE TO PLAY" [kickstarter.com]. The fact that they're going back on their promise now makes every kickstarter campaign look bad.

            Whether the games are free or not is the not the reason OUYA is failing, the reasons are obvious: [tomsguide.com] it doesn't play regular android games (game must be OUYA compatiable), poor controller, it's slower than modern smartphones and tablets, and when you can just plug your tablet or smartphone into your TV why buy a

          • by blackicye (760472)

            this is the best possible move for the platform. customers win when they can play great games that they feel are a reasonable price. OUYA is giving devs freedom to experiment with different ways to pay. the best games and ways to pay will float to the top. As somebody who invested a couple hundred $$ into onlive, I'm a big fan of online gaming.

            That is the theory, the reality is that the kickstarters are already feeling screwed over from the launch, and they are the ones that "believe" the most in the platfo

        • Re:Dumb move... (Score:4, Informative)

          by LoRdTAW (99712) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @12:14PM (#46575267)

          Sometimes you have to compromise. They spent an awful lot of time working on this project. And I am sure they don't want to let the ship sink because of past ideologies they held dear. If it brings them more devs and gets the platform rolling, so be it.

        • A "Requirement" is a requirement. Does not and never will be the same as a "Feature" no matter how much you wish it to be or if you fall for someone "Advertising" it as such either! This is more akin to false advertising not feature removal! Removing Linux from PS3 was "Feature" removal! Allowing devs to now charge for their games is more of a "FEATURE ADD" if it did not exist beforehand.

          There is a reason we produce something called a dictionary.
          To help people to call things what they should and should

          • Often, what is a "requirement" from the point of view of a developer is a "feature" from the point of view of the user and vice versa.
          • A "Requirement" is a requirement. Does not and never will be the same as a "Feature"

            That's just completely wrong. A feature of my car is that only a keyholder can get in and start it, which makes it more difficult to steal than, say, an unlocked bicycle. A requirement of my car is you need a key to get in and start it, which makes it marginally less convenient to use than, say, an unlocked bicycle. Thus, car keys are both a feature and a requirement.

            Moreover, a thing can be a feature for one party and a requirement for another. For instance, government forms in my country have the feat

      • "Requirements" and "Features" are very different things.

        I don't know if you really had a point to make with this sentence. As a customer he considered it a feature that all games were free-to-play. As a developer, if you wanted to make a game for Ouya you had a requirement to make it free-to-play.

        Lumpy's point is that by removing that requirement from developers they are removing a feature that drew customers to the platform in the first place.

        Whether that was an intelligent move is a different matter.

      • It was a requirement for developers, it was a feature for end users.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      They already killed it; Ouya is becoming a software platform that'll run on other Android devices, and the existing microconsole is probably going to gradually go away. If they have to compete with Google Play, they need to drop anything that developers might not like.

      • by blackicye (760472)

        If they have to compete with Google Play, they need to drop anything that developers might not like.

        That is really the problem, they will never be able to compete with Google Play as far as installed base goes, the smartphones alone will be a bigger draw for developers, who will at most support the Ouya platform in parallel, if a market still exists.

        And they are about to put a hole into their own market and start taking on water.

    • by Threni (635302)

      I don't think anyone cares if they drop this. People aren't going to hear about this platform for the first time and say "wait, I have a sneaking suspicion that previously I'd have been able to play a free sample of all games, not just some games, and that makes me less likely to want to play games on it".

      • by PRMan (959735)
        I've been thinking about this platform and whether to buy it for a long time. I am less likely to buy it after hearing this news.
      • by blackicye (760472)

        don't think anyone cares if they drop this. People aren't going to hear about this platform for the first time and say "wait, I have a sneaking suspicion that previously I'd have been able to play a free sample of all games, not just some games, and that makes me less likely to want to play games on it".

        I don't think anyone really cares about the Ouya. The one person I know who owns one got it from the kickstarter and hasn't unpacked it from the shipping box yet.

    • They are a barely alive gaming platform and they are starting remove features they were built upon...

      On the other hand, requiring developers to offer "free to play" versions of their games makes the platform less attractive to them, and a console is nothing without developers.

  • Awesome! (Score:4, Informative)

    by drunkennewfiemidget (712572) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @11:33AM (#46574875) Homepage

    When I was one of the first few hundred to sign up for their kickstarter and then received my unit well after I could have purchased it for the same price at Best Buy, I was done.

    Then, when it took them another 3-4 weeks to get me my other controller, I sold it on the Internet like I did the Ouya and first controller.

    I've heard nothing but complaints about it, and now they're removing one of the only promises they've actually kept to this point.

    What a way to blow through millions of dollars. It'll be dead in a year. And I say good riddance.

    • When I was one of the first few hundred to sign up for their kickstarter and then received my unit well after I could have purchased it for the same price at Best Buy, I was done.

      Then, when it took them another 3-4 weeks to get me my other controller, I sold it on the Internet like I did the Ouya and first controller.

      I've heard nothing but complaints about it, and now they're removing one of the only promises they've actually kept to this point.

      What a way to blow through millions of dollars. It'll be dead in a year. And I say good riddance.

      +1 for similar experiences. I was also early on the Kickstarter, and my model showed up with a bad HDMI solder. When I found out how long it would take to get a replacement, and that I couldn't walk into the aforementioned big box store and swap it out, I decided to fix the solder myself. Then it worked...but the controller rattled because of a broken tab, which would occasionally cause a button to stick as well as just being purely annoying. Build quality control did not seem to be a priority. I never

  • Good news for me. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Speaking from personal experience, "Free to play" games generally are not even close to free. It's pay to play, rent your EXISTING equipment, pay to win, pay for upgrades, the list goes on. So for me this makes the platform more appealing.

    I like my games to be 1 transaction (The purchase) and it's done. Expansion packs are okay too.

    • by noh8rz10 (2716597)

      +1 clever. I agree we should re-name "free to play" as "pay to win".

      • by thegarbz (1787294)

        The two are not the same. A lot of people confuse pay-to-win with pay-to-alleviate-frustration.

        Think Candy Crush. I've had plenty of people tell me that it's pay-to-win. That's new to me. I've been playing it for a long time now and they haven't seen a single cent. Yes a few levels may take a few days to pass but that in no way means I NEED to part with money to move on.

        People don't have the patience for hard games anymore and think that because there's an easy pay option to progress it automatically means

        • by noh8rz10 (2716597)

          People don't have the patience for hard games anymore and think that because there's an easy pay option to progress it automatically means pay-to-win.

          disagree. response is self evident, don't have time to type it out.

          • by thegarbz (1787294)

            pay-to-win in the terms people to use is means pay-to-progress with no alternative. You can disagree all you like. I have played many games and continue to play many free to play games that people will call pay-to-win.

            Eventually I win, and as I told the last person who thought I was in denial, I may be in denial, but so far I haven't yet paid a single cent instead opting not to "buy cheats", something which has been available for many years.

            • by noh8rz10 (2716597)

              old games would be hard, but they were designed to reward you for hard work. in short, they were balanced so big time investment provided big rewards (e.g. lots of fun/satisfaction). free-to-win games are tuned so a big time investment is supposed to be frustrating, so the best way to get rewards is to pay. congratulations, you invested many hours to get something that another person got in 30 seconds. you could also spend time reordering your books from tallest to shortest. would this provide a reward? wou

              • by noh8rz10 (2716597)

                fuck, i'm an idiot. I meant pay-to-win, not free-to-win.

              • by thegarbz (1787294)

                No different than buying a not to play the game for you. I'm still not sure where you get the idea that pay-to-cheat is new. The only thing new is that the money goes to the game designer rather than some third party programmer. The satisfaction is getting to the next round. If anything I'm more satisfied than the person who just spent $1 to advance to an even harder round he can't win.

    • by Laxori666 (748529) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @12:01PM (#46575159) Homepage
      It's not free-to-play though it's free-to-try, as in, a demo. Like the shareware of old. They would require each game to have a shareware version, but now they have removed this requirement.
    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      I think the general idea is that the game had to be free to try, but not that it had to be free to play the whole thing. This is actually one of the aspects that I really like about the Microsoft App store (for my Surface 2 - not pro). Many apps have a free trial period where you can download and try them out for free, so you can decide if they are really worth the money. I've used this feature more than a few times and often this is what gets them the sale. If an app doesn't have a free trial, I'm very ca
    • ODK IAP [devs.ouya.tv] supports two kinds of in-app purchases, which lead to very different free-to-play designs.
      Entitlements
      This represents the shareware/expansion model: buy a feature once for a particular e-mail address and keep it. For example, Id Software could choose to put Doom in the store, with "Knee-Deep in the Dead" free. It would have an entitlement called "Ultimate Doom" containing "The Shores of Hell", "Inferno", and "Thy Flesh Consumed". It would have a second entitlement called "Doom II".
      Consumables
      These
      • by hendrips (2722525)

        And that's fine. I'm happy to purchase a game that is in the first category.

        Unfortunately, the instant I hear the phrase "free-to-play," I assume that I'm dealing with the second category. I doubt I would have purchased an Ouya anyway, but the animadversion triggered by the phrase "free-to-play" kept me from even considering it.

    • by rasmusbr (2186518)

      One scheme that would be fair and nice for the gamer would be if games were free to download and play, but only the first chapter (or equivalent).

      For example I would pay a dollar or two to play one game of Civilization 5 on a tablet. I'm not likely to ever play more than two or three games of a Civ before I have to go into detox, so it would save me a lot of money v.s. buying the whole game for $40.

  • The best they can hope for is to become a darling of the libre crowd. As a market, they're done.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The reviews for the Ouya are split between "5 stars: It runs emulators and XBMC really well" and "1 star: It sucks for anything else".
     
    The market has already spoken. They don't want a cheap console where they have to pay for games.

    • by tepples (727027)

      The market has already spoken. They don't want a cheap console where they have to pay for games.

      Then why hasn't the gaming market shifted from consoles, which are partly subsidized by the expectation of royalties collected from licensed developers, to set-top PCs?

      • Because people want an Xbox or Playstation not some crummy Ouya.

      • What he probably meant was "super cheap console" with low budget and/or low quality games intended for phones/tablets.

        The "real" consoles are a different market.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Ouya: the bitcoin of the console world.

  • "Customers" (Score:2, Funny)

    by CanHasDIY (1672858)

    Now they'll be able to choose between a free-to-try or paid model.' Good news for developers, perhaps not as good for customers.

    Customers?

    Like, all of both of them?

    • Customers?
      Like, all of both of them?

      Who bought the other one? To be honest, I rather like mine.

      • by Belial6 (794905)
        Me too. I don't play it all the time, but it was $100 well spent. If it supported CEC, I would happily buy an Ouya 2.
  • by GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @11:51AM (#46575045)
    Besides the clunky controller, and the chicken and the egg problem of no developers...

    The main problem with the OUYA is that it does nothing you can't get from a cell phone plugged into a TV with bluetoothed controllers.

    Everyone has a cell phone, so the OUYA just seems redundant.
    • by aardvarkjoe (156801) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @12:14PM (#46575265)

      Well, assuming that you have a cell phone that matches the Ouya in power. And that you like having to tether it to your TV every time you want to play a game.

      Also, while there's no fundamental reason why developers couldn't release a game that is optimized for controller play on a TV that runs on your standard Android phone, in practice that is not what has happened. They seem to be hoping to change that by allowing Ouya games to run on other Android platforms, but that's still on the horizon.

      There were some serious mistakes made in the design and marketing for Ouya, but I like mine and have bought a fair number of games. It's not "redundant."

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Or the fact that you can buy a refurb/used Xbox360 or PS3 for the same price and get far more and far better games?

      I was in the kickstarter, and discovered that the whole platform was doomed from day one. All of their promises and "Features" have now disappeared.

      • by Svartalf (2997)

        Refurbished X-Box 360 or PS3? For $100? I don't know where YOU shop, but pretty much everywhere locally and online are selling refurbs for $150-200 on either console. Now, I'll agree the premise you're talking to is more sound at this time (Because the budget difference is realistically minimal...), but the concept they were aiming for was the best of the best in the Indie space making titles that were try before you buy for free. For all of the PS3 and X-Box 360 being "better" (Which, by they way, if

        • by Lumpy (12016)

          EB games. $99 for an xbox 360 with one controller.

          What moron would pay full retail of $200 for a used Xbox360?

    • Price and search (Score:4, Informative)

      by tepples (727027) <tepples AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @01:07PM (#46575827) Homepage Journal

      The main problem with the OUYA is that it does nothing you can't get from a cell phone plugged into a TV with bluetoothed controllers.

      It's cheaper than buying a new unlocked Android phone with HDMI out (which not all of them have) and buying such a Bluetooth controller. Or are you assuming that people already carry an Android phone with HDMI out? Besides, does Google Play Store yet support searching for games that support a Bluetooth controller? Support for the OUYA controller is a given on the OUYA store. Games on Google Play Store are more likely to support the touch screen and leave Bluetooth controllers as an afterthought.

      Everyone has a cell phone

      I have a cell phone, but it's not one that runs Android. I can't seem to figure out how to get any games for my Audiovox 8610 on Virgin Mobile other than the blackjack game and the Hansel and Gretel-themed Columns clone called Magic Hexa that came with it.

      • Gee dude and I thought my AT&T Fusion 1 was ancient. Look, head on over to your local store, pick up a cheap android go-phone. Do NOT activate it via the phone...do it via the web...then you can choose a non-smartphone plan.

        You'll be limited to wi-fi for smartphone features, but it will still be more versatile than that 10 year old relic. Jaysus, that thing doesn't even do music! Even my old Razr v3xx had that.

    • by Svartalf (2997)

      Heh... This presumes two things:

      * You've got a high-end ($700-900 retail...) cell phone that you're willing to use for this purpose.
      * Said high-end phone doesn't bake itself running continuous duty at peak clock.

      The Ouya and MadCatz MOJO are dedicated set-top devices- with fans and all. They're not designed for mobile service and are designed to actually put out peak operation continuously. A cell phone's not designed for that abuse. It can only really do it part of the time- and they're expecting you t

    • The main problem with the OUYA

      Yep, I do test some of my Android stuff with bluetooth gamepads and TVs, so that part of porting to OUYA isn't a big deal. The primary problems I had with OUYA development be two fold:

      0. Free to play means taking the time to create a demo version, and the effort is barely worth it because:
      1. Cheap games are impulse purchases. Once curiosity is sated by the demo, the drive to purchase is gone.

      For my wares, screenshots and videos drive hype and result in sales; Demos largely do not, and frequently decrease

  • by raydobbs (99133) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @11:53AM (#46575073) Homepage Journal

    The big problem with the Ouya is that there is no really good exclusive out there to show people what the console can really be pushed to do. So you have a lot of half-hearted ports from other platforms, pretty much limiting the sales of the product to people who haven't purchased any recent computer, game console, phone or tablet (very few indeed).

    Frankly, Ouya needs to pick a product that is distinctly their market - nurture and help it be THE GAME on the Ouya to own, a reason to buy the console and controllers. Really showcasing what the system can do with the hardware its got will bring developers looking to 'one-up' that product and it really would have a shot.

    Right now - its a no-mans land of retreads and badly written indie games. And I can say this as someone looking to release a product on the Ouya.

    • The big problem with the Ouya is that there is no really good exclusive out there to show people what the console can really be pushed to do. So you have a lot of half-hearted ports from other platforms, pretty much limiting the sales of the product to people who haven't purchased any recent computer, game console, phone or tablet (very few indeed).

      Frankly, Ouya needs to pick a product that is distinctly their market - nurture and help it be THE GAME on the Ouya to own, a reason to buy the console and controllers. Really showcasing what the system can do with the hardware its got will bring developers looking to 'one-up' that product and it really would have a shot.

      Right now - its a no-mans land of retreads and badly written indie games. And I can say this as someone looking to release a product on the Ouya.

      With that said I wish you the best of luck with your product release.

    • by RKThoadan (89437) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @12:18PM (#46575321)

      Towerfall is probably it's best known game. It made Ars Technica's top 10 of 2013 and has a sequel in the works for OUYA, PS4 and PC. I haven't played it myself though. I use mine almost exclusively for XBMC (and am perfectly happy with it)

      I definitely think this is a move in the right direction. I could see the retro-game market really explode on OUYA. I'd spend a few bucks each for some ports of SNES/Genesis era games easily.

      • What are it's capabilities for XMBC? I'm currently using a Full PC with 8gigs of ram and a pretty nice Video card. Does it really decode x264 in 1080p without a problem? Will my wireless keyboard work with it? Or do I have to use that horrible remote?

        • If you are going to do that, go with an Intel Nuc DN2820. Much better use of money, imho.
        • by RKThoadan (89437)

          I'm only using it for DVD rips stored on my home NAS, so I've got no idea what it can do beyond that. I'm not much of an A/V guy and don't even know what x264 is. It's got USB ports, so if it's a keyboard with a USB receiver it will probably work.

          For what it's worth I find the controller to be perfectly fine. Trying to use the touchscreen is a pain, but I haven't come across any times that was necessary since they got an official OUYA version of XBMC out there. It would have been nice if there was a quick g

          • I'm not much of an A/V guy and don't even know what x264 is.

            x264 is an h264 MPEG4 AVC implementation. When the grandparent said x264 he actually meant h264, the former being the software the latter being the media.

      • Towerfall is probably it's best known game. It made Ars Technica's top 10 of 2013 and has a sequel in the works for OUYA, PS4 and PC.

        But is this sequel coming to PS4 in hopes that people will confuse Towerfall with Titanfall?

    • by Svartalf (2997)

      Can't say that I blame you. I was contemplating maybe helping get a couple of titles I'm associated with onto the platform- but after getting one...heh...

  • My recent experience with the Mac App store (if a newer version won't work on your hardware, you're SOL and can't get older versions that do work) has burned me enough not to trust a model where I don't take delivery of a physical copy with the means to activate it without the intervention of third parties. I run the windoze that comes on my laptop until I decide on a HDD upgrade, then run Debian or UbuntuStudio. I'm beginning the painful process of weaning myself off ShinyJuicyAppleses.

    With this console

    • My recent experience with the Mac App store (if a newer version won't work on your hardware, you're SOL and can't get older versions that do work)

      Not true. If there was a previous version on the Mac App store that would have worked, it's still available.

      http://support.apple.com/kb/HT... [apple.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Mine's been collecting dust on the shelf for one year now. When they remove the need to hand a creditcardnumber to boot it up, I shall try it further.:)

  • It will possibly attract few developers who previously felt that the free-to-play rule didn't fit their business model. Probably very few will switch from free-to-play. Those who wanted to most likely weren't developing for the Ouya in the first place.

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