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Android DRM Piracy Games

Why We Should Remain Skeptical of the Ouya Android Console 184

An anonymous reader writes "We recently talked about the 'Ouya' console — a conceptual Android-based gaming device that's had a massively successful Kickstarter campaign. While most people are excited about such a non-traditional console, editorials at 1Up and Eurogamer have expressed some more realistic skepticism about the claims being made and the company's ability to meet those claims. Quoting: 'Even if we set aside the issue of install base, one of Ouya's selling points could make developers wary of investing in it. Through the pitch video and on the Kickstarter page, Ouya emphasizes the ability to root the system and hack it without fear of voiding the warranty. With a standard USB port and Bluetooth support, it will be possible to use controllers and peripherals with it other than the one it comes with. What this also opens the door for is piracy and emulation. No doubt a chunk of the audience interested in Ouya are those intrigued by the idea of having a box that hooks up to a TV and can run Super Nintendo or Genesis emulators. Others will look at the system's open nature as an invitation to play its games for free; if it's as open as advertised, it should not be difficult to obtain and run illegally downloaded copies of Ouya games.' Ouya CEO Julia Uhrman has responded to the skepticism, saying, 'Ouya will be just as secure as any other Android-powered device. In fact, because all the paid content will require authentication with Ouya's servers, we have an added layer of security. Hacking and openness are about getting what you want to do with the hardware. Rooting the device won't give you any more access to the software.'"
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Why We Should Remain Skeptical of the Ouya Android Console

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @03:35AM (#40670345)

    I realise that businessmen have had it easy since the '80s, but at least there was the vague principle that people invest their money in return for some proprietary interest in the ongoing concern. Kickstarter appears to be the epitome of fawning obsequience to the owning classes, where people contribute money in return for a single trinket.

  • Fragmentation (Score:1, Insightful)

    by mister2au ( 1707664 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @03:38AM (#40670365)

    Personally I'd more concerned by Android bugbear - fragmentation of platforms.

    What is the upgrade path? Annual incremental spec upgrades?
    - with incremental upgrades, you'll get massive fragmentation for gaming and within a couple of year the choice of targeting the lowest common denominator (which is already pretty low for this hardware)
    - without incremental upgrades, you disappoint the embedded systems/HTPC/hacker crowd

    I doubt this can be "everything to everyone" and will prove to be a bigger long term issue than openness (or the economic of software development for a fairly low volume platform).

  • Re:Fragmentation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by obarthelemy ( 160321 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @03:51AM (#40670431)

    Well, it's a device sold for a purpose. As long as its satisfies that purpose, it's all good. Console are the epitome of hardware that's not frequently updated, because the goal is to play games, and good games don't need bleeding-edge hardware.

    If the console can play good games when you buy it, it will still play good games 4yrs later. No need to obsess about specs.

  • by Theophany ( 2519296 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @04:01AM (#40670471)
    Whilst your comment seems to be somewhat inflammatory, I do find myself agreeing to a certain degree. It's like venture capitalism without the capitalism. That being said given the global backlash against capitalism, Kickstarter's success doesn't surprise me.
  • Rewards (Score:3, Insightful)

    by byennie ( 1126011 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @04:02AM (#40670483)

    I'd be worried they completely overextended on the Kickstarter rewards. They may have raised $5M so far, but they also owe:

    * About 8% of that to Kickstarter & Amazon (= $400,000)
    * 35,000 consoles and controllers to their backers

    Manufacturing and fulfillment on 35,000 consoles is going to take an awfully large bite out of their (so far) $4.6M net from Kickstarter.

  • by Riceballsan ( 816702 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @04:57AM (#40670765)
    Well I would say the plus of kickstarter is it fills a need that wasn't being met. The companies with the money, have stopped listening to the fans that buy their products. The same crap has been rehashed 500 times because people with money, will not invest money until after they have seen evidence that the fans will buy that product. The end result came the new methods of selling. Including the method games such as minecraft and project zomboid used by selling the very rough alpha of the game with the promise of future updates, and kickstarters. The end result is that games that otherwise had no way of coming into being have been funded and several released, as the fans have more or less purchased the games in advance to fund the development. While I do agree it shifts the burden of risk onto the fans at least it is shifting the risks onto fans that want to take that risk. Compare that to the banks etc... who gamble with our money whether we want them to or not.
  • Re:Rewards (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hentes ( 2461350 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @04:58AM (#40670773)

    The big cost in hardware is development, not manufacturing.

  • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @05:41AM (#40670993)

    The key here is "all the paid content". And I believe it actually means "all the paid content purchased on the official Ouya store". If the device is rootable, nothing prevent developers from making an alternate store that doesn't require authentication.

    I think they will use the same strategy as the android market. There is a licensing API but it is up to the developer to chose how to use it : it can be never, once, or every time the app is started, it also support a (configurable) grace period in case you are not always online.

  • by jurgen ( 14843 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @06:50AM (#40671493)

    Kickstarter is not meant to replace venture capitalism... it is an alternative to venture capital for types of projects which wouldn't be attractive to capitalist investors, such as art projects, or very small scale manufacturing, or as in this case, projects that venture capitalists might consider unrealistic but in which enthusiasts might have enough faith. Those who contribute don't do it for a "trinket"... we do it either because we simply want to see the project succeed, or because we want the product enough to pay for it in advance and take the chance that it'll never materialize.

    Kickstarter is filling a needed niche... Iit's a large niche, and it seems to be working. And it it works for enough types of things, it'll start inspiring venture investors to go after some of the same markets, which will mean that it's "working" in yet another sense for society.

    So I think Kickstart is a brilliant idea. We'll have to wait a bit longer to see if history will vindicate it, but early indications from recent successes are that it may be a real game changer.

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @08:18AM (#40672207) Journal

    given the global backlash against capitalism

    It's not like capitalism didn't throw the first blow.

    It's like curdled milk that people are just starting to notice has gone bad, the same way they noticed Communism did some time ago.

    Maybe, there is no socioeconomic system that human cupidity cannot spoil.

  • by DuckDodgers ( 541817 ) <> on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @10:40AM (#40673651)
    I think you underestimate the difficulty of establishing a charitable hub, running a website that can handle thousands of simultaneous page views, getting potential customers to trust you, and getting public awareness of your site so people know to check it for projects of interest for less than 5% of the overhead of the actual projects.

    I don't like that Kickstarter itself and Amazon each take a percentage of the funds. But I think creating a successful alternative is very difficult.
  • Wrong Premise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @11:56AM (#40674571)
    This article starts with completely the wrong premise. Platforms don't become popular because of DRM. DRM gets put on popular platforms because there is nothing the purchaser can do about it other than do without. The idea that EA would choose not to earn a million dollars on non-DRMed software because they could have gotten 2 million if DRM was in place is ridiculous.

    I point to [] If an inexpensive console had just that DRM free library of games, it would be a viable platform. There is no question that DRM free software can make money.

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.