The Ouya was an Android-based microconsole, famous for being financed by a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign, for crashing E3's parking lot on a guerrilla marketing campaign, and ultimately not living up to the hype.
The marketing campaign boasted how the tiny little box would topple the giant competitors thanks to easy porting and a market full of free games. The age of expensive games and indies being ignored would be over, they said. On top of it all, the Ouya would be small enough to be portable. Perfect for gaming with friends! The hype train was huge and running full speed.
Then came the flawed launch.
Many backers did not receive their units in advance. Rumors spread that the Ouya was a scam. Thankfully, eventually all backers received their systems. Once the Ouya was finally out, the disappointments began.
For a $99 machine, it was not a terrible deal. Then again, it was not a fantastic deal either. It came with a single controller, 5 GB internal hard drive space, and the option for wired or wireless internet. On the back there is one regular USB slot along, an ethernet port, one mini USB port, and an HDMI out slot. Flash drives can be added to add more hard drive space.
Critics cited the poor controllers as a major problem with the system. They felt cheap, tended to lag, and had buttons that would stick. The lag was fixed on later controllers and a very simple hardware mod) fixes stuck buttons. Most USB wired controllers can be used to replace the Ouya controllers as well with bluetooth PS3 and Xbox360 controllers also working with the system. Be aware that not using an Ouya controller with the Ouya may result in a lack of home button functionality. A small issue, granted, but annoying none the less.
Going online was hampered by poor wireless performance. Thankfully, the fix can be a setting on your router. The Ouya also allows wired connections with little trouble. Some games had performance issues for not being properly optimized for the Tegra 3 SoC. The Tegra 3 was a bit underpowered even back then. The final update tweaked the performance a little, but nothing could really be done beyond that. Lastly, the Ouya's small design itself was a problem. Many players found themselves accidentally knocking their game systems off the shelves during play. This resulted in many damaged and dead systems.
The Ouya wasn't all disappointments, though.
It really was dead-easy to port from Android. In fact you can just install most Android .apks without modding. The Ouya quickly amassed a library of over a thousand titles, many of which were mobile games or ported from Mobile games. Unfortunately, Early on the store had rather draconian rules for publishers regarding monitization and demands that all games have a "free" version. This resulted in very few Ouya-only games being created.
There also are an assortment media players, streaming services, and emulators for several classic systems for the Ouya. Most games can me emulated up to PS1 and will run well, but N64 is very hit-and-miss. In fact, the most common use for the Ouya is as an inexpensive, portable, easy to use emulation console and media station. Being able to quickly and easily swap out flash drives for memory storage allows for easy "hard drive" upgrades and simple storage and swapping of files for music, films and games.
Razer bought the company in July 2015 — not for the console, mind you, but for their online store, to be used on their own Forge TV console, and to be licensed to other companies' Android-based devices. Consequently, the Ouya system has been discontinued.
In the end it just didn't take off. The bad launch, too much hype, and a lack of unique games created a reputation of the Ouya just not being worth it. This stigma persists even to this very day.
Although not a "console killer" as advertised, the Ouya is actually a decent way to play some mobile games on a big screen, emulate some classics, or enjoy some movies or music. At this point it might be worth getting if you happen to find it dirt cheap in some clearance or garage sale. Don't expect it to replace your Xbox360 or PS3, though.
|Consoles||Ouya - Sony PlayStation 4 - Nintendo Switch - Nintendo Wii U - Microsoft Xbox One - Valve Steam Machine|
|Handhelds||Nintendo 3DS - Sony PlayStation Vita|