Just How Potent Will Ouya’s Graphics Be?

Just How Potent Will Ouya’s Graphics Be?

No one’s going to argue that the performance of mobile chips has come a long way in the last few years — just check out the work that’s being done on Real Racing 3 at the newly-formed Firemonkeys. Even so, convincing the more passionate of console gamers there’s more to mobile than Angry Birds and Draw Something has been an uphill battle. But, with the announcement of the Android-powered Ouya and its wildly successful Kickstarter, that battle’s become a little easier.

Over at Eurogamer is a lengthy article dissecting the grunt of NVIDIA’s Tegra 3, the quad-core chip that will power the Ouya. The processor contains an ARM Cortex-A9 and an ultra-low power NVIDIA GPU with eight pixel and four vertex shader units. In comparison, modern PC GPUs feature what’s called a “unified architecture” — all of the units, or “cores”, can be used for pixel or vertex shaders. NVIDIA’s own 500 series of GeForce chips come with 512 such units. But these finer details aren’t that important if the hardware performs, right?

Comparing the Ouya to the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 is a mistake — while it’s labelled as a “console”, the hardware inside has more in common with today’s tablets and smartphones. With that in mind, in an attempt to get an idea of the capabilities of the forthcoming Ouya, Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry put Google’s Nexus 7, and ASUS’s Transformer Pad TF300 and Transformer Prime through their paces. All are equipped with NVIDIA’s Tegra 3, specifically the T30L variant, which is as close a comparison as you can get to the slightly more powerful T33 that will supposedly feature in the Ouya.

Eurogamer tested NOVA 3, Dead Trigger and Grand Theft Auto III among other titles, both on the screens of the devices and via HDMI mirroring. As expected, mirroring had a big hit on performance (pushing twice the pixels will do that), but ran acceptably otherwise. Tegra-optimised versions of Shadowgun and Sonic 4: Episode 2 managed to run fine while adding additional eye candy, with Eurogamer going as far as to say that Sonic 4 “comfortably holds up against the XBLA and PSN equivalents running on far more powerful hardware”.

Summarising its findings, Eurogamer believes that the Ouya will be roughly equivalent in performance to the original Xbox, plus a few extra bells and whistles courtesy of simply being more modern technology. The site’s greatest concern was that when Ouya does eventually hit, its hardware will be outdated — a common issue for any mass-produced console. What makes this a bigger problem for the Ouya is that the Tegra 3’s successor could be as much as ten times as powerful and comparable in grunt to the Xbox 360.

From all indications, I don’t think those keen on the Ouya really care how much it sticks with next-gen, or even previous-gen, consoles. The price for starters is a lot more appealing than anything Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo has to offer and the benefits of a naturally “hackable” console cannot be overstated.

Tech Analysis: How Powerful is Tegra 3? [Eurogamer]


  • I got an asus transformerpod with the quad tegra thing, the graphics it can churn out are ok, but it’s no blizzard intro movie by a long shot. May get the ppl who can put up with wii quality graphics, and if it’s cheap enough they might move a few units because of the novelty value.

  • I hope this succeeds, because i’m tired of dealing with mega corporations and their shitty consoles. The only thing we’re gonna get out of the next gen consoles are better graphics, but what we really need is innovation. The stronger the console the higher the budget, thus constricts developers from taking risks, so we’re going to see more sequels & more overpriced DLC.

  • People are forgetting that this tegra 3 is being optimized to make the most out of the constant power supply.

  • I don’t car that it’s not overly powerful. I got one so I can make games that I can play on my TV.
    Unity Android License is only $400 (Back in April, they were giving Pro licenses for free), making it muuuuch cheaper then getting a 360 dev kit.

  • It’s shipping with XBMC & Plex, which is great, makes it more versatile than the current consoles which is rather sad.

  • People keep making the statement that Ouya will finally prove that there is more to mobile and tablet gaming than Angry Birds and the likes and comparing it to tablets and phones. The Ouya is not a tablet, the Ouya is not a phone. The Ouya is a computer that runs Android 4.0/4.1 which hooks up to your TV and stays there. Sure the controller is stated to have a touch interface, but it’s the same as having a mouse or touchpad attached to your PC.

    I’m curious to see where it goes, but for now I’m happy having my PC hooked up to my TV via HDMI as well as using an Xbox 360 controller and playing all my Steam games, plus emulated games, plus everything else a PC can do.

    • Thank You!
      This is another gimmick like an iPad.
      We have PC’s and smartphones that do what all these things do already.
      Why buy Ouya when we already have machines in our houses already that do this and more. Same thing I say to kids with great laptops who want an iPad.
      I ask “why” and they say “cause there cool” not “to do such and such better than with me such and such”.

      • It’s not because it’s cool. In this hard times in gaming industry, gamers are fatigued by the offerings of the big names in gaming, we want the industry to make more innovations, and OUYA just might be one of the answer.

        You say, “but it’s nothing new, it’s only a PC that runs Android”, well, you’re only looking half of it. It’s all about the support for devs that wants to develop for consoles, but couldn’t, because it’s a pain in the ass.

        So, we know some devs on mobile platform wants to develop for consoles, OUYA might just be their big brake, because gaming on Mobile is so limited. Being touch is the standard input, the games are simplified because so many software buttons on a touchscreen would be horrendous. Thus horrible gameplay experiences, unless it’s very-very simple, like Angry Birds, LOL.

        So please, please people, just try to keep an open mind. If you still don’t like the idea of OUYA, at least make some constructive criticism, not just some random ass-bashing comments.

        • I like the idea of the Ouya. The only thing that concerns me is the limited storage capacity. I hope it has an expandable memory card slot possibly?

          It’s a great little device for companies to potentially make money off. A bigger company can allocate resources to develop games for it, spending next to bloody nothing compared to their huge games, sell them on it, recoup costs quickly and pour them into other projects. It’s what they’ve done on the App Store and Google Play for ages. For 99 dollars, the Ouya represents pretty spiffy value. I look forward to it. It might be underpowered compared to the 360 or a bloody Xbox 3454534 or whatever the next console is, but hey, its not trying to compete with those, it’s trying to be a true alternative.

          • You could probably plug an external hard-drive into the usb slot for all your extended storage requirements. However it is a damn shame it’s not usb 3.0.

        • I agree on all points except the “gamers are fatigued…” part.
          Sales figures on all major brands (except Sonic!! :P) are steady, with most of the “trilogy” games now planning a 4th iteration.
          I do hope OUYA gains inroads, but I don’t think it’ll be fatigue that enables this. They’ll have to offer a good alternative, not just AN alternative.

  • Here’s my main concern about the Ouya.

    It runs on Android.

    Now hear me out, I love Android, I think it’s fantastic. BUT…it’s tailor made for consumer electronic devices such as phones and tablets…the kind of stuff you replace every 2 years. The frequency of the updates to the OS attest to that. It was only about a year ago the latest version was 2.3, now we’re up to 4.1.

    My question is how long is it going to be before the OS Ouya runs is superceded? Sure, it’ll no doubt be able to receive OS updates, but there’s always a limit to that. Sooner or later, the hardware just won’t be able to run optimally on the latest version of the OS. Which is why I’m baffled that they aren’t trying to pump up the hardware specs a little more so it lasts a bit longer in the market. I don’t think the makers of Ouya really want you to trade it in for a newer model every 2 years (as that will really segment the playerbase in a hurry), but I fear that’s the path it’s heading down.

      • But that’s EXACTLY the problem.

        Current consoles typically have around 6 years before the next model comes out and drop support 1 or 2 years after that. That’s plenty of time to make a stack of great games and plenty of time for owners of the previous gen to upgrade.

        For Ouya though, if there is a new model every 2 years (or worse, every 1 year), this will SERIOUSLY segment the playerbase. Within just a couple of years you’re going to have games coming out specifically designed for the Ouya version 3 that will not run on Ouya version 1.

        You could just say “Pfft, it’s $99, just buy a Ouya version 3” but it’s not going to be that simple for a lot of people.

  • A tiny Box that would let me stream my media using XBMC & play free/cheap indie game using a controller and that would also let me tinker with it & still offer warranty and also offer some a range of online services and store and also that for around a 100$ ? I don’t see many similar device around, Sign me up!

    I am very exited about this project and will probably use one to replace my JB APTV2. I am also concern about the limited space, but I’m sure the usb port could be used for external storage, or even a network drive or NAS (?) I would have like to have a sata port available for HDD extention ….

  • Hmmm, wouldn’t be surprised if the ATV had an app store by the time the Ouya comes out. Could be interesting to see some competition formApple in this space

  • I just wanted to confirm the USB port can be used for external storage. I have asked the company to confirm. They did say without soldering the is really the only truely upgradable part of the system. I am hoping there will be a way to system link the devices and furthermore, because of it;s size it might be fun to try to cluster a group of them if pissible.

  • Its $99…free indie games and easy to get access to a snes,nes genesis,N64 emulator….its a bargain! Anyone who is complaining about it really isn’t interested in expanding the industry and letting it grow. I’m excited to see what all the developers will do that finally get a chance to make a game for on the tv. Long live Ouya

  • It looks obviously more powerful than the original xbox! What a silly thing to say. Just look no further than RAM and cpu for a clue.

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