One Month Later, OUYA Devs Report Slow Sales, Good Exposure

The open, indie-friendly OUYA console, which launched this time last month, has experienced slow sales in its game marketplace, according to developers of its most popular games. But while the money isn't quite there yet, many remain positive, saying they've been able to share the limelight with a newly launched platform garnering lots of interest with its new ideas.

I had a chance to play (and love) arguably the OUYA's most popular game, Towerfall, at this year's E3. One month later, it has sold around 2,000 copies, worth around $30,000, according to an Edge interview with creator Matt Thornson. It's a number Thornson seems happy with, but the game deserves more.

Undoubtedly, many more would have tried and enjoyed a lesser version of the game for free - one of the OUYA's main draws is that everything is free to try. Theoretically, one could pay the initial $99 USD and never pay another cent, and perhaps many are doing just that. Over 58,000 units were acquired through Kickstarter, and despite the unit being available online and at retail, NPD reports sales as "light". Enthusiastic communities surround the OUYA, but are just as likely to spend time with its other features, such as emulation, media centres, side-loaded apps and hacking, as they are its game marketplace.

Thornson is positive about his OUYA experience: "Launching on Ouya got me a lot of attention, and the sales have been better than expected," he told Edge, and similar sentiments can be found from his pioneering peers.

Speaking to Gamasutra, Joe Albrethsen of the DubWars team (a twin-stick shooter with gameplay responding to a dubstep soundtrack) said, "We knew if we could develop for this new console and have something ready for release it would bring about something to help put our company on the map. We did treat Ouya as a stepping stone from the begging and did not view it as the end platform for our success." He added, "We were fortunate enough to be featured upon release, but now that they have cycled the category we have seen a dramatic dip in sales."

Towerfall's Thornson has been able to follow a similar strategy - after a relatively successful OUYA campaign, it's ending its exclusivity with the platform and releasing on PC:

This suggests the OUYA might be fulfilling its promise providing developers with the easiest route to living the Indie Dream - releasing a well-designed game on a platform with very low barriers to entry, and getting noticed for it. Not just launching a game, but launching a career. For now though, at least, the monetary rewards of such toiling might have to come from elsewhere - and there's no telling if the limelight that the OUYA generously shares with its indies is limited to the launch of the platform itself.

We'll be receiving our OUYA in a few days, and will post more about the games on offer.


Comments

    Can you actually buy these in Australia yet or only online? I'd consider getting one with some of my tax cheque :D

      Not retail here (probably for a while), and I believe the US online store doesn't ship here, but you can buy it from the UK store. It's a bit more expensive there though, and of course there are shipping costs on top of that. I was lucky enough to have a family member heading here on holiday who could bring it - barely missed out on the June 25th release date at E3!

        The online (US) store does ship here. That is how I got mine.

        But there was a bit of a snafu in that I put a PO Box address in and later found out they used a courier that needs a physical address.

        Last edited 23/07/13 11:22 am

      Amazon US for around $130.

      Is this a good for XBMC or should I just buy a Android box for $80.

        I haven't tested it yet myself but apparently the XBMC people are making a version specific to OUYA - http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2013/07/ouya-the-gizmodo-reader-review/

        I'm keen to test out the Raspberry Pi's version as well.

          Ouya version: appears to have a second or two lag with the audio playback.

          Raspberry Pi: Plays OK but has caching issues even with a external hard drive and of late I noticed that of late after 10 minutes of playback the video stops and you have to press pause then play again to get it moving again.

          The other problem with the Pi version is it is not optimised too well. When not stuck, the video plays fine but the interface runs like tar on a glacier.

          Last edited 23/07/13 12:07 pm

        From user reviews, the dedicate xbmc app is basically unusable to the ouya. This may improve. I'm a fan of the raspberry pi. Great XBMC box (though the interface is a bit slow). I haven't encountered the issue encountered, but when I have had issues a fresh install has sufficed (this is easy to do).

    What are they hoping for in terms of sales? This won't have much of a draw for gamers beyond those who harp on about the old days of gaming being best and they would've been the ones who would've funded it during its Kickstarter phase. It will be interesting though how long they keep interested in their Ouya.

    But like you say, this could be a good way for indie developers to get noticed which could be beneficial on PC as well as on the next gen consoles seeing as they're getting more interested in indie games

    OYA's biggest problem right now is that it's just not GREAT at anything.

    The OS is janky and glitchy, most of the games aren't worthy purchasing and they still haven't released an official XBMC app yet, given the Android one you sideload is horrible.

    They need to nail down at least ONE aspect of the console and the rest will follow. Fix the OS, get XBMC working on it, and once it has more poeple's attention through those means, more will start buying games.

    Met a couple folks at PAX who had these. One actually lent theirs to one of the indie devs for their booth, and a lot of folks got to see a game running on one, which might help, I guess...

    Another one was pretty disappointed in how similar it is to basically any mobile app store, in terms of being filled with piles and piles of crap and impossible to figure out what is what, what's good, whether it's worth the money, or indeed how to actually pay.

    towerfall is awesome have not had so much fun in along time. mario cart 64 with friends is also great. dubwars is very cool.

    I admit, I've had mine since shortly after launch (it got here amazingly fast) but have not had the chance to play it (work, 'nuf said) but from the little time I have had with it I still learned a fair bit.

    Like others have pointed out there is an issue an issue or two with the OS. First off though I like its simplicity but it is shy in the error handling department and the 'Discover' section sometimes gets stuck and is unable to download any images nor the description of the game I am trying to learn of.

    The other problem I found is using external USB drives is a bit of a nightmare. The first problem is once you attach the device you cannot detach it. For some reason the console will power down the port but it will not power it back on when attach a new device nor will it power it back on when you reattach the first device.

    So there is a hot swap fault in their somewhere. But it could also be the fault of the hardware (my Raspberry Pi always power cycles when I attach anything to it's USB port).

    But I am deviating too far. The most important thing about a console is it needs games. It needs games to define it. It used to be called a Killer App but I don't think that term is in use anymore (I haven't heard it used since the PS2 and XBox days).

    In terms of games, it depends how you see it. There are a good number of games, but a fair few are either ports of already existing games (see the Sonic Games) or are emulators to allow one to play game ROMs.

    Once you strip them out, while there are numerous independent games few are polished. Just to name a few I like so far:

    Monocle Man

    Almost like how Super Mario Bros. would be if they used the Minecraft graphics for the 3D, the underlying concept itself is interesting and actually fun. In each level, Monocle Man is trapped in an hour glass and has to jump up blocks to get to a portal and progress to the next level.

    It may sound simple but there is a bit of a challenge. Over time, the hour glass fills with sand and you cannot touch even one pixel of the sand or you sink.

    Shadowgun

    The best way to describe it is a poor man's version of Gears of War but without Dom there whining about his wife.

    The walking animation is a bit odd and the enemy AI is worse than Half-Life 2 but graphics wise it looks impressive given the hardware.

    Polarity

    On the surface it seems like Portal, but instead of working with two portals you work it with two polarities, red and blue. For example, you have jump along a blue ramp and jump through a red wall. Problem is to stay on the ramp, you have to be blue or you fall through it and you have to time the jump right so you change or you hit the wall and fall.

    No Breaks Valet

    The name alone sums it up. You drive cars into the park but none of them have breaks. To me, it is quite funny but I can't say the same for others.

    Anyhow, that is my gaming experience but those wanting polished games will have to wait a while. They definitely are lacking on the Ouya.

    The final note I'll make about the Ouya is I welcome the idea. The Ouya actually creates an easy avenue for independent developers to get games out without having greedy publishers drive meat hooks into them (yes, I am looking at you, EA!)

    This works on two levels: us consumers get more choice and fresh ideas instead of one clone of Modern Warfare after another and it also allows independents to get a port folio out and even some cash of their own for later ambitious projects.

    Only time will tell from here on out so it will be interesting to see what happens.

    Last edited 23/07/13 5:15 pm

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