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It Takes A Village…Or At Least 1,000 Developers

Published on October 19, 2012 by in News

Our friends over at Digital Trends have an interesting little Ouya story worth perusing. According to the story, which was written by scribe Earnest Cavalli, over a thousand developers have reached out to Ouya expressing an interest in cooking up content for the still-in-the-oven console. That’s a pretty impressive number. If even a fraction of that thousand actually winds up making games and apps, the Ouya will have no shortage of content at launch and beyond.

In even better news, more than 50 companies have been in touch with Ouya regarding the distribution of the console. In other words, whenever it’s ready to ship, it’ll have at least 50 launching pads.

Last but not least comes the best news yet: “Ouya has attracted former IGN president (and the first investor in the Ouya project) Roy Bahat to serve as chairman of the Ouya board,” Cavalli writes. “Additionally, the company has enlisted former EA development director and senior development director for Trion Worlds’ MMO Rift, Steve Chamberlin, to serve as the company’s head of engineering. Finally, Raffi Bagdasarian, former vice president of product development and operations at Sony Pictures Television has been tapped to lead Ouya’s platform service and software product development division. Though you may be unfamiliar with these three men, trust that they’ve all proven their chops as leaders in their respective gaming-centric fields.”

Translation: The entire Ouya operation has a very solid backbone. For more information, visit the Digital Trends website and read the entire story for yourself. -OuyaGamer.com

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How To Spend $8.6 Million (Hint: Remember to Fund Game Development)

Published on October 17, 2012 by in News

Writer Eric Caoili over at the hyper-nerdy website Gamasutra checks in with Julie Urhman & Co. over at Ouya HQ. Caoili, who is obviously excellent at math (way better than we are at math), points out that the Ouya Kickstarter exceeding its original goal a whopping nine times over. Which is pretty amazing. So what to do with $8.6 million dollars? Obviously a good chunk of it is dedicated to getting all of those pre-ordered Ouyas out the door in time for the console’s March launch. But another big chunk of it is earmarked for something else (and it’s something that hasn’t gotten much press up to this point): facilitating the development of games.

Urhman explains: “Part of any success with a new platform is making sure that we have great content on it. We definitely want to put money into game development. We’re having conversations with a number of developers about their best projects that will sort of showcase the potential of Ouya.”

Through videogame history, console launches have, to put it mildly, been terrible. But maybe, just maybe, the Ouya has the stuff to do a launch right. Urhman also points out that all developers control every aspect of their creation. “[Developers] make all decisions as it relates to their games, including how to price,” Uhrman says. For Caoili’s full story, head on over to Gamasutra, or simply click here. -OuyaGamer.com

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Factory-Made Ouya Prototype: Oh, It’s Happening

Published on September 19, 2012 by in News

Good news for Ouya fans: the Ouya is still very much on track for its impending launch. Writer David Stellmack at a website called Fudzilla.com reports that developer SDK’s are due to ship in December. SDK, for the laypeople out there, stands for “software development kit.” Without software, without games, a console is about as useful as a stale loaf of bread. So, the fact that development kits are on schedule to go out to game makers is about as positive a sign as future Ouya owners could ever hope for.

The other bit of interesting news: progress is being made on the Ouya’s controller. ”Testing of the controller prototype continues, and based on feedback the precision D-Pad and four triggers will be part of the design,” Stellmack writes. “Of course, the O-U-Y-A button design inspired by feedback will make the cut. Testing each button, trigger, grip and stick continues and, of course, they are getting important feedback from developers, as well.”

The overall message from this story: sounds like things are progressing quite nicely for the Ouya team so far.

Read the whole story right here. -OuyaGamer.com

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The Anti-Ouya Movement: Haters Gonna Hate

Published on September 14, 2012 by in News

While the game and tech world has been, by and large, bowled over by the announcement of the Ouya, there are plenty of writers out there who are still stroking their invisible chin beards of skepticism over the fledgling console. (Side note: Invisible Chin Beards of Skepticism should be one of the unlockables in Skyrim, FYI.)

Paul Tassi over at Forbes.com says that the funding of the Ouya calls the entire concept of Kickstarter into question for him. He believes that the core idea of Kickstarter to be relatively straight-forward and noble. “You’re donating money for a cause you believe in,” he writes. But fellow Forbes.com scribe, Eric Kain, disagrees. ”Kickstarter is not a charity project. You’re giving money to people who are trying to make money for themselves in a way that is actually not that transparent. People who fund projects on Kickstarter are typically less accountable to their backers than they would be in a more traditional investment relationship. And while it’s nice to say you’re funding an idea, that also misses the mark.”

You can read more about their disagreement right here. Let’s keep it clean, boys.

Writer Dave Bast over at Unreality.com goes further, asking if the Ouya itself is an innovative idea or a “sleazy scam.”

“Before even getting into any of the details there are some that feel the entire Kickstarter campaign is a scam,” Bast writes. “For starters many seem slighted that Ouya may have to look elsewhere for funding after completing its Kickstarter campaign.  The Verge reported on this earlier in the week citing sources that said ‘$4 million is nothing’ when it comes to console development. Even after Julie Uhrman who is spearheading the Ouya project said they are not seeking funding outside of Kickstarter, many still think this is all a thinly veiled scheme.”

Read the whole skeptical story here.

Finally, scribe Sascha Segan also trots out the “s” word—scam—in a story he wrote for PCMag.com. “Ouya appears to be the latest of many Kickstarter tech projects to attract a long line of suckers,” he writes. Then Segan continues by looking at the crappy track record that Kickstarter has when it comes to funding tech-centric projects. He cites the fact that only four of twenty-one potential tech-y projects on Kickestarter have come to market so far. “Yes, many are available for ‘pre-order,’ which is another way to say ‘we’ll take your money for a product that doesn’t exist yet,’ ” he says.

Read all of Segan’s story here.

So, how do you feel about the Ouya? As always, we love feedback. So send us some. -OuyaGamer.com


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Against Ouya: One Writer’s Take

Published on September 10, 2012 by in News

Scribbler Eric Kain over at Forbes.com explains a worst-case scenario that’s hair-raising enough to give Julie Uhrman (Ouya’s CEO) nightmares in a story titled “This Is Ouya’s Fatal Flaw.” “I’ve also been accused of raining on Ouya’s parade,” Kain writes. “I can live with that. My job is to rain on parades from time to time.”

His argument is centered around the fact that the Ouya opens the door to a new world—one where gamers and developers have an ongoing open dialogue—but that its mistake is that it has left the door open behind it. (This is something that traditional console makes, like Nintendo, have been careful never to do.) Kain’s hypothetical case: “Now I decide I’m going to build my own Android-based console,” he writes. “Maybe I’ll sell mine for $75 and undercut Ouya. Or maybe I’ll sell it for $99 but pack in more powerful hardware—a faster processor or a better graphics chip.” Then Kain takes things a step further and imagines a world where TV manufacturers start shipping their televisions with Ouya-comparable hardware already installed.

Our favorite moment in the story: when Kain co-opts the famous line from 1985 flick Back to the Future: “Where we’re going, we won’t need consoles.”

The story serves as a hard, cold reality-check for the Ouya faithful. It’s worth a read. Check it out at Forbes.com, or by clicking here. -OuyaGamer.com

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How Close Did Ouya Come To Calling Off the Kickstarter? (Answer: Pretty Damn Close)

Published on September 4, 2012 by in News

According to a terrific story over at Ars Technica, Ouya CEO Julie Urhman says she came this close to calling off the Kickstarter campaign. “I thought [the $950,000 goal] was high at the time,” she says. At the last minute I was like, ‘Let’s not do it.’ It was one of the highest Kickstarter asks at the time. We were nervous about going so high, but we knew what we needed to create a market.”

One of the most appealing aspects of the Ouya is that Urhman and company have committed themselves to having an ongoing dialogue with gamers, a.k.a. future Ouya owners. This is, more than any console in history, the people’s console. The Ars Technica story goes on to describe how Ouya has been able to make good on some of those requests, like the four-controller set up and the Ethernet port. But some of the requests, the story says, haven’t resulted in success stories. For example, plenty of backers have requested that the Ouya ship with more internal storage. The reality of doing so would drive up the cost of the machine, and that’s something that Urhman and spokesperson Tiffany Spencer does not want to do.

“All along we’ve been really focused on keeping it affordable, keeping that price point under $100,” Spencer told Ars Technica. “Of course gamers are going to say we want X, Y, and Z, but fundamentally the specs that we chose allow us to provide a maximum experience at a super reasonable price point.”

The story was written by veteran journalist Kyle Orland, and is well worth your time. Read the story in its entirety here. -OuyaGamer.com

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Devs Reportedly Coming Out in Droves to Ride the Ouya Train

Published on August 31, 2012 by in News

The lovely and talented Julie Urhman has been the predominant spokesperson for Ouya so far. Which is probably what makes the interview with Muffi Ghadiali, the Ouya’s chief hardware engineer, on NowGamer.com feel so special.

“What is innovative here isn’t the technology,” Ghadiali tells NowGamer.  ”It’s the business model and the relationship we have with developers. Our tech is standard, but it’s wrapped in a beautiful package designed by Yves Behar, and the controller is really cool.”

Ghadiali, who has also worked on the Amazon Kindle, says that there’s no shortage of developer interest in the Ouya. “We’ve already had literally hundreds of developers email us offering to develop exclusive content for Ouya,” he says. “There simply isn’t another console like it.”

He also goes into great detail regarding the choice to use the Tegra 3 chip, as well as the inherent challenges involved in porting games to the Ouya from the PC. If the Ouya has piqued your interest, the entire interview with Ghadiali is worth reading. You can find it by clicking right here-OuyaGamer.com

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Ouya: Still Hitched To A Very Much Still Alive OnLive

Published on August 21, 2012 by in News

A handful of recent news items reported that that the still-burgeoning cloud-based gaming service OnLive was on its death bed and that a priest had been called. But it seems now that’s not exactly the case. To borrow a famous quote from Mark Twain, reports of OnLive’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.

A CNET story attempts to clear the air around OnLive, explaining that the company isn’t doomed, but simply restructuring. “The company later confirmed that the company assets had been sold to an unnamed suitor,” the CNET story reports. (Read the full CNET story here.)

But the most telling bit of news that OnLive is still alive and kicking is the partnership with the fledgling Ouya. When the Ouya console ships in 2013, it will still be arriving on your doorstep pre-programmed for OnLive. Now, of course, this is something that both OnLive and Ouya have been touting since July of this year. But both parties, not unlike a celebrity marriage, have recently renewed their vows to one another, so to speak. JoyStiq’s Ben Gilbert has more to say on the subject here.

So, Ouya and OnLive are indeed still together—for now. And OnLive is still alive—for now. -OuyaGamer.com

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Ouya Update #12: Namco-Bandai Weighs In, Plex Support, and 4-Way Action

Published on August 16, 2012 by in News

The Kickstarter may be over, but Ouya continues to roll out the regular updates. (And continues to make good on their promise to keep supporters and fans involved in an ongoing dialogue.)  This update, which is dated from August 8 and written by none other than Julie Uhrman herself, features a veritable treasure trove of interesting information. Most remarkably, the VP of Marketing for game maker Namco Bandai publicly weighs in with his support:

“Namco Bandai Games and Ouya are currently in active discussions to bring some of the world’s biggest gaming properties to the exciting new open gaming platform,” says Carlson Choi. Choi keeps things vague in his statement—here merely says that they are excited to “work with” Ouya to bring some “great titles” to the console. Translation: Choi isn’t ready to name games just yet, but expect to hear something about Ouya-centric content very soon. Read more…

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Ouya’s Keepers Say, “We Feel Responsible For Those Who Backed Us”

Published on August 15, 2012 by in News

News continues to pour forth from Ouya HQ. This week Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman tells MCV (out of the U.K.) that she and her team know exactly how much responsibility they have, and that they will do everything in their power not to let their backers down (she’s still sticking by the March 2012 ship date for the console). Apparently, $8.6 million equals more than a little pressure.

“The company remains ‘confident’ that the machine will be ready to begin shipping in March, and admitted to MCV that sales projections have been revised upwards ‘given the extraordinary demand from Kickstarter,’ ” writes MCV scribe Ben Parfitt.

Uhrman goes on to discuss how the current game development cycle leaves many creators feeling hemmed in. ““Even triple-A game developers wish they could be more creative and experimental” she tells Parfitt, “but the current console market’s economics make that difficult. So a traditional console gamer would buy Ouya for a wider range of games. And since Ouya costs less than buying two traditional console games, it’s going to be appealing for traditional gamers to try.”

We especially love Urhman’s point about the cost of the console being less than the cost of two triple-A. Hadn’t thought of that. Give the full story a a read right here. -OuyaGamer.com

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