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Why we shouldn't set our expectations too high for the Ouya.
by Jameson Quave on 01/03/13 06:45:00 pm

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


Every gamer who backed the Ouya kickstarter in the project in the beginning must have all been thinking something like, "Finally! We get to just make the console we want instead of some big company deciding for us!" Except, that's not exactly true. This strange thing happened when they went from scrappy kickstarter project, to now, one of the most successful projects ever. A big company has emerged that is very new to this arena and arguably not very good at it. Woops..

So what's so bad about the Ouya? Well, I've got nothing against the Ouya in particular, but we have to recognize it for what it is:
A first attempt console with a low budget from a new unproven company.

The operating system is based on the Android OS, designed for touch screens. In this commenters opinion, Android doesn't even do that well. It's great that a viable alternative to iOS exists, but come on, is anyone really going to say Android is a better OS for building games on? It's an impossible mess to deal with all the different versions and screen sizes. The emulator doesn't really represent what an actual device will do. All the devices are significantly different from each other, in crazy unpredictable ways (like one that goes out to a tv set for example.)

I really do hope the Ouya does well, and maybe in a few years we'll have an Android based console experience. While I don't think Android is the best choice, a unified embeded OS is needed, and Android is the best option for now.

So this is probably the (meh) beginnings of what will become a great standard we can base console technology on. There is much to be hopeful for, but not today.. maybe in... 3 years or so.

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James Coote
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With Ouya, you can target just one device. So not quite sure what you're trying to say.

Anyway, android fragmentation is hardly a problem if you design for multiple devices and screen sizes from the outset, something Android has plenty of documentation and support for. In my experience, the people who whine most about android fragmentation are those trying to port a game that isn't designed for multiple devices (usually from iOS).

Jameson Quave
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Designing for different screen sizes is quite different from designing for completely different input systems (touch vs gamepad) *in combination* with vastly different screen sizes. If you're targetting Ouya, no problem. Just make it work, it's clearly possible.. but don't expect many current Android apps to get the full Ouya treatment, and don't expect any reasonable way to discern the difference between those two types of apps.