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Ouya gains major distribution partners online and in stores (maybe)
Ouya gains major distribution partners online and in stores (maybe)
February 5, 2013 | By Frank Cifaldi

Ouya has won an important victory in what is sure to be an all-out war for Android-based consoles in 2013: major retailer partnerships.

The system became available for preorder for $99 on Tuesday through several online merchants, including Amazon, GameStop, Best Buy and The proposed shipping date through these sites is June 4.

What isn't clear, however, is whether any of these partners will, where applicable, dedicate physical shelf space to the console (and its optional $50 extra controllers). CEO Julie Uhrman told the Wall Street Journal that the company was having "conversations" with retailers to see how to best demonstrate the unit to consumers.

A separate spokesperson for the company Gamasutra was also unable to confirm specifics, but did tell Gamasutra that "since Best Buy, GameStop and Target all have physical retail space we anticipate that OUYA will be available in store."

2013 is shaping up to be a crowded year for console launches. In terms of Android-based systems alone, Ouya faces stiff competition from Nvidia's Project Shield and the recently-funded GameStick, which offers functionality similar to the Ouya on a console the size of a thumb drive.

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Joseph Anthony B. A. Tanimowo-Reyes
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This could potentially be a really huge deal, especially if it manages to get actual shelf space. This instantly gives it a much larger potential audience than all of the other failed consoles that weren't released by established players in the market. Still, it could very easily fail even with this.

Dave Ingram
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I've been really excited about Ouya ever since it launched its Kickstarter campaign, but now I have a feeling that they're going to miss the boat completely (unfortunately). I recently checked out a developer copy of the Green Throttle bluetooth controller and SDK for Android, and I had one of those mind-blown moments. The future isn't cheap consoles that run mobile OS's -- the future is bluetooth controllers for tablets hooked up to the TV.

In the future, I'll bet that mobile OS's will have generic API's for all external controller devices. This way, people can simply buy any mobile controller and a cable to hook their tablet to the TV, and Voila -- the tablet adds "gaming console" to its long list of identities. This could even be done with phones.

In today's consumer environment, will people buy and use an extra console that does only one thing, or go for the exact same experience with the tablet/phone that they already have? My money is on the latter.

Tom Baird
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I agree with you in part, but there is a part of me that hopes it will be something like:

where you can plug it into a TV, hook up a controller, and play console games, or remove it, dock it into a touchscreen/3G connector and take it on the go, get to work (or at home) and plug it into your monitor to get some work done. Want to watch TV while relaxing, maybe you can get a tablet-sized touch screen to plug it into to lounge around with.

The part that weirds me out with the Green Throttle idea, is that the bulk of your smartphone/tablet is completely wasted sitting there jammed into your tv. It would take a jump of consumer thinking, but separating the I/O (screens, controllers, etc..) from the processing could go a long way to making some very cool technology options, and making a true general purpose computing device, that works anywhere, with anything.

James Coote
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Actually android already has a generic controller API, and has done for some time. The future probably is just a controller and maybe a dongle plugged into the TV, but the tech to plug tablet, controller and TV all together has been around for a while. OUYA puts it all together and packages it nicely

Kenneth Blaney
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The trick for developers will be supporting Green Throttle, OUYA, GameStick, etc. as they all have similar control schemes, but customizing the games just enough to engage the best aspects of each. This will not be an easy task.

Wyatt Epp
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The TV runs Linux. The tablet runs Linux (or a weird BSD stepchild). The controller uses the HID standard (Or a driver just gets written for it because people decide to do that. Like with the Dual Shock 3, the Kinect, and the PS2 trance vibrator) Have you seen the list of devices supported in the kernel? It's kind of unreal. (Q: How can you be so sure they'd use HID?; A: Because margins are thin, programmers are finite, and making your own input specification is time-consuming wheel reinvention at best and more likely described in terms like "relentless pursuit of self-destruction".)

-Ouya is just a tablet where you bring your own screen.
-Tablets already have the "gaming console" identity. As do phones.
-People buy things that aren't especially useful and invent uses for them. Just look at tablets.

But I'm particularly confused that people are talking about controllers as if they're not a largely solved problem.

Mike Griffin
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The Ouya folks likely see a number of Android gamers sticking with their existing 'powerful tablet + HDMI + Bluetooth controller' config, hence the offering of standalone, open compatibility Ouya controllers for purchase. Certainly appears to be a superior controller, compared to some of the other dubious Bluetooth controllers out there.

Of course I'm sure they'd prefer to sell extra Ouya controllers to new Ouya owners! Hah.
But the controller represents an additional revenue angle for ancillary use as well.

Kaitlyn Kincaid
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ok, I freely admit that I haven't exactly been glued to my screen for new on the Ouya... but...

are there any games for this thing?

I mean sure, it's andriod, so it should play any of the games I have on my phone, but at $100 (+$50 for each controller), why should I get a box that can only replicate what my phone already does?

Kyle Redd
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Because you can't (without a lot of discomfort/difficulty/complications) play games on your phone with a proper controller.

James Coote
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There are games for it, (450+ announced so far), though most are still not really ready for showing off to the public, since developers have only had the console a little over a month.

I think this time next month, there will probably be far more games we can talk about for OUYA, as game devs go from coding features into polish & marketing phase in time for release to kickstarter backers in late March. And by retail in June, then should be plenty on offer.

Don't go expecting the next CoD or Assassin's Creed though. Even though the OUYA can push out some nice graphics (relatively speaking), with the time it takes to create all those art assets and optimise for the hardware, it'll probably be summer or autumn before you see any hardcore FPS or whatnot

John Gordon
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These distribution channels won't help Ouya much (except maybe Amazon). The disruption literature says that disrupters find new distribution channels. Gamestop or Best Buy are not motivated to promote the Ouya because they get more revenue from the "big 3" consoles. Although the Ouya might get some benefit from selling through Amazon since a lot of their marketing works off of algorithms. (i.e. "People who bought this also liked....")

Daniel Martinez
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I don't even have a stake in the company and I'm happy for them. Kudos!