Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
October 23, 2014
arrowPress Releases
October 23, 2014
PR Newswire
View All





If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:


The future of Ouya, according to Kellee Santiago Exclusive
The future of Ouya, according to Kellee Santiago
August 30, 2013 | By Kris Ligman




The Ouya enters at a time of major market upheaval and transition. The first of an oncoming wave of microconsoles, the Ouya will live or die by the strength of its developer support -- just like any other game console.

Enter Kellee Santiago, one of the first high-profile figures attached to the Ouya. An alumna of the University of Southern California's interactive media program, Santiago was a co-founder and key player within thatgamecompany who helped bring its Sony-exclusive titles flOw, Flower and Journey to market. After leaving thatgamecompany in 2012, Santiago came aboard Ouya's team as head of developer relations this past February, and has been working since to promote the platform to devs large and small.

"Ouya gets it," Santiago said at the time. "This is the first console company that really understands how important it is to remove the barriers to development."

With the Ouya now in the wild, Santiago remains enthusiastic about the platform. She was an instrumental force behind the recent announcement that Ryan Green and Josh Larson's That Dragon, Cancer would be coming to the console as an Ouya exclusive, and we're likely to see even more from her in the coming weeks and months.

"The types of players that come to Ouya are looking for unique, standout experiences," Santiago told Gamasutra. "What we're finding out on Ouya is that the games that resonate with players are the unique experiences, original IPs, games that are unique to Ouya."

The most successful titles on the platform to date are Matt Thorson's TowerFall and Adam Spragg's Hidden in Plain Sight, the latter of which previously appeared on Xbox Live Indie Games. The current paucity of originals and exclusives like TowerFall is something Ouya is presently seeking to remedy, through its Free the Games initiative and direct investment in titles like That Dragon, Cancer.

"You have to keep in mind that developers have only had kits since December at the earliest, and that reflects the kind of content we see on the platform today," Santiago reminded. "Games like That Dragon, Cancer take longer to develop, and... I do think it speaks to what I hope is an evolution of the platform."

Santiago says her current goal in her work with Ouya is bolstering a supportive environment for developers. That entails new tools and resources, formalizing the resources that Ouya has, as well as fostering a community for devs.

"We are always talking about 'what is it that the developers need?' And when [we] say developer, that means any developer," Santiago maintained. "[We're] not talking about what the largest studios need versus the perhaps 'lesser' important needs of one person."

"Ouya has already created an ecosystem in which guys like Josh Larson and Ryan Green and women like [Rose and Time developer] Sophie Houlden can get their experiences in front of audiences on a completely level playing field."

Asked about upcoming rival microconsoles such as the GameStick, Santiago seemed unconcerned. If anything, she was simply focused on her own work.

"With any console you need to justify your existence in some way," she said. "And what I see happening in this phase is that a lot of companies are seeing this potential market opportunity by bringing the open marketplace dynamic of mobile into the living room. It could potentially unlock a new userbase; a new spending base that hasn't been tapped into yet."

"As for me, I joined Julie Uhrman and Ouya because their message has been led not by identifying this need in the marketplace but by seeing an opportunity to create a living room console that is driven by developers first."

This week is microconsole week on Gamasutra. For more about microconsole game development, check out our official event page.


Related Jobs

Demiurge Studios, Inc.
Demiurge Studios, Inc. — Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
[10.23.14]

Senior Software Engineer
CCP
CCP — Newcastle, England, United Kingdom
[10.23.14]

Senior Backend Programmer
Guerrilla Games
Guerrilla Games — Amsterdam, Netherlands
[10.23.14]

Animation System Programmer
Square Enix Co., Ltd.
Square Enix Co., Ltd. — Tokyo, Japan
[10.23.14]

Programmers










Comments


Thomas Happ
profile image
I think they need to actively curate Ouya developers in a more substantial way than their Kickstarter thing. Devs won't want to take the risk right now given the low sales, so they will need to effectively fund the devs all on their own until they can build a solid base of good games to make the platform desirable.

Harry Fields
profile image
My team started a new project a couple months back and we thought about Ouya but it just wasn't worth the risk to sink a year into developing with the intent of co/publishing to Ouya given the lack of established micro-console market. Maybe it is the next big thing, but I'm not willing to bet a piece of the farm on it. It just would've taken too much time to ensure the experience is beautiful on PC but capable of running worth a crap on a glorified cell-phone...

Randy Angle
profile image
Harry, I'm not really sure what your dev tools are or what process you use to develop... but porting is typically a matter of days and weeks, not months. Especially in the current market not planning a project for as many platforms as possible is leaving money and opportunity on the table. Almost all the major and minor dev tools: Unity3D, Marmalade, Intel XDK, Ludei, UDK, Game Maker, Corona, AGK and more work crossplatform. I like Unity3D for 3D games, and Intel XDK for 2D - they have a great cloud compiler. When designing the interface, UI, and layout all games should plan for responsive screen sizes and orientations. If you start out with a flexible system, making crossplatform games can be one of the smallest of your problems. I realize I have more experience than most, more than 30 years designing and programming games, but be careful about over estimating the time it takes - Android is a very viable platform, and targeting Ouya is almost as easy as Kindle, and Google Play. My own code responds slightly differently depending on the target and normally only takes a few minutes to a few hours to port.

m m
profile image
For me, this really highlights the question I've been asking since I first heard about the Ouya: Who is this device for?

An open distribution policy tend to illicite a knee jerk reaction from people, usually favorable. But there is a lot to be said for controls and filters. Nintendo famously proved the power of quality control of published materials in the 80's in a move that nearly single handedly saved the market. I wont go as far as to say Ouya's policy ensures a ton of crap will come out for it and will thusly pummel customers with a wallet-closing shitstorm of shovelware...but I just did.

To more specifically address my original statement, I ask myself why should I buy an Ouya when I can just visit Newgrounds? Why would I pay for what I'm getting largely for free? What is the demographic they're aiming at? People without computers? Can't be. Ouya is marketed almost exclusively via the net. And people already possessing a computer made anytime after 2008 likely already have a box that greatly exceeds the microconsol's capabilities. An HDMI cable and a trusty USB controller with key mapping, a $30 purchase, is all you need (EDIT: All you need to play with a controller from the comfort of your couch). So rule out the tech-savy element as well. They've already done this.

I don't think Ouya can salvage this simply by tossing money at developers. I thinkl this class of device needs some minimal gate keeping. One does not have to go to the draconian levels that 1980's Nintendo or modern Mincrosoft/EA have. Meaningful filters that keep out the bulk of ram-jam "Monkey Donkey" titles but prove FAR more open than current industry standards would be simple and highly effective.

Lance Thornblad
profile image
Agreed. A lower bar of entry, to me, means not taking the same percentage as established online stores (that justify their costs by reaching a much larger audience).

Harry Fields
profile image
It's not about code portability or anything. It's about the conscientious decision to shoot for a high fidelity experience or low fidelity experience. If you plan your title to run on all machines, you're definitely either making things to accommodate the lowest common denominator or putting in the work to ensure each version maximizes the platform it's on. Nothing against those who wish to target every OS under the sun, including mobile. It's not my strategy and never will be.

William McDonald
profile image
My team and I are taking the risk. It's just a matter of raising the funds.

www.DungeonsGame.com

Jess Groennebech
profile image
Heh, what risk are _you_ taking if you raise the funds? ;)

David Marcum
profile image
Jess Groennebech
"Heh, what risk are _you_ taking if you raise the funds?"

Time.

[User Banned]
profile image
This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

[User Banned]
profile image
This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Michael Joseph
profile image
http://dayoftheouya.com/a-list-of-all-known-emulators-for-ouya/

pretty cool! Although in the world of emulation, things often don't go smoothly...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vf_jmGaanuY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZKBAVP_qQM

i don't suppose they can officially set themselves up a one stop emulation device for old hardware.

Lots of videos on youtube about Ouya for the interested...

Ian Fisch
profile image
Nobody buys a console with no games. Nobody makes games for a console without a userbase.

Ouya needs to fund some exclusives Nintendo-style if they're going to jumpstart this thing.

Harry Fields
profile image
First it needed kick-started.... Now it needs jump-started. Next, it will need CPR-started.

Justin Sawchuk
profile image
Have you actually played the ouya, I bought it. Anyway there arent any good games on the console, I have tried a number of times to find any good game and there are almost none. Even sonic seems to be a pale shadow of what it used to be, its awful.

you get someone who works at the ouya, I would love for her to say yeah the ouya sucks its done son, what else do you expect her to say.

m m
profile image
To be fair, Sonic never really recovered from the post-16-bit fall. There have been highs and lows, but the experience has always been subpar to the Sega Genesis titles.

Ian Fisch
profile image
Or maybe the gameplay was never that great to begin with.

Martin Petersen
profile image
"The types of players that come to Ouya are looking for unique, standout experiences," Santiago told Gamasutra. "What we're finding out on Ouya is that the games that resonate with players are the unique experiences, original IPs, games that are unique to Ouya."

This is exactly why Ouya should drop the Free the Games fond and handpick a bunch of talented developers to support instead. Pissing that kind of money away on shady Kickstarters is just educing further doubt about the system's viability IMO.

"You have to keep in mind that developers have only had kits since December at the earliest, and that reflects the kind of content we see on the platform today," Santiago reminded. "Games like That Dragon, Cancer take longer to develop, and... I do think it speaks to what I hope is an evolution of the platform."

This is exactly why this content will never make it onto the Ouya as long as 2000-3000 copies is about as much as you can hope to sell.

[User Banned]
profile image
This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Kenneth Bruton
profile image
There are other upstarts that would like to enter the fray (Gamestick, Oton, Google, Apple, and even Amazon) They should watch cautiously. With the exception of Square-Enix and Sega, I have not seen any other "big" names attach themselves to this console, not that you really need that, but it helps attract most to you. What I have noticed is, when those "big" names put their game on OUYA, the price was a bit higher than the others (talking specifically about Final Fantasy, and an older version, at that...) which was a good game, but, paying for nostalgia should not potentially break the bank.
Original IP would help, and with the lowered development costs, the experience should yield results, but as Martin Peterson brought out, these things take time. I mean, look at some of the recent and upcoming titles on PS4 and even PS3...they are enhanced 8/16 bit styled games, and they want folks to shell out $10 -$15 for them!
Publishers are looking for units to move, and so does the hardware developer. A part of me misses the good old days when the systems were bundled with a couple of controllers AND a game...they knew these experiences were meant to be shared. However, I digress...OUYA is like a tabletop smartphone, albeit an inexpensive one...the only difference is you are looking at a TV and not down, like a handheld. The experience needs to be more engaging to bring in the players is my point, and it takes time to cultivate the audience to do so.

Caleb Garner
profile image
I don't see the Ouya failing, but i don't see it really having much of a chance to dominate.. i think it will be something like the 3DO was.. it was the first 32bit system and did some neat things, but once some bigger players came along like Sega and Sony who had bigger marketing budgets and followings (read google, amazon, etc) that these will probably overshadow the Ouya.. however these other systems are not here yet and I'm rooting for the Ouya to take this time to build a community.. i'm hoping in some way it plays out like the way the 360 did... it did a great job of securing itself as the next gen winner because it had a nice head start..

Regardless of Ouya being the biggest / best.. what they have going for them is the fact that it will still have the same root OS as virtually all of the other microconsoles.. so yes it will only have a harder time for them to get many exclusives.. but i don't think any of these microconsoles will have any real luck with exclusives.. because porting will be sooooo easy.. it's very unlikely without direct console subsidies or other similar percs, I can't imagine any dev opting to go exclusive unless that console happens to own a dominating market share of the microconsole market.. and i suspect it will be fairly evenly distributed... It's not like going from Xbox to Playstation where you have numerous technical differences and other red tape to deal with that these systems will most likely never adopt.

Also, everyone out there who keep touting "its a glorified phone.." need to realize most of these microconsoles are going to be the same relative class of hardware / performance. If you're game is unable to cut it on a phone.. that's your choice as a game designer, not the hardware's fault... you go on and make your game for PC or Console.. so many great games run fantastic on this level of technology at a fraction of the cost of the upcoming consoles and game prices that also are a fraction of the cost.

I love the ouya and while it's not perfect, i find it exciting to explore both as a developer and as a gamer.. I look forward to how things play out over the next year..

Harry Fields
profile image
"Fantastic" is a relative term. You can *almost* get to Xbox360 levels of performance, minus some shader capabilities... almost (like a Honda Accord can almost go as fast as a Porsche). XboxOne/PS4 will reset the bar again, end the PC GPU feature add malaise and basically make phone/microconsole graphics look like just that... phone graphics. If your idea is well suited to an affordable device with limitations, then perhaps you can find a profitable niche. The business part of it is whether Ouya will make a profit. The expectation currently seems to be that micros are for small, cheap or free, disposable experiences.


none
 
Comment: