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Developers Speak Out: Why Microconsoles?
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Developers Speak Out: Why Microconsoles?

August 28, 2013 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 3

"That's something that Sony and Microsoft don't really have to worry about, because they're going to get their Last of Us kind of games, and they're going to get their Mass Effects and their big titles, and that's what's driving the sales for those consoles," says Franzke. "It's going to be critical for the microconsoles to do the same thing. At the end of the day I feel like that's a biz dev challenge."

Hoping to shore up the Ouya is one reason motivating Tale of Tales to lend its support -- "such as it is," in the words of Harvey -- in the form of Luxuria Superbia. "We hope to support that platform and make it more successful, hopefully, by showing that there are more kinds of things," she says.

She does worry, however, that the Ouya -- which she describes as a "weak tablet," technologically -- could quickly be outclassed. "Because tablets are always moving. Quite quickly, people are going to go, 'Well, the games on this suck compared to this other thing,' and then that becomes the standard -- this other thing."

Of course, technology will keep marching forward. This is a good thing for microconsoles, argues Matt Plyohar, president of the PC Gaming Alliance and senior graphics planner at Intel. "What we’re seeing is a huge tectonic shift occurring with game engine companies like Unity and Epic optimizing for lower-powered devices, and delivering DX9/GL3+ like gaming experiences. What this does is disrupt the conventional notions of what PC gaming really is or isn't for most of us."

The Future of Microconsoles

But as technology moves forward, and more companies jump into the space, fragmentation becomes a bigger problem. Franzke is concerned about a proliferation of incompatible devices. "I'm really worried if there are a lot of them, there's a lot of fragmentation in the market going on, and I feel like it's going to be very difficult to sustain that, to make that successful."

"It's really hard to project into the future what's going to happen. Because they're so new," he admits. Still, he does have hope for a big future for microconsoles, if they can get through this difficult period. "In the next few years, it will be very interesting to see which one of those is going to crystallize themselves, become a major competitor to Microsoft and Sony."

"I do think they need time, because it's a strange new concept, and I hope that [Ouya's] funders are not breathing down their neck because they needed more money than their Kickstarter," says Michaël Samyn, the other half of Tale of Tales. "I hope that they have enough time to allow it to grow."

Plyohar thinks that if microconsoles are given that time, they will have a chance. "We're already seeing the tablet form factor (largely powered by Android, and or iOS) cannibalize mindshare game time from consoles and traditional PC form factors," he says. "I also fully expect to see Google increase the capabilities of Android in the future to be able to play more feature-rich and compelling games. We're likely to see this occur across the board."

But Franzke brings it back to the question of games: "It's not so much technology anymore, because in the past it's shown that, even if you have superior technology, it doesn't really mean that this will be successful." If that's true, then Ouya or its rivals may have a very sweet future, indeed.

Article Start Previous Page 3 of 3

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