Channel 5

Ouya

Tuesday 18 June 2013

G-Rating

Rating of 3

The basics

Ouya. No, that’s not an exclamation of alarm - it’s the name of a new kind of open-source gaming system which runs Android and connects to your TV, offering the value of mobile gaming on a large screen. For just £99, it’s priced well below modern consoles, but can it really be considered a challenger? Ahead of its high street release in just a few weeks’ time, we plugged on in to find out. Has this Kickstarter sensation been worth the wait?

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The good

In purely physical terms, Ouya is a hit. Famous designer Yves Béhar came up with the casing, which exudes a subtle yet appealing charm. The wireless Bluetooth controller is also decent, offering a comfortable button layout and responsive dual analogue sticks. Spin the diminutive Ouya console around, and you’ll discover an impressive range of connections, including HDMI, USB, Micro USB and Ethernet. Add Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to the mix, and you’ve got one seriously well-connected gaming platform.

Because it’s running Android, Ouya can potentially play all of the best games Google’s mobile OS has to offer. Titles like Final Fantasy III, The Bard’s Tale and Canabalt are available right now, and look amazing on your LCD TV. Future games like Sonic CD, Shadowgun and Dead Trigger are expected to arrive soon, and will most likely play much better on Ouya than on your phone or tablet, thanks to that effective joypad. It also runs emulators, which means you can turn it into a retro gaming monster.

For those of you sick of spending £40 on games for your Xbox 360 or PS3, Ouya’s pricing structure will be of interest. Every game on the Ouya store can be downloaded and sampled for free - developers use in-app purchases to make their cash. Some will ask you to pay a flat fee to unlock the full game, while others adopt the free-to-play approach and tempt you with in-game items or currency.

The bad

A games console is only as good as the games available on it, and at the moment Ouya doesn’t really offer anything that’s likely to get hardcore gamers excited. Many of the titles on the store are shallow mobile offerings adapted to use the controller, and few will keep your attention for more than a ten minutes. Ouya needs killer software, and hopefully that will come as 2013 progresses.

Although it’s priced attractively at £99, Ouya seems less appealing when you consider you can now pick up a PS3 console for just £40 more - and that has a massive library of amazing titles, including The Last of Us and Gran Turismo 5. Although we’d love to be proven wrong, it’s unlikely that titles of that standard will ever appear on Ouya. Mobile prices mean mobile experiences, and they don’t tend to translate very well to the big screen.

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The bottom line

Ouya has plenty of potential, and it’s great to see a new company entering a competitive marketplace - and getting plenty of attention in the process. However, at the moment Ouya feels like it’s just putting mobile games on your TV. These games have been designed to fill a few spare minutes on the bus to work, not to keep you entertained for hours at a time.

If the console can score some notable exclusives then it could change things forever, but many developers are likely to play it safe and merely port their existing Android games to the console.

Another issue is raw power - Ouya’s Tegra 3 processor is about to be surpassed by Tegra 4, and with the PS4 and Xbox One hitting store shelves this Christmas, dedicated gamers are unlikely to be satisfied with what Ouya currently offers. Having said all that, we sincerely hope that Ouya can carve itself a niche in the market: the more competition the merrier, especially with pricy new next-gen consoles around the corner.

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User comments (4)

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DJCMBear

I have my Ouya being shipped to me as I type this, I was a kickstarter backer of this device and even though this little console can't match the likes of the XBOX One or PlayStation 4 (which I have on pre-order), or even the PS3 or XBOX 360, it has one thing the others don't and that's the ability to play android based games and yes there may be ways to get them on the other consoles but the Ouya allows developers to cross-platform develop games that run not just on the small screen of a mobile or tablet pc but also on the TV screen which all vary in sizes, I myself have a 42" 3D LED TV and if the Ouya one day allows 3D content then my TV can handle it; it will also allow developers to include code which says if in 3D mode use the 3D content, this helps bring cross-platform gaming alive as no matter what device you play on you can all play together and could also do cross-platform chat, as iOS and android can cross-communicate already with the likes of Skype and Whatsapp, the Ouya could be the first of it's kind to be able to chat with mobile phones right from your TV screen as you play a game.

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James

I think I fundamental point has been missed out with regards to what else this device can do. This is a really cheap and clever AV device to. Install XBMC and you have all your TV and Audio need. Add a squeeze plugin, and you can control your music from anywhere in the world. How many devices are this small, and pack as much programming punch. Raspberry Pi - Though great, it lacks the grunt.

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PYSC

Hi i have recently pre-ordered my ouya console for the june 25th uk release date.I do have to argue a bit in terms of the gadeget show impressions primarily why you say ouya has nothing new to offer gamers basicaly it does,it is an opensource console meaning it is legaly modifiable and can be physically opened without voiding any warranty for starters,eg.root-able,physically modifiable easily as is simplistic in design and easily repairable as all are standard parts used for other simple media devices ie.android tv/mobile devices,one site claims a 9/10 score for repair-ability of it's hardware.But not only this but cloud based gaming service onlive will be featured,and on youtube nvidia grid was reviewed live on an ouya playing borderlands 2 pc game lag-less as well which astounded me.Not only that but what it is being hailed as as well is a dev kit (development kit) for android game developers,they can use a special dev kit from ouyau's webpage and use it to manufacture their own games with it,then the games can be published at a much cheaper rate than going through a large group like playstation or microsoft as is the case for console game makers.The potential for this console to set a new more openly competative and fairer way to sell and make games senario will introduce a new era in gaming,and i would watch closely future advances in tech like this as in a world where money is scarce something new/cheap an interesting could take a shot at the title or remain high in the top console contenders list for quite some time to come yet.I would'nt judge this book or should i say console by it's cover just yet as it has barely had a thing developed yet to show case it being so new and all.Besides wealprett much know the os it's android,but we are talking a tegra 3 quad cpu,and 12 core mult-icore nvidia mobile graphics chipset with 1gb ddr3,for a console with that with a wifi controller and 1080p output,with the ability to play goldeneye 64 online via it's emulator range it can't be sniffed at,today as of looking there were 151 titles been made so far,the uk has yet to welcome it.I am one of two people i know who has preordered from game so far.

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Nadbag

For me it's all about the smell. The plastics in the console are just yummy. It's new computer smell times 1000. Close your eyes and breathe in deep. Your in a warehouse full of your favourite gadgetry floating across the ceiling in a haze of plasticity. Thanks to the square shape, simply purchasing several thousand of these consoles allows you to construct your own furniture. Why stop there? You can build your entire house with these babies and live in the most delightfully smelling home of your square box dreams! Mmmm... Plastic.

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