The Ouya console has been the most talked-about independent gaming platform since its incredible Kickstarter fundraising campaign. Now that the Ouya release date is upon us, though, the chatter has taken a decidedly less-positive tone. Early Ouya reviews are not favorable, even on the end-user side of things. Yet somehow, Amazon and other retailers are selling out of the Android-based console.
Interest has been high in Ouya for months now, so its consumer base may have over-hyped itself to a certain degree. Whereas PS4 pre-orders on Amazon and Xbox One pre-orders on Amazon saw meteoric spikes during E3, orders for the Android-based Ouya console had a much longer burn, either because people were on the fence about what an open-source gaming machine could actually deliver, or because they were holding out hope for Sony’s and Microsoft’s upcoming next-gen consoles.
With the PS4 being priced at $399 and the Xbox One priced at $499, though, the Ouya’s $99 price tag may have inspired some deeper looks into what the indie console offers. For instance, what can its Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset produce? Are its 170 downloadable titles unique, or identical to what’s already available on consumers’ phones? Do its streaming apps such as Plex, XBMC and iHeartRadio give the unit enough non-gaming legs compared to the multimedia capabilities of the PS4 and Xbox One? But in spite of the questions and bad reviews, the Ouya has still sold out on its launch day at both GameStop and Amazon.
Ouya executives have claimed for months that their system doesn’t force an “either/or” discussion with the next-gen PS4 and Xbox One consoles. Instead, it was almost seen as a companion device, something to keep people gaming when the big-brother systems from Sony and Microsoft were turned off. Interestingly, perhaps because of its much-lower price, Ouya has succeeded in racking up sales in spite of the console’s poor reviews.
Some of the early Ouya reviews at Amazon come from consumers who backed the console during its aforementioned Kickstarter campaign, a demographic that would traditionally be one of its biggest “fanboy” type supporters. Yet the reviews cite WiFi issues, buttons sticking on the controller and response-time lag in the controller itself. Still, those same people giving the Ouya poor reviews also say that its $99 price point should warrant some understanding that certain imperfections are to be expected compared to its higher-priced PS4 and Xbox One kin.
Ouya has said it’s in the process of addressing these and other complaints. A timeline has not been set for when the hardware and/or firmware updates may be available to remedy these early challenges.