I like the way Ouya rolls off the tongue. I also like that they are putting game development into the hands of the real creative engineers. You know, indie developers. Personally, my best gaming experiences as of late have come from indie games such as Minecraft, and every iOS title I’ve downloaded. Games shouldn’t be about the next best graphics, or which console is better. They should be about building memories we will look fondly back at fifty years from now when Nostalgia is taunting us with our past youth.
I can’t say my best memories come from sitting in front of a TV playing video games. I hadn’t owned a console before the age of twelve, but I did own a PC. I did, however, enjoy the multiplayer games at friends’ houses. Games like Mario Kart, Halo, Goldeneye, Gauntlet. Suddenly things changed. People now play console games online. Friends don’t get together and hook up their Xboxs for a Halo multiplayer fest. So now my Xbox 360 resides at a friends place, my Wii is in a grocery bag by the TV, and I vowed not to buy a PS3.
I’ve dumped console gaming because I’m sick and tired of paying sixty dollars for a video game. Steam offers great games for less than ten dollars on a daily basis. Phones and tablets now offer amazing games for as low as .99┬ó. I’m not frugal. I just like to get as much value out of a dollar as possible.
Ouya seems promising. Spending 99$ for a console that offers free games is an enticing proposition, and I can see why Ouya has a storm of hype surround it.
Look at how the MMORPG industry has evolved over the past five years. It used to be one had to subscribe and pay fifteen dollars a month, but now most MMORPGs have transitioned to a free to play model to attract players. The catch is players can purchase upgrades and cosmetics. Mobile games do a similar thing. Games like Dead Trigger, Pocket Planes, Modern Combat 3 offer most of their content for free, but a player has the option to spend money to access all the upgrades.
This is the model Ouya is being designed around, and it will be successful. The free to play model has saved over a dozen MMORPGs from bursting into dust like a vampire. A free to play game called League of Legends has become the most popular MOBA, and offers millions of dollars in prizes in its tournaments a year. Riot, the developer of League of Legends, makes money by selling characters and character skins.
Where Ouya will make its money is from in-app purchases. iTunes rakes in mad cash by taking a percentage of all purchases made in the iTunes store. It even takes a cut from subscription based apps. Ouya will offer free games, but of course the developers, who need to make a living, will offer upgrades and incentives to spending money.
At ninety nine dollars, and with the promise of free games, Ouya may restore my faith in console gaming. Not to mention, Ouya has a slick looking concept controller. Check out their Kickstarter page for more information.
Within 24 hours, their Kickstarter project earned 2.5 million dollars, surpassing their goal of 950k. Unfortunately, at this time you can’t pledge ninety nine dollars to receive a console (sold out), but since this is such a cool project you should pledge money anyways. I’m considering it.