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Ouya Dropping 'Free-to-Play' Requirement

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the free-as-in-pay-me dept.

Android 107

itwbennett writes: "One of the Ouya micro-consoles's selling points has been that you can sample every game for free. That requirement is going away soon. In a recent blog post, Ouya's Bob Mills said, 'In the coming weeks, we're going to let devs choose if they want to charge up front for their games. Now they'll be able to choose between a free-to-try or paid model.' Good news for developers, perhaps not as good for customers. 'Maybe this new policy will attract new developers that can offer something compelling enough to be a system seller,' writes blogger Peter Smith."

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107 comments

Dumb move... (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 months ago | (#46574851)

They are a barely alive gaming platform and they are starting remove features they were built upon...

Not smart.

Re:Dumb move... (3, Interesting)

SirAstral (1349985) | about 4 months ago | (#46574893)

Maybe you operate from a foreign dictionary.

"Requirements" and "Features" are very different things.

In regards to this article I am focused on pay vs free.

They never should have made this a requirement... I want open, so that people can charge nothing OR what ever the heck they like!

Re:Dumb move... (3, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 months ago | (#46574925)

I'm guessing you know nothing about OUYA. they started this as a selling point for the whole platform. It was one of the underlying features ans selling points of the platform.

Re:Dumb move... (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 4 months ago | (#46575027)

this is the best possible move for the platform. customers win when they can play great games that they feel are a reasonable price. OUYA is giving devs freedom to experiment with different ways to pay. the best games and ways to pay will float to the top. As somebody who invested a couple hundred $$ into onlive, I'm a big fan of online gaming.

Re:Dumb move... (1)

iamhassi (659463) | about 4 months ago | (#46576835)

this is the best possible move for the platform. customers win when they can play great games that they feel are a reasonable price. OUYA is giving devs freedom to experiment with different ways to pay. the best games and ways to pay will float to the top. As somebody who invested a couple hundred $$ into onlive, I'm a big fan of online gaming.

Maybe, but OUYA still received $8 million in funding with the promise that "ALL GAMES FREE TO PLAY" [kickstarter.com] . The fact that they're going back on their promise now makes every kickstarter campaign look bad.

Whether the games are free or not is the not the reason OUYA is failing, the reasons are obvious: [tomsguide.com] it doesn't play regular android games (game must be OUYA compatiable), poor controller, it's slower than modern smartphones and tablets, and when you can just plug your tablet or smartphone into your TV why buy a OUYA at all?

Re:Dumb move... (0)

blackicye (760472) | about 4 months ago | (#46578357)

this is the best possible move for the platform. customers win when they can play great games that they feel are a reasonable price. OUYA is giving devs freedom to experiment with different ways to pay. the best games and ways to pay will float to the top. As somebody who invested a couple hundred $$ into onlive, I'm a big fan of online gaming.

That is the theory, the reality is that the kickstarters are already feeling screwed over from the launch, and they are the ones that "believe" the most in the platform.

Without this feature there is nothing to differentiate themselves from the market, and they'll end up as a low cost, obsolete platform inside of a year.

Re:Dumb move... (3, Informative)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about 4 months ago | (#46575267)

Sometimes you have to compromise. They spent an awful lot of time working on this project. And I am sure they don't want to let the ship sink because of past ideologies they held dear. If it brings them more devs and gets the platform rolling, so be it.

Re:Dumb move... (2)

SirAstral (1349985) | about 4 months ago | (#46575963)

A "Requirement" is a requirement. Does not and never will be the same as a "Feature" no matter how much you wish it to be or if you fall for someone "Advertising" it as such either! This is more akin to false advertising not feature removal! Removing Linux from PS3 was "Feature" removal! Allowing devs to now charge for their games is more of a "FEATURE ADD" if it did not exist beforehand.

There is a reason we produce something called a dictionary.
To help people to call things what they should and should not!

Requirements and features from whose POV? (0)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#46576003)

Often, what is a "requirement" from the point of view of a developer is a "feature" from the point of view of the user and vice versa.

Re:Dumb move... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46576221)

This is more akin to false advertising not feature removal! Removing Linux from PS3 was "Feature" removal! Allowing devs to now charge for their games is more of a "FEATURE ADD" if it did not exist beforehand.

You're reaching.

The question on all the current customers minds are if they are now due some form of compensation? If Ouya sold them the consoles with the premise that all games would be free-to-try or free-to-play then they may have opened themselves up to some litigation. At the very least they have bad PR.

Re:Dumb move... (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | about 4 months ago | (#46579099)

A "Requirement" is a requirement. Does not and never will be the same as a "Feature"

That's just completely wrong. A feature of my car is that only a keyholder can get in and start it, which makes it more difficult to steal than, say, an unlocked bicycle. A requirement of my car is you need a key to get in and start it, which makes it marginally less convenient to use than, say, an unlocked bicycle. Thus, car keys are both a feature and a requirement.

Moreover, a thing can be a feature for one party and a requirement for another. For instance, government forms in my country have the feature that I can fill out any form in English without having to provide a notarized translation, which is an important feature for me because I speak that language best (I could also have done French which is also an option, but I share no other languages with those offered by the government as guaranteed languages). However, that imposes a requirement on the government that all forms must include an English version, and they have to be able to process all forms in English.

A feature of the Ouya is that you can play any game there without paying, albeit possibly in a limited mode. A requirement is that if you develop said game, you have to make available a mode that lets people play without paying.

Re:Dumb move... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46576405)

I'm guessing you know nothing about OUYA. they started this as a selling point for the whole platform. It was one of the underlying features ans selling points of the platform.

Yet another pie-in-the-sky kickstarter project based on deceptive business practices. They got enough suckers to fall for their lies and now they are setting the hook.

Re:Dumb move... (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about 4 months ago | (#46576081)

"Requirements" and "Features" are very different things.

I don't know if you really had a point to make with this sentence. As a customer he considered it a feature that all games were free-to-play. As a developer, if you wanted to make a game for Ouya you had a requirement to make it free-to-play.

Lumpy's point is that by removing that requirement from developers they are removing a feature that drew customers to the platform in the first place.

Whether that was an intelligent move is a different matter.

Re:Dumb move... (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 4 months ago | (#46574969)

They already killed it; Ouya is becoming a software platform that'll run on other Android devices, and the existing microconsole is probably going to gradually go away. If they have to compete with Google Play, they need to drop anything that developers might not like.

Re:Dumb move... (1)

blackicye (760472) | about 4 months ago | (#46578419)

If they have to compete with Google Play, they need to drop anything that developers might not like.

That is really the problem, they will never be able to compete with Google Play as far as installed base goes, the smartphones alone will be a bigger draw for developers, who will at most support the Ouya platform in parallel, if a market still exists.

And they are about to put a hole into their own market and start taking on water.

Re:Dumb move... (0)

Desler (1608317) | about 4 months ago | (#46575103)

But the Ouya was gonna make Microsoft and Sony absolutely terrified with their runaway success.

Or at least that's what the brain-dead fanbois of Slashtardia claimed.

Re:Dumb move... (1)

Lightning McQueen (3342905) | about 4 months ago | (#46575227)

I AM a brain-dead fanbois of Slashtardia you inconsiderate clod!

Re:Dumb move... (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about 4 months ago | (#46576945)

I AM a brain-dead fanbois

Yes.... yes you are. Here's a cookie.

Re:Dumb move... (1)

Threni (635302) | about 4 months ago | (#46575257)

I don't think anyone cares if they drop this. People aren't going to hear about this platform for the first time and say "wait, I have a sneaking suspicion that previously I'd have been able to play a free sample of all games, not just some games, and that makes me less likely to want to play games on it".

Re:Dumb move... (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 4 months ago | (#46575537)

I've been thinking about this platform and whether to buy it for a long time. I am less likely to buy it after hearing this news.

Re:Dumb move... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46576565)

I don't think anyone cares if they drop this. Most people aren't going to either hear or care about this platform.

FTFY.

Re:Dumb move... (0)

blackicye (760472) | about 4 months ago | (#46578455)

don't think anyone cares if they drop this. People aren't going to hear about this platform for the first time and say "wait, I have a sneaking suspicion that previously I'd have been able to play a free sample of all games, not just some games, and that makes me less likely to want to play games on it".

I don't think anyone really cares about the Ouya. The one person I know who owns one got it from the kickstarter and hasn't unpacked it from the shipping box yet.

Re:Dumb move... (1)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | about 4 months ago | (#46576425)

They are a barely alive gaming platform and they are starting remove features they were built upon...

On the other hand, requiring developers to offer "free to play" versions of their games makes the platform less attractive to them, and a console is nothing without developers.

Re:Dumb move... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46576539)

It's already dead, nobody wants a Linux console any more than they want an Android console. Especially one that is only used to play pirated 8/16-bit games.

Frosty Piss (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46574867)

Sounds like a desperate attempt to be at all appealing to developers, it is far too late in the game to work though.

Awesome! (4, Informative)

drunkennewfiemidget (712572) | about 4 months ago | (#46574875)

When I was one of the first few hundred to sign up for their kickstarter and then received my unit well after I could have purchased it for the same price at Best Buy, I was done.

Then, when it took them another 3-4 weeks to get me my other controller, I sold it on the Internet like I did the Ouya and first controller.

I've heard nothing but complaints about it, and now they're removing one of the only promises they've actually kept to this point.

What a way to blow through millions of dollars. It'll be dead in a year. And I say good riddance.

Re:Awesome! (2)

netsentry (2733393) | about 4 months ago | (#46575191)

When I was one of the first few hundred to sign up for their kickstarter and then received my unit well after I could have purchased it for the same price at Best Buy, I was done.

Then, when it took them another 3-4 weeks to get me my other controller, I sold it on the Internet like I did the Ouya and first controller.

I've heard nothing but complaints about it, and now they're removing one of the only promises they've actually kept to this point.

What a way to blow through millions of dollars. It'll be dead in a year. And I say good riddance.

+1 for similar experiences. I was also early on the Kickstarter, and my model showed up with a bad HDMI solder. When I found out how long it would take to get a replacement, and that I couldn't walk into the aforementioned big box store and swap it out, I decided to fix the solder myself. Then it worked...but the controller rattled because of a broken tab, which would occasionally cause a button to stick as well as just being purely annoying. Build quality control did not seem to be a priority. I never did return that nor did I sell it -- opting instead to throwing it away. Partially out of laziness and partially out of spite. I like to support the little guy, but when the little guy has millions to invest into a project I would expect a million dollar project. 2

Re:Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46575327)

> What a way to blow through millions of dollars. It'll be dead in a year. And I say good riddance.

Making a few execs millionaires in the process.

Good news for me. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46574883)

Speaking from personal experience, "Free to play" games generally are not even close to free. It's pay to play, rent your EXISTING equipment, pay to win, pay for upgrades, the list goes on. So for me this makes the platform more appealing.

I like my games to be 1 transaction (The purchase) and it's done. Expansion packs are okay too.

Re:Good news for me. (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 4 months ago | (#46575041)

+1 clever. I agree we should re-name "free to play" as "pay to win".

Re:Good news for me. (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 4 months ago | (#46580931)

The two are not the same. A lot of people confuse pay-to-win with pay-to-alleviate-frustration.

Think Candy Crush. I've had plenty of people tell me that it's pay-to-win. That's new to me. I've been playing it for a long time now and they haven't seen a single cent. Yes a few levels may take a few days to pass but that in no way means I NEED to part with money to move on.

People don't have the patience for hard games anymore and think that because there's an easy pay option to progress it automatically means pay-to-win.

Re:Good news for me. (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 4 months ago | (#46581457)

People don't have the patience for hard games anymore and think that because there's an easy pay option to progress it automatically means pay-to-win.

disagree. response is self evident, don't have time to type it out.

Re:Good news for me. (4, Insightful)

Laxori666 (748529) | about 4 months ago | (#46575159)

It's not free-to-play though it's free-to-try, as in, a demo. Like the shareware of old. They would require each game to have a shareware version, but now they have removed this requirement.

Re:Good news for me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46575243)

The games all had free demos. They weren't (necessarily) free-to-play.

I don't know if there were free-to-play games on the console, but that's unrelated to the feature/requirement they're changing. There were definitely non-free-to-play games, and they all had demos. If you liked the demo, there would be "1 transaction (The purchase) and it's done."

Congrats on getting to +3 insightful with an irrelevant comment, though.

Re:Good news for me. (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 4 months ago | (#46575259)

I think the general idea is that the game had to be free to try, but not that it had to be free to play the whole thing. This is actually one of the aspects that I really like about the Microsoft App store (for my Surface 2 - not pro). Many apps have a free trial period where you can download and try them out for free, so you can decide if they are really worth the money. I've used this feature more than a few times and often this is what gets them the sale. If an app doesn't have a free trial, I'm very cautious about buying the app, because all sales are final. I like the idea of pushing all apps to have a free trial period, so that people can get a sense of what the app is really about.

Re: Good news for me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46575271)

One of the ways of filtering out the dross in the app stores is to tell the search to only list games with a selling price. If it's going to be a good game to play, I would rather pay $3-10 up front for it. If it's supposedly free to play, it probably has glaring ads taking up a third of the screen or rapidly becomes pay-to-win after a half hour or so.

Economic preference for priced goods (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#46575693)

One of the ways of filtering out the dross in the app stores is to tell the search to only list games with a selling price.

How do economists model consumer preference for higher-priced goods? "Veblen goods" because they're more closely associated with conspicuous consumption, not price as a signal of quality. Does it have more to do with the common law of business balance [wikipedia.org] ?

Two kinds of IAPs (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#46575657)

ODK IAP [devs.ouya.tv] supports two kinds of in-app purchases, which lead to very different free-to-play designs.
Entitlements
This represents the shareware/expansion model: buy a feature once for a particular e-mail address and keep it. For example, Id Software could choose to put Doom in the store, with "Knee-Deep in the Dead" free. It would have an entitlement called "Ultimate Doom" containing "The Shores of Hell", "Inferno", and "Thy Flesh Consumed". It would have a second entitlement called "Doom II".
Consumables
These can be purchased more than once. The bad reputation of free-to-play that you mention comes from abuse of consumables in game design, such as "energy" mechanics on even the smallest actions designed to induce the player to pay to override multi-hour waits.

Re:Two kinds of IAPs (1)

hendrips (2722525) | about 4 months ago | (#46576689)

And that's fine. I'm happy to purchase a game that is in the first category.

Unfortunately, the instant I hear the phrase "free-to-play," I assume that I'm dealing with the second category. I doubt I would have purchased an Ouya anyway, but the animadversion triggered by the phrase "free-to-play" kept me from even considering it.

Re:Good news for me. (1)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about 4 months ago | (#46578227)

One scheme that would be fair and nice for the gamer would be if games were free to download and play, but only the first chapter (or equivalent).

For example I would pay a dollar or two to play one game of Civilization 5 on a tablet. I'm not likely to ever play more than two or three games of a Civ before I have to go into detox, so it would save me a lot of money v.s. buying the whole game for $40.

Ouya? That thing is still a thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46574885)

Really? Usually business plans that bad die quicker.

Next, drop DRM. (1)

uCallHimDrJ0NES (2546640) | about 4 months ago | (#46574887)

The best they can hope for is to become a darling of the libre crowd. As a market, they're done.

Re:Next, drop DRM. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46575183)

Raspberry Pi already fills that need, though it may come with less powerful hardware and no case. On the other hand, it's less than 1/2 the price of the Ouya and doesn't come packed in with a garbage controller.

Can't you sideload F-Droid? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#46575721)

OUYA supported sideloading last time I checked. Who has managed to get F-Droid working on an OUYA console? Should I try it tonight and tell you whether it worked?

Re:Can't you sideload F-Droid? (1)

uCallHimDrJ0NES (2546640) | about 4 months ago | (#46576175)

I mean they should drop DRM from the store and make DRM-free a feature, the way gog.com does.

Does it really matter at this point? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46574897)

The reviews for the Ouya are split between "5 stars: It runs emulators and XBMC really well" and "1 star: It sucks for anything else".
 
The market has already spoken. They don't want a cheap console where they have to pay for games.

Re:Does it really matter at this point? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#46575753)

The market has already spoken. They don't want a cheap console where they have to pay for games.

Then why hasn't the gaming market shifted from consoles, which are partly subsidized by the expectation of royalties collected from licensed developers, to set-top PCs?

Re:Does it really matter at this point? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 4 months ago | (#46576587)

Because people want an Xbox or Playstation not some crummy Ouya.

Re:Does it really matter at this point? (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 4 months ago | (#46576789)

What he probably meant was "super cheap console" with low budget and/or low quality games intended for phones/tablets.

The "real" consoles are a different market.

Re:Does it really matter at this point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46576933)

That was obvious even in the Kickstarter phase: Everyone wanted a cheap XMBC/MAME box, very few people expressed interest in playing casual android games on their TV.

Apt (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46574959)

Ouya: the bitcoin of the console world.

"Customers" (1, Funny)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 4 months ago | (#46575019)

Now they'll be able to choose between a free-to-try or paid model.' Good news for developers, perhaps not as good for customers.

Customers?

Like, all of both of them?

Re:"Customers" (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | about 4 months ago | (#46575767)

Customers?
Like, all of both of them?

Who bought the other one? To be honest, I rather like mine.

Re:"Customers" (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about 4 months ago | (#46580471)

Me too. I don't play it all the time, but it was $100 well spent. If it supported CEC, I would happily buy an Ouya 2.

Fundamental problem with OUYA (2, Interesting)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 4 months ago | (#46575045)

Besides the clunky controller, and the chicken and the egg problem of no developers...

The main problem with the OUYA is that it does nothing you can't get from a cell phone plugged into a TV with bluetoothed controllers.

Everyone has a cell phone, so the OUYA just seems redundant.

Re:Fundamental problem with OUYA (3, Interesting)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | about 4 months ago | (#46575265)

Well, assuming that you have a cell phone that matches the Ouya in power. And that you like having to tether it to your TV every time you want to play a game.

Also, while there's no fundamental reason why developers couldn't release a game that is optimized for controller play on a TV that runs on your standard Android phone, in practice that is not what has happened. They seem to be hoping to change that by allowing Ouya games to run on other Android platforms, but that's still on the horizon.

There were some serious mistakes made in the design and marketing for Ouya, but I like mine and have bought a fair number of games. It's not "redundant."

Re:Fundamental problem with OUYA (0)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 months ago | (#46575307)

Or the fact that you can buy a refurb/used Xbox360 or PS3 for the same price and get far more and far better games?

I was in the kickstarter, and discovered that the whole platform was doomed from day one. All of their promises and "Features" have now disappeared.

Re:Fundamental problem with OUYA (1)

Svartalf (2997) | about 4 months ago | (#46576005)

Refurbished X-Box 360 or PS3? For $100? I don't know where YOU shop, but pretty much everywhere locally and online are selling refurbs for $150-200 on either console. Now, I'll agree the premise you're talking to is more sound at this time (Because the budget difference is realistically minimal...), but the concept they were aiming for was the best of the best in the Indie space making titles that were try before you buy for free. For all of the PS3 and X-Box 360 being "better" (Which, by they way, if you had adequate content to compare would be nearly at or on parity with those consoles for most titles...) you still don't have that with either of those two. You pay and keep paying. Which is fine because the used game market, at least for now, rocks. If they'd pulled it off a little better than they did...might be a bit of a different discussion there. As it stands, though, it's not "same price". Close, but no cigar there.

Re:Fundamental problem with OUYA (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 months ago | (#46579441)

EB games. $99 for an xbox 360 with one controller.

What moron would pay full retail of $200 for a used Xbox360?

Price and search (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#46575827)

The main problem with the OUYA is that it does nothing you can't get from a cell phone plugged into a TV with bluetoothed controllers.

It's cheaper than buying a new unlocked Android phone with HDMI out (which not all of them have) and buying such a Bluetooth controller. Or are you assuming that people already carry an Android phone with HDMI out? Besides, does Google Play Store yet support searching for games that support a Bluetooth controller? Support for the OUYA controller is a given on the OUYA store. Games on Google Play Store are more likely to support the touch screen and leave Bluetooth controllers as an afterthought.

Everyone has a cell phone

I have a cell phone, but it's not one that runs Android. I can't seem to figure out how to get any games for my Audiovox 8610 on Virgin Mobile other than the blackjack game and the Hansel and Gretel-themed Columns clone called Magic Hexa that came with it.

Re:Price and search (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 4 months ago | (#46576959)

Gee dude and I thought my AT&T Fusion 1 was ancient. Look, head on over to your local store, pick up a cheap android go-phone. Do NOT activate it via the phone...do it via the web...then you can choose a non-smartphone plan.

You'll be limited to wi-fi for smartphone features, but it will still be more versatile than that 10 year old relic. Jaysus, that thing doesn't even do music! Even my old Razr v3xx had that.

Re:Fundamental problem with OUYA (2)

Svartalf (2997) | about 4 months ago | (#46575927)

Heh... This presumes two things:

* You've got a high-end ($700-900 retail...) cell phone that you're willing to use for this purpose.
* Said high-end phone doesn't bake itself running continuous duty at peak clock.

The Ouya and MadCatz MOJO are dedicated set-top devices- with fans and all. They're not designed for mobile service and are designed to actually put out peak operation continuously. A cell phone's not designed for that abuse. It can only really do it part of the time- and they're expecting you to replace the thing within 2-4 years max. The whole premise you espouse will make Samsung and the like *VERY* happy and you very poor...knock yourself out.

Re:Fundamental problems with OUYA (1, Insightful)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 4 months ago | (#46576575)

The main problem with the OUYA

Yep, I do test some of my Android stuff with bluetooth gamepads and TVs, so that part of porting to OUYA isn't a big deal. The primary problems I had with OUYA development be two fold:

0. Free to play means taking the time to create a demo version, and the effort is barely worth it because:
1. Cheap games are impulse purchases. Once curiosity is sated by the demo, the drive to purchase is gone.

For my wares, screenshots and videos drive hype and result in sales; Demos largely do not, and frequently decrease sales instead. "Oh, that was fun, I'll buy it later, lemme try this other demo first", lather, rinse, repeat, do not pass Go, do not collect 200 pennies. Even when demos do lead to sales it is insanely difficult to create a good demo because you're trying to demonstrate enough of the gameplay to leave the player with a satisfying grasp of what the game is without including enough content to leave the player satisfied with just the demo.

This is "big" news, relatively speaking, for (prospective) OUYA devs. Allowing pay-up-front-once may convince me to port to OUYA, given that it's the only sales method I use. I've seen much of the same sentiment among other indie game devs. Personally, I'm still hesitant because when I factor in time and cost to play test & debug a version just for OUYA, the cost/benefit ratio drops back to at or below even. I'll have to test after cutting down on geometry details & texture res because phones out-pace OUYA in power; For for phones/tablets I can expect folks to upgrade so I don't test on multiple hardware power "tiers", I just pick the minimal requirement for a smooth game. Factoring in creation of a demo just for OUYA, and what that means for sales, eliminated it as an option but now I might take the risk.

Notice that I do not concern myself with in-app purchases; While that is how one deploys a demo version on OUYA (a one time IAP unlockable), a continuous micro-transaction model is not a part of my game mechanic vocabulary, and never will be. If you want to pay-to-win parts of my games, then those spots are not monetization opportunities, they are where I've failed as a game designer. Banking heavily on that pay-to-win model (since demos don't drive sales), really irked me about OUYA -- it means I'd have to design a game around its monetization, ugh, no. If games are to be artforms we have to treat them that way -- That means being born without an auth-server death sentence, hence without IAP even if it's a one time unlockable.

I also find it frustrating that a console claiming to be giving developers more freedom even had the restriction of free-to-play only in the first place which no other platform had. That OUYA also claims to be giving players more choice while they require them to hand over a credit card to even use the device is also really messed up considering the games were all "free to try". Trying to leverage "casual" gamer marketing from a traditionally "hard-core" gamer console space is also a strategic failure, IMO. Protip: "Hard core" gamers are the prime spenders on "casual" games too... So the most paying demographic already has a console, they likely also already have a PC, and phone / tablet. I can't see casuals picking the vastly underpowered OUYA just for casual-tier TV games when they can get far more powerful and seamless experience with an Xbox360 for around the same price, or likely already need/have a phone, and with these options won't have to trust kids with a credit card number just for them to play games.

I agree that nearly anyone who would buy an OUYA has a cellphone and they can probably hook it up to their TVs, but no one wants to jump up and yank wires from their phone in the middle of a game to take a call... For this reason I don't think wireless video transmission is quite the answer either. Smart TVs aren't the answer because TVs are expensive and you'll want to upgrade hardware long before the screen needs replacing. Folks are learning that upgrading a traditional console can mean losing your games. Thus I think there is an upgradable streaming / gaming box niche that can be filled, perhaps by an OUYA, though installing Steam on my Linux media box has left the OUYA collecting dust... I'd prefer an Android TV with side-slot-in CPU/GPU upgrades, but that doesn't jive with planned obsolescence or vendor lock-in so I won't hold my breath.

I've yet to see a "next-gen" game that's not a re-hash of mechanics I've already played so the "where's the killer app" argument can be leveraged equally against OUYA as well as its far more powerful competitors as far as I'm concerned. Clearly I'm an outlier, but for me it's Tablet + Gamepad for "serious" and casual Android gaming, not the less portable and less powerful OUYA + TV.

Ouya's killer app....where is it? (2)

raydobbs (99133) | about 4 months ago | (#46575073)

The big problem with the Ouya is that there is no really good exclusive out there to show people what the console can really be pushed to do. So you have a lot of half-hearted ports from other platforms, pretty much limiting the sales of the product to people who haven't purchased any recent computer, game console, phone or tablet (very few indeed).

Frankly, Ouya needs to pick a product that is distinctly their market - nurture and help it be THE GAME on the Ouya to own, a reason to buy the console and controllers. Really showcasing what the system can do with the hardware its got will bring developers looking to 'one-up' that product and it really would have a shot.

Right now - its a no-mans land of retreads and badly written indie games. And I can say this as someone looking to release a product on the Ouya.

Re:Ouya's killer app....where is it? (1)

netsentry (2733393) | about 4 months ago | (#46575229)

The big problem with the Ouya is that there is no really good exclusive out there to show people what the console can really be pushed to do. So you have a lot of half-hearted ports from other platforms, pretty much limiting the sales of the product to people who haven't purchased any recent computer, game console, phone or tablet (very few indeed).

Frankly, Ouya needs to pick a product that is distinctly their market - nurture and help it be THE GAME on the Ouya to own, a reason to buy the console and controllers. Really showcasing what the system can do with the hardware its got will bring developers looking to 'one-up' that product and it really would have a shot.

Right now - its a no-mans land of retreads and badly written indie games. And I can say this as someone looking to release a product on the Ouya.

With that said I wish you the best of luck with your product release.

Re:Ouya's killer app....where is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46575235)

Right now - its a no-mans land of retreads and badly written indie games. And I can say this as someone looking to release a product on the Ouya.

So you're criticizing and adding to the problem at the same time?

Re:Ouya's killer app....where is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46576169)

Who says his game will be a retread or badly-written? Or were you just being rude for no discernible reason?

Re:Ouya's killer app....where is it? (4, Interesting)

RKThoadan (89437) | about 4 months ago | (#46575321)

Towerfall is probably it's best known game. It made Ars Technica's top 10 of 2013 and has a sequel in the works for OUYA, PS4 and PC. I haven't played it myself though. I use mine almost exclusively for XBMC (and am perfectly happy with it)

I definitely think this is a move in the right direction. I could see the retro-game market really explode on OUYA. I'd spend a few bucks each for some ports of SNES/Genesis era games easily.

Re:Ouya's killer app....where is it? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#46575469)

What are it's capabilities for XMBC? I'm currently using a Full PC with 8gigs of ram and a pretty nice Video card. Does it really decode x264 in 1080p without a problem? Will my wireless keyboard work with it? Or do I have to use that horrible remote?

Re:Ouya's killer app....where is it? (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 4 months ago | (#46575985)

If you are going to do that, go with an Intel Nuc DN2820. Much better use of money, imho.

Re:Ouya's killer app....where is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46576091)

It does X264 at 1080 no worries. The thing it can't do is MPEG2 at 1080 - so no HDTV (US). The hardware can do it, they just haven't got it working. It makes a great xmbc box and a great front end for mythtv (sans HDTV). I backed it because the spec say it should a good xbmc + mythtv box. Soooo close. And only 5 watts.

Re:Ouya's killer app....where is it? (1)

RKThoadan (89437) | about 4 months ago | (#46576111)

I'm only using it for DVD rips stored on my home NAS, so I've got no idea what it can do beyond that. I'm not much of an A/V guy and don't even know what x264 is. It's got USB ports, so if it's a keyboard with a USB receiver it will probably work.

For what it's worth I find the controller to be perfectly fine. Trying to use the touchscreen is a pain, but I haven't come across any times that was necessary since they got an official OUYA version of XBMC out there. It would have been nice if there was a quick guide to putting the batteries in. It took me a while to figure out the funky magnetic attached faceplates, but having a battery in each of the handgrips gives it a nice balance.

Re:Ouya's killer app....where is it? (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 4 months ago | (#46577005)

I'm not much of an A/V guy and don't even know what x264 is.

x264 is an h264 MPEG4 AVC implementation. When the grandparent said x264 he actually meant h264, the former being the software the latter being the media.

Whatfall? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#46575851)

Towerfall is probably it's best known game. It made Ars Technica's top 10 of 2013 and has a sequel in the works for OUYA, PS4 and PC.

But is this sequel coming to PS4 in hopes that people will confuse Towerfall with Titanfall?

Re:Whatfall? (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 4 months ago | (#46576979)

No, "normal" people aren't that literal. Besides, it's not "coming" it's already out.

Re:Ouya's killer app....where is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46575401)

people who haven't purchased any recent computer, game console, phone or tablet (very few indeed)

... and that want to own a relatively expensive, non-standard, underpowered, dedicated gaming device that runs an outdated version of Android that lacks support for the Google Play Store.

It's quite the niche, and I do not expect that they will survive the next two years except maybe by just running on the massive kickstarter funds that they received. Not that they could have waited for it to release, but they have also constrained themselves by being stuck with the Tegra 3 rather than the far superior Tegra 4.

Re:Ouya's killer app....where is it? (1)

Svartalf (2997) | about 4 months ago | (#46576041)

They're talking like they're going to be partnering with MadCatz on the MOJO for the next generation since they're a UI/API spec as well as a console hardware item.

They *MIGHT* survive being "absorbed" by MadCatz, but yeah, they didn't execute as good as they hoped on several fronts.

Re:Ouya's killer app....where is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46575665)

Right now - its a no-mans land of retreads and badly written indie games. And I can say this as someone looking to release a product on the Ouya.

Well, what are you making? A retread, a badly written indie game, or are you trying to be the exception?

(a link to an informational page about your product would be useful)

Re:Ouya's killer app....where is it? (1)

raydobbs (99133) | about 4 months ago | (#46576187)

I don't have enough of a product to really HAVE a page talking about it yet (despite the fact that the product is in a two way tie with another product internally as to which is written first). I haven't discounted the idea of writing for the console - just not sure I'd take their 'exclusive for more $$$$' matching funding as I don't think I'd get the return on investment locking it to a console with such a small customer base. Their barrier to entry is definitely a plus, though (no big investment in the SDK, no media costs, no artificial limitations, etc). I just wish they had a killer, knock-out exclusive - something to really scream, "Look at us! See what the Ouya can do!".

Re:Ouya's killer app....where is it? (1)

Svartalf (2997) | about 4 months ago | (#46576055)

Can't say that I blame you. I was contemplating maybe helping get a couple of titles I'm associated with onto the platform- but after getting one...heh...

Re:Ouya's killer app....where is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46576193)

Reminds me of how I bought a PlayStation just to play Final Fantasy 7. Sure I maybe only ever played maybe seven, eight other games on it....but I'd do it all over again.

Re:Ouya's killer app....where is it? (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 4 months ago | (#46577077)

FF7 was my first PSone game too, though I held off on getting the PSone till I was fairly sure there'd be more RPG's for the thing...that was May of 1998. (I had played the SNES Square games too.) My second PSone game was the PSone port of Diablo. I think I have over 40 PSone games.

Probably commercial decision (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46575113)

Its probably because devs couldn't be bothered to integrate with their payment APIs - especially for such a small platform. Much easier to just publish with a price. They can then just try out the same APK they put in Google Play.

I think its a smart move for the platform, as otherwise they simply don't get anything posted (which also is not good for the consumer - or them!)

Google Play IAP vs. ODK IAP (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#46575893)

Is integrating with ODK IAP really harder than integrating with Google Play in-app billing [android.com] ?

Re:Google Play IAP vs. ODK IAP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46576581)

Its more work - so if devs don't feel they'll make a return, why do it? Ouya download numbers are very low, making the incentive low. Its a chicken and egg problem. Any time spent on OUYA may cost more than the time it takes to deal with it. This move removes much of that requirement. Assuming the devs don't just work for charity/kudos of course...

Re:Google Play IAP vs. ODK IAP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46576623)

Maybe, maybe not, but it's more work to support and for most may not be worth it for sales that at best will be in the low 1000s.

Re:Google Play IAP vs. ODK IAP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46578169)

Speaking from experience integrating IAP for ouya and google play (and also ios) into a Unity game, I didn't find it to be that difficult, as their functionality is very similar with only a few minor quirks. As long as you keep your in-game store relatively platform-agnostic and separate from the back-end it can be quite easy. Using an interface and some wrapper classes I was easily able to use the different plugins with conditional compilation.

The bigger issue is testing. You need to test on the hardware for each platform if you want to be sure everything works correctly, and even for test purchases, a creditcard was needed. I got around that using a prepaid creditcard voucher.

Getting the controls and gui navigation right for each platform... now that is a much more difficult task.

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46575153)

What's Ouya, and why should I care?

Re:Huh? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 4 months ago | (#46576615)

A shitty console that will join the heap pile of failure along with things like the Atari Jaguar, the Philips CD-i or the Virtual Boy.

Predatory Developers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46575175)

What this will do is attract the predatory developers that make good photoshops but crappy games. So now, as a customer, you can get ripped off and fleeced. ...but it sounds like if you bought a Ouya then that already happened. Oh well.

Talk about your 15 minutes being up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46575503)

I haven't heard anything out of Ouya to make me believe anything other than that they were in the right place at the right time. But they don't seem to have the right stuff (hardware or software) so they'll be a footnote soon.

(Major corporations with unlimited in-house resources, especially when compared to Ouya, have launched game consoles with no killer app and those have crashed and burned too. See: Atari 5200.)

They can't succeed just because they really want to (everyone who does anything really wants to succeed) or that others really want them to succeed (there's lots of that too). They already did the "give us money and we'll make all your gaming dreams come true" thing.

14 minutes 59 seconds and . . . boom.

Re:Talk about your 15 minutes being up... (1)

Svartalf (2997) | about 4 months ago | (#46575859)

Actually, they have the "right" hardware overall- but the problem's more that they didn't get it out fast enough to be eclipsed by MadCatz providing a system that's usable with the Play store and can run games right straight out of that along with fielding one of the most agrressive Android set-top configurations to date at the $200-300 price point. And, there's a few "good" games, but nothing killer or showcasing- because you can get the title in the Play store as well. The only plus they have is the thing they're now axing as a requirement.

What's disappointing is the walled garden they have, combined with the dearth (again, they have some good stuff- but most of it is the dregs...) of worthy titles on the system. $99 is a compelling story with what they have. It'd work if they had better stuff in their store.

Stores specializing in control methods (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#46575973)

they didn't get it out fast enough to be eclipsed by MadCatz providing a system that's usable with the Play store and can run games right straight out of that

I thought games in Google Play Store were expected to have been optimized for touch screen control, not a directional control and discrete buttons. This sort of rules out genres that really need a directional control and discrete buttons, such as platformers and fighting games. When did this change?

More evidence that you can't trust promises... (1)

John Allsup (987) | about 4 months ago | (#46575801)

My recent experience with the Mac App store (if a newer version won't work on your hardware, you're SOL and can't get older versions that do work) has burned me enough not to trust a model where I don't take delivery of a physical copy with the means to activate it without the intervention of third parties. I run the windoze that comes on my laptop until I decide on a HDD upgrade, then run Debian or UbuntuStudio. I'm beginning the painful process of weaning myself off ShinyJuicyAppleses.

With this console again it just goes to show that business needs trump claims and promises to consumers. You get what you pay for, and anything else is a bonus that lasts as long as it lasts. Mr Caveat X. Emptor is very much alive and kicking.

Re:More evidence that you can't trust promises... (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 months ago | (#46578729)

My recent experience with the Mac App store (if a newer version won't work on your hardware, you're SOL and can't get older versions that do work)

Not true. If there was a previous version on the Mac App store that would have worked, it's still available.

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT... [apple.com]

Ouya - a fiasco (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46576327)

Mine's been collecting dust on the shelf for one year now. When they remove the need to hand a creditcardnumber to boot it up, I shall try it further.:)

Re:Ouya - a fiasco (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46580009)

I bought a console at best b** for 89.95. I returned it the next day because it required me to put in a credit card to connect so I never made it to the game menu. It's not that I wouldn't pay. I just want to be able to unlink it so my kids wouldn't go buck wild like I do with the apple store and android store. When they want something I put my card in. I buy it. and then unlink the card. looking at a gbox.
   

Doubt this is going to affect things too much (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 4 months ago | (#46576559)

It will possibly attract few developers who previously felt that the free-to-play rule didn't fit their business model. Probably very few will switch from free-to-play. Those who wanted to most likely weren't developing for the Ouya in the first place.

Good news for customers too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46579839)

As a customer I'm tired of all these "free to play" games that are full of marketing gimmicks. I just wanted plants vz zombies 2... not a fucking advertisement to upgrade or buy shit every time I finished a level.

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