Less than a year ago, the gaming world was aflutter at the news of Ouya, an Android-based gaming console.
The little box showed promise, demolishing through its initial $950,000 Kickstarter goal and ultimately raising more than $8.5 million.
With a $99 price tag coupled and a gorgeous look from award-winning designer Yves Behar, the Ouya seemed poised to offer a very real alternative to big name consoles.
And then people actually tried it.
With an aggregated GDGT score of only 62 out of 100, it’s safe to say the Ouya has a ways to go before Sony or Microsoft bat an eyelash. (GDGT pulls in reviews from several tech sites.)
The general consensus seems to be that the Ouya’s most important feature — its games marketplace — is a double-edged sword. While it does feature stellar titles such as “Final Fantasy III” and “Syder Arcade,” you have to trudge through a vast expanse of mediocre Android titles to find them.
It doesn’t help that one of the Ouya’s top selling points, emulators, can’t really be advertised either, though they offer gamers the chance to replay classic titles. While the emulator apps themselves are not technically illegal, they do require game assets illegally downloaded online to run, tainting the nostalgic experience a bit.
The Ouya controller has drawn criticism too, with reviewers complaining that the touchpad is overly sensitive and just plain finicky.
With comparable graphics to today’s top smartphones and tablets, the Ouya’s graphics only have the opportunity to deliver, not dazzle. With the spotlight on next-gen consoles like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, Ouya will have to fight to keep people’s attention.
Even with its fair share of criticisms, the Ouya is far from finished.
The budget gaming console has already done many things right, including a quick post-Kickstarter rollout, an elegant, minimalistic design, and obtaining support from top-tier game designer’s like Minecraft’s Markus Persson.
And while its out-of-the-gate launch is indeed lacking, many of these issues have the potential to be changed. Any major software issues can likely be fixed by an update, and hopefully more high-quality games will begin to popular the games marketplace.
At the end of the day, the Ouya is a $99 gaming console that has heaps of potential, but just isn’t quite there yet.
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