Veteran journalist Chris Morris tackles the major reasons why Ouya could be a revolution or a mere footnote
Any time a start-up makes $4.5 million in four days through crowdsourcing, it's bound to raise a few eyebrows. And Ouya has certainly done that.
Enthusiasts are dreaming of a dark horse console that will bring gaming back to its roots, ending the cycle of sequel-itis and injecting some fresh new game mechanics into the industry. Skeptics, meanwhile, say those Kickstarter supporters could be throwing their money away on a product that will never find a significant audience.
Ironically, they could both be right.
Ouya will be a case study in marketing and PR in the years to come. The campaign has been orchestrated to perfection, with opinion maker- and mass media coverage of the system hitting the day the Kickstarter launched. It preached to the choir on Reddit. And it had a number of respected industry names lending their support (though some a bit less enthusiastically than it initially appeared).
It's a system that currently straddles the lines of potential greatness and historical footnote. And which way it will go is anyone's guess. Here are a few arguments for both sides:
Why Ouya could work
Magical price point: Price matters - especially when it comes to gaming systems. (Don't believe me? Ask Nintendo to tell you the story of the 3DS.) And when it comes to the sweet spot with consumers, you can't do much better than $99.
"Wii U hasn't energized the base yet... Ouya's plans to launch in the first quarter of 2013 give it a pretty clear field for at least six months"
Sub-$100 is a level where the mainstream is willing to take a chance, even if a system is unproven. If Ouya can hit its goal of a $99 console - especially one with a robust series of offerings (including the standard Netflix, Hulu, etc. applications), it could rope in people from the mainstream world, which would go a long way to achieving sustainability.
Indie love: Independent game makers rarely seek the spotlight, but that doesn't mean they don't want their work to be recognized. Ouya might be a perfect showcase for their games - and there's a growing contingent of gamers who are eager to check those titles out.
Indie games are typically niche products - and would never stand a chance when pitted against major franchises. There have, of course, been exceptions (and Ouya's eager to get them on board), but you don't have to look too far beyond Xbox Live sales numbers to see that most smaller games don't make a mint.
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