Should You Buy the Ouya?

Introducing the Ouya

Ouya had been a blast when it was released on Kickstarter, though the final product received reviews that were not really outstanding. Six months since it was first released, the game had received numerous OS updates and tweaks in its features. How is the Ouya rated now?





The software is something that you would describe as minimalist. It is difficult to navigate the entire thing, especially when you are trying to make way for a game that consumes a lot of space. Six months later, the software of Ouya is still basic though you could say that it is now polished in an attempt to solve this difficulty. Now, the navigation area has been updated a few times to enhance the user experience, and you can also automatically download backgrounds to suit your preference.



Here are some of the changes made with Ouya:

  • The Ouya button’s double tap functionality within a game. The function lets you reveal a system menu overlay so that you can exit the game. You can then buy the game’s full version, make the console go to sleep, or go back to the game.
  • You can now view the game’s information page from your installed list. This is organized based on your most recently played game. A search function is available but it is difficult to type using the device’s on-screen keyboard.
  • A USB storage feature is now available. A USB drive can be attached to Ouya console so that you can access the files. This is a great new feature because the 8gb storage of the device leaves you with only 5.7gb of usable space.
  • Games can now be automatically updated, but this is only for the featured titles. The limited game titles that receive automatic updates is probably because of a capacity issue, but Ouya will hopefully be able to develop this later on.
  • Delta updates are already supported by the console.




But despite these updates, Ouya still has some issues. The limitations of the device include the following:

  • Remaining storage space is difficult to track. To see this, you have to click settings then look for the Android storage menu. The only remaining option to know if you don’t have enough space left is to download a game and wait if the download will fail.
  • The device has bugs that prevent you from downloading games with huge space requirement even if you still have sufficient space.


The limited games that can be played with Ouya is still a huge downside. Shadowgun is a great game, except that after a while you’d start looking for something else to play. The game selection of Ouya is still not competitive and makes the device feel cheaper. Some developers have been encouraged to bring their games to the device. Some Google Play stuff such as Sonic the Hedgehog 4, The Cave, Ravensword, and Reaper are now available, This is a improvement, but there’s still much work to do. The fact that Ouya still lacks a Google Play is a big limitation fr the device.





Aside from games, Ouya also has a small media hub. It has some video apps such Vimeo and XBMC. It also has VLC’s unofficial port. Configuration is difficult, but once you get past that, it works.




Performance and Quality

Ouya’s Tegra 3 makes it difficult for the device to move forward. The Tegra 3 chip turned out to be an underdog compared to other chips, and it is getting worse as time progresses. Its effect on Ouya largely depends on the game: Meltdown and Shadowgun, for instance, work well, but ChronoBlade (which is a graphic-intensive game) has several bugs and has poor performance.


Ouya can be bought for $99. It’s cheap, but Ouya still does not have improving sales so you would expect the company to provide a discount for it in order to get more buyers. But financial constraints limit this option, so Ouya is left waiting for more people to be encouraged to at least try the device.


The verdict

It’s hard to say that Ouya is useful in one way or another. You can’t even say that it’s a real console – the games are mostly phone games adapted on a bigger screen (some look okay, but some look awful). There’s a planned revision of Ouya’s hardware next week, but nothing is definite. The Ouya 2.0 will hopefully be using a Tegra 4 and a larger 2gb RAM. The next Ouya is vital for the company’s fate: it’s a make or break.


For now, it is not advisable to buy the Ouya. Do you think so, too?




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