OUYA Releasing New Consoles Every Year

Friday, February 8th, 2013

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Earlier at this year’s Dice Summit, the CEO of OUYA Julie Uhrmun announced that they would be releasing a new console every year. Because if it works for smart phones and tablets, it’s got to work for consoles too, right?

“As it relates to iterating the console and refreshes, our strategy is very much similar to the mobile strategy. There will be a new Ouya every year”, Julie tells Joystiq. “There will be an Ouya 2 and an Ouya 3. We’ll take advantage of faster, better processors, take advantage of prices falling. So if we can get more than 8GB of Flash in our box, we will. And in so doing, make sure that all games are backwards compatible.”

“We’re launching on the Tegra 3. It’s a quad-core A9 chip. Because it’s not a mobile device, we don’t have to balance power for battery life. So when all four quads are running, it’s 1.6GHz. It’s gonna be the best Tegra 3 device on the market.”

Games will be tied to your account, so your games can easily be transferred if you decide to purchase another OUYA, but I doubt that makes it better. People were already skeptical of the system before this announcement. I’m sure some people who actually donated enough money to get their own OUYA will be regretting their donation knowing that a better OUYA will be out next year.


About Kyle Emch

Kyle has been studying music at college for about three years now. He's played the piano since he was 6 years old and has been recently been learning how to write music. He has followed the Operation Rainfall movement on Facebook since it started and was happy to volunteer for the website. Just don't mention Earthbound or the Mother franchise around him.

  • Because money, that’s why.

  • They’ll be lucky to get past the first year…

  • dbclick

    I think people are a lot more upset by this than they should be, probably because they’re too used to the existing console strategy. Here’s some reasons why OUYA would be doing this:

    Android/Mobile market Parity and compatibility
    It’s very unlikely that a developer will make an OUYA exclusive game for the latest model, given adoption rates. It’ll behave very similar to the current Android or iOS market – new devices are released very regularly, but good games still get developed. An OUYA 2 or 3 will be nothing like the difference between a Playstation 2 or 3. There will be full compatibility – just a spec-bump.

    Scalable graphics
    The OUYA was never concerned about having top-of-the-line graphics, so developers will likely only write OUYA-specific games that take advantage of the new hardware only when they reach enough critical mass (or scale the graphic fidelity based on the hardware you’re running much like PC games do). Much of the early OUYA library will likely be comprised of ports of existing Android games. They are updating hardware frequently at least in part so people can play these ports on OUYA instead of on mobile phones.

    Also, a new system will probably cost $60-$80 if they sell an upgrade version without a controller, HDMI cable, and power adapter (since you’ll already have the old ones already). I again stress that given the OUYA’s source of titles, it will be very unlikely that you will see a game that will require the latest OUYA released within it’s first year (unless it’s a port of a high-powered game already coming out on Android). This means that you could buy a new OUYA every 2-3 years and still play the vast majority of OUYA titles just fine. You could buy an OUYA every other year at that price and still pay around 40% less than what you would have paid for equivalent time with a new modern console (assuming price points of $70 bi-yearly vs. $400 over 7 years).

    Preserving console gaming
    Don’t forget that one of the major goals of OUYA is to preserve home console gaming in the expanding world of mobile gaming (due to the ease of developing a title for Android and OUYA at the same time). Also as an added bonus, it is also hackable (and the makers say you’re free to do so).

    Niche Appeal
    I think the most important thing here to note is a console like the OUYA that is very easy to develop and publish for is a fertile breeding ground for niche and innovative games – and we all like that here.

    To avoid sounding like an apologist, I’ll just disclaim that I’m not totally sold on the idea of OUYA yet – it all depends on what games get released for it. I just see where they are coming from (particularly with the yearly hardware release cycle).

    TL;DR: OUYA doesn’t adhere to the traditional home console model, so yearly upgrades aren’t as bad as you might be thinking and good in many ways.

    • It’s pretty much just a much smaller scale PC, so should be treated similarly rather than a traditional console. Personally I’m getting the Tegra 4 version if they survive long enough.

    • You can afford a Wii now days that has a price of $99 with a good solid game library for the same price as mobile games. Nintendo’s greatest hits are $20 now and solid android games are around the same price so I would rather pay those 20 and buy a game like Mario Galaxy which is a full fledged experience than an Android game.

      Also, OUYA will never and I mean NEVER will have Xenoblade, Last Story and Pandora’s Tower (not to mention the Nintendo library)

      yeah, I can see the OUYA crashing and burning by 2016 now

    • dbclick

      The difference is, for me at least, that I own a Wii and all those titles you’ve mentioned. If anyone didn’t own a Wii and it’s best titles, then I would undoubtedly recommend that over the OUYA given it’s current proposed lineup. How do you think the lack of a Nintendo supported library will cause the downfall of the OUYA?

    • I think it’s less the lack of Nintendo support specifically and more the lack of anything resembling quality control. People call the Wii a shovelware machine because there’s just so much garbage on it, but the Ouya has the potential to be a shovelware monster, without a substantial library of known quantities resembling a Mario or Zelda. Sure, there might be an Android port of an old Final Fantasy game here or there, but no one buys an Android or iOS device just because they want to play Final Fantasy II again.

    • Go look up android fragmentation.

    • dbclick

      As a developer I’m well aware of what Android fragmentation is. In what way do you think fragmentation applies to the OUYA? Fragmentation of it’s own ecosystem by a yearly release, or more fragmentation of the general Android device set? And how do you think that would effect the OUYA? Not looking for an argument – just looking to discuss.

    • If they plan on taking “advantage of faster, better processors” with yearly updates, then by definition there will be a variety of different levels of Ouya. That’s will lead to a fragmented market as most devs will want their game to look the best it can and will take advantage of the newest tech. By the time Ouya 3 or possibly 4 rolls around there will likely be a disparity of power, meaning that people will be forced to upgrade or not play the newest games. And if you’re having to upgrade with any form of regularity, then you’re better off having bought a traditional console in the first place. A PS3 might cost more upfront, but no matter the model*, they’ll all play the same games. Plus there’s the likelihood of people just waiting for the better version. I mean, right now Ouya has nothing outside of concepts and vaporware promises to be excited about. I would have picked one up, but what’s the point if a better one is coming. There’s no must plays and I’ll get a more powerful unit. Also, i realize fragmentation isn’t quite the right term, but I think you can see my point. Ouya really shot themselves in the foot.

      *excluding, of course PS2 backwards compatibility.

    • All this is also gonna help trivialize real gaming, again making developers dumb down their games in order to appeal toi this growing demographic of people that think they’re gamers because they own an Android phone or an iPod touch.

    • dbclick

      I would hope it would do the opposite: encourage developers make more substantial games for the Android OS (or it’s OUYA variant).

      I don’t think the target audience of the OUYA (as I understand it) is causal gamers on a handheld touch device. It’s purpose in large part is to help keep more games on consoles and TVs by making it easier for developers (particularly smaller indie ones) to publish to a console. That should, in theory at least, attract more niche and innovative “console-grade” (if you’ll pardon the term) titles to made for the console. Hopefully, the appeal of that prospect should be obvious to anyone on this site.

    • Upgrades would be more acceptable if the new chipset fit in the old casing. Think about it, instead of buying a new system all you need is a new chip. Four screws and five minutes later you have ouya 2.0.

  • Lightthrower

    Kickstarter created a monster…

  • Joe

    This is a bit of a let down, but I’m still glad that I supported an independent console developer. I’m a believer in competition, even if the odds are incredibly stacked against OUYA.

  • So Apple, Samsung or any tech company releasing a new 300+ phone which slight improvements every year or two is fine but a console being released for 60-100 bucks each year, which I emphasise, you will not actually have to buy, is a travesty? The simple fact is that 3 different ouyas will cost less than a release Xbox 360, PS3 or Wii/WiiU

    • Funny thing, by the time the 3rd iteration comes out, it should be powerful enough to last a while. $100 for a pretty decent console if you wait long enough and $300 if you upgrade each year. Still cheaper than most console launches.

  • I’ll just wait for the Tegra 4 version and stick with that. Performance should be around PS360 level, so it’ll do just fine even in the future.

  • Bitch Please

    Are you fucking kidding me, this is just laughable. Phones are useful in so many ways, both essential and recreational. A console isn’t, especially one from a company with no background. A new console every year is ridiculous. You make Sega look like geniuses, and we all know how their console war turned out. What these consoles need is some blast processing.

  • I can’t wait to play Angry Birds on my HD TV. After all no one plays games like Assassins Creed or Final Fantasy on their TV right?

  • Huh, and suddenly I’m even less interested in OUYA…

    • dubaloseven

      Funny, I’m now interested in OUYA for the first time… huh

  • John Ellis

    And here I was thinking that the OUYA was a decent idea. There may be people who buy Smart Phones every year but your overlooking the fact that a smartphone is not a dedicated gaming platform.

    • dubaloseven

      You’ll still be spending less buying a new one every 2 or 3 years (it’ll also it’ll be cheaper than buying a new iPhone every 2 or 3 years). And plus its backwards compatible. All I need now is the software announcements and I’m sold.

  • People keep saying “well people buy new smart phones every year”, but they fail to realize that the phones are a whole ‘nother animal. For example, when Apple makes a new iPhone, they aren’t just making it more powerful. They’re adding 4G support, or they’re making it lighter, or they’re changing the form factor, or they’re giving it retina support, or they’re adding Siri, and every time they’re overhauling the operating system. They’re never just putting out a more powerful machine. Now, there’s a chance that Ouya is planning to make significant changes with each iteration (which would cause a different set of problems; specifically fragmenting their consumer base) but we won’t know about that till the TwOuya is on shelves. Plus there’s the nightmare of having a new dev kit show up every year, especially a pain if you’re working on a game for a number of years and have to retool it for incremental upgrades.

    All in all, I thing this is a absolutely terrible plan. They should have kept it to themselves.