Ouya Explains Poor Reviews
After the Ouya, the upcoming budget console, received negative early reviews, a representative of the manufacturer told GamesIndustry International that this was merely a preview period. The representative said that they had no intentions of this version being reviewed: “”To clarify for you–Ouya has sent no review units out to press. Any reviews you have seen online are a result from individuals who received early backer units from supporting our Kickstarter.”
The reviews the representative referred to are most likely Engadet’s and The Verge’s reviews, both of which were quite negative. Among other things, Engadet criticized the controller for having “sticky buttons and gummy analog sticks”, and the poor selection of quality games. The Verge pointed out that the Ouya doesn’t have an exclusive title at the moment, which is problematic as there’s no single title that will drive people to the console, only the promise that something big might come along later.
The whole issue reads like damage control, as they must have expected some reviews to come out once they sent this early product to their backers. It would be impossible to keep a lid on things, even if it had come with some sort of non-disclosure agreement. Once people get their hands on a piece of technology, they will want to talk about it, especially if they’re disappointed. Why the Ouya is even being sent out to backers now, a couple of months before its release is also strange. Obviously it won’t be as good as the final product, so why wouldn’t they just wait until it’s done? “It’s done when it’s done” seems like an appropriate attitude here. It’s understandable that they’d want to appease the skeptics, especially among their own backers, but they definitely won’t win any goodwill by sending them an unfinished product. The representive did mention that the point of the limited distribution of the console was to “to test our eco-system and fine-tune the experience,” so perhaps one should just see this as a sort of beta test.
For those in the dark of what the Ouya is, it’s a console designed to be a cheap and more indie-friendly alternative to the big three. It runs on Android 4.1, and it’s supposed quite easy to get your games on the platform and to modify the console. The Ouya is also one of the biggest Kickstarter triumphs to date, taking in about $8.6 million.