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The PA Report - Devs look back at four months of OUYA sales… and it’s not pretty

DogDog Registered User, Administrator, Vanilla Staff admin

imageThe PA Report - Devs look back at four months of OUYA sales… and it’s not pretty

This is an interesting look at how software sales are doing on the OUYA platform, and I'm not exactly sure what to think about the results. No one is making a ton of money on the platform, at least no one who is dealing with a multiplatform release, but the cost of bringing an existing game to the console is so low that it must almost feel like "free" money to many developers.

Read the full story here


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  • dbrowdydbrowdy Registered User regular
    I was interested in getting one originally, but after all the bad press and weird stuff I heard, I decided to wait. I'm glad I did, because I think a Steam Machine will fill my needs better anyhow.

  • hotzphotzp Rochester, NYRegistered User regular
    I backed the Kickstarter. After a lengthy delay in shipping, I finally received my unit. I powered it up, but the WiFi was so weak (notoriously documented in many other places) that it couldn't stay connected to the router in the room located directly below the OUYA. Haven't touched it since; if my wife wasn't so meticulously clean, it would be covered in dust.

  • sneslinksneslink Registered User regular
    I was a Kickstarter Backer, and still really like my OUYA. I will, however, admit that since Windwaker HD came out on WiiU I haven't been using it very much.

  • hartliachartliac Registered User regular
    I still use mine a lot and buy any game that I enjoy (over 15 or more), but I agree a price tag on the market would be nice.

  • figgnewtonfiggnewton Registered User new member
    Downloaded emulators. Played for a while, got some newer titles, and now... nothing at all. It isn't even connected anymore. So sad... now the steam machine...

  • wormspeakerwormspeaker Objectively Terrible Registered User regular
    @DBROWDY That's a good point. $110 gets you a 1.6GHz, Dual-Core AMD A45 processor bare bones PC. (On NewEgg it is currently coming with a 32GB SSD) Another $25 gets you 2GB of RAM or $40 gets you 4GB of RAM. That's a $150 PC that blows the OUYA out of the water. (It's a bit larger though at 11.1" x 11.02" x 3.74")

  • hartliachartliac Registered User regular
    The title of this page seems more negative than the perception the actual article is presenting. What I see from the Gamasutra article is people mostly happy with the results but no one is making huge sales. And most are talking about releasing more games in the future.

  • Twilit SoulTwilit Soul Registered User new member
    Mine has been collecting dust for months. Which is sad. I honestly like the appearance of the console, the feel of the UI. The controller is alright. After a few games though, there just isn't ever enough reason to pull it out and plug it in.

  • nanofuturenanofuture Registered User regular
    @HARTLIAC They're talking about releasing more games because the cost to port games with controller support from Android to Ouya is very low, but the low sale numbers are pretty important. Platform holders make their money primarily from game royalties. It doesn't really matter much if games keep coming if nobody is buying them.

  • iconmastericonmaster Registered User regular
    I think most everyone (who didn't back the system) saw this coming. The console business is merciless and the ones that succeed are generally helped along by significant first-party development -- and cash.

  • mpurekampureka Registered User regular
    Gotta say, guys, this is pretty much exactly what I told people would happen when Ouya launched their Kickstarter.

    I guess it's nice to be proven right, but it makes me wonder why so many people DIDN'T see this coming.

  • gnomekingofpaingnomekingofpain Registered User regular
    Still use mine almost every day. As an xmbc based media player. Which, to be fair, is exactly what I expected to be doing with the Ouya. I like it better than using a cheap PC setup because I can easily toss it into a bag to take to a friend's for movie or anime nights and the like. Other than that, I use the emulators occasionally to play community translated and patched games like some of the the old Super Robot Wars on my television.

  • gacbmmmlgacbmmml Senior Web Developer IHG.comRegistered User regular
    What's an OUYA?

    Noah (girls are cute, but monkeys make me laugh)

  • AlzAlz Registered User regular
    edited October 2013
    There's two elements at play: one is the horrible marketplace and purchasing hoops, which I confess is a strong deterrent to anyone who actually owns the system and wants to pay for a game. Would it kill them to advertise the sticker price of the game in the marketplace?

    The second is the self-fulfilling prophesy of, "If nobody buys these games on the Ouya, why spend the money to make a good one?" None of the games on that list rise above the level of an XBLIG title, which admittedly is probably what 75% of the Ouya market offers -- I wonder how the sales numbers for Towerfall, Knightmare Tower, or YDKJ would correspond? Anyway. So when low sales numbers trickle back into the community, it puts the kibosh on higher quality, but riskier, projects. And when they realize they're stuck in this chicken/egg scenario and come up with a good-natured (but deeply flawed) plan to help fund indies make more expensive titles, they get even more flack.

    I own an Ouya, and even I admit I don't turn it on every day. But I still root for them to succeed, because it's efforts like theirs that influenced the next-gen consoles to give greater visibility to indies. And it's still a decent piece of kit that anyone can develop and release games for. If more people gave it their love, and Ouya fixed their marketplace, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

    Alz on
  • Casey ReeceCasey Reece Registered User regular
    Reading all the interviews from the article, it paints a rather sad picture indeed.

    Just hearing them talk about their sales figures. It's like, every single one of these conversations sounds as if was had in the developers mom's basement (instead of an actual, you know, office). They outwardly admit to having only sold a couple thousand copies of their game - and then continue the conversation as if there's anything left to actually say.

    No.

    There isn't.

    There's nothing left to say after that.

    When a console launches - into (presumably) at least a few hundred-thousand homes - and the people who released titles on day one are sitting back and counting the sales they've made since then in the hundreds, no, not hundreds of thousands, but in the literal hundreds - then there's nothing left to say after that.

    Even worse - it doesn't sound like anybody was bothered by their game moving next to zero units on a machine that the whole video gaming world was looking really closely at. I really don't mean to dig on those developers interviewed in that article, but they really came off less as developers, and more like scavengers happy to get whatever couple scraps happened to fall from the table on release day.

    There's not so much the attitude of, "Man - my game is the unholy awesome of all awesome - and it merely being on this thing is going to move units" and much more of a, "Well, I had already kind of programmed this thing way back in the day, and it was just kind of sitting around in a drawer, so I decided, hell, why not see if the market might actually want to buy a couple of copies. And they did! And the $5,000 in sales I walked away with was totally worth the thousands of hours worth of code, business preparations, and back-breaking effort I put into it."

    As of this point in time - buying a game on the OUYA is a ridiculous proposition. They realized their marketplace as a cross between a dollar-store - where anything costing more than a handful of cents looks like an outrageous value proposition - and a crack dealer - who, love him or lump him, makes it really difficult sometimes to get all that delicious crack.

    It's as if OUYA never did business before. In fact, it's as if OUYA landed here, from a different planet, completely foreign to all concepts of transaction, monies, or business - and decided, hell, it can wing it.

    The fact that these people could actually acquire the contacts to put together the entire physical shell of the thing - and still give everyone who purchased it the UI they had - is a mind-baffler for the ages.

    TowerFall's great. Too bad it didn't come out on the Wii U instead. Now the XBone, PS4, and Steam Machines are all here.

    Game Over OUYA.

  • stalliontgstalliontg Registered User regular
    Hello, I bought an OUYA recently and it's really easy to develop on. The title of this article is misleading because the devs feature in it remain optimistic about OUYA.

    The problem is not OUYA's marketplace but the devs marketing strategies for a free to play market. Tower fall did well (about 30k n counting) But the game is $15 which is kinda high for the type of game it is and especially high for the OUYA market. I think they would have done better to charge $10 and I think everyone who owns an ouya would have bought it for $5 because the game is really well made.

    I think OUYA would do a lot better by educating devs on good pricing strategies based on the quality of each game. A lot of the games pop up with a "buy me now message" at weird times sometimes 2 minutes into play and it's never clear what you get for X dollars. That sorta thing puts a bad taste in my mouth and so I decide...nah let's look for something else worth buying.

    Most games on OUYA could fall into a flat $3 to unlock the full game. The most fun and use I've gotten from OUYA is sitting on the couch with 3 friends and discovering new games to play. if a game kept us entertained for a good 20 min or so I would certainly purchase one right on the spot via an interesting landing page detailing what you get for the price just to freshen up the content we were currently enjoying.

    I can't wait to start releasing games on the OUYA and using it to experiment with the free to play model. It's important to empathize with how a player enjoys your game rather then slapping a price on it that you think is appropriate. Learn and adjust, that what OUYA is doing as a company and we need to do within it's market place. @theorygeorgiou

  • AlzAlz Registered User regular
    @Casey - I agree with your points about the marketplace. But you can't take anecdotal evidence from five small team/single person developers that released ports of their Android dollar-store titles and extrapolate failure. It would be like taking a random sampling of XBLIG games, and then saying that the entire Xbox Live platform was a failure.

    I honestly dont get all the hate for the Ouya. If you don't have a horse in the race, why take such vocal glee in it's apparent troubles?

  • Casey ReeceCasey Reece Registered User regular
    edited October 2013
    @ALZ - I apologize. You're right - I should I have elaborated with an additional paragraph (-lol-) concerning the developers. From this one article alone - even considering it a handful of developers, it is still rather unfair. That being said - I do remember reading in the past (on the PAR) an article involving the creator of Towerfall. He himself said something along the lines of, "Well, we broke even, and even made a little bit of money. But all things considered . . . I was hoping for more." Totally paraphrasing - but what I remember him embodying was what I could best describe as "strategic disappointment." He couldn't come out and say that the sales were way under what he had hoped for - because love it or lump it - he was considered the AAA piece of software driving the system (or, rather, he was the developer that was going to make the case that great games could find good exclusive homes at OUYA).

    Just that - the numbers obviously spoke different. And other developers obviously fled (due, no doubt, to the many other problems the OUYA faced). Unless of course, there's an actual development community that has sprung up around this thing that I'm not aware of. Last I heard, their latest proposal to the gaming public got the OUYA enamoured with a bunch of schemers and shysters. Not exactly on the road to great games or gold awards.

    Then again - maybe I'm reading the wrong reports or info or stuff. Are there any articles on any sites that interview successful OUYA game developers? Or game developers who say a major increase in their sales due to the OUYA? Or a game developer that could afford an office - get their company going - actually move a notch upwards in their game-plan? Are there any examples of this actually existing because of the OUYA? Because, there are, like, multi-billion dollar companies that exist because of the other big three (or four, if you count Steam) consoles out there. They're a pretty good handle on the kind of success this medium can enjoy. Is anybody associated with the OUYA at least experiencing some upwards mobility due to their affiliation with it?

    ---

    With regards to "vocal glee" in the hate department towards the OUYA - man - I was right there with you. I was actually defending the OUYA for the greatest length of time (even through the whole not-shipping-to-their-actual-backers debacle). And man, on that one, I really got put in my place. I don't often admit defeat here - but I was effectively wrong in everything I tried to defend OUYA for in that one.

    Much like Ben of the PAR here - I was a real hopeful. Like, the dude who would always see the glass half full. And then they released a machine where you couldn't buy their games on it.

    At that point - I pretty much took my ball and went home. There was nothing left to argue any more. I would be sticking up for an entity that didn't know how to preserve itself.

    I mean, hell, you may love the pincer-less lobster. You might root for him/her all you want. But, realistically speaking, it's pretty self explanatory what's going to happen when that thing wanders off into the ocean.

    Casey Reece on
  • KharlanKharlan Registered User regular
    This really shouldn't surprise anyone. Its a dramatically underpowered console with questionable build quality and a poor user experience that plays what are essentially smartphone games. The likely audience of casual gamers have probably never even heard of it, instead its the much more tech savvy nerderati like those who visit this website who have and who, understandably have little interest.

    The overall idea is not a terrible one, just the execution has been severely flawed.

  • GunganGungan Registered User regular
    Not surprising. If I, for one, am not about to play smartphone games on a smartphone, why would I possibly play them on an OUYA. Only reason to own one is emulators.

  • DinospyDinospy Pacific NorthwestRegistered User regular
    Yeah, this "The Cut" headline is much more negative than the linked article. Not as severe click-bait as Andrew's title for the Bioshock Infinite essay, but close. It worked though, I clicked through to see what you said and to read the article, so if this was your goal: Congrats!

  • streeverstreever Registered User regular
    No snark: did the writer of this cut piece read the linked piece? This piece refers to Ouya as "dead in the water", "it's all kind of a wreck", and says "it's not pretty" in reference to the devs looking back, yet most of them sound happy.

    I get the impression that the editor is editorializing pretty heavily here and reading their own impressions into the piece.

    I don't (and won't) own an Ouya (or any console for that matter)--I have no money on the table, except a frustration with sloppy editorializing. This is what PAR is supposed to provide an alternative to.

    I was inspired when PAR first launched, but I've found myself increasingly disappointed by the tone and direction.

  • heinousjayheinousjay Registered User regular
    I stopped using mine, because the controller is an awful mess, and using alternate controllers isn't nearly as seamless as I wanted it to be.

    There are a few games I absolutely adore, but I just can't stand playing them with that awful controller.

  • Titanium DragonTitanium Dragon Registered User regular
    I enjoy how people are defending the Ouya.

    It just isn't a viable platform, and it never was going to be.

    I would say I feel sorry for the people who bought it, but frankly, they brought it upon themselves.

  • MygafferMygaffer Registered User regular
    @TITANIUM DRAGON I don't think there is any need to feel sorry for the people who bought one. Outside of any Ouya store stuff they can use it is an Android device they can easily hook up to their TV and use with any Android app they want to. They can pair a Bluetooth keyboard to it and browse and control all apps that allow that, in fact I would not be surprised if there were Bluetooth touchpads one could use.

  • slamm321slamm321 Registered User new member
    I have had the ouya since a month after release and truthfully I haven't had this much fun playing video games since the NES. I don't use any of the emulators, but I do use xbmc quite a bit. my only gripe about it is that you need to sit no further than 10 feet from the console for the controller to work properly. I just had people over to play multiplayer games for the first time this past weekend and I am convinced to buy a couple more controllers so that I don't have to deal with the problems that arise from trying to use my xbox 360 controllers with it. storage was a but of a problem, but I managed to get in on the beta for external storage and it is no longer a problem. since buying the ouya, I have only turned on my xbox 360 4 or 5 times and I used to use it 5-7 hours a day. I will eventually buy the xbone, but for now I am quite satisfied playing indie games on the ouya.

  • gatkinsogatkinso Registered User new member
    Just reconnected my Ouya in the rehabbed family room (along with an original XBox, Wii, and an Atari Joystick with a dozen games) and folks are having a good time with it. It seems to compete well with that level of console and everyone seems to like the half dozen games I bought (Draw Rider, Sine Mora, a few others). Definitely not a console killer, but still fun and cheap so WTH. I had given up on it back in the summer so I was stoked to fire it up and actually have fun with it. There was a crazy long system update, but after that was done we were GTG. Controller is a PITA admittedly, fairly horrible. If you keep in mind what it is, you will enjoy your Ouya. Would ***love*** to see some classic PC games ported to it (Doom, Quake, Decent).

  • sternrulezsternrulez Registered User new member
    @MYGAFFER, Unless things have changed since I had mine (I've since sold it on Amazon at a loss), I'm surprised to hear that you can use it as an Android device. When I FINALLY received mine (yes, shipping was just one of the issues I had with them), you would be permanently locked out of the OUYA store if you rooted it, so I wasn't able to have it both ways. I was so excited at being a part of gaming history, but after the experience I realized it was a dubious honor at best.

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