There’s been a lot of excitement surrounding Ouya, but there’s been just as much scepticism as well. The first ever Android console was one of Kickstarter’s biggest success stories in 2012, bringing in an astonishing $8,596,474 from 63,416 individual backers. Ouya’s success appeared a sure thing given the immense amount of funds it generated during its stint on Kickstarter, but the critical reception of the new console thus far hasn’t been anywhere near as positive.
The Verge‘s review of Ouya (in which it received a 3.5/10) criticized several aspects of the console’s operating system, lineup of software, and limited functionality. The Verge is responsible for the most negative Ouya evaluation to surface thus far, but it wasn’t alone. Engadget wasn’t too fond of the indie system either, claiming that the controller wasn’t up to scratch with industry standards and that the buttons often got stuck — making the controller effectively feel cheap.
Despite reports of Ouya having a lineup of 104 games to choose from at launch, Engadget points out that a “vast majority” of titles will feel all too familiar for those with any knowledge pertaining to the catalogue of games currently available on smartphones. Neither publication were particularly high on the method required to install and play certain games either, and The Verge indicated that the title of “most hackable” console was used in vain — stating that getting certain software to run will escape the technical grasp of many of Ouya’s backers.
Even the means of purchasing games wasn’t praised by the pair of reviewers, both of which complained about the requirements to make all initial games free to download. As a result of this, gamers are treated to a demo version of sorts, with pesky reminders from developers popping up to inform consumers that they should purchase the whole game. Another drawback is that users can’t even see the prices of these games until they’ve been downloaded to the Ouya’s hard drive, leaving many to wonder if they’re downloading a free game or something that costs up to $14.99 like Final Fantasy III.
There’s little question that the current Ouya model has a few problems, and that’s why an Ouya representative informed GamesIndustry International that the units that were reviewed were done so during the “preview period.” What this means, according to the rep, is that the systems that were sent out aren’t reflective of the final product that’ll be released in June. Furthermore, the review units for Ouya won’t even be made available to the press until mid-May, allowing journalists time to prepare legitimate reviews of the console.
“We will be making Ouya review units available in early to mid-May so that you are able to review the more complete consumer experience and prepare your coverage in time for the June 4th retail launch. 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.”
While the reviews from The Verge and Engadget aren’t reflective of the final product, there is a silver lining to the negative evaluations for Ouya. The company can now heed the negatives drummed up by both critics, and make the final retail version of Ouya a true knockout. Given that the “preview period” was just for early backers to get a glimpse at what the little console would be capable of, you can bet that those who’ve yet to secure their adorable little Ouya box will be waiting on final reviews with bated breath. Let’s just hope that the final retail-ready version of Ouya won’t disappoint.
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