Saturday 10 August 2013

Ouya Console Explained.

Ouya Thumbnail

Many of you might not know but a new console has been selling like Hotcakes these days and just got sold out to the Last piece in its first Batch on all Online Portals selling it. The name of the Console is Ouya (Pronounced oo-yah), it just came out of nowhere in between the mayhem about Xbox One and Fanfare about PlayStation 4 and was sold out in same Stealthy Fashion.

Many were actually skeptical about it and those who knew about it are still surprised to see that it didn't Bomb terribly like they had predicted, So Probably the Question that maybe knocking at inside of your skulls will be "What is Ouya, and is it really a Console ?". Don't panic we'll Answer every Question that arises and even those questions that may arise from that Answer.

What is Ouya ?

is just another Console with a Twist, its based on the beloved Open Source OS Android, Plays your Favorite Games on TV and just feels like an other Console until you ask the Price!. Supports HD 1080p Streaming, Recording and playing, its actually first truly open console, games are easier and cheaper to make a optimize for it, requires no fancy "Developer Licence", allows you to play every game before you buy.
To cut the Long story short, its "Disruptive Technology" and Gaming Console that was born out of a crowd funding kick-starter Project and now you just cannot pass it up as another dud Console trying to make a place for itself in this Bigwigs dominated market.

Ouya Disassembled

Ouya Specifications:

Body is Sand Blasted Aluminium and Looks Smashing in front of your TV with that finish,some parts of Body are Plastic,there was a limited Edition Developer Editon too with Transparent body but guess it is out of stock now.
Hardware Specifications are pretty much Overwhelming at this Price, but anyways lets list them for you :- Processor is Nvidia Tegra 3 Quad-core with 12 Core ULP Geforce GPU ,with a plethora of 1080p Encode-Decoder codecs support.
RAM is 1 GB ,Internal Flash Storage is Slightly Less (8GB) but is Expandable via USB Port.
Rest all is kinda common for a Console :-
USB: One USB 2.0 Port, One Micro USB port
Connectivity: WiFi (802.11 b/g/n), Ethernet Port, and Bluetooth
Output: HDMI (up to 1080p HD)

OUYA with Controller

How is it different:

Its truly Open Source, Not like a Mobile Device that can't be opened up, you can just open it up like your regular Desktop cabinet, fit your Own Cooling Systems, Make you own Modded Cases everything.
But by Open i meant something else too, Yes, the OS, its Open (of-course) with Custom ROMs , Side-loading everything is there to do, can be done by anyone Enthusiastic enough and The Developer Licence comes with your Ouya so its with every buyer.

Ouya Boxing Game

Games have a different Niche, Old-School Indie Games does the trick for me which sometimes even top of the line Best Graphics Game can't do.
Google Play Store is Working Now thanks to some Guys at XDA and Xposed Framework, Although this requires rooting the Ouya.
Not to Forget about the Unique Controller for it, that looks Metallic and kinda sleek compared to All Black Controllers, with Touch-pad and Triggers for playing with more control.

Is it like Nvidia Shield ? :

No, Ouya is not like Nvidia Shield, Shield has Small Screen on which it plays and it can Stream Games from your Nvidia GPU powered PC to Shield Device wireless with its WiFi.
Shield runs games from TegraZone and Ouya has its own Marketplace where Games have to be properly optimized to run on Ouya.

Why it cannot run Android games if it is based on Android:

It will not run most of the Games From Google Play store out of the Box but as mentioned above now, side-loading and Custom ROMs for Ouya have enabled Google play store and you can download and run most games directly and others would need some workaround to run properly.
For Google Play and other help related to Xposed framework, you may want to look at this Thread on XDA.
A List has been put up for Games which support Controller from Tegra Zone at this Thread at Ouya Forums.

Do other Console makers have to worry ?

Not for now, the mainstream consoles have a different market and Ouya targets a different market, it's based on Android OS so their Ports are possible, and have been happening fast.
Ouya Developers want to bring the Garage developer to the mainstream with Indie Games that otherwise go unnoticed and Free-to-play Games.
Most Harcore gamers still can be seen searching for their old favorites like Final Fantasy and Pokemon GBA ROMs. Those Gamers would surely like these Games that focus on Gameplay rather than super-sampled Graphics, and Pokemon on GBA Emulator would be just great on Ouya.

Developer Scene

Ouya Developer Games FundDeveloper Scene has already started to flourish, with Ouya supporting the developers with many incentives fr building Games and have recently started the $1Million Free the Games Fund, where the Developer gets to start a Game funding project on Kickstarter, and if they are able to reach a funding Goal of $50,000, Ouya will Double their funding upto $250,000, and the Game has to be Ouya exclusive for first 6 Months. This will surely bring in more developers to the scene.

The Developer Licence for Ouya is not Cheap,its Free.

Developer Kits for PlayStation and Xbox run up to Thousands of Dollars but Developer Kit for Ouya is Free with every unit sold, so that next game could be coming straight from the Mind of a Gamer who thinks Big but is Short on Money for a Developer Kit.

Custom ROMs have been coming out with Superuser installed and Xposed Framework and Play Store support with downloadable Games.

Ouya Games Marketplace

Are Games any Good ? 

Personally for that Price tag even if it can run all the Emulators and Indie Games i would buy the Ouya for that only. Playing Emulator classics like Zelda, Final Fantasy series with controller is great actually.
You can play many Multiplayer games with your friends by joining upto 4 controllers to a single Ouya. Games like Sonic 4 the Hedgehog Episode 1, Indie games are there but let's be honest they are not that much for now, but you always have a way with that, you can side-load you own Google Play games on it and play, most if not all should work.

Ouya Platformer

Play Store Games that work are Modern Combat 4, Asphalt 7, Final fantasy IV, GTA Vice city, Need for Speed Most Wanted, Shadowgun.
There are Many Emulators running too with working ROMs spotted on Forums and Ouya's own store, Ouya doesn't come with games pre-installed out of the box but can play all games on store and Buy them after (free to try), among those Emulators confirmed by Ed Krassenstein on their forums are NES, SuperNES, Nintendo64, GBA, Genesis, PS1, PPSSPP, DraStic the NDS Emulator.

Puddle HD on Ouya

The game Engines available to Developers for new games are : Adobe Air, Corona, Game Maker, MonoGame, Unity.

The Controller :

Some users have been complaining on OuyaForums about some Stuck Triggers on sometimes, but otherwise its a nice controller for heavy usage.
The official OUYA controllers are wireless (Bluetooth) and powered by 2 AA batteries. Up to 4 controllers can be connected to an OUYA console at one time.

Two analog joysticks, each with their own “button” (i.e. L3 + R3)
A D-Pad
Four face buttons (labeled O, U, Y, and A)
Two digital shoulder buttons (L1 + R1)
Two analog triggers (L2 + R2)
A menu button (to open the OUYA menu at any time during a game)
A touchpad (to mimic mouse/touch controls or to be used in games)
Player LED indicators (so you know which player a connected controller is set to)
OUYA controller full

Other Applications :   

Ouya brings all your favorite apps to the big screen, stream your favourite shows, movies, and music directly to the living room. Current streaming apps are, Crunchyroll, iheartradio, TuneIn, XBMC, Plex and Flixster and more are being added daily.

Browsers working are UC Browser, Dolphin etc. apart from Chrome which runs without Flash support.
Sideloaded apps that work fine currently are Antutu, Accuweather, Astro file manager, BitTorrent, CPU-Z, ePSXe, Quickoffice, Spotify, XBMC.

VLC Media Player is currently being made to work on Ouya by a small team of Developers.


Should you buy it ?

The Number of Applications and Games on Ouya marketplace are not much to count, but the Side-loading and modding scene is pretty much enormous. If you are not afraid to dabble with Terminal and Custom ROMs to get the Ouya to work exactly as you want, and get access to Thousands of games from Google Play store Games and apps.
Otherwise if you would rather be safe with you Good Old Console or are Comfortable Gaming on a Small tablet screen, you would rather skip Ouya.
The Games for Ouya Marketplace are mostly going to be developed by Small Developers and you may not get AAA titles Graphics and Marketing, but surely you will get your Indie Games and Game-play focused Games.

Final verdict

Must buy if you are ready to go the Extra mile to get that Bestseller from Google Play working on your Ouya. For $99 Price tag it comes with it's definitely must buy on my Bucket list, but for my country's Customs and Taxes i would be looking at a price tag of 160$ if i want to own an Ouya in India.
Games and Applications surely have more than quadrupled in comparison to the number at its Launch, and add to that the Google Play games you can get to run with a little more playing around, Ouya is here to stay as the "Disruptive Console".

What is Your Opinion about Ouya ? Do let us know in Comments.

Read Our this Month's Guide - Gaming PC laptop build guide August 2013

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