Plugged In

Critics: Ouya console not ready for prime time

View photo


(Credit: Ouya)

Ouya, the little console that could, may have taken an unusual path to the retail world, but it made it. The $99 Android-based gaming system that was a Kickstarter sensation has exited its beta phase and, as of Tuesday, is available for purchase at online retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop and Target.

But how does the system stand up to criticism? When Ouya sent out early versions of the hardware to those Kickstarter backers, it was eviscerated in reviews. The company protested, saying what was sent wasn't final hardware.

Unfortunately, the first looks at the retail system aren't much more complimentary.

"I wanted to like the Ouya," writes Will Greenwald of PCMag. "However, even though it's been released as a retail product, it's just not ready yet. It's held back by a mediocre controller and a software interface that, at the time of launch, is unacceptable. Unless you're willing to go to developer-like extents to load software on the Ouya, it simply isn't open enough and the game library isn't large enough to justify it. Its 3D graphics aren't particularly great even compared with smartphones and its controller is disappointing."

Destructoid is a bit less harsh, but just barely.

"Ouya is nothing if not promising,” reviewer Jim Sterling writes. "It is, in fact, full of all sorts of potential. Just be warned, however, that if you spend $99 today, that's what you're getting. Potential. Potential that may or may not ever be fulfilled. ... As of right now, I'd urge all but the most curious to wait and see before dropping even the relatively minor asking price."

The site notes lag issues with the controller, as well as the familiar complaint of sticky buttons (something we've experienced here at Yahoo! Games as well) and an incredibly small hard drive.

Even sites dedicated to Android gaming aren’t impressed.

“I don’t know who the Ouya is for,” says Ryan Whitman from the Android Police. “Casual gamers will find it easier to just use a phone or tablet, and more serious ones will be put off by the poor selection and quality. People that really want to play good games on a larger screen will simply buy a current or next-gen game console. To turn this around, Ouya has to deliver everything it promised, and fast.“

The reviews may be harsh, but that's not stopping people from buying the console. Amazon says it has sold out of its initial shipments -- which, it's worth noting, could have been quite low, as Ouya has previously discussed supply problems. It remains in stock at physical retailers like Best Buy and Target.

Ironically, some of the people who helped Ouya become a reality are still waiting for their systems. Numerous original Kickstarter backers have taken to Twitter to note that their "early" versions of the console still haven't arrived, despite the company's promise. Company president Julie Uhrman apologized, but went on to note it could be another two or three weeks before those users get their units.

The rough reviews don't bode well for the system, which will need every inch of its headstart to build up a loyal userbase before new systems from Microsoft and Sony swallow up everyone's attention come the holidays.

For game news, free codes and more, Like us on Facebook and follow @yahoogames on Twitter!

View Comments (14)