State of the Ouya

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Ouya, the crowd-funded $99 Android console, had its retail launch on June 25th. It garnered mixed reviews from critics for its combination of neat concept, somewhat underpowered hardware, an interface much improved from the beta, and a selection of games that mostly mirror the kinds of things you’d find in the dregs of the Google Play store. Early adopters seem pleased by the mostly fulfilled promises of the Kickstarter. For its part, OUYA Inc. announced a $1 million fund for indie game development to help improve the catalog of titles.

Consoles live and die by the developer support, so how is the Ouya treating its launch partners? Gamasutra rounded up some game developers to ask them how well the Ouya has been for their bottom line. Like the critics’ hardware reviews, the partner opinions are mixed. Ryan Wiemeyer, developer of Organ Trail, expressed disappointment.

It’s sold about half of what my low-end predictions were. Last I checked we were at 501 purchases from 13,112 downloads. (a 3.8 percent attach rate.) This accounts for about 0.1 percent of our total Organ Trail sales to date (which is over 400,000.) So, I don’t even know if it was worth the man hours yet. Then again… Organ Trail was a pain to add controller support to and that was the bulk of the port.

While some developers agreed that sales were less impressive than hoped for, others were less negative. Matt Thorson, creator of TowerFall, told Edge that he was pleased with his sales so far.

“We’ve made about 2,000 sales so far at $15 each,” Thorson said. “So sales have been surprisingly high for a new game on a new console. The game has definitely proven itself on Ouya, I think there’s enough demand to warrant bringing it to PC.”

Developers praised the ease of communicating with the Ouya company, including its engineers, but many pointed out that title discoverability remains an issue in the console catalog menus. Between the cool reception by critics and the low software sales, the Ouya has quite the hill to climb to reach the peak of the industry.