UPDATE: In an update made to Polygon, Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan stated that his company will honor the roughly $600,000 of unpaid Free The Games Fund payments not made. They will also be restructuring the deal to eliminate the exclusivity portion of the deal. Instead, developers will have to agree to give away for free a certain number of games on Razer’s Cortex platform. Continue reading
It was announced earlier today that the Ouya has been officially bought by Razer. Rumors about Ouya’s potential sale had been circulating for a while now. Today it is official.
I hadn’t written about the Ouya in a while but it has still held a pretty sweet spot in my gaming heart. So with this news, I am a bit saddened but hopeful.
There are several key pieces of news in this announcement. The first is that Ouya Founder and CEO Julie Uhrman is not staying. She saw the Ouya through to this point but is looking to move on. On Twitter she said:
.@juhrman OUYA was a once in a lifetime experience. Now, I'm off to find the next…stay tuned!
— Julie Uhrman (@juhrman) July 27, 2015
The next point is that the hard ware side of Ouya is likely dead. This buyout is only for the software and the technical and developer support structure. But the hardware is not part of it. Razer has its own hardware division and will be using that. So, we will have to say goodbye to the iconic Ouya console and controller.
Finally, Razer is buying the software division of Ouya and turning the brand into a mobile publishing brand. This will keep the software store on the Ouya alive for some time and will mean the Ouya brand and its games will be seen on many other platforms.
With that all out of the way, I wanted to express some thoughts on this.
The Ouya is probably the most excited I have ever been for a console in my life. As both a developer and a gamer, I was really excited to back the console. While I did not get in on the early developer access, I followed the news and developments until I got my first console.
Unfortunately, I was never able to publish a game on the Ouya. I am a slow developer and hadn’t got a game to a point where it was viable to release. However, the idea of an open and welcoming platform for indie devs is something I still want to see.
That is not likely going to be the Ouya. However, the Android powered microconsole is probably still going to be the one to do it. Mobile devices are currently the only mass market device that is fully open to indies. If those indies want to get in front of the tv, Android powered microconsoles are going to be the way to do it.
While PC is still the strongest indie platform out there, it does not have that direct to tv capability. Even with Valve’s Steam Box, it is still a very closed market with no simple way to play games on tv.
Finally, I never really understood the irrational hate the Ouya got. So many people were so quick to find any flaw with the Ouya, its marketing and those associated with it. There were just so many people out there that wanted the Ouya to fail, but they could never come up with an actual reason why it should. The Ouya survived despite these controversies.
Of course these are the same kinds of irrational complaints people have about anything new and disruptive. The Wii received a lot of the same comments. Tropes Vs. Women in Games got an inordinate amount of it. Anything that threatens the “hardcore gamer” crowd becomes a target of smear campaigns. Even if the thing they complain about is in their best interests.
So, those are just a few of my thoughts from this morning as I heard the news. So all the best to the crew at Ouya, to Julie Uhrman and to Razer.
Not long ago, Juicy Beast, the creators of Knightmare Tower, released their latest Ouya exclusive game Toto Temple Deluxe. (Full Disclosure: Juicy Beast provided me with a free game code for Toto Temple Deluxe) Toto Temple is their first foray into the growing world of local multiplayer competitive gaming on the Ouya. Following the success of Towerfall, the Ouya has seen a growing number of games that are competing for that audience. And Juicy Beast has created one of the best contenders of late.
Toto Temple has a simple concept. Grab the goat and keep it. It is essentially a capture flag game, but that is only the beginning.
In Toto Temple, 2-4 players enter an arena which has a goat in the middle. Each player then attempts to grab that goat and carry it on their head. The other players then use a dash attack to knock that player down and take the goat for themselves. As the game progresses, powerups appear that grant non-goat holding players special moves and attacks that aid their effort to capture the goat. Continue reading
I have been a very happy Ouya supporter since the beginning. I love the concept of a low cost, purely digital console. It got a lot of its wind from the idea that every game will have some sort of free to try content. This has set the Ouya apart from nearly every video game console on the market.
So it really comes as a surprise to me to see Ouya abandoning one of its key selling points. In a recent blog post, Ouya’s Bob Mills announced that they would be removing that point from the game submission requirements. From April on, it will now be up to the developer if they want to include a free to try component.
Why did they make this change? Because a bunch of developers were complaining about it. Continue reading
In my college days, I used to play hours of Unreal Tournament 2013 with my friends. We would play it between classes, during classes and after classes. I had a lot of great memories of the game, even though I really sucked at playing it. I haven’t found a FPS that I enjoyed that much since then, not that I have really looked. However, I have found something that I think could be a good modern replacement for someone like me. That game is Neon Shadow by Tasty Poison Games.
I had been eyeing Neon Shadow for a while and got around to playing it this weekend. After spending the time to play through the demo content, I have found a very enjoyable game. Continue reading
I don’t play nearly as many games as I would have liked this year. I rarely do. But one thing I did do was play a whole lot (maybe not that many) Ouya games. I was really excited about the Ouya when the Kickstarter launched. I backed it. I waited most patiently for the console to arrive, even if it was a little later than expected but nearly as late as some people like to claim.
Since late June, I tried to play as many games on the system as I possibly could. And I certainly have some favorites. So here they are in no particular order. Continue reading
There are times when I really want to like a game and really want to recommend that people play it. The game looks great and has a fun story and world to play in, but there are just so many core features that confuse me or just drive me nuts and I can’t for the life of me recommend it to anyone. This is my experience with Reaper by Hexage.
Reaper is a gorgeous game. The visuals are very striking and well drawn. The sounds effects and the music are great. The story line is a lot of fun to follow and explore. I love the monsters the game has you fighting. But there are just so many confusing aspects to core areas of the game and some very strange UI decisions that I am left wondering if I am actually enjoying the game. Continue reading
It has been a rough couple of months for Ouya’s Free The Games Fund. After the first three potential games reached their funding goals under heavy criticism and claims of fraud, with one campaign being suspended by Kickstarter, another being canceled by the creator and the final gracefully bowing out of the funding race, we had thought that perhaps no games would ever qualify properly.
Of course, while all of those controversies raged, there was one game that kind of silently slid by in the background, Neverending Nightmares. This game slid by slowly gaining enough traction to remain relevant in the eyes of the media, but not so quickly as to gain the attention of those attacking the other campaigns. It even had a lofty goal of $99,000. Many thought it wasn’t going to make it as it was still far short of its goal when the last week opened up. But a miracle happened and the game was fully funded in the last remaining hours. Continue reading
Wow a lot happened today. I had originally planned on writing a story about yet another game project being swept up in the Free The Games Fund controversy. Earlier this week, Dungeons The Eye of Draconus had funded itself to $50,000 using money from the father of one of the developers. Then a lot happened that ended in Dungeons being delisted from the FTG website and the Kickstarter for the game being cancelled. It was crazy.
I had been trying to get information from both the developer and Ouya in regards to what had happened and received responses from both at the same time. While Dungeons has been cancelled, it was unclear why it might have been delisted. William McDonald was not sure why Ouya had done it, but assumed it was because of the controversy. But now things are more clear. Continue reading
Ever since the controversies over Gridiron Thunder and Elementary, My Dear Holmes hit, people have been clamoring for a response from someone at Ouya. The one response that we did get wasn’t satisfying. We sent emails to the Ouya team for further comment with no response. People have tweeted them with no response. People wanted to know how Ouya would face these controversies.
Well, in a sense, Ouya has responded further. It is certainly not the response that people expected, nor is it generally the response people needed. What Ouya responded with was a complete hand wave away from the controversies. It isn’t a bad response when taken in a bubble, but it fails to address the fears and concerns people have about the present and future of the Free The Games Fund. Continue reading