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Ouya is beautiful and cheap, but who cares? It's about the games

CEO Julie Uhrman speaks at Nordic Game 2013

Ouya is beautiful and cheap, but who cares? It's about the games
Bringing the message to Nordic developers, Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman explained the thinking behind the $99 unconsole.

"Gamers want choice, cheap. Developers want freedom," she said

"Developers like mobile because it's open. And the free-to-play business model is about incentivising your players.

"These themes were lacking in console. We saw a big void in the market, which is why we developed Ouya."

Hard hardware

In terms of roll-out, Uhrman said, Ouya was on schedule to launch in three countries at the end of June.

"We have over 125 games live now. We have over 13,000 developers signed up. We grow in real-time," she said.

Asked a question from the audience about hardware, Uhrman explained some deeper thinking.

"There's a psychological barrier to bringing another box into your living room. That's why we built something small and beautiful. We hope people will show it off," she said.

However, there is a knock-on impact in terms of the unconsole's production cycle.

Uhrman said the original developer kits were made differently to the mass production, which has resulted in a lot of improvements, especially in terms of the quality of the controller.

There are also three different manufacturing lines in China: one for the controller; one of the metal plates; one for the unconsole - another issue for scheduling.

Different

The force of Uhrman's talk was the difference between Ouya and other platforms, however.

"We think about discovery very differently from other people. It's not about downloads or even revenue. For us, it's about engagement," she said.

In this way, the company will have many different sources for curated playlists. 

Similarly, although Uhrman expects to release Ouya Mark II in 2014 (with more RAM, a Tegra 4 chip but still $99), she said, "It's not about the number of pixels on the screen. It's about an open platform let allows developers to interact with their players via the TV screen."

Interestingly, Uhrman said that while the US is one of the launch territories, she didn't think it would be a key market.

"Ouya demand is global. We'll go light in the US," she explained.

New opportunities

Similarly, she argued that the majority of developers on Ouya came from the PC and console spaces. Many have never made Android games before.

"We don't see a lot of mobile games being ported over. You have to some work to support the controller," she said.

In this way, she hopes that Ouya can gain enough exclusives with the likes of Double Fine - exclusive at least for the TV; you can publish Ouya games to mobile phones - to become a mass market brand. 

But it won't be spending large amounts of money on big consumer advertising campaigns, relying on games to sell the box. 

It will be holding an 'unE3' event outside of the main E3 conference in Los Angeles in June, however.




Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.

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Justin Willhite
I have had my Ouya for about 2 weeks now and I love it. The games are awesome and inventive. There are so many indie devs out there that have awesome ideas for FUN games, not just graphically spectacular. I need playable, re playable, and addictive. That's what I look for in a game. Ouya Report: Ouya news, reviews, and more ~ http://www.ouyareport.com