Xbox co-creator speaks about Ouya project

Once the head of game publishing at Microsoft, Ed Fries certainly knows the importance of a strong ecosystem when launching a new console. The new crowd-funded (via Kickstarter) console, named Ouya, is set to launch with an Android-based operating system – open to any publisher, with the rule that every game must have a free portion (that may include a demo or a free-to-play model).

In a new interview with Game Informer, Ed Fries discusses the console that he’s advising on (due to his industry contacts), and talks a little about how it might be set to change the industry.

The Ouya console itself is a low-risk concept, according to Fries, as it wouldn’t have had success on Kickstarter had it not been something people were interested in. Although, he doesn’t discuss what the plan B was if the console didn’t get the funds it needed on Kickstarter. Would they have revised based on feedback, or would they have pulled the plug?

Whilst Ouya is based on Android, a platform that’s proving to be fierce competition in the mobile market, Fries doesn’t see Ouya as a direct competitor to existing consoles. He believes that the big three console manufacturers will look at this new concept as a niche product, with a limited market, although no-one really knows how successful this product will be.

The other thing that makes Ouya a great platform in Fries’ eyes is that it doesn’t charge developers for updates. That can be a large problem for developers on consoles like the Xbox 360, where updates can cost developers tens of thousands of dollars.

For the detailed version of the story: Game Informer

Author’s notes:

The Ouya platform itself may also end up being a victim of the mobile gaming industry. Products like the iPad and iPhone already allow for large-screen gaming, and already have massive game marketplaces. The next generation of consoles isn’t far off either, and will likely leave a product like Ouya looking as outdated as the Wii did against the Xbox 360 and PS3. And finally Google, the company behind Android, are unlikely to really support a product that isn’t using their Play Store.  

The other risk is that the team behind Ouya don’t know what Sony and Microsoft have up their sleeves for their next-generation consoles. Microsoft is making a massive push into the mobile gaming market with SmartGlass, and Xbox expanding to Windows and Windows Phone devices – and of course Kinect has been a success. Sony will be working hard on something too, trying to differentiate whilst also investing in mobile.

There’s really not a lot of room for a device like this to become mainstream, but it’s certainly got potential to be a hit with media enthusiasts and the indie gaming crowd.

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21 Comments

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Lord Method Man said,
I hope Ouya fails just like OnLive did.

Why? saying things like that are pretty stupid, do you hate new competition in the console market? You know competition is a good thing right?

swanlee said,

Why? saying things like that are pretty stupid, do you hate new competition in the console market? You know competition is a good thing right?

We have three competing companies producing consoles already. Ouya is just a stupid joke enabled by hipsters with too much extra cash to drop on Kickstarter who think the idea is cool because "omg it runz Android!!1"

Lord Method Man said,

We have three competing companies producing consoles already. Ouya is just a stupid joke enabled by hipsters with too much extra cash to drop on Kickstarter who think the idea is cool because "omg it runz Android!!1"

You're a dumbass, it's 100$ and no one is forcing you to buy one, the big 3 have a stranglehold on gaming right now. MS and Sony are pretty much putting out identical experiences and Nintendo is strictly in the casual\kiddie camp.

Their is more than enough room for a smaller indie dev focused console that offer up alot of media streaming capabilities for 100$.

Do you even read what you type? You sound like a 15 year old hipster yourself either that or a HUGE Sony or MS fanboy.

Don't like it? Don't buy it, but some of us would prefer more varied competition in the video game console arena.

I think it is a good idea, what gets me is people are always complaining about the big 3 and the need for competition. Then you have people complaining about things like Ouya for getting any hype or news what so ever. Seems kind of a contradiction to me.

At worst this thing will be a great open source media streaming platform, at best it may actually be a useful and fun game console and media streaming platform. for 100$ it is hard for me to see any valid complaints about it. No one is forcing anyone to buy it and added competition is always a good thing.

So I fail to see why people are complaining about it.

Again...I have to point out that another company has ALREADY MADE this console, only without all the BS about "Free Games".

Ouya is more hype then anything else and I'll be surprised if it ever garners any support from developers..

Think about it, if someone wanted to they could make a cheap under powered PC with the Linux OS (or windows).. and then sell it as a console... oh wait.. someone did try that. Remember the "Phantom"? Only the Phantom would have had access to thousands of already existing PC games.

And if your wondering what android console I was talking about that already exists, its the EVO and EVO2 from http://www.envizionsinc.com/. but ohh noes... they went out of business. But you can still google around and find pictures of their Android Console.

Xionanx said,
Again...I have to point out that another company has ALREADY MADE this console, only without all the BS about "Free Games".

Ouya is more hype then anything else and I'll be surprised if it ever garners any support from developers..

Think about it, if someone wanted to they could make a cheap under powered PC with the Linux OS (or windows).. and then sell it as a console... oh wait.. someone did try that. Remember the "Phantom"? Only the Phantom would have had access to thousands of already existing PC games.

And if your wondering what android console I was talking about that already exists, its the EVO and EVO2 from http://www.envizionsinc.com/. but ohh noes... they went out of business. But you can still google around and find pictures of their Android Console.

Yes, that's exactly why Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are out of business just as Sega (DreamCast)
But anyway, have you looked at the site you mentioned? It seems they are restarting their EVO console.

Xionanx said,
Again...I have to point out that another company has ALREADY MADE this console, only without all the BS about "Free Games".

IMHO Ouya is receiving an unnecessary hype, the same hype that received Blair Witch, Angry Bird and Lady Gaga.

The ouya isn't really aimed the same market as the Xbox and PS3, I for one think the price is very interesting for what it's going to be able to do.

I'm looking forward to the Ouya and I hope that I can get one when they are released or soon after.
It would be fun to dev games for it too, which should be quite easy as its android. Also I would hope for a lots of android device to Ouya interaction via apps

"He believes that the big three console manufacturers will look at this new concept as a niche product, with a limited market, although no-one really knows how successful this product will be."

They said that about the Wii, DS and 3DS as well.

joep1984 said,
"He believes that the big three console manufacturers will look at this new concept as a niche product, with a limited market, although no-one really knows how successful this product will be."

They said that about the Wii, DS and 3DS as well.


Wait Nintendo said that about the Wii, DS, and 3DS? That sounds awkward.

joep1984 said,
"He believes that the big three console manufacturers will look at this new concept as a niche product, with a limited market, although no-one really knows how successful this product will be."

They said that about the Wii, DS and 3DS as well.

Ouya is just an Android device, there's nothing special about it.