June 19, 2013, 6:00 AM —
In the battle of the 'play Android games on your TV' devices, Ouya just caught a break. It seems rival Gamestick has delayed launch by about a month, with Kickstarter backers now expected to get theirs in mid-August and retail happening soon after. GameStick says they need more time to gather feedback on the UI from $300 Kickstarter pledgers (the $300 tier was called "Designed By Me!").
Gamestick has a $20 price advantage over Ouya, and is much more compact as well. In terms of shape the controller is kind of a throw-back to the early Nintendo days (though with dual analog sticks and 4 face buttons) while Ouya offers a controller that looks a lot like that of the Xbox 360; it's hard to say which is 'better' but I'm guessing it'll be a matter of personal choice. In the Kickstarter update announcing the delay, GameStick shares a picture of the final controller and I think it's a nice looking bit of hardware.
Ouya is supposed to be on store shelves later this month and it's been getting some good press lately. Engadget did a review of the retail version and said their experience has them "feeling optimistic" about the Ouya. I'd tend to agree. I was fairly lukewarm to the device when I first got my Kickstarter version but since then we're starting to see more game announcements, and the Ouya has gotten updates that have smoothed out some of the rough spots.
At E3 last week, Nvidia coupled Ouya with its Grid cloud gaming tech to bring PC games to the Ouya. This is more or less a tech demo; Nvidia isn't planning on offering this as a service itself, but hopefully someone will:
TowerFall is an upcoming Ouya game that Penny Arcade Report called "Ouya's killer app."
And finally, here's a fan-made 'sizzle reel' of Ouya games:
The point I'm trying to make is that the Ouya seems to be starting to gain traction. While I can't fault GameStick's desire to make a really strong first impression, it's unfortunate that they're going to give Ouya a two month window of being the only dedicated Android TV gaming device on the market. On the bright side, the real battle will take place this holiday season and both devices should be past any birthing pains by then.
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