July 12, 2012, 12:37 PM — Its not a secret that gamers are pining for new hardware. Whether thats next-gen consoles or new handhelds, it
doesnt really matter, they just want something new to play games on. That seems to be where the fervor directed at
Ouya comes into
Our own Jared Newman wrote about the console's
unveiling and what you need to know already, but I find the whole concept of a new, Android-powered home
console extremely interesting. Android isnt what I would immediately think of if someone asked what operating
system a low-cost home console should run on.
Theres a few reasons, but the biggest is the state of games on Android platforms. Take a minute to search
through Google Play (formerly known as Android Market) and find some of the few games that have actually been
optimized for Android tablets; there arent many. Now take that number, compared to the overall number of games
available for Android, and try to estimate how many of those will be optimized for play on a television. Maybe a
few dozen, at most?
Thousands of people are investing in a system that will be able to play a few dozen games at launch. That isnt
much. Sure, its all about investing in the future. Developers might start to optimize their titles once they
realize that theres a market for them, but that takes time. Unless developers can get their hands on final Ouya
hardware a few months ahead of time, they wont be ready for launch (The Ouya Kickstarter does claim that some
developers will receive Ouya dev kits before the console launches -- Ed.). The Android OS is known for being very
picky about the specific type of hardware that the user has. An application might work perfectly on one phone, but
not at all on another, simply because of the onboard video card. Thats the first challenge that users are going to
have to face, but theres plenty of challenges ahead for developers as well.