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Ouya Devs Reveal Disappointment at Games Sales Figures

By - Source: GamesIndustry.biz | B 26 comments

Developers weigh in on whether or not developing for the Ouya was a worthwhile experience.

Launching a console is no easy feat as consumers are (naturally) wary of new hardware from an equally new and untested company. 

The Ouya, thus far, has managed to move units. Using Kickstarter to gain traction, the indie console managed to raise record numbers in funding, which was later bolstered by venture capitalist money. Kickstarter sales combined with sales at retail have allowed the Ouya to do modestly well as a new console. 

Of course, one of the draws of a console is its ability to court developers. The Ouya, as an open platform, has attracted plenty of indie developers, both new and veterans to the industry. Edge and Gamasutra have both independently caught up with a few of these developers to see the successes, if any, that they have had with the platform. 

The developer most positive about the new console was Matt Thorson, developer of Towerfall, one of the Ouya's most critically and commercially successful games. "We’ve made about 2000 sales so far at $15 each," he stated to Edge."So sales have been surprisingly high for a new game on a new console. The game has definitely proven itself on Ouya, I think there’s enough demand to warrant bringing it to PC. 

"Launching on Ouya got me a lot of attention, and the sales have been better than expected."

NimbleBit, developer of mobile adventure game Nimble Quest, also had quite a few positive things to say. "We released it on OUYA simply because we were using Unity and it was pretty much a snap to port it," said NimbleBit's David Marsh. "I would wholeheartedly recommend the OUYA to indie devs that have an existing pipeline to Android and are interested in what the OUYA does. It’s probably not going to be a huge source of income compared to other platforms, but it’s dead easy to submit a game and get it into the store. It’s the only console right now with a truly open store, which makes it interesting and worth supporting if you want to see more open platforms. It’s also a great device to have just to check out all sorts of neat experimental multiplayer games that are already popping up. I think it’s a step in the right direction." Nimble Quest was downloaded 6,508 times with 122 purchases. It made back only $427 in profit. 

Other developers had a few less positive things to say. Ryan Wiemeyer, developer of Organ Trail, stated that sales were below expectations: "It's sold about half of what my low-end predictions were. Last I checked we were at 501 purchases from 13,112 downloads. (a 3.8 percent attach rate.)  This accounts for about 0.1 percent of our total Organ Trail sales to date (which is over 400,000.) So, I don't even know if it was worth the man hours yet. Then again... Organ Trail was a pain to add controller support to and that was the bulk of the port."  

E. McNeill, developer of Bomball, shared similar sentiments: "Bombball is making a little over $30 a day, before Ouya's cut. I kind of knew from the start that I was making a game that would be difficult to sell. Still, I let my expectations get inflated over time, and now I'm a little disappointed with the sales." 

It seems that sales on the Ouya were a little bit on the low end for developers. Most were either resigned to the fact that the Ouya was a new console or expressed disappointment. In weighing the pros and cons of the console, such as the console's open platform nature versus its poor hardware, it seems like most of the developers interviewed are at least positive about releasing another title for the indie console. 

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  • 14 Hide
    hakesterman , July 23, 2013 8:58 PM
    I think people buying Ouya are people who are trying an alternative to 500 dollar consoles and $60.00 games, nothing more, nothing less.....
Other Comments
  • 0 Hide
    godfather666 , July 23, 2013 8:13 PM
    This won't be a popular comment... but I feel that the people who buy Ouya are the kind of people who are either too poor to buy a lot of games, or those who may have money, but also have left-leaning political beliefs that make them ideologically opposed to buying software/games.

    So, maybe that's why.
  • 2 Hide
    teh_chem , July 23, 2013 8:51 PM
    All this talk about OUYA being an open platform, and the OUYA store being an open store...what laughs! It's even more closed than Android and the Google Play store!

    godfather666; you're right, that is not a popular comment. It's also a very ignorant and baseless comment that makes no logical sense.
  • 14 Hide
    hakesterman , July 23, 2013 8:58 PM
    I think people buying Ouya are people who are trying an alternative to 500 dollar consoles and $60.00 games, nothing more, nothing less.....
  • -2 Hide
    kinggraves , July 23, 2013 9:44 PM
    Enjoy your alternative, you get what you pay for in the real world. The games on Ouya or any mobile are not as quality as the "60 dollar games", and the ones that are of that quality have other pay models which could have you spending far over 60. You could have hit up the Steam sale as well and gotten a dozen quality games worth hundreds of hours for 60. The Ouya is a piece of garbage trying to wave the "we're so indie, we can make mistakes" flag. It released to it's backers unfinished and glitchy, leaving them to beta test a product they technically did pay for already. Many of the designers that released to the Ouya have poorly optimized products they barely worked on, so expecting a "return" is an absolute joke. The only thing that works decently is emulators, and I don't expect the devs of those games are going to be thanking Ouya for helping to rip off their products.
  • 3 Hide
    dark_knight33 , July 23, 2013 9:51 PM
    It's actually a bit of a PITA to hook my tablet (Transformer Inifinity, also Tegra 3) up to my TV. Additionally, there are only a handful of titles that are worth going through the trouble to play on the big screen. OUYA is a great solution to a minor problem for me. If OUYA wants to be successful, they need to get a couple of exclusive titles that are compelling to play. That might require some developer subsidization from OUYA to get started.

    OUYA is a wonderful concept that a lot of people like, but the broader market doesn't appreciate. If they want to move consoles, they need to play where the big boys (e.g. XBL arcade) aren't, and do it better than Amazon who is also in the Android market. As it is, it seems like they were expecting the idea to sell the hardware, and it won't.
  • 4 Hide
    dark_knight33 , July 23, 2013 9:55 PM
    Quote:
    The Ouya is a piece of garbage trying to wave the "we're so indie, we can make mistakes" flag. It released to it's backers unfinished and glitchy, leaving them to beta test a product they technically did pay for already.


    They didn't pay for a finished product. It was quite clear that the first units coming out were *not* finished devices and were intended for developers. It's part of the problem with running a Kickstarter campaign, that people think they are buying finished products at a discount price because they are "pre-ordering" and it's a joke, on them, for thinking it.

  • 3 Hide
    wogilvie , July 23, 2013 9:56 PM
    This is an easy one. Many people bought this thing as an emulator box, media streamer, or just to hack it. Nobody was actually interested in the games that were being made for it.
  • 8 Hide
    samwelaye , July 23, 2013 10:07 PM
    1. Many people who bought it bought it for XBMC, emulating old games, or tinkering with.
    2. EVERY game must have a free-to-play model of some sort. This gives the feeling of not wanting to pay for games at all. So if a different game gives more fun for the same free, people will just keep game hopping instead of buying one and finishing it.
  • 4 Hide
    captaincharisma , July 23, 2013 10:47 PM
    i just got my Ouya the other day. i just got it so i have something to replace my nintendo wii with for play old video games like nes and genesis. i also like the media capabilities too with XBMC being supported. it does have much now and has a long way to go but it looks promising
  • 2 Hide
    Parsian , July 23, 2013 10:57 PM
    Maybe as more hardware platforms join this Android eco system, game selections will grow. Maybe not. But i have a feeling, such capabilities are already built into the smartTVs and all you need is controller. Yet not many people are buying simple controller why should they buy Ouya? Perhaps, Android and iPhone games are meant just for the platform it is intended for.

    I could be wrong ofcourse.
  • 1 Hide
    Achoo22 , July 24, 2013 12:23 AM
    Or it could just be that the games are rubbish... I've seen Organ Trail - it was part of a humble bundle - and you couldn't get me to play it for free.
  • 1 Hide
    Vorador2 , July 24, 2013 12:55 AM
    People got the Ouya to tinker around, not as a videogame console. So no surprise sales are kinda low.

    By the way, i got the Humble Bundle and it came with Organ Trail. The game is a piss poor port to Android, barely playable. Wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
  • 0 Hide
    techguy911 , July 24, 2013 4:33 AM
    2000 sales of tower fall that's not a whole lot of sales very small in fact minecraft on average sells 23k a day on all platforms.
    The games OUYA plays are the kind you play on a cell phone as for open platform not so sure about that the graphics quality is just not there the controller is pretty cheap.
    Lots of products look promising but look what happens after a while take for example the boxee box after a few years support vanished many bugs where never fixed great open media streamer but no longer has flash support due to intel now it is in limbo after being bought out by Samsung.
  • 2 Hide
    CaedenV , July 24, 2013 5:28 AM
    I was admittedly excited about Ouya when I first heard about what it was supposed to be. It was hardware and store platform that was supposed to get out of the way of both developers and consumers. Nobody was exactly expecting them to be a charity... but then again nobody expected retail sales to launch before preorders... nobody expected that they would be making a new box every year which is going to cause no end of fragmentation... I guess nobody was expecting a company spouting so many good intentions to act worse than either Sony or MS. I don't think I have ever seen public option swing so quickly from extremely positive to extremely negative.

    @godfather666
    I think you are absolutely right as well. People who seek alternatives are typically seeking them as a way to save money, not to spend it.
  • 0 Hide
    techguy911 , July 24, 2013 5:32 AM
    2000 sales of tower fall that's not a whole lot of sales very small in fact minecraft on average sells 23k a day on all platforms.
    The games OUYA plays are the kind you play on a cell phone as for open platform not so sure about that the graphics quality is just not there the controller is pretty cheap.
    Lots of products look promising but look what happens after a while take for example the boxee box after a few years support vanished many bugs where never fixed great open media streamer but no longer has flash support due to intel now it is in limbo after being bought out by Samsung.
  • 1 Hide
    jack1982 , July 24, 2013 5:36 AM
    So average developer profits on the Ouya are about in line with what I give my kids for a weekly allowance.
  • 0 Hide
    Capt Obvious , July 24, 2013 9:00 AM
    Sure it's very easy to mock and complain about a company and console when one chooses to completely ignore everything that was stated by them. People in recent months have finally started listening that Ouya is not competing with Sony and M$ only because there are other Micro-Consoles that are out now. Ouya is designed to be tinkered with. If there is something you don't like, fix it or upgrade it yourself! It wouldn't hurt for people to learn something. Your giving a BASE system. Not an Elite system with all the bells and whistles.
    Complaint: There no Google Play!; It's been done ourselves. Root, Busybox, Google Play, Permanant Save App
    Complaint: Not Enough Space!; It's been done ourselves. Use Links2SD, format and mount USB drive, and create script to remount.
    Complaint: Game quality isn't at it's best.; Ouya Store has Tegra 3 Sonic IV I&II. Add Google Play and you have the rest of the Tegra 3 Games, and they work perfect with the controller, Nuff Said.
    Complaint: Ouya was released incomplete!; Remember the Xoom & Playbook on release? Of course not, selective amnesia.
    Complaint: We're not hitting our target profit!; Such is business, there is no guarantee that someone is going to bite just cause you throw something at them. What was the flaw in planning or design if you focus is just profit?
    In short, many people and media are simply on a witch hunt. Hazing the newbie till someone else "small" comes along. Others are doing the best they can to keep an open mind.

    godfather666: I agree with teh_chem, it an ignorant and baseless comment.
  • 0 Hide
    jrstriker12 , July 24, 2013 12:05 PM
    I guess even indie developers have to eat.... it's a good idea to give a platform for innovation, but if your main selling point is free to play games, or games where a large portion is offered for free, I don't see how developers would expect to make a lot of money.
  • -1 Hide
    antilycus , July 24, 2013 12:06 PM
    As a indie developer / self taught student, let me do some math for you.

    Cost of XBOX 360 or PS3 Dev kit = $10,000 USD each (20k total)
    Cost to update your version on XBOX = $2,500 USD per update
    Cost of game submission (as PS3 and XBOX have to approve your game before it can be released) = $1,000
    Only operating sytsem of choice for XBOX 360 = Windows Vista and above

    OUYA cost of Dev kit = nothing. every console is a kit (I guess you can say 100 bucks for the hardware)
    COST to update = 0
    COST to submit = 0
    O/S to develop = Any, including linux (plus it uses Open GL, which is far more superior than the closed Direct X, go look at Unigine to compare).

    OUYA = "Field of dreams". The big 3 are living in the past, along with the RIAA and MPAA. OUYA is ahead of it's time but people expect $500 + $60 game quality, that take years and MILLIONS of dollars to create (and 4 hours to beat). So because the Media and most readers (who have never played it) don't have an open mind, this is what makes news.

    I have OUYA. I dont emulate anything adn I think it's great. It's a hundred bucks! They really need to allow USB drives to store my games on though!
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