Early OUYA Android Console Reviews Aren't Encouraging

If you're waiting anxiously for a little Android action in the form of a console, look no further than the upcoming OUYA slated for a June release. However a number of reviews that are now surfacing suggest that Android gamers may need to keep looking, as the Tegra 3-powered gaming cube falls short of expectations.

But consider this first: the model currently under evaluation by the press is the pre-retail edition offered to financial backers of the Kickstarter project. It's an exclusive preview period, according to CEO Julie Uhrman, while the team continues to add features, refine the user interface, and keep building the software as the console heads toward its retail launch.

"We hope that you, our founding backers, continue to shape OUYA as we prepare to launch to the masses," she said. "Your feedback, to date, has been incredibly helpful and as you know, we’ve acted on many of your ideas and suggestions. We want your feedback on these first units."

But that hasn't stopped reviews from popping up anyway. The Verge gives it a 3.5 out of 10, saying it's a million miles away from something worth spending $99 on. Ouch.

"Even if the concept is right, the Ouya misses the mark," the review states. "The controller needs work, the interface is a mess, and have I mentioned there's really nothing to do with the thing? I'm not even sure the concept is right, either: there are plenty of fun Android games, but currently few that work well with a controller and even fewer that look good on your television."

Engadget, seemingly respecting the pre-release aspect, doesn't give its hands-on a score. But the site sides with The Verge on a number of issues, noting a lack of new games and controller lag. It also clearly points out that the device is a little rough around the edges in its current state.

"The version of OUYA shipping now should be considered a beta release, and anyone hoping for anything more is in for some disappointment," the hands-on states. "It's simply not ready for retail. The system is rough around the edges in many ways, quite literally when regarding the controller, but the interface and menus also could use work."

Phandroid wasn't quite so negative in its unboxing last week, but noted that the initial setup process might hit some snags if the user has "dodgy" Wi-Fi. There was also some mention about the time it took pairing the Bluetooth controllers to the console, but gameplay lag was not part of the topic.

"I’m mostly impressed with the software flow although I do have a few minor complaints," Phandroid states. "It would be nice to actually select thumbnails from each game listing and view them on the larger screen at full resolution. While you can 'thumbs up' a game, I’d love to see more social interaction brought to the OUYA so I can see which of my friends like certain games or even see suggested games based on what other similar users have downloaded."

These are the first three that have popped up so far. Additional reviews will likely roll out over the next several days, especially after proud new owners take the console for a spin over the weekend.

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  • Immoral Medic
    Not gonna say I didn't see this coming. I was just gonna say there really isn't a HUGE market for this type of console, but then apparently, in this article, people are saying they pretty much failed on the console itself. Kind of like a double whammy. Good luck to them, but I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't do well at all.
  • ricardok
    To me, it's a nice idea, only that the release wasn't ready. They are, probably, pushing units through the fabs and working on the software side as a second phase...

    Maybe we should wait for the OUYA2?

    Anyway, I'll be going with a PS4.. I'm a PC guy with a real interest in consoles for their exclusive games (God of War anyone??)...
  • hoofhearted
    Not that there are any compelling games on Android in the first place, unless freemium or cheap kiddieish is your thing.
  • CarolKarine
    god damn exclusives. I want to play SSX.
  • gigantor21
    ricardokTo me, it's a nice idea, only that the release wasn't ready.
    Honestly, I don't know if the concept is that good to begin with. A console that plays Android games doesn't sound like something that'd pull me away from my PC or PS3, while a smartphone/tablet with mini-HDMI could complement both of those in the same way while offering far more functionality and portability. There are already wireless controllers for current Android devices as it is.

    I'm not sure what their angle is with this, frankly. It's like having the worst aspects of mobile devices and consoles but none of the advantages.
  • vmem
    Saw this coming the minute they put a Tegra 3 in it. mobile CPUs are still a year or two away from being able to handle what one would want from a console and a big screen. like many have said, OUYA2 may hit the mark. though unfortunately OUYA isn't Microsoft or Sony, if this one doesn't succeed, we'll have to wait for another company to pick up the pieces
  • felix666
    With consumer products, everything is about the surface finish and not on the core functionality. Think of Linux vs Windows or Apple. Think of the first Linux distis. Open source is open source, not saying at all that is isn't good, but there aren't millions and millions invested into the good looks of the UI and to the ease of installation. Even if the hardware shows a good performance, the rest of the ecosystem may just never reach par with the consoles from the game giants. I wish it will, but it may also just become some niche product, unless a killer game appears. But wouldn't that same killer game be available on the other consoles, and on the droid tablets as well? The developers need to feed their families. Good luck Ouya, the marketplace is tough!
  • teh_chem
    No surprise here. OUYA is the jack of all trades yet a master of none. It has a severe case of identity crisis. Sure, it looks like something that a "hacker" would love, but that's a very, very, very small population to base a product on. I think this thing was the "console" analog to the Facebook IPO. Everyone loved talking about it, but it will end up just being "meh."

    Sadly, the future of consoles (and video games) is streaming. Going backwards in time and building a native console around an old Tegra3 platform was a surefire way to flop their debut.
  • lazykoala
    This was obvious. Don't expect AAA quality gaming from a $99 cube. You're better off buying a 3DS or vita or just stick with a smartphone if you want something portable and casual.
  • yobobjm
    TBH I'm not sure the concept is all that solid to start with. Just about everyone I know likes playing on their PCconsolebox more than on their phone, and only plays phone games when they are bored. And even if this did succeed I think we would all realized that phone game really are no good, and that we just have lowered expectations since, well, since they're on a phone.