The OUYA user interface isn't what we'd call "ideal." The folks behind OUYA apparently realize that too, and today we've got the first look at some big updates that will be coming to the Android-based $100 game console sometime this month. A company spokesperson says a new designer was brought in to overhaul the UI so that it's easier to discover new games (and so that it's more pleasant to look at from 10 feet away). Additionally, the update includes some honest-to-goodness new features, including support for USB storage and the ability to queue games from the web (and OUYA's newsletters) so that when you go fire up the console they'll already be downloaded.
Throughout, you'll notice a bigger emphasis on cover art -- in the "Discover" section, for instance, the menu headers have actually been made smaller to make room for larger game thumbnails. OUYA also made some subtle tweaks like showing all the game titles on the "Discover" page and going with a more consistent icon style. Not rocket science, exactly, but they're details that should add up to a cleaner browsing experience. Additionally, double-tapping will bring up the redesigned system menu, where you can purchase and like games. Here, you'll also find custom game recommendations -- not unlike what Microsoft has begun doing in the Windows Store.
OUYA gets a redesigned UI
Interestingly, OUYA's attempts to make games more discoverable also means first-time buyers will encounter a little bit of bloatware (depending on how you look at it). Once the update rolls out, Bombsquad and Amazing Frog will start downloading as soon as someone boots up the OUYA console for the first time. It's important to note, though, that these games aren't actually free; you'll have to pay to play either game in its entirety. According to OUYA, the benefit here is that if and when you decide to purchase a game, it will have already downloaded, so you can get up and running faster. Which is fine -- so long as you like those games.
Again, the update should arrive to OUYA owners sometime over the coming weeks. Until then, we've got a few screenshots above -- hopefully that will give you a good idea of what's in store.
Ben Gilbert contributed to this report.