Ouya launched their Kickstarter yesterday, and blew through their goal of $950K in one day, reaching nearly $3 million as of the writing of this post, and there's still a month to go. With so much extra money dropped in their laps (with possibly much more forthcoming), the Ouya team sent out an email regarding their stretch goals, as in, what should they do with all the extra money, given that the initial production run is now paid for?
If you are a backer, or a potential backer, what personally, do you think they should spend the money on? I previously expressed concerns about the success of the system in today's market, and now that I see there is a demand for the hardware, my thought is that they should:
Use the extra money to pay out grants to or outright hire developers to create games for the system. A game system lives and dies by the games available for it, and they're going to need all the help they can get to create a real foothold.
Advertise, advertise, advertise. Other home consoles already have an established base, Ouya needs to get their system in as many homes as possible if they want their in-game purchasing system to work (all games for the Ouya are supposed to be free to start, with in-game purchases as the revenue generator, with Ouya taking a cut of the proceeds).
Have you backed the Ouya Kickstarter yet? Now that the project has succeeded (financially), what would like to see them do next?
They should use the money to try and future proof the hardware in some way. A lot can change in one year especially with Tegra chips.
The other would be getting developers or build a partnership somewhere. A lot of indie games that got big on PC eventually made their way to iOS but there still a little behind on Android. This would be a great way to showcase talent and what the system is capable of.
The final is a big pipe dream but if they could pull something off with Steam that would be awesome. The Steam client exists on Android already and working that into the system would just be a huge push forward for the console.
Android development isn't any harder than anything else. Plus you have Google's awesome App Inventor as a starting point. I've written for iOS and Android. iOS can be a friggin bear to do things right in if you don't know objective C, but all things equal neither is harder than the other. Only a non-programmer repeats that nonsense.
I think the first order of business they need to take care of is to beef up the internal storage on it. 8GB is incredibly paltry for a console system, and unless they plan on doing something like OnLive and stream games to you, gamers are going to have some serious issues with a lot of the 3D graphic heavy games being between 500MB and 1GB.
This is an intriguing concept. I think they should do everything in their power to beef up their initial offerings. Increasing the onboard storage is a good idea too. I'd totally be down for something like this with Roku like functionality.
From the Engadget article: Now, in an email to backers, the project has asked for feedback on its "stretch goals" -- in other words, what it should do if it makes even more cash and is able to set its sights on loftier ambitions.
Also you don't know how much the system will cost to build, they could cost $50 to make which gives them a $50 profit (completely being hypothetical here). They've also had a fair amount of backers donate more than the expected selling price of $99.
Given the open and experimental nature of the console, I really doubt they're selling the hardware at a loss/small profit margin and probably make some profit on each unit sold. The Kickstarter was intended to fund the initial production run, and I'm sure things like overhead costs were accounted for in that run. So they definitely have some wiggle room with the money, as evidenced by the fact that Ouya themselves are the ones asking their backers what they should do next.
I think one of their main moves should be to build their launch title repertoire. For a new gaming system this is key. With the Wii U coming out later this year and new Xbox and Playstation consoles (supposedly) on the horizon, Ouya needs to prove that they have a legitimate contender in the video game market.
I'm already starting to save up for launch titles on the Wii U, so Ouya will have to really make a statement for me to drop any money (even $99) on this console. And if we've learned anything from the recent console launches (ahem, 3DS), we know that it's important to have at least a decent library at launch. It is the most hype the console will likely ever have. Also, this is their best chance to show hardcore gamers (who are typically turned off by the abundance of light-weight games on mobile operating systems) that they intend to be taken seriously.
Considering the hurdles the Ouya will have to overcome in a marketplace that is already filled with phones, tablets and well-established brands that do portable gaming, advertising is totally where I would put the money first. I want to see local and national TV spots for this thing, because otherwise the only ones who will know the Ouya exists are techies.
Of course, if there is any money left over after advertising, putting into a charity would be a great way to go. But right now Ouya needs to get its name out there more than anything else.
How about use that extra money to get some developers together one this console, or have on exclusive killer app. Pay someone to port Steam to this thing and say good bye to the Console game as we know it.
Ummm... call me old fashioned, but I think they should spend the money actually building the devices that they promised to the people who BOUGHT them on Kickstarter.
I know that Kickstarter structures the payments as "pledges" so their is no recourse to get a refund if the company fails to produce anything, but honestly, EVERY person who pledges money is expecting a device delivered ASAP. That should be how THIS money is spent.
There have been a LOT of comments posted, and some have good ideas about future directions for the company. Great. Sort through the comments, pick the good ones, do them later.
Right now there are 2 things they should be doing:
Marching over to Silicon Valley Bank (or another progressive bank) and getting a $3MM loan (secured by the Kickstart money) to start production NOW. They have a 10 week production cycle. Getting a 4 week head start would really help them!
Use their overwhelming Kickstarter success to get some VC money into the company. Already 30,000 People are willing to pay $100 for each unit when it's still unsure if they'll even get anything. That shows a fair amount of demand. Wherever they end up, I would imagine that it would be reasonable to ask for 10x the "presales" revenue as an initial round of VC capital.
Everything else, other than building the initial units and getting funding is a distraction.
One thing is for sure. Talking about the $3MM as if it's unallocated and free to be spent on whatever they want is just ridiculous. So lets stop talking about "what they should spend the money on". It's already been spent.
Has it though? The target price point of this is $99 and companies are making Android on a stick devices for far less than that. There are pledge prices for higher than $99 which means they have gotta a lot of people to pledge more money than the cost of the device not to mention all the people who donated just to donate. 5 people alone donated 10,000 or more.
I want them to hold some back for a "Just in case" fund. I'm not sure how far into the manufacturing setup they have gone, but I would rather they make sure they ship a product before they expand the project. Besides that, more memory is always good.
I have to shout this out again: I mean I can see it...a gaming console for the TV...but I just can't see a place for it in my home. If i want a gaming device I would grab a Nexus 7 tablet for $100 more and play all the android games I want...anywhere I want. I can even tie in a Bluetooth game console controller if I want that option. saying this I can't see this taking off unless there is multiplayer on split screen taking advantage of the larger screen. For that, they need developers. Getting people to make games that are split screen multiplayer with multiple controllers would make this game box a winner.
But on the other hand if everyone has a tablet why the need for split screen when they can all have their own screen? I just think this box is built with all the new bells and whistles for the "old crowd" of gamers.
now that their a baby company they need to start promoting the hell out of the damn thing. i only knew of it cause of the kickstarter website... a lot of gamers STILL don't know what ouya even is... i can't wait to get mine!
Let me make this clear: I don't want Ouya to be successful. I am happy with my Sony gaming products and hate the idea of exclusive games. I truly believe that Mario, Halo, Uncharted and God of War should be playable on every system. Fragmentation is not good for the public in talking about hardware. Companies like Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft do not make near as much money on hardware as they do on software. We've seen this with smartphones as HTC is dialing back the number of different phones they will produce each year going forward. I also think all these different platforms are annoying and the companies themselves do not help gamers form communities or spend their money wisely. If people on Xbox Live could play against PSN I would happily sing a different tune, but that's never going to happen.
All that being said, ads are the way to go. Ads lead to excitement, which leads to people wanting to develop games for your platform. The more you can spark the public interest and become relevant the better. Kickstarter got them to the techie front page, now they need to get to the public front page and have BestBuy/Walmart/Gamestop want to carry the device. Have EA/Ubisoft/Activision porting titles to their platform, MadCatz making shitty peripherals. IGN and G4 talking about Ouya, etc.
Yes, every platform needs software and ultimately they will need some people to make "exclusive" games because that's how you make money. However, exciting the public is far more important since inspiring people to buy another box to play games on is tougher than it sounds when they likely already have a gaming system.
I guess you haven't had your Android phone hacked, filled with spyware or told you the memory was full yet. Just wait, it will happen. Oh yeah, do you have Froyo, Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich or some other iteration? Android is incredibly fragmented and though it's awesome that they push software updates over the air, with so many models of phones, getting software updated takes too long.
Agreed. People don't buy games for Android. They download free games, but rarely buy them. The Android marketplace is still not mature enough for Joe Schmo. And that's just people with smartphones! Once you get into the living room, complexity has to be taken out. I don't see this platform appealing to people who don't already have a gaming system and possibly a gaming PC. That's a small market who still want another system, unless Ouya can make it incredibly simple to buy, download and play games. So far Android sucks at that compared to XBL, PSN, and the App store.