Yesterday, at Nvidia’s GPU Technology Conference in San Jose, California, OUYA’s CEO, Julie Uhrman, spoke about the OUYA console and answered some questions while raising others.
First, she answered a question about the OUYA console in relation to the Google Play Store and the fact that the two would not be connected and that OUYA would have its own marketplace fed by their own ODK (OUYA Development Kit). She then proceeded to start that the ODK had a similar split with developers of 70/30 but then proceeded to state that the company would take 70% and the developers would take 30%. This is the inverse of what is considered the general industry standard and even goes in the face of OUYA’s own FAQ
that states developers take 70% and OUYA takes 30%. Unless something has drastically changed, it sounds like she made a significant mistake in her speech.
Moving on, she also talked about the way that OUYA would not necessarily filter content like the Google Play store with a 30-45 minute review period, but rather a much more involved one. The parameters would include things like game experience and compatibility with the platform at hand, meaning that it is controller and TV friendly. They also want to prevent apps from having any IP infringement and malware. In addition to that, OUYA will censor content that contains pornography or realistic violence. Yes, OUYA is going to prevent you from publishing anything that could be considered pornographic or realistically violent. While some people may consider this a good move on OUYA’s part, it kind of hurts the whole idea that they have an open platform. Julie also said that OUYA will allow emulators into their marketplace, but that they would not allow any content to accompany them.
In addition to the marketplace filtering and censorship, OUYA will also applications to be run off of the console. This means that applications that might make sense for the TV might find their way onto the OUYA, however, they will likely be very limited. Julie stated that some applications like XBMC media player could find their way onto the OUYA shortly.
She also talked about the hardware refresh cycle of the OUYA console, as this has been one of our largest concerns about the OUYA console. The truth is that the Tegra 3 has been out for quite some time and is a relatively old chip compared to what’s already out. In addition to that, the Tegra 4 has already been announced and shown off, and devices with Tegra 4 should be out shortly. While Julie did not talk about when a Tegra 4 OUYA would be possible, she did say that the company’s hardware refresh cycle would likely be more along the lines of a smartphone refresh cycle than a console one. To us, this actually creates a certain level of uncertainty because OUYA has been talking about how Tegra 3 is the base of the OUYA and would not likely change any time soon. She also said that they would do a hardware refresh cycle whenever it would be possible to build for under $100 when all components are incorporated. She also mentioned in passing that the consumer version of the console would be actively cooled, which would make it the first and only actively cooled Tegra 3
product in the world. While she didn't elaborate as to why the consumer version would be actively cooled, that likely means that they either have poorly yielding hot chips (cheap) or that they're running the chips at a higher clock to deliver reliable 1080P at 60Hz.
Overall, the presentation was a fairly informational one, however it created quite a bit of uncertainty in the room among developers whether or not their applications would get approved to begin with. With a similar split to the majority of other large app stores already out there, I don't really see much of a reason why anyone would go with an OUYA when developing. We all know it'll be a matter of time until Apple TV (or something like it from Apple) will be capable of running iOS games, giving developers a much greater market.
Initially, I was very excited about OUYA and it's possible implications, but leading up to next week's launch it seems like it's just going to be another box that connects to your TV, but this time, it'll play games. I do see that the emulator community may be interested in running emulators on their TVs for various legacy consoles, but beyond that and XBMC, I don't see many uses for something that's supposed to be a next-generation open console.
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