Los Angeles Business Journal

Early Ouya Reviews Critical

By Natalie Jarvey Friday, April 19, 2013

Ouya, the much-hyped gaming console funded by the masses, might already be a dud – and it hasn’t even hit shelves.

Early reviews of the mini console, which taps into the Android mobile operating system to bring smartphone games to TVs, have been less than stellar.

“This console isn’t finished – it’s not even close,” said a reviewer for tech blog TheVerge.com. He gave Ouya a 3.5 rating out of 10, calling it “a product with some good ideas and a potentially promising future” that ultimately “misses the mark.”

Meanwhile, a reviewer for gaming blog Joystiq.com wrote that “Ouya has real, tangible problems,” adding that the company needs to address its issues before the console launches in June.

So what are Ouya’s problems? Some reviewers don’t like the controller, others say that the game-play interface is wonky and riddled with bugs. The Verge reviewer even goes so far to say that there’s not enough to do when playing on the console.

Ouya tapped into the popularity of crowdfunding when it launched a campaign on Kickstarter in July. For $99 or more, people could fund the project and receive an early version of the console. The West L.A. firm gathered more than $8.5 million with more than 63,000 backers.

To Ouya’s credit, developers have a little over a month to make fixes to the game before it goes on sale. But Ouya’s Kickstarter backers – the people most excited about its release and generating the most hype about the console – all received this early version of the product.

Ouya responded to the unflattering reviews earlier this month. A spokesperson told blog GamesIndustry International that Ouya is still in a preview period and that the company has yet to ship any consoles to press for official review.

“We will be making Ouya review units available in early to mid-May so that you are able to review the more complete consumer experience and prepare your coverage in time for the June 4th retail launch,” the spokesperson said.

Ouya Chief Executive Julie Uhrman also posted on the company blog earlier this month soliciting feedback from people who received early version of the console.

“Last week, we started shipping units to our early backers, but there is still much to do (we’re listening, promise) and we are on it,” she wrote.