Is the OUYA showing the money to developers?
The OUYA enjoyed considerable success with its Kickstarter, surpassing reach amounts and raising a ridiculous amount of money. Then there were some issues with shipping. So, now that people have their consoles and are ready to play, are their game developers reaping the same rewards?
TowerFall, an OUYA exclusive and the console’s flagship launch game, has performed exceptionally well. Developer Matt Thorson says:
“We’ve made about 2000 sales so far at $15 each. So sales have been surprisingly high for a new game on a new console. The game has definitely proven itself on Ouya, I think there’s enough demand to warrant bringing it to PC. The response has been amazing. A lot of high profile people in games have been praising the game, which is of course fantastic, and there’s been a lot of talk among gamers as well. Launching on Ouya got me a lot of attention, and the sales have been better than expected.”
While it has been a huge success, it seems to vary depending on the developer’s existing structure. Nimble Quest has done better than expected, making $427 profit in its first week. However, NimbleBit’s David Marsh explained:
“We released it on OUYA simply because we were using Unity and it was pretty much a snap to port it. So it was a fun thing to do, as well as a test of our cross-platform framework. I would wholeheartedly recommend the OUYA to indie devs that have an existing pipeline to Android and are interested in what the OUYA does. It’s probably not going to be a huge source of income compared to other platforms, but it’s dead easy to submit a game and get it into the store.”
Other developers, such as Ryan Wiemeyer, said that porting Organ Trail might not have been worth the man hours that it cost. Perhaps we will see greater sales over time, but it is unlikely as new games enter the market. As explained by David Marsh, those who are already developing for Android will reap the greatest rewards with the OUYA – the games are easy to port and receive relative success on the console. However, developers who make games on other platforms should not expect the same ease of use or profitability that’s possible in other markets.
Beyond sales, the experience for developers have been mixed. While most developers praise the company’s support, there are issues regarding the quality of the system’s controller and discoverability of games.
Still, I don’t think the OUYA should be written off just yet. With easy porting of Android games, and the odd flagship game to be released occasionally, I think the OUYA might just survive as an Android console. It’s still relatively cheap, and it’s far too early to jump to any conclusions. Let’s wait for them to manufacture some more, and see if amazon sells out again. The demand is obviously there, it just might take a while for people to figure out which games they want.