Last year, the Ouya set out to do something in the world of game consoles that had never been attempted before. They wanted to create an open platform that anybody could publish on thus opening game development to the masses. Well, it was certainly a nice idea, but a combination of lackluster support from developers and subpar hardware made the Ouya one of the biggest disappointments of 2013.
Despite these setbacks, Ouya announced this morning that it’s marching into 2014 with new hardware that boasts double the internal storage and a better controller. It also features the latest firmware and better Wi-Fi connectivity.
The controller is the real standout improvement here. When the Ouya first launched, many complained that it felt cheap and suffered from input lag. Ouya has seemingly addressed those concerns saying that its latest controller has better buttons and faster response time. If true, many users’ central complaint with the console will have vanished.
Despite having a better controller, Ouya hasn’t announced any new programs to help get more games on the platform. Last year, it started up a Free The Games Fund to match contributions made to a developer’s Kickstarter campaign in return for exclusivity. That didn’t work out too well, however, thanks to accusations of some developers gaming the system.
Going forward, the Ouya will have to focus on improving its hardware as well as its relation with developers. The Tegra 3 used in the Ouya is pretty old these days and doesn’t offer developers the kind of power they need to bring the experiences they’re building for PCs and traditional consoles to the Android-based platform. They also need to give developers a better reason to develop for the console beyond the promise of free money in exchange for exclusivity.
The Ouya is still an evolving platform and there is a chance it could vastly improve in 2014. If you want to take that chance, the newly improved Ouya is now available for $129. If you don’t want to spend that much, the original Ouya complete with laggy controller is also available for $99.
Image via Ouya