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Latest Ouya ad meets with widespread derision

"Experimental" animated short mocked by development community

An experimental advert for the Ouya console that depicts a character vomiting and pulling out their insides after paying $60 for a video game has met with widespread derision from the games development community.

Ouya released the short video on YouTube but quickly made it private when bad feedback rolled in.

"Ouya's marketing team made a horrible commercial, killing all my respect for the Ouya. Why would I make games for it?" asked Hayden Scott-Baron, 10-year developer of games such as LostWinds and Kinectimals, now making games for iPhone and PC.

"OK, no doubt; that OUYA ad was a massive mistake. jesus who approved that and what on earth were they thinking?," wrote Sophie Houlden, who recently released a version of her game, Rose and Time, for the console.

Ouya has said the advert was not official, but was designed to get feedback from developers and players.

"This is not our official ad. We are experimenting with animated content and posted this video briefly to get feedback from our community. Stay tuned for our official video," said the company on its official forum.

Despite the adage that there's no such thing as bad publicity, Ouya looks to have alienated the very talent it hopes to attract to the micro-console.

"PR should not make you feel ashamed for wanting to like a thing. It's like a junior high pep rally," wrote Alec Holowka, coder and composer.

The advert can be seen below:

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Latest comments (52)

Sam Brown Programmer, Cool Games Ltd.3 years ago
Meh, the internet will forget this pretty soon. If people were interested in developing for the Ouya before then it's a bit short-sighted to let something this ephemeral put them off.
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Zbigniew Lebkowski 3D Artist & Animator 3 years ago
Tasteless.

@Sam: Yes. they internet will forget, but if Ouya doesn't do anything to attract developers it too shall be forgotten. An ad such as the one presented doesn't seem to be the way to go.
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Farhang Namdar Lead Game Designer Larian Studios 3 years ago
Honestly who cares, great commercial for all I care. Why is this so much worse than any other tasteless add.
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Show all comments (52)
Thomas Dolby Project Manager / Lead Programmer, Ai Solve3 years ago
It's tasteless, but I wouldn't go so far as to say it's offensive. It's a valid problem that consumers face today, prices are high for AAA games, and I for one have certainly been burned by paying full price up front for something I'm not entirely sure I'm going to like.
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 3 years ago
Sorry but that comercial left me with a prettty bad taste. It was somewhat repulsive and I had that feeling of when something "irks" you. They need to sell OUYA and do it fast, but not like this.
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Chris Payne Managing Director & Founder, Quantum Soup Studios3 years ago
Quite apart from the tasteless style, the core messages to potential customers are "you are a fool for buying expensive games" (way to get people on side) and "the games industry is ripping you off" (thanks for that, Ouya).

I love my Ouya, but I haven't found any games I really love on it yet. IMHO a regular "This month on Ouya" montage showcasing new releases would highlight the diversity of the platform and aid discoverability?
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Caleb Hale Journalist 3 years ago
So the default image of a gamer to Ouya is an unshaven crybaby sitting around the house a T-shirt and underwear?
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Ruben Monteiro Engineer 3 years ago
Finally, I understand Ouya's role in the gaming hardware landscape: it's the comic relief character
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Brian Smith Artist 3 years ago
@Caleb At least they got something right ...haha.
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Edward Buffery Head of LQA (UK), Testronic3 years ago
I never complain about expensive games being a rip-off because I know better than to buy them in the first place, but I certainly do like to sit around the house in my t-shirt and / or underwear playing games a lot and yeah, I only shave about once a week ;-)
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Christopher Garratty Associate Counsel, Activision Blizzard3 years ago
Whoever said "posted this video briefly to get feedback from our community" clearly has no idea how the internet works.
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Barrie Tingle Live Producer, Maxis3 years ago
I loved the animation, reminded me of Ren & Stimpy.

Still won't be getting an Ouya though.
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Adam Campbell Producer, Hopster3 years ago
This advert is horrible!
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Cameron Petty CEO/Creative Director, JumpCore Productions3 years ago
Glad I'm not the only one who saw the Ren & Stimpy connection! :-)

Ability to sell (or not sell) Ouyas aside, I quite enjoyed the gross animation . . .
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Jeffrey Kesselman Professor - Game Development, Daniel Webster College3 years ago
I suspect they are getting rather desperate. Turns out the market for an underpowered cell phone that is tethered to a power cord and big screen is pretty limited.

Who woulda guessed?
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Matthew Hardy Studying Multimedia/Game Design, ITT Technical Institute3 years ago
I must be in the minority because I really liked it.
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Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend3 years ago
Where the hell have peoples sense of humor gone?

And regardless of what people think of the ad, it had the desired effect of getting people talking about it which is good marketing.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Darren Adams on 22nd August 2013 5:58pm

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Jeffrey Kesselman Professor - Game Development, Daniel Webster College3 years ago
Sorry, I don't buy the "all PR is good PR" business.

Tell that to Bill Clinton or Paul Rubens ("Pee Wee Herman").

It is only good marketing if it translates into greater sales. I don't think overwhelmingly negative publicity in the game space helps that.
The ad weakened their core message by presenting it in a way people wanted to distance themselves from. In doing so, it damaged their brand.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Jeffrey Kesselman on 22nd August 2013 6:18pm

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James Berg Games User Researcher, EA Canada3 years ago
Darren, the problem is that folks talking about it already knew about the Ouya. "No such thing as bad press" only applies for new potential customers finding out about your brand. Alienating current customers and content providers with bad press isn't helpful.

The advert is awful. The Ren & Stimpy style was neat, but it's portraying it's user awfully, it's crapping on companies it's trying to get support from, and it's disparaging the user for other purchase decisions.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 3 years ago
it had the desired effect of getting people talking about it which is good marketing.
Only if those people who talk about the Ouya and then go on to buy one outnumber those who talk about how horrible the advert was and then swear to never buy one. Because, surely, that's the point of advertising - to create something eye-catching and interesting enough it gets talked about, whilst alienating as few of the potential buyers as possible. In that sense, the jury is still out on this video - it's viral enough that people are talking about it, but tasteless enough that it's turning off buyers. I've watched it twice now (once muted at work, and again with sound just a minute ago) and I do not think it sells the Ouya as a games machine, regardless of how amusing/grotesque/Kricfalusi-esque the video is.
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Kevin Patterson musician 3 years ago
I thought it was funny actually, as the others mentioned, it had that ren and stimpy vibe.

It's a good thing he didn't realize he also had to buy a season pass....lol...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Kevin Patterson on 22nd August 2013 6:23pm

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Demonstrates a real lack of understanding of how to sell video games.

If you have a good product and good games, you SHOW THE PRODUCT AND THE GAMES IN COMMERCIALS.

If you have a shitty product, you make funny or adorable or cool or cute or disgusting ads that don't show the games. This type of ad never works, so why bother in the first place.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by John Byrd on 22nd August 2013 6:49pm

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Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend3 years ago
DISCLAIMER: I don't pretend to be a marketing guru of any kind!! But...

I disagree that this advert will have any notable negative effect on sales and if anything will get more people talking about the console. Fair enough if this was an advert for the next American president, or some medical recruitment video, but it isn't. It is a silly advert for a second/third tier console which in the real world is inconsequential.

Of course there is a line of taste that can be crossed and have disastrous effects, but I don't think this advert got anywhere near that line.

If watching this advert turns off potential customers who would have bought the console before watching the video, then I would say they probably take things far too seriously. But this is just my opinion on it and the future will dictate whether I am right or not.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Darren Adams on 22nd August 2013 9:24pm

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Whilst somewhat vulgur, other than annoying game developers who have a vested interest or at least think they have a vested interest in keeping the prices high, I doubt the average consumer given the average age and frankly sex of the average gamer is to bothered by it, alas people see far worse quite regularly on TV adverts nowadays , and that's just on documentary channel adverts, as long as its not over broadcast, I suppose its one of those love it or hate it kinda adverts, but the basic message isnt to far from every gamers heart, if the presentation being a little icky, and its kinda funny in a south park kinda way, also the title of this article is hardly objective.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Alexander McConnell on 22nd August 2013 7:12pm

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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 3 years ago
Heh. Isn't this the sort of ad you run when you have something like an actual lead in the horse race?

I thought it was definitely funny (and yeah, without Ren & Stimpy, they'd have to use a real guy in his drawers vomiting) but VERY wrong-headed in that if Ouya had a good RPG or other similar experience to a console exclusive, no credit card required to use the thing and a bunch of other games that couldn't be had on other platforms, MAYBE it would be effective in convincing a non-owner to make the switch.

Then again, maybe not, as the LAST game ad I can recall with someone vomiting on screen was the one in the US for the Atari Jaguar game Cybermorph:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BA8Lyv5z9SU

Yuk... so long, OUYA...
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 3 years ago
Three things. First: WTF?? Second: Vomit never ever makes anything funny or funnier. Same thing goes for all other bodily fluids, including(but not limited to) blood, semen, piss and feces. And third: This commercial has now become the worst video game commercial of all time, even worst than Sony's creepy laughing baby in the white room PS3 commercials.
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Morgan King Animator 3 years ago
Enh - I liked it. Brings to mind classic alternative animation in the Liquid TV, Ren & Stimpy, or Ralph Bakshi vein. The sterile corporate censorship culture surrounding gaming is the exact creativity-stifling nonsense that drives the 'are games art' question precisely because anything mildly confrontational or non committee-approved is so frowned upon. Which is surely also part of the message they were trying to communicate here.
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Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises3 years ago
The real problem with the ad is it hurts Ouya more than PS3 or 360. Even if you buy their argument that all of your console games are crap, you have to ask what games does Ouya have that are better? The answer is nothing, they have nothing that is better than even your worst console game (except maybe Guitar Hero Aerosmith).
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Fazi Zsolt Game & Level Designer @Atypical Games 3 years ago
My question is why aren't people shocked when seeing ads for games that promote excessive violence with guts, brains and all the stuff you can see in this Ouya ad? People should be disgusted by those developers/ publishers and rise up in a fist of fury.
Instead of that, they applaud the next level of graphics, the new combat system (you can pull your enemies teeth out .... etc.)
So when people say: "Ohh, my lordy lord lord, I will not make games for this console, cause of this extremely disturbing ad!!", they are actually playing the hypocrites card.
And it stands to show the hypocrisy that is dominating in this industry.

Everyone already knew that making games for Ouya won't make you rich or anything close to it, it was just a fad.
Now I am not defending this commercial. It is disrespectful towards the user base that it tries to attract. But maybe, just maybe, they are so desperate, that they made this ad to be featured in anyway possible, on as many sites as they can get, cause maybe something is not going well. Just maybe...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Fazi Zsolt on 23rd August 2013 9:47am

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Ruben Monteiro Engineer 3 years ago
If you vomit like this after paying $60 for a AAA game, I wonder how you feel like after paying $100 for an underpowered smartphone that has no battery, no display and no phone capabilities.
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Farhang Namdar Lead Game Designer Larian Studios 3 years ago
But at least you'll have all the free shitty games you want Ruben!!!
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Adam Campbell Producer, Hopster3 years ago
My question is why aren't people shocked when seeing ads for games that promote excessive violence with guts, brains and all the stuff you can see in this Ouya ad?
Who says they're not? But this is a completely different context and that's what people are reacting to.

I'm not sure how this was supposed to help perceptions of Ouya at all given the flaky launch and skepticism. Now there's a video that attempts to devalue fuller, richer more expensive game experience in exchange for what Ouya is offering.

As a person who backed the console and still has it hooked up, constantly following the updates and progress on what is effectively an interesting console project, the first bit of publicity I see in a while is this? Not impressed at all.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 23rd August 2013 12:20pm

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Jose Martin Entrepreneur & Financing - Media / Tech / Interactive Entertainment 3 years ago
Funny how everyone gets crazy over one internet ad that may be tasteless but the worst ad for the Ouya was the actual console release itself...relatively weak hardware, inconsequential launch lineup and a god awful controller, trying it out at a friend's house convinced me to cross it off my mental wish list for the foreseeable future... no ad showing a vomiting cartoon would ever deter anyone enough, be it gamer or dev from supporting the console if it was worth supporting in its present state, the best "ads" for any hardware is the hardware itself, the ecosystem surrounding it and positive word of mouth from happy consumers - all are negatives presently.
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David Serrano Freelancer 3 years ago
Beyond the gross out factor, I don't see how this ad is any different from GameFly's "Bad Game" ad: [link url=""]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGHEhKo5Ils[/link]

I don't remember the development community getting its panties in a bunch over the GameFly ad, so what makes Ouya's ad so offensive?
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Dustin Sparks Interactive Developer / Gaming Blogger 3 years ago
Same way they would feel after paying $400-600 for an underpowered PC with subpart graphics processing that doesn't let you take your games with you and is also tethered to the wall and television.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 3 years ago
So we are asked to emphasize with the character having paid $60 to receive a game that is a clone of another game and being angry about it.
.
We are then presented the answer in the form of Ouya offering demo versions of games.

Clearly, only Ouya can do demos of games. What's left is a core message nobody buys, a target demographic disenfranchised with the yearly blockbusters and a visual style cranking attention seeking to the max. I have my doubts this will work, although we were reminded that Ouya existed for five minutes again, weren't we?
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Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd3 years ago
Have Ouya's PR team been in cryogenic suspension since the 1990s?

I think the response to this ad (and Ouya's laughable, nonsensical non-apology) has been so severe because it's the latest in a series of odd out-of-touch public moves by the company.

Trying to peddle the narrative that mainstream games are evil weeks before GTAV AND two new platforms with piles of big-budget AND indie games are launched is somewhat ill-advised.
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Adam Campbell Producer, Hopster3 years ago
@David Serrano

Sadly not all things in life are treated equally.

Personally, I didn't even know of that Gamefly advert but at the very least, for a person who 'dislikes' this Ouya one, I am a supporter of the system/company and feel this isn't beneficial to them. Its not something I'd go insane over however, and I'd hope most of the game community are not losing any sleep even if they don't like it.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.3 years ago
The experiment was successful.

They discovered exactly how NOT to market their console.
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 3 years ago
I dont understand the point of OUYA... why not just connect a mobile device to a TV and use an add on peripheral that has fisical buttons.
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Ruben Monteiro Engineer 3 years ago
Rick, I think Ouya's point was to satisfy someone's wet dream of creating his own video game console, and then resonated with folks who wanted to "stick it to the man" and look cool by owning some exotic game console, perhaps getting carried away by the combination of the hot buzzwords of the moment like "Android", "Crowdfunding", "Indie" and "Free".

The world is full of products who appear pointless to the common sense but there are always some people who see value in these things.
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 3 years ago
@Robin Clark
Have Ouya's PR team been in cryogenic suspension since the 1990s?
I think it's pretty obvious they don't have a PR team. After making content such as this ad everyone in the office just ask for their friends/parents/neighbors opinions and run with them.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 3 years ago
Heh. I just had the thought of Microsoft or Sony using this sort of ad in targeting the other company's console and/or exclusive games. I wonder how that would go over with people (and I wonder who would fire this one off at whom). Of course, this might have happened in the 1990's (anyone remember the "Sega does what NintenDON'T?" campaign? Bleh.)...
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game3 years ago
Second: Vomit never ever makes anything funny or funnier.
Watch Kick-Ass 2 then tell me that!

But then I quite like that creepy baby white room ad.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrew Goodchild on 24th August 2013 8:48am

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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game3 years ago
As far as the advert goes, as an animation goes, I actually was amused, call me juvenile by all means.

But whilst we have all bought a few games we are disappointed with full price (the 2008 Alone in the Dark reboot or DNF spring to mind), most people who feel they keep getting stung, and don't get more games they enjoy than bad games, will have already done something about it, whether that is stopping buying altogether, waiting to get games cheaper, renting, or scouring Metacritic.
Or trading them in so quickly that they can get most of the money back. Then it costs 15 ($20 I guess?) rather than 45/60.

I struggle with the idea that many people are so moronic that they keep buying games they hate full price, and still keep turning up for the beating. But then maybe Ouya has realised those morons that do may be their last chance at sales outside the industry/early adopter crowd that already bought it.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrew Goodchild on 24th August 2013 9:22am

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Paul Jace Merchandiser 3 years ago
@Andrew Goodchild
Watch Kick-Ass 2 then tell me that!

But then I quite like that creepy baby white room ad.
I don't need to watch Kick Ass 2(I did watch and love the first movie) to know the fundamentals of vomit (non)humor. It still doesn't make anything funny or funnier. But I would be remiss if I couldn't find anything to agree with you on a respectable site such as this. So with that...
As far as the advert goes, as an animation goes, I actually was amused, call me juvenile by all means.
You sir are juvenille. And I'm not saying that to antagonize you, I'm saying it to agree with you:)
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game3 years ago
@paul, that's fine, I am, so the non offence is noted.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 3 years ago
Well, Monty Python pretty much did the ULTIMATE in vomit gags (The Meaning of Life, anyone?), so everything since is pretty much wading in the shallow end of that steaming pool (yuk)...;^P
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Christopher Ingram Editor-at-Large, Digitally Downloaded3 years ago
While I think the ad was indeed lacking tact, it was still pretty dang funny.

As on Ouya owner and an old-school gamer that is quite displeased with the current state of the gaming industry as a whole (sequelitis), this ad actually resonates with me quite a bit. I'm indeed tired of the "bigger is better" concept that we've seen this generation, with more great franchises becoming yearly or bi-yearly releases that only build on what previous titles have already offered. I'm tired of spending the high cost to play many of these top franchises and Ouya, like other digital platforms, have been where I've spent the majority of my time and money playing small indie games because of this trend. Even blockbuster titles like The Last of Us and Tomb Raider have quite weak actual gameplay elements, with the games' narratives being the strongest thread that keeps the entire package as a whole together.
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Tudor Nita Lead Programmer, Gameloft Romania3 years ago
To me, Ouya's overall marketing always seemed to be done by the late 90's version of Romero. We all know how that went down.
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Shane Sweeney Academic 3 years ago
Marketing that has "gone negative" like a political campaign is never pretty.

But I still find this less offensive then the Apple versus PC advertisements though.
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Mo Henry Bug Writer 3 years ago
expensive games that are crap are typical of big companies. They make you pay through the nose for crappy games and sequels to crappy games. Ouya doesn't and I didn't find the animation even slightly offensive, ren and stimpy is worse than that. It wasn't funny either. Didn't really seem to have a point besides the obvious. Some ouya games are pretty cool but so are some ps4 release titles.
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