Ouya boss on Fire TV: Gaming isn't an "added bonus" for us

Julie Uhrman apparently unfazed by Amazon's new Android-powered microconsole

Amazon's new Fire TV may or may not have any real impact on the core console gaming market, but it sure does seem to fall in the same space as Ouya. "The only one who should be worried is Ouya, since it is essentially the same device from a games perspective, but it does more because it accesses movie streaming," Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter said. IHS' Piers Harding-Rolls agreed: "This announcement will have smaller Android console players looking over their shoulders." For its part, however, Ouya isn't fretting.

"Just as Amazon blazed a trail for a new way of selling online, Ouya invented a new way to think about console games. But for us, games are not simply an 'added bonus' - they're the whole point. Ouya is solely dedicated to the devs creating games, and the players who play them. Their ideal experience is all we think about," Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman told GamesIndustry International.

While Fire TV, as the name implies, is all about video, Ouya has never tried to be anything but a game machine, and the controller is part of the package. "We have more than 700 titles - many award winning -- from over 34,000 registered developers on the platform," stressed Uhrman.

About a month ago, Ouya made a fundamental change to its business - gamers no longer necessarily had to own the hardware to enjoy Ouya. Ouya became an embeddable software platform, one that other Android-based systems could implement. With that in mind, would Ouya consider embedding its platform in Amazon's Fire TV? Uhrman wouldn't say. "Ouya Everywhere, bringing Ouya to other devices, has already been announced for Madcatz's M.O.J.O device. We'll be announcing other partners soon," she said.

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Latest comments (11)

Jakub Mikyska CEO, Grip Digital8 years ago
Ouya, Gamestick, Fire TV... they all seem to me like fish fighting for a dominance over a pond that does not exist. There's casual gaming on the go on a device that does a million things and games... and there's gaming on an overpowered dedicated machine for maximum enjoyment. I still haven't seen a dedicated under-powered box for casual games that really got anyone interested.

PlayTV at least does streaming, which is a relevant use for a little box under your TV.
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 8 years ago
I really dont understand devices like the OUYA and Fire TV or these Android mini consoles. All you really have to do is connect your mobile device to a TV and thats it. And now a days you have the ability to use wifi or bluetooth to hook up a standard gamepad. I feel that if these were the only gaming devices that existed, it would plunge videogames as whole into obscurity. Because the games made for consoles and PC are the ones that try to raise the bar and push the limits of whats been done before.

Honestly console and PC gaming is the equivalent of seeing a movie in the movie theater for me. The premium expirience is there. If anything I would get these devices for kids and non-gamer-type people, for some simple casual fun. However unlike the real-gamer , they have no interest in buying, perchasing, collecting or owning anything. They are not game hobbiests. So an 8$ monthl fee like you have on netflix should be ok for a steaming gaming service through these devices. Or you can purchase a game for 2$, but you have no way of owning it yourself, so I dont know why you should by them. So the business model they should follow is that of Hulu and Netflix.

Devices like Ouya and Fire TV have there place and Im sure that the gaming space can be shared with them, Im just saying some gamers have different needs and these devices do not fulfill all of them.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 4th April 2014 2:12am

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Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments8 years ago
I think you're misunderstanding the target audience amazon are going for, Rick. It's not anyone who would call themselves a "gamer", it's mass market users who want a simple, convenient box that provided accessible streaming video and lost cost games. Plugging a mobile device into a tv really doesn't cover that.

Whilst the fire tv is effectively a microconsole, it's probably best not to think of it as one - in the same way as an ipad isn't a handheld console.
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Show all comments (11)
Brian Lewis Operations Manager, PlayNext8 years ago
The Fire TV is essentially a play for the SMART TV. It does everythign that they do, but does it faster, and has the integration of the Amazon store. It is targetting online media, of which games is just a small part. In todays market, we are seeing more and more mobile ports showing up on PC (where they are usually developed). It makes sense to allow this same extension to more robust andriod devices, like the Fire line from Amazon.
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Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd8 years ago
There will probably be more FireTV users by the end of the month than Ouya have ever attracted to their platform.

And I doubt there are many Ouya developers who aren't now considering the very short journey to port to Amazon's device.
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Edward Buffery Head of LQA (UK), Testronic8 years ago
The OUYA is a dedicated games console, so at least the people who bought one are going to be playing games on it. Amazon will be targeting a wide market with the FireTV and gaming isn't it's primary purpose, so regardless of how many they actually sell, I wonder what proportion of the people who buy one will actually spend money on games. On the other hand, if Amazon sell enough of them, even a small % of users playing games will make it worthwhile.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 8 years ago
Given that Amazon is hiring developers, I'd expect some surprises for the Fire coming that may silence a few skeptics save for the PC gamers out there who want control over how good their games look and how fast they run. The thing may be targeting super casual users now, but if things go as Amazon plans, it may bite into some wallets as a cheaper way to play certain titles. I think it will do better than the Ouya based on Amazon's power to push their own product, but we shall see (as always)...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Greg Wilcox on 4th April 2014 2:40am

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Daniel Chenoweth Freelance Editor, Reviewer, Writer 8 years ago
Surely if anything, the existence of the Fire TV will help the OUYA by bringing more non-casual games to Android. If devs start creating more controller-tailored games for the Amazon app store as a result of Fire TV's install base, it's a trivial matter to also push those out onto OUYA's store.
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Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments8 years ago
@daniel : yes and no. An article elsewhere implied the fire tv had it's own controller library (presumably to support using the remote and mobile as controller), and it's also a clear notch more powerful than the ouya. So it could work both ways.
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Christopher Ingram Editor-at-Large, Digitally Downloaded8 years ago
I fully expect to see Ouya embedded on Fire TV in the very near future.

On a side note - I find it interesting that it is so hard for some to grasp the target audience for Ouya. I, for one, have enjoyed many hours with my Ouya. I'm also the type of gamer that will happily put down a AAA title to play random freeware PC games. It's these type of experimental games that I find the most enjoyment out of on Ouya.
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Adam Campbell Product Manager, Azoomee8 years ago
Gaming is an 'added bonus' for a number of consoles and multimedia systems. But they still enjoy a strong installed base and plenty of support. With a sense of irony, consoles that have only focused on games haven't necessarily had the best games and customer reception.

As predicted, it was only a matter of time before Amazon extended their Kindle Fire ecosystem to the TV and they have the power to do a lot more with 'the micro-console' than most other companies, including Ouya Inc.
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