Boxer8 OUYA
Type Micro-Console Developer Boxer8 (OUYA, Inc.)
Release Date 2012-Dec-28 (Dev) Region(s) Worldwide (2013-Jun-25)
Initial Price $99 USD Games Released 842+
     by Marriott_Guy
The OUYA is a video game console that was initially founded by Julie Uhrman in 2012, who then brought aboard designer Yves Béhar and product manager Muffi Ghadiali to assemble the rest of the team.  Funding was provided through Kickstarter, eventually earning over $8.5M USD to completely finance the project.

OUYA is designed to be an open gaming system, for both hardware hackers and game developers alike.  Built upon a modified version of the Andoid 4.1 (Jelly Bean) operating system, the system promises to open up the living room to the expansive indie market.  All games and applications are required to have some type of free-to-try access.  Initially developers will not be charged a fee for provided new titles, which will be digitally distributed through the OUYA Online Store.   If a purchase is made, the author will receive 70% while OUYA will receive the remaining 30%.  There are no licensing fees for the OUYA, so anyone with a creative mind and Android programming knowledge can submit their work.  Boxer8 provides a free SDK for those interested in developing content for this system (see the Specs & Manuals tab for access).
The console itself is extremely small, approximately the size of a Rubik's Cube on steroids.  The hardware is powered by a Quad-core ARM Cortex-A9, sports 1GB LPDDR2 RAM with 8GB of internal Flash Storage.  Ports include two USB 2.0 with both a standard Ethernet connection as well as Wi-Fi 802.11 b\g\n.  A wireless Bluetooth controller is included with the system.

Development units were shipped out in late December of 2012.  These consoles are basically the same as the system that were released in June of 2013, but differ in that have a clear plastic housing enabling clear sight of the hardware housed within the OUYA.  A video of the contents is located on the Other Media tab of this page.
     by Dark Watcher
The Boxer8 (now called OUYA, Inc.) OUYA is DW's first purchase of the eighth generation of video game consoles.  Although we did not participate in the successful Kickstarter campaign, we went ahead and purchased the OUYA when it hit retail in 2013.  This allowed time for the kinks, patches, dust, and updates to settle.  After all, we have been around long enough to understand the console market.

The OUYA had a great deal of hype and momentum behind it and it came as no surprise to us that reviewers would be critical of the marketplace, capabilities and particularly the controller.  Regardless of what was being said, the Dark Watcher went ahead and brought an OUYA home.  We had a method behind the madness.  To us, the OUYA represented change in the gaming marketplace. It is the "solid-ware" reality to the vaporware Indrema L600 Linux-based console conceptualized in 2001.  We also were intrigued by the hack-ability, small form factor and developer tools.  We also just happened to have $99 bucks burning a hole in our pocket.  We rationalized that we lacked the full patience for a Raspberry Pi (a single-board computer for development) and if the OUYA failed in its potential, we would turn it into a portable media center.

Special thanks to Jacob for the above picture of the retail release!
We have been pleasantly surprised with the OUYA hardware.  The design is simplistic enough that we can pack it up in a small camera bag.  Plug in an HDMI cable and a power cable and your set to go.  There is also quite a bit of power within that small short-of-three inch cube.  The console exterior feels sleek, durable and runs quietly.  The silence could prove a concern as the OUYA does tend to feel warm after some good play time (cooling fan inadequacies?).  The quad-core processor and NVidia GPU have held up well against all the games, programs and 1080p movies we have put it through.  OUYA is capable of digital stereophonic sound over HDMI ARC with AC3, DTS and AAS audio pass-through support after a recent update.  However, there is no TOSLink or 3.5mm analog for audio systems that lack HDMI.  The 802.11 b/g/n wireless is adequate, but Ethernet remains best for media streaming.  Limiting us to only one USB port was a disappointing and the limited power output it provides is of further disappointment.  Sure, we were able to use a powered hub for expansion, but it takes away from the form factor.  We felt it was reminiscent of slapping the Sega CD and 32x onto the sleek model 2 Genesis console (brick plugs and components everywhere).
The complaints on the Internet concerning the OUYA controller are justified.  We had purchased the OUYA prior to their eventual controller redesign.  It feels like a clunky version of the original Xbox controller.  It works well enough for simple games and interface navigation.  Considering the cost of the new controller at $49.99 (as of this review), we could not fathom paying half the cost of an OUYA to test the fixes.  The OUYA does allow the use of other controllers.  We found the PlayStation 3 Dual Shock controller to be our favorite and it syncs quite easily with the OUYA's Bluetooth LE 4.0.
Once we had downloaded all of the updates and patches, we found the interface to be quite good.  We could navigate between interface settings, their online Discover marketplace and developer section quite easily.  We appreciate the OUYA's trial and free to play model.  The games available in the Discover marketplace are a mix of known major publishers, but predominantly indie game developers.  There are quite a few games that are throwbacks to the 8 and 16-bit generations.  There are a few duds, but through the marketplace we have learned not to judge games on graphics alone.  There are very few OUYA game exclusives. Many game titles are made available on other platforms.  Graphically, the OUYA's NVidia Tegra 3 chip easily handles 2D games and produces 3D quality somewhere between the Microsoft Xbox at the close of the 6th generation and the 7th generation Nintendo Wii (based on recent game releases).  A few of our favorites include Killing Floor: Calamity, Dub Wars and Shadow Blade.  As of this review, there are over 842 OUYA titles available in the marketplace for download.

The Dark Watcher has provided mostly positive feedback on the OUYA.  We are aware that OUYA's capabilities have already been outclassed by similar post-released devices and it possesses no more originality then an Android phone or tablet with HDMI-out and Google Play store games.  We are also aware that our technical knowledge allowed us to open far more of the console's capabilities than a casual OUYA purchaser.  The OUYA is of greater value to modders, hackers and developers.  However, the low cost of the OUYA, the small yet powerful micro-console design and what it has done for indie developers, makes up for any of the its shortcomings.
     Officially licensed releases
OUYA Promotional Pictures

     Non-licensed hardware releases
No clones of this system have been released.
     by Dark Watcher
Consoles are rated based upon the available technology at the time of its release.  A 10 point scale is utilized, with 10 being excellent.

Limited Kickstarter Backer Edition
Console Design 09 The small yet sleek three inch cube design makes the OUYA somewhat portable and is virtually inconspicuous within a media center or arcade cabinet.
Console Durability 08 The OUYA has a smooth durable exterior that is easy to keep clean.  The console runs quiet, but could have potential heat issues resulting from a quiet cooling fan.
Controllers 06 Based on OUYA's original design (there has since been a redesign), the controller feels clunky and cheap.  It works well enough for simple games and interface navigation, but barely up to the task for titles requiring extended button mapping.
Graphics 07 OUYA is capable of full 1080p resolution.  Graphics and shader quality are somewhere between the Xbox at the close of the 6th generation and the 7th generation Nintendo Wii.
Audio 07 OUYA is capable of digital stereophonic sound over HDMI with ARC with AC3, DTS and AAS audio pass-through support after a recent update.  No TOSLink or 3.5mm analog which is rather disappointing.
Media N/A OUYA only uses downloadable media.
Game Library 06 Available titles are from a mix of known major publishers, but most released games have been developed by indie game studios.  A mix of games are 2D throwbacks paying homage to the 8/16-bit generations, with a few quality 3D offerings thrown in.  As with any system, the OUYA has a few dud titles, but all games free to try which is a huge plus for this system.
Gamer Value 07 Good value for $99, with extra incentive for the modders, hackers and indie developers.  Media center potential is there with their expanding library, but most must-have titles are made available on other platforms that are significantly more powerful.
Collector Value N/A Difficult to discern at this point, especially with other similar devices springing up within the market.

     Interesting facts on software for this system
Software for the OUYA is digitally distributed through the official OUYA Store, but due to the open-source nature of the system games can be obtained through any number of distribution sites.

Initially, OUYA required that all games for their system have some manner of "free to try" aspect prior to any purchase.  As detailed in the Hands On Review, the majority of the catalogue have been released by indie game developers.  Most offerings have been released on multiple platforms, with very few OUYA game exclusives having been released.

In an effort to bolster the amount of unique titles, OUYA started a "Free the Games Fund" in July, 2013.  Basically, if an indie project garnered at least $50K USD in funding through Kickstarter, the company would then match every subsequent donation dollar for dollar.  OUYA would then have exclusive rights for distribution for the respective title for a period of six months.  In theory this sounds great, but logistically it was a nightmare with certain projects being accused of inflating their donations to get the free development money from OUYA.  The program was quickly modified within two months.

Sample Game Play courtesy of applemctom
     Captured in-game images
The following are screenshots of the OUYA Discover section where purchases are made.

Above images courtesy of OWTK.  Great article on the OUYA.
     First and third party system emulators

The OUYA microconsole is a streaming device with no need for emulation.  That said, you can load multiple emulators on the OUYA for all of your favorite retro gaming systems.

     For the hardware enthusiasts out there - all the detail you\we love.
Processor Type  Processor Speed  Other Processor Information RAM \ Video RAM
Quad-Core ARM Cortex-A9 1.7 GHz GPU: 520 MHz ULP GeForce
SoC: Nvidia Tegra3 T33
Screen Resolution Color Palette Polygons \ Sprites Audio
720p \ 1080p 32-bit Unknown Dolby Surround Sound 5.1
Media Format Media Capacity Games Released Other Supported Formats
Digital (Downloaded \ Streamed) Varied N\A TwitchTV, VEVO, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, XBMC, and Plex streaming content
Internal Storage External \ Removable Storage Game Controllers Other Game \ Peripheral Devices
8GB of internal flash storage Cloud Data Storage (assumption) Gamepad featuring two analog sticks, D-pad, eight action buttons, a system button and a touchpad USB \ Bluetooth devices (keyboard\mouse\headset)
Controller Ports Network Ports Other Ports Audio \ Video
Bluetooth (1-4 controllers) Wired Ethernet,  Wi-Fi 802.11bgn USB 2.0 port, USB Micro USB port HDMI
Power Supply - External Other Outputs  Other Details \ Notes
Input: AC 110\220V, 60\50Hz
Output: Unknown
None Customized Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) OS
OUYA Software Developer Kit Version 0.4 (ZIP) - 46.2 MB

     Peripherals, Promotions, Commercials, Brochures, Etc.
OUYA Official Promotions & Videos

OUYA Development Kit Videos
Courtesy of codezombiegames
     Visitor insights and feedback
Please be respectful and abide by our Terms of Use & Policies prior to posting.  Basically be nice, keep it clean and don't spam or be a troll.  Thanks!

comments powered by Disqus