The lights are on
Today, the $99 hackable Ouya console is on store shelves, and you can probably go buy one right now. But that's of little solace to the Kickstarter backers that still haven't received their units, which were promised in advance of the device hitting retail.
In a "backers only" update on the Ouya Kickstarter page, CEO Julie Uhrman admits that she is "pissed." She also pins the blame squarely on the distribution partner who has had the units for an extended period of time. Here's the full text of the update:
I am pissed. Some of you have not yet received your OUYA -- and, to you, I apologize. I did not promise to ship to *most* of you before we hit store shelves. I promised to ship to *all* of you. I’ve been reading your comments, and we are working to solve this.
Here is what I know:
We delivered your OUYAs to our partner in May, and since then they have been in their custody. We paid for shipping, yet the deliveries remain incomplete. We know everyone is getting their OUYA, but it is taking longer than we expected.
We are working hard to get you answers, and more importantly, to fix this. On our end, we have tripled our customer service team so we can respond as quickly as possible to your questions (though the answer may still be that it’s in transit). We are working with our partners to resolve any administrative issues related to undelivered boxes (errors in shipping addresses, customs holds, etc.). I’m told that despite our best efforts, it may take another two weeks or more for some of these units to arrive.
We will resolve this as quickly as possible. I’ve had my team working all evening to provide me with the current state of affairs and what we are doing to make it right. Ken, our Special Ops lead, can give you more detail.
My name is Ken Stephens, and I am the Head of Operations at OUYA.
This post is personally addressed to our early backers who have not yet received their OUYAs.
As we hit store shelves tomorrow, it is very important that I try my best to explain why your units are behind schedule from our commitment and when we anticipate delivery.
As you may be aware, we manufacture OUYA in mainland China with our fulfillment partner in Hong Kong who is responsible for the individual shipments to you all.
Over the past few months, we encountered and conquered many challenges spanning both hardware and software in order to bring the best product we could to market. We have tried to make sure that the challenges we faced did not impact our early supporters, but unfortunately we came up short.
On average, shipment processing--from fulfillment center to product delivery--runs 20 days, end to end. It takes 3 to 5 days to pick, pack and ship the units out -- and then 15 to 17 days of transit time. Therefore, if you received your tracking number with your shipping confirmation email, your unit is on its way.
I know that many of you are frustrated with the DHL tracking system. While we are working hard to get this issue rectified, I am sorry to say this is still causing problems. When you receive a tracking number, you expect it to work immediately, but sometimes these tracking numbers don’t do that. The reason for this is that when the product leaves Hong Kong, the tracking process does not initiate until it arrives for the first scan at your country’s local depot. As a result, you could have a period of up to 10 days within which the product appears in limbo. This, we all agree, is very frustrating.
Additionally, we have seen a lot of cases where the unit will be delivered to your door without the product ever getting an arrival scan. This also unfortunately happens when dealing with the local postal systems.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of those who haven’t yet received OUYA are international backers. It just takes a lot longer to ship to some countries.
All of these units HAVE left Hong Kong, and you have received your tracking email.
So, based on the date of your shipping-confirmation email, your OUYA will arrive within 15 to 17 days from that date.
Please accept my personal apology for not yet delivering on our promise.
This is only one of the issues plaguing Ouya today. Earlier, the official Twitter account for the company (@PlayOuya) shared an image of someone using an emulator to play the original Super Mario Bros. with the hashtag "#freethegames."
While the tweet has since been deleted (Kotaku managed to capture it), this isn't the first time Ouya has openly used piracy as a selling point. Back in March, an official post on the company forums touted that "the developer of EMUya, the NES emulator has already been submitted for review and should be available on the the OUYA at launch. SNES & N64 fans will have a options as well. Both the SuperGNES SNES emulator, and Mupen64Plus N64 Emulator, will also be ported over to the OUYA."
That forum post is still live here. Ouya subsequently issued a statement that it would only support emulators if they aren't submitted with games. The argument reminds us of the defense employed by Napster, Kazaa, The Pirate Bay, and other file sharing sites that claimed merely to be the vehicle.
We've been in contact with Ouya and are awaiting comment on the emulation issue to better understand the company's position.