Before I get to tonight's blog, I'm going to embarrass myself with a story from my childhood. When I was a kid there was this brand of tennis shoe all the cool kids were wearing called KangaROOS, aptly named because they had a little zippered pocket stitched into the side. It was more for cosmetics than functionality, but if you had KangaROOS, you were pretty cool. Alas, I did not have a pair. No, what I had...was Wal-Mart's version, the Pac Rat. This is a true story; I'm not even making this up.

They didn't have a zippered pocket, they had a Velcro pocket. I told my mom I hated them, but she told me we couldn't afford name brand shoes...and the only difference was the name. I suppose it was about two or three weeks later when my cheap shoes busted a stitch and in no time, I couldn't wear them anymore. In my experience, there is a degree of name brands having inflated prices, but there is also a degree of you get what you pay for. Sometimes buying a name brand gets you better quality.

Okay, moving on.

A few days ago marked an important event in the world of video games. Unfortunately the event ended up being fairly lackluster. It was a day many insisted would never come and a day others didn't really care if happened or not.

On June 25, 2013 the Ouya was released to the public for $99.

I was a bit skeptical of the Ouya but as a gamer and blogger, I try to stay up on current events and new technology so I can be informed when I write about them, if I choose to write about them. Truth be told, I haven't heard much about the Ouya since its release, except maybe for a couple news stories about how some of the supporters still haven't received their products before it was available in the stores like it was promised. I've read a few reviews and I have to say, most were not very positive. These were even reviews from reputable websites like PC Mag and Mashable, not disgruntled customers.

I haven't seen the little cube yet, nor have I played it. So, I'm not going to rehash what others who have played it are saying about it. You can find plenty of write-ups for it if you're interested. But I am going to discuss the fascinating dynamic surrounding the Ouya that I'm not quite sure I completely understand.

The Ouya's Kickstarter project holds a number of records and impressive feats.

-It reached its fundraising goal in 8 hours.

-It holds the record for the best first day performance of any project hosted to date.

-In the first day it attracted one backer every 5.59 seconds.

-It reached one million dollars quicker than any other project has.

-It was the eighth project in Kickstarter history to raise more than a million dollars.

-It raised $8.5 million dollars, Kickstarter's second-highest-earning project.

Clearly thousands of gamers were interested in this initiative and invested in the project.


I don't mean that sarcastically. I'm genuinely interested in what the appeal was. And just as curious, what were those who purchased the device expecting it to offer. I ask this because there were all sorts of articles published during the development suggesting the Ouya wasn't trying to directly take on Microsoft, Nintendo or Sony...but was trying to tap into the same target audience.

If the audience is there, why aren't they talking about it now?

One of the biggest issues I've read about since the Ouya's release is the launch lineup (or lack of). Yet, those who are critical of the system praise its ability to load emulators, which allows you to play classic arcade and early console games.

That leads me to wonder,

Do gamers want cheap or do they want quality?

And just to clarify, by cheap...I mean a cheap price...not cheap in quality.

Really, I can only speak for myself and maybe ask others what they think, but personally speaking...I would rather spend a little bit more money, especially on a next generation console, and have access to AAA games than save a little money and be able to play a handful of games developed for the Ouya...and the ability to play emulators. For the record, you can also run emulators on other devices, like your PC, iPhone and PSP for example.

A lot of money is invested into making cutting edge consoles. When you think about the features Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony offer, are you willing to sacrifice any of them for a price cut. For example, one of the complaints against the Ouya is the controller feels cheap, the buttons stick, the touchpad is practically unusable and overall it feels unresponsive and lags a little. If you ask me, the Ouya controller has to be perfect for the whole package to succeed. Nobody is going to want to play a game...any game...if the interface is shoddy.

As far as spending the money, the same is true for the actual games. I don't mind paying $60 bucks for a game, if it's a quality game. If I play it and enjoy it, I don't even really think about the money I spent on it. I certainly don't regret it. I'd like to think I'm a huge supporter of the indie developers. Limbo remains one of my favorite games of all time, including those developed by the big name studios. I don't buy indie games just because they're typically cheaper - I buy them because they're sometimes more original and often just as good.

The good news, at least for the Ouya, since it's hackable, the community of hackers, modders and independent developers might be able to release some content - games, patches, apps and drivers - that makes the low price a worthwhile investment for those who might choose an inexpensive basic system over a more expensive advanced solution. With $8.5 million dollars' worth of investors, clearly there are quite a few interested gamers.