Jan 3rd, 2013

Head on over to OUYAboards.com to talk all about the OUYA!

The DHL delivery guy laid the smack down on my front porch and guess what finally arrived? Nope, not The Rock, although that would have been interesting. He delivered some slightly late holiday joy in the form of two OUYA Dev consoles and accompanying controllers! I could hardly wait to rip open the packages, sprinted up the stairs, slipped on my hardwood floor and practically broke my kneecap… but after 10 minutes of writhing on the floor in pain, I recorded this unboxing:

Of course we’ll  be toying around with the OUYA a lot over the next several weeks, but I wanted to give you guys some quick feedback on my initial impressions of the hardware.

The console:

  • This thing is even smaller and lighter than videos portray. To think that a gaming console fits within the little cube is pretty remarkable.
  • The slight rattle might alarm newbs but it’s just the CPU fan. Think about it: this thing will be sitting safely inside your media cabinet anyways.
  • The engraved “OUYA DEVS” marking is very neat and the clear finish is quirky. It will be interesting to see how it compares to the consumer launch version.
  • The console is made of plastic yet looks and feels sturdy despite the fact. However, the “power” button on top of the console feels quite weak/cheap.

The controller:

  • It looks and feels like a classic gaming controller, which I’d consider a success
  • The analog sticks feel nice and move smoothly
  • The D-Pad seems to have a rather free range of movement which gives a comfortable feeling
  • The OUYA keys have a good clickiness to them on par with top consoles
  • The power button on the remote feels nice: would be good to see the console emulate this feel.
  • The bumper buttons feel fine but the left and right triggers seem a bit more creeky and springy but perhaps you simply need to break them in.
  • The touchpad is interesting and it’s hard to picture how effective it will be without knowing how developers will implement touch controls into their games and apps. The area could be useless or innovative, making the touchpad’s outlook a bit mysterious.
  • The battery compartments are located in the controller’s left and right handles, giving it a nice and even wait. It’s a bit nerve racking opening up for the first time for fear you might accidentally snap the plastic. Would be nice to have a tab or arrow to indicate the optimal pull spot/wedge.
  • There isn’t much insulation between the outside plastic and the inside guts, so people who are clumsy with food and drinks should take note!

Some additional notes:

  • This is the developer beta… and improvements are likely to come based on feedback
  • This is the developer beta… and consumer OUYA consoles could come with improved materials
  • The success of the console will largely rest on the harmony between hardware and software and quality/quantity of titles, so these impressions are more to please the curious than to suggest they’ll have any foreshadowing on what’s to come
  • The console’s cost is only $99, and keeping that into consideration,even what was just shipped for this beta is nothing short of amazing

It’s affordable at only $99… but does the OUYA feel cheap?
When first unboxing the OUYA I mentioned it felt a bit plasticky and cheap, excusing the build quality due to the price tag and beta tag. But after holding it and messing around with it for over an hour, I have a much different feeling. The console and controller both feel rather solid and durable. I think the clear nature of the console and controller lent themselves to the alpha/beta feel, somehow leading a perception is reality situation. With a solid color or matte finish, I think the first impression would have been much different.

How many of you have received your developer kits? How many have already purchased their console for March’s launch? And how many are holding off until they’ve got some solid reviews on which to base their purchase?

Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to visit the OUYA forums!