Ouya is betting gamers want Android games in the living room, but do they?

Posted by Shane McGlaun

I've been a gamer since I was a kid back in the 80s. Growing up, if you wanted to play games, the arcade was the place to be. As a child of the 80s, I can distinctly remember my first Atari and Nintendo consoles.

I remember how cool it was when I got my first Atari console, so I could play some of the arcade titles I loved so much on my TV at home. Over the years, I moved on to PC gaming, but I still enjoy playing console games now and then and actually own all three current systems: Wii, Xbox 360 and PS3.

I bet a lot gamers are like me in that if I'm on the go or don't have time to fire up the console/PC, I will pull out my Android smartphone/tablet and play a mobile game or two. However, if I have time to play serious games on my TV, Android is definitely not the platform I would choose. I wouldn't be surprised if most of you felt the same way.

When I play video games on my TV, I expect a high-quality experience. And so far, with very few exceptions (such as Angry Birds), I haven't seen any Android video games that scream quality to me.  As such, I just can't help but just wonder how the Ouya console currently shilling for cash on Kickstarter will ever be successful.

Yes, the Ouya Android console is cheap, but to be successful a gaming system needs to have more than just a reasonable price point. Decent controls are essential, as is a strong developer pool coding video games specifically for the console.

One of the biggest problems with Ouya? Current Android games ported to the TV lack precise controls. Remember, Android games are designed to be controlled using a touchscreen, so it's rather difficult to code a decent control system that precisely mimics touch input for play on the TV.

If the controls suck, even games that are cool and as popular as Angry Birds aren't fun to play. Perhaps Ouya could theoretically get around this control issue if it offered some sort of quality, accurate, and low-cost touch pad accessory to mimic a touchscreen. However, I still think the big downside for Ouya will be lack of dev support and available video games.

There are quite a number of video game apps available for Android, there just aren't many quality video games available for Android. Game consoles - no matter the price of the platform - live and die based on the games. The best hardware on the planet doesn't mean anything if the available software is mediocre. I suspect this will be Ouya's downfall.