Earlier today, an almost defiant statement emerged from Ouya's CEO, describing not only future launch plans but also running down one very important statement about the near-term future of gaming. In that statement was contained a whole world of possibilities, and represented a potential future that should be watched closely.
The statement, which came in from Ouya's CEO, was simple and yet almost defiant, saying that Ouya didn't "need to beat Xbox
or any console that enters the marketplace." On a certain level, of course, they're exactly right. They don't need to beat them, all Ouya really needs to do at its root is survive them. Ouya, a gaming system powered by Android, is offering up a set of games that are completely different from others out there. This represents one critical problem for Microsoft
and Sony: the concept of exclusives.
Exclusives are those special games that make a game system worth buying, and the more of them there are, the better the chances that someone's going to pull a trigger on a system. Exclusives are, as the name pretty much clearly defines, exclusive to one particular gaming system. These games will not be found anywhere else. It's why Xbox 360 owners will never get a chance to play anything related to Ratchet and Clank, while PlayStation owners probably won't find "Left 4 Dead" around. A large portion of the Ouya's titles, meanwhile, will be exclusive in nature.
Considering further that the Ouya is set to cost just $150 dollars, it makes a very unique niche opportunity for itself. See, it doesn't have to compete, since it's not likely to ever have the games that Xbox and the PlayStation 4 are likely to have, and vice versa as well. It can be a completely separate experience, much like the iPad and the Kindle Fire. Two separate experiences, two separate ecosystems, that complement rather than compete.
But by like token, Ouya is likely to represent a great value, especially for casual gamers. This may well be the Wii of its day, especially if it can bring out a large number of games in rapid fashion. A budget solution offering terrific value in gaming is going to be a very welcome concept in a slow economy, and that's going to serve to thin the mix of gamers further, especially with new releases likely coming soon from Microsoft and Sony.
Growing numbers of alternatives will leave Sony and Microsoft likely dueling over the hardcore gamer market by themselves, and with more hardcore gamers reconsidering hardcore gaming in the face of its expense and time commitments, it may be a big game-over coming for the two biggest parts of the console wars.
It remains to be seen just what impact the Ouya will have on the gaming market, but we should start seeing that impact--whatever form it takes--starting this June, when the Ouya launches in earnest and much of the next generation of consoles is shaping up.