Only On Ouya: Can Exclusives Give Ouya An Edge?

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
| The video game industry has gone from a mole hill to a mountain in no time flat, Chris DiMarco is your Sherpa as you endeavor to scale Mount “Everquest”

Only On Ouya: Can Exclusives Give Ouya An Edge?

The Ouya was a game platform that seems to be comprised of one part great idea and one part less than sound execution. News about the platform has been slim on the ground of late, but a new item has emerged to suggest that maybe Ouya's got more of a plan than it's letting on. We all know that a gaming platform--any one, from console to mobile--is really only as good as the games it can present, and to that end, Ouya is set to bring in a set of six exclusive titles that will only be found on the Ouya platform.

Three of the titles--"Duck Game," "Toto Temple Deluxe" and "Reagan Gorbachev"--are focused on the sillier side of gaming, featuring play mechanics like a bazooka-toting former Russian General Secretary and a retrievable goat, while the remaining three--"Whispering Willows," "Neverending Nightmares" and "Cascade"--will be much more serious, featuring a ghost story, a game based on clinical depression and a giant allegorical look at Alzheimer's disease, respectively. I've seen a playthrough of the demo of "Neverending Nightmares," and I'll tell you this much: between the freaky art style and the even freakier content, that's one package that's going to give you a wicked case of the whim-whams on a dark and stormy night.

Like I said above, we all know that games sell platforms. A platform without games is just a pricey paperweight, a development we're rapidly discovering with the Wii U, which has been suffering from a terminal game drought for about the last ever since it was released. I went into a local video store chain recently--yes, they still exist--known as Family Video, and discovered much to my chagrin that, indeed, the wall of Wii U releases was more like the two shelves that it shares with the wall of Wii releases. That's not a good development for Wii U, nor is it for Wii U players. But by like token, the handful of Wii U releases that are out can only be played on the Wii U, for the most part; those who want to play a game featuring Mario had either better get out a Nintendo-branded device or get ready for a long and strange emulator hunt, for the most part. The idea of "only on (fill in the blank) can be a very big idea indeed, and can really help to drive traffic to a certain gaming platform, as long as that game is something really impressive.

Ouya, however, may or may not be able to pull this off. Indeed, its six exclusives look reasonably exciting, and if I ever saw them as flash games or browser games or the like somewhere I'd probably play them. But would I buy an Ouya console just to play "Neverending Nightmares"? No, probably not. These games don't impress me in that way. If it were "Fallout 4", that'd be different. But there might just be an audience out there ready to chance a couple hundred bucks on some unique experiences. For that I have Kongregate and Armor Games, but for Ouya, it might work.

Games sell consoles. This is about as close as gaming gets to a universal truth. The games have to be useful, valuable, and interesting, and though this will change with everyone's case, the key takeaway here is that exclusives can be quite the help in terms of drawing interest and value for gaming. But it's the games themselves that will tell the tale, and how those games resonate with gamers.
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