Ouya continues to be an enigma in the industry, with its promise of open-source software for budding developers, cheap retail pricing and a vast wealth of public support being its most relevant selling points. All signs pointed to a smooth release, with an abundance of financial and critical success. Why, then, would the company delay the launch by three weeks, pushing back the console’s release to June 25th?
Well, as Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman has put it, public demand is the greatest cause for the new release date:
“We’ve had incredibly positive reactions from our retail partners, and so in order to meet their greater than expected demand, we decided to shift the launch date by a couple of weeks – three weeks – which will allow us to create more units and, basically, have more units on store shelves in June.”
So high retail demand can be daunting – surely that can’t be the only reason though. Uhrman then went on to discuss a more pressing issue with Ouya’s design that required immediate attention: the controller’s buttons get stuck under the faceplate. The company’s solution was to alter the controller itself by increasing the size of the button holes, a process which Uhrman discussed further:
“I don’t know what the exact millimeter is, but we’ve increased the size just a little bit, so now the buttons don’t stick under it. We made that change very early so all the units are being produced with those larger button holes.”
The new controllers are expected to release with the retail units on June 25th. When asked about the issue of defective controllers for anyone who had already received a console, a representative stated that they would “work with them to resolve the issue via customer service.”
Meanwhile, Ouya found further financial support in the form of new investors, providing the company with an additional $15 million to invest in the console’s development. While having the support of graphics specialists like nVidia, Mayfield Fund, and Occam Partners will certainly boost the console’s credibility in the industry at large, Ouya was already financially capable of independently developing their console without support. The $8.5 million earned during the initial 30-day Kickstarter campaign that began Ouya’s journey was, as Uhrman put it, more than enough to cover the costs.
Nevertheless, it’s impressive to see what Ouya has accomplished. The Android-running, independent console will arrive at retail for $99, with nearly 500 games confirmed in development. It’ll be exciting to see how the delays and changes made pay off, and I’m hopeful this is the beginning of a new, glorious day for the independently creative.