Ouya and the Implications for Gaming on AppleTV
I backed the Ouya's kick-starter because I'm a long time gamer beginning back with the 2600 and now up through PS3 and Wii U. I got in late to the OUYA campaign as it gained success and mainstream press coverage. It remains an interesting concept. Will it disrupt the major consoles? Maybe? I like the idea of a system designed to play casual games on my TV. It's a better gaming experience on the TV by far than on any handheld option, phones included. I also like the lighter and less time demanding stories and games in the casual segment. There is only so much time for a game like Infamous) for example.
For the most part games designed for phones and tablets play differently and need different control schemes and concepts to be successful. The classic games (Pacman and Donkey Kong notably) play better with buttons and joysticks. Point and click adventures and board games are better with touch screens. Some games can indeed crossover such as Canabalt or other runners that only require 1 "button" or control input.
The OUYA has fun games and I would recommend No Brakes Valet as an example. It was inexpensive and still gets a play or two every time the OUYA is on. It's two player mode is satisfying as well since it involves screeching tires and crashing cars. The machine can provide entertaining content and I hope the folks developing and OUYA can make the needed return to pay their bills and feed their families so I can continue to enjoy it. It's also likely to spur Apple into the mix.
What's missing in today's status quo? I grew up using a giant dot in Adventure to battle simple dragons on the 2600. Adventure) and the rest of the 2600 games didn't translate well to the iPad because of the controls. That said, Missile Command does work well on the tablet. Even with an iCade controller and air play, it's still not quite there. There is room for someone, be it OUYA or Apple, to get the experience right. OUYA doesn't yet have the content. Apple isn't playing yet.
My biggest excitement was the realization that this is very, very, very, much doable with an Apple TV and the announcements at WWDC about controllers. I expect that an Apple ecosystem would bring a critical mass of developers making games suited for the First Screen. While there are several fun games for the Ouya, the one's with the most polish are ports like Final Fantasy III and the recently released Sonic games. It proves the concept has some legs but doesn't yet deliver on the full experience. The OUYA likely won't get there in my estimation. However, I hope it does.
As I use my Apple TV and OUYA, I will impatiently wait for the controller development for iOS 7 to unfold. I'll look to those more connected and with better insight into the workings of Apple to comment on the likelihood of the Apple TV hobby to expand into the gaming area.
I do hope the Apple TV gets its own Gaming Apps as I will want to play different games on my TV vs my iDevices.