OUYA – big dreams in small box

OUYA – big dreams in small box

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Eighteen months ago, the game console OUYA («uyya”) thundered in the vast web as one of the most successful Kickstarter. Amount of funds raised by it is still second only to smart chacam Pebble. The success was quite understandable. Based on the operating system Android, the new console was to bribe the same things and Google, – accessibility, openness and, as a consequence, comprehensive capabilities for the most diverse audience. At the peak of the obdurate trinity composed of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo.

From the moment when the first copies of the long-awaited console have been delivered to owners, it took more than six months. Assess progress in the development of OUYA and at the same time tell you about herself.

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Options

In the box we found OUYA console itself, one gamepad, a couple of batteries to it, HDMI-cable, user manual and power supply with adapters. Completed all plastic sheet with a loud slogan.

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Specifications:

  • SoC system: NVIDIA Tegra 3 T33-P-A3
  • CPU: 4 core ARM Cortex-A9 (ARMv7-A) @ 1,7 GHz
  • Graphic processor: NVIDIA Geforce ULP @ 520 MHz
  • Memory: 1 GB DDR3-1600
  • Direct Memory: 8GB eMMC
  • Support communications standards: Wi-Fi (802.11 b / g / n), Ethernet, Bluetooth LE 4.0
  • Connectors: USB 2.0 (with the possibility of connecting external drives), Micro-USB (for debugging), HDMI 1.4 (1080p/720p with support for 3D, audio 5.1/2.0), Ethernet
  • Power Consumption: 4.5 W during the game, 1 W in standby mode
  • Operating system: Google Android 4.1.2
  • Console Size: 75 × 75 × 82 (mm)
  • Weight Management: 300 g
  • Controller power supply: two AA-batteries
  • Controller size: 163 × 109 × 53,5 (mm)
  • Weight Controller: 275 g

Design

OUYA modest hardware features do not show any significant requirements to the body. So everything inside perfectly fit into a small box, comparable in size and weight with a gamepad.

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Case of the console has a cubic shape. It only slightly vertically elongated. Bottom corners gracefully truncated.

The upper panel is made of glossy plastic. Along the edges are four screws that can be easily loosened by means of the hexagon. Middle button is off the console. She dimly illuminated white when switched on.

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Front and side panels made of anodized aluminum, differ only in the presence of an engraved logo.

All connectors are compactly arranged on the rear panel of the plastic insert. Amateur bulky flash drive will be disappointed.

At the bottom of the console are vents. Given that OUYA provides active cooling, they are needed here. Unfortunately, their chosen location is not too well, so much the console body heats up during long games. But off the device in this case never led. Around the holes aligned four plastic feet to ensure good adhesion to the solid surface.

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Attractive design of the console and leaves a pleasant impression. His shortcomings can hardly be called critical, but the benefits immediately apparent. These include, first of all, costs the simplicity and compactness. Thanks to them, the device is easy to fit into almost any decor.

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Perhaps the creators even worth thinking about a standalone version with OUYA own battery. It could be packaged in a cute case and enthusiastically talking about the “compact and autonomous center of entertainment for TV,” poke market giants below the belt.

Due to the major element in the design and the prevalence of simple forms OUYA gamepad is associated with the Xbox 360 gamepad.

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A set of basic controls, at first glance, is standard. Four glossy colored function keys are designated by letters console titles. They have a long stroke and provide some backlash.

The pair of sticks except that differs noticeably stiff traverse (at least compared with DualShock 3). By implementing a monolithic cross no complaints, but separate buttons (both in the same Dualshock 3) felt much more confident.

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We proceed to the upper face of the controller. It is ruled by gloss. Two pairs of flip-flops because of its impressive size can not be too comfortable. Given that the creators of shooters often prescribe command “fire” in a trigger can be a problem long stroke of the second pair. In an exclusive Killing Floor: Calamity, where shooting is started by pressing R2, so it happened. Also, when you press the button gamepad sometimes our published unpleasant creaking.

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The above shortcomings can be attributed to a specific instance or detected only in certain cases. Much more critical is the lack of buttons Start, prescribe from time immemorial on each controller (Select, incidentally, is also available). So the functions traditionally performed by the button Start, Games OUYA implemented differently.

Here comes to the rescue button OUYA. Double-clicking in the game is the menu system that allows you to leave the game. This key does not take the usual position in the center, and taken out to the bottom of the gamepad. In the absence of a color display once it may not be noticed.

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So why make such sacrifices? The whole point is that the top of the back panel, just under four signals the connection status LEDs is a touchpad. Its boundaries are not marked, and generally it does not carry a particular practical use. Navigate through the menu is much easier with the help of sticks or crosses. It may be objected, citing DualShock 4, where the touchpad somehow used in games. But the game on OUYA much less intricate than on the PlayStation 4, so that for functions that can be implemented using the touchpad, in games there is no place. Usually it comes down to the fact that tripping sensor surface during the game comes out on the display cursor, only detract from the process.

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Power Controller is performed using a pair of AA-battery, which are set in the “horns”. To do this, remove the top panel. This is easy to do without foreign instruments as the panels are attached with magnets. In just a few days of use the bundled charge a pair of batteries Duracell was exhausted. Reviews on the web you can conclude that the gamepad OUYA boasts a long battery life.

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Build quality is our controller is average. The disadvantages are increased in some places the gap between the parts, and the creak of the trigger and a small play loose parts. Overall Dualshock 3 seemed to us much more convenient than corporate controller OUYA. Besides, connect the PlayStation 3 gamepad instead via a wireless connection is a snap.

Operating system

OUYA running an operating system Google Android 4.1.2, dressed in brand launcher optimized for large displays. By default, all use a resolution Full HD, but with the help of foreign instruments it can be reduced to 720p. When you first start you must enter the payment card data, but you can easily find the web template values ​​on which the console will let you continue without entering this personal information.

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The main menu, in addition to tape promoted games, contains four counts.

Placed under the heading Play games already installed.

The section contains Discover all that can be installed on the console. From the creators of official approval, of course. Games and applications distributed across genres presented in a separate tape. In addition to standard, it includes interesting items like «Meditative», «Short on time?» And «Retro», where you can discover the old console emulators, up to the first PlayStation. Near the tape and other genres are lists with cryptic names like «Play like bawb». Any game in the list, you can “bury” button R3, that is moved to the end of the tape. It makes not the most convenient interface considerably more attractive.

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All games and applications can be downloaded for free, but most likely a demo version will have noticeable limitations. For example, the output of the first tavern in the Bard’s Tale, where the game starts, greets us with a proposal to buy the full version.

Unfortunately, both play and download something on OUYA impossible. One only has to run the game with active load, it stops and you have to download all over again. If we remember that when you play on Android, you can easily download anything from the Play Market, slip obtained very annoying.

The third tab is intended for developers. Here placed various software and build the necessary programs. Out of the box is available only does – a rare application where there is use of a cursor.

Through the last point, Manage, you can configure the console.

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Selecting Advanced, we fall into the usual list of settings Android.

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The creators of the console enthusiasts are encouraging developing OUYA for anything. The proof is at least the fact that after receiving root-rights guarantee the device is lost. Or campaign to promote igrodelov in which the creators of the console when not particularly stringent conditions to double the funds collected a team game developers on Kickstarter for his project. At the moment, the web is already possible to detect a number of custom firmware and software that allows access to advanced settings console and Play Market.

Games and Multimedia

Total number of games / apps available for OUYA, can be seen on the main page of the project, Ouya.tv:

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At the time of writing, was listed in the appropriate field 605. Very decent figure. But suspicions concerning the level of available games slip as soon as we look down to the Top 5. Pair of seasonal fun, emulator PSOne, indie platformer … perhaps on some fame claims only The Cave .

After studying the section Discover turns out that the first impression was not misleading. Users of the leak even now such games:

In general, the level of available games OUYA, of course, higher than Memrrticks Suashem. But not much. Above the rails, which is now Play Market, jump quite a few projects, and they are paid. During the review, we mentioned Killing Floor: Calamity, is a variation on the classic Alien Shooter. Of course, more advanced graphics. Screenshot does not capture important elements, but you can get a general idea:

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We also talked about Bard’s Tale and The Cave, which at OUYA not particularly different from the PC versions. For an overall picture is appropriate to mention a remake of Sonic The Hedgehog , as well as a rare representative of FPS for OUYA called Neon Shadow and Just Rain – screensaver in the form of rain, highlighted in a separate annex. In general, to compete with full-fledged modern consoles OUYA today makes no claim. But perfectly emulates the old consoles – this is confirmed by popular applications Fpse .

As a spoonful of honey mention great hybrid RPG-platformer called Reaper . This uncomplicated toy deserves a separate review. Each time you start it makes us forget that OUYA test has not been completed.

The most that can count our hero in the foreseeable future – is the output quality games on a level iOS. But Apple OS not only a much more demand in the market, but operates much more power than OUYA with its NVIDIA Tegra 3. One may refer to a proven platform, but today when we know all the details regarding NVIDIA Tegra K1 , and Tegra 4 long thrives in plates (most suitable example will NVIDIA Shield), the third version of the SoC looks much obsolete. This, incidentally, does not allow to use the console as a media player: playing through OUYA-greedy version of VLC Player 720p video slows down slightly, and watch videos in 1080p is impossible.

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With all the freedom, which the creators promise console, only rare and usually very simple games are free. Price for good entertainment may well reach $ 15, but most games do not mark passes for $ 10. Free games completely separate from those in any way require financial investment, it is impossible. Ubiquitous button «Free Download» does not imply «Free to Play». Revolution Revolution, and developers want to eat.

To work available to the user just 5.78 of 8 GB of internal storage console. However OUYA works fine with external drives before installing the application and allows you to choose whether to use internal or removable memory.

Diagnosis

Revolution delayed. Filling weak and humble content not allow OUYA realize their own ambitions. In the first stage of development is the only role that she should take – a compact emulator old consoles, which can be hidden in any corner and include free during bouts of nostalgia. But the creators of OUYA clearly counting on more and plan to release a new version of the console every year. Let’s see what happens.

OUYA officially available in foreign online stores. Amazon.ca price on the console is $ 99, additional Controller – $ 49.99 (excluding shipping). With these sums acquisition OUYA looks tempting, but, alas, not the price tag adds gaming potential that the first generation of miniature console sorely lacking.