The Ouya team generated quite a buzz last year when they promised to deliver a hackable, Android-powered video game console for $99. Almost a year later, and after raising millions of dollars through a successful crowd-funding campaign and outside investors, the team has delivered on its promise… sort of.

You can now buy an Ouya game console from Amazon, Best Buy, Target, or the Ouya website for $99.99, among other places (although Amazon is already out of stock). But early reviews of the device have been mixed, at best — and some backers of the company’s Kickstarter campaign are still waiting for their units to arrive.

Ouya video game console

The Ouya is a small box with an NVIDIA Tegra 3 ARM Cortex-A9 quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of storage. It comes with a wireless controller, and connects to your TV via HDMI and to the internet over WiFi or Ethernet.

While the Tegra 3 was pretty much the best available ARM-based chip available when the Ouya project was announced, it’s starting to look a little dated. But it’s still possible to run many excellent Android apps on a Tegra 3-powered device, and Ouya says there are 170 games available for the game console at launch.

Folks who’ve been testing the platform, on the other hand, say there are few particularly good games at the moment — unless you count emulators, which let you play classic console games.

Early testers also had problems with buttons sticking on the wireless controller, but Ouya has promised to fix those problems before the retail launch, so hopefully the new controllers are better.

Some folks have also complained about slow or unresponsive customer support, although arguably people who received units after backing the Kickstare campaign aren’t “customers,” so much as funders. But you’d think the company would want to keep happy the people who were enthusiastic enough to pay for a device that might never see the light of day.

You can also use an Ouya as a media center device — eventually it’s expected to support the XBMC media center. For now you can install a few media apps from the Ouya store including TuneIn Radio and Plex.

But if you’re looking to use the device primarily as a game console, it sounds like the Ouya platform shows promise… but might not deliver on all that promise just yet. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a relatively inexpensive Android-powered device that comes with a wireless controller and which you can root or otherwise modify, $100 isn’t a lot of money for a device with these features.

Update: Android Police has a detailed review of the final hardware. While the UI performance is better than the game controller seems to be improved, they’re still unimpressed with the overall package.

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11 replies on “Ouya’s $100 video game console is now available (whether you want it or not)”

  1. Purchased one at best buy this morning, didn’t pre order, just went and got one.

    1. No, I’m not.

      You can go to kickstarter.com and look for OUYA’s page and see at the comments section for yourself. BTW, I never posted any comment on OUYA’s page (probably like many others) as I think it has more impact when doing so on sites like this.

      I stand behind what I said – I ordered 2 consoles and yet I received none. I contacted OUYA weeks ago and except of an automatic response which says they received my request they never got back to me.

    1. XBMC is easily superior on the Ouya. This isn’t surprising since the Raspberry Pi only has a single 700 MHz ARM11 CPU versus the Ouya’s quad-core 1.6 GHz Cortex A9 CPU.

      1. Ok, does Ouya handle background art without being sluggish? Does it support HDMI CEC? raspbmc has awesome controls for that. I have no DTS capable reciever or TV, raspbmc now has better software support for DTS, which means I can play DTS sound videos in 1080p without lag.
        Im intrested in having a better PLEX/XBMC device without sluggish menus. I want to control it via my TV remote (HDMI-CEC).

  2. Stay away from OUYA!

    I backed them with 2 preordered systems and as thousands of other backers we simply didn’t receive our consoles although they said to have shipped them all on May 24th!

    Their customer service is unreachable and they never answer emails.

    The OUYA team is nothing but a bunch of liars. Use your money to buy something else.

  3. One thing that dooms Android gaming beyond simple touch-based games is the lack of standards for controllers. Since the OS does not support normal gamepad/controller USB and BlueTooth profiles games must support proprietary APIs for multiple controllers or you have one trick ponies. I was shocked to run into this with the Green Throttle controllers (useless with Windows or anything else, useless with games not written for these controllers).
    I suppose we have a combination of (a.) trying to work around the OS support woes and (b.) trying to lock buyers into a game ecosystem the hardware guys can parasitize for profit (“Want to run Fred Blast ‘Em 2035? Gotta buy our controllers!”).
    Android doesn’t need these parasites. The platform needs to remain as open as possible.

  4. I pre ordered in January.
    Got my shipped notice last week.
    I look forward to trying it for myself.

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