As the Ouya Kickstarter passes $4.2 million, people are beginning to express doubts about how revolutionary the console will truly be. Pandora co-founder Craig Rothwell has dealt with a launch when his team released their portable in 2010, four years after the initial announcement. Rothwell casts doubt on whether Ouya’s creators can hit their ambitious targets.
“You simply cannot make a quality console and controller for $99, no matter how low you go in China,” Rothwell told PocketGamer UK. “Even a Chinese semi-slave production line won’t hit $99 at that spec, as the big name parts they are talking about are a set cost. ”
“My feelings are that at that price – and remember you have to take off the Kickstarter fees, which brings the console and touchpad-equipped controller in at less than $99 – they will be making a loss on each unit sold.”
The Pandora ran into a ton of delays before finally launching and Rothwell believes the same could happen to the Ouya if their numbers aren’t solid.
“We worked out all costs and had quotes which we went public with, and even then everything which could go wrong did go wrong. We survived by the skin of our teeth and via some very, very kind customers and developers,” said Rothwell.
“Now we have been though that baptism of fire, and know everything that is involved, it’s clear that a race to the lowest possible price isn’t how you succeed. That’s generally how things can go majorly wrong; when trying to come to market with a rock bottom price, one error, one contractor messing up, and it’s curtains,” he added.
“Because Ouya is already being sold at that rock bottom price before going to production, there is no way for them to adjust for error. I hope they have a big secret pile of cash they can call on if they need it.”
Rothwell expects the Ouya team to turn to alternate methods other than console sales to pull in revenue. He also wonders if developers will want to create games for another fork of Android with a small userbase.
“My guess is that you will have to pay some kind of subscription to use the console, and that is where they plan to claw back some money,” he began. “What’s the point in doing all that work for their comparatively tiny audience when you can get a better deal releasing on iOS or ‘normal’ Android via Google’s popular Play Store?”
“When all the hype dies down, this machine could well be DOA, and Ouya could be looking at a giant black hole of losses.”