Why OUYA and OnLive teaming up could be the coolest thing ever

OUYA Screenshot - 1114759

For an industry that faces an “anything goes” kind of year in 2013 between several long-awaited games (Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider) and the possibility of new hardware coming from Sony and Microsoft, it’s nice to see that the “little guy” can leave some sort of dent.  The folks at OUYA have really been pushing forward with their self-titled console, surpassing their Kickstarter goal by six times now and promising everyone that the Android-based system would have a lot to offer.  Until recently, we thought it would just be limited to mobile applications.  But it looks like these guys mean some serious business.

OUYA recently announced that it has formed a partnership with the team over at OnLive, a cloud gaming service that’s been doing fairly well in its own right, even without the involvement of game hardware (save for their MicroConsole, that is).  The service will be an integral part of OUYA when it launches next year, promising hundreds of streaming titles through both retail purchase and the company’s monthly PlayPack package, which includes popular favorites (like Sega’s Genesis game line-up, including ToeJam and Earl and Gunstar Heroes) and obscure titles (like And Yet It Moves).

Ouya

By the time the service launches next year, OnLive will be home to several big hits for the system, including NBA 2K13 and South Park: The Stick of Truth, among others.  (This is obviously due to the company’s partnership with such publishers as 2K Games and THQ, as well as others joining the fray.)  This could very well change expectations for what folks want out of the OUYA.  Originally, it already had a great concept with the Android-style interface built in, not only providing a number of hit mobile games, but also giving users the opportunity to build their own games through the means of a much simpler system.  With OnLive thrown in through the deal, it really just makes it all the more sweeter.

I mean, sure, OnLive will still require its own membership to get involved, and some games won’t work with the system if they require a keyboard and mouse, though that simply means folks will just need to log into their PC or Mac instead.  But the fact that the service will be accessible means not only big things for OUYA, but also OnLive.  The cloud streaming service has been doing pretty good, and the expansion to tablet and mobile gaming will be a big move once it finally launches, but accessibility through another console – rather than the MicroConsole with its odd-feeling controller – is a big step.  It means another portal for the business, a more convenient one with online connectivity and, from the looks of things, a comfortable-feeling peripheral.  That OUYA controller is pretty swanky…if a bit flat.

Onlive

Now what comes next is the marketing.  OUYA obviously should focus on its Android compatibility in order to draw in an audience, but it also needs to make sure OnLive’s name is thrown around, so people know they can access a number of hit games like Darksiders II and Saints Row the Third.  Advertising your wares is everything for a console, as you reach out to various audiences and potential buyers, something OUYA could use right now, despite its overpopularity on Kickstarter.  Now is the time to prove that your system means business – and honestly, this is quite the competitor.

Over the next few months, I’m sure we’ll see just how the OUYA will perform on the market, and we’ll probably see them next year at CES, showing off the technology and everything it can do.  But for now, it’s a promising future – and partnership – that no one probably would’ve seen coming as of earlier this week.  While there may be obstacles to climb over, it looks like both parties will clearly benefit.  Bring on the games.

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Robert Workman
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