Ouya won’t support online play at launch
posted on 03.11.13 at 09:00 PM EST by (@salromano)
Leaderboards and achievements also coming later this year.

Ouya won’t support online multiplayer when it launches to Kicstarter backers later this month, or when it launches to the public in June. But it will support the feature “sometime this year,” Ouya founder Julie Uhrman told The Verge at SXSW.

Leaderboards and game achievements will also arrive later this year.

Local multiplayer will still be available, though. If you’ve purchased an additional controller with your system, there’s nothing to stop you from playing multiplayer the old fashioned way.

“I think Ouya is going to bring back couch play,” said Uhrman.

For the future, Uhrman said the system shouldn’t be limited to a small silver box, and that she’d like to see Ouya on “every single television, every single tablet, from every single OEM you can think of.”

If you’re in San Francisco on March 28, an Ouya Kickstarter backer, and are looking to party, Ouya will host launch celebration from 8am to 12pm in the Bay Area. If you’re a backer, check your inbox for the invite.

Thanks, Polygon.

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  • Shadow

    I honestly forgot this thing existed… :/

  • Richard Tooth

    I bet some people are going to wish they didn’t back this now haha :-)

    • gold163

      Anybody participating in crowdfunding should recognize that their money is being used to fund an idea. With this in mind, it should come as a surprise to no one if there are complications with getting the product into a comfy spot. It’s a gradual development; Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you aren’t “buying” things with Kickstarter, you’re funding them.

      • Richard Tooth

        All I’m saying is, surly they must of known there were not launching with multi-player? I didn’t back it, so I’m not sure if people were told? I know I would be a bit upset’ if I brought it for online usage only.

  • Oside

    I find it funny how they say ouya will bring back couch play. The thing has never really disappeared. Specifically because nintendo never allowed it to. Especially now with the wii u.

    • gold163

      I agree. The console can’t “bring back” couch play on its own. If couch play ceases to exist, it would be because there aren’t games that enable it to happen. The reason why many games stop supporting local, old-fashioned multiplayer is to take a technical shortcut on the (misguided) assumption that it is an underused feature that isn’t worth the effort.

      Simply put, it’s up to the games to really take advantage of features, and in the modern industry they often do not. Given that the Ouya is made to exist specifically outside the conventional console gaming spectrum, I actually believe that it has a chance of “bringing back couch play” because of the limits of its appeal. Your social media, XBL and PSN aficionados will scoff at the idea of not having online at launch, but I’d say it’s likely that anybody interested in the Ouya is less concerned about that sort of thing, and would probably enjoy any feature that the games have to offer. We have to remember that this is a console that is focused on the idea of free-to-play — its intended demographic would be no stranger to “buying extra”, which by extension means that they are implicitly comfortable with “missing out”, for lack of a better phrase.

      • DrForbidden

        Actually, the reason why few modern games have local multiplayer is because online multiplayer games make more money by virtue of requiring more copies to be bought. Even if 3 people play together on one couch, it still translates to one console and one copy of the game sold, whereas forcing the 3 players online equals 3 consoles and 3 copies of the game sold, in addition to the possibility of charging them more for ‘server costs’ and other expenses. It has nothing to do with assumptions that the feature is underused or anything like that, but is merely an attempt to change the market to profit console manufacturers, publishers, and developers.

        • gold163

          Sure it does. While there are certainly marketing reasons for catering to an online multiplayer crowd, there is no proof that the deliberate omission of split-screen and local multiplayer options is done out of a necessity to maximize profit margins by forcing people to buy more games. It makes sense, but I have never heard a marketing exec say, “we didn’t implement split-screen because we want to force people to buy more copies of the game.”

          However, there are definitely technical reasons (as I had stated) that developers might consider to impede the implementation of local multiplayer. For example, if you just can’t get your game to run smoothly in split-screen, and with the reasonable assumption that the feature will be underused (for reasons I’ll go into below), it would definitely not be worth it to change the underlying structure of the rest of the game just to accommodate the feature.

          Furthermore, while the prevalence of online multiplayer does not necessarily create a situation where local play becomes unpopular or undesirable, the application of local play has a niche audience in the first place. There are many more situations where players will consider the optimal playing environment as owning their own copy and having complete access and resources to divert to it, rather than sharing a system, a screen, etc. On the other hand, the case in which you have other players in the same physical location with enough resources to play the game efficiently while still sharing the same console (a decent screen size in the case of split-screen, a sufficient number of controllers), is a much rarer and less accessible case. Thus, the feature becomes underused relative to the popularity of online multiplayer in general, because online multiplayer can apply to more people more easily.

          To say that the lack of local multiplayer options has nothing to do with assumptions that the feature would be underused completely ignores the very real technical and demographic issues that every potentially locally-compatible multiplayer game tackles in design. A reason why any feature gets dropped could be because most players wouldn’t use it enough to warrant its inclusion.

          • DrForbidden

            What you say is well and true for the most part, but I don’t believe that underusage is the primary reason for developers dropping local multiplayer.

            “It makes sense, but I have never heard a marketing exec say, “we didn’t implement split-screen because we want to force people to buy more copies of the game.””

            And you won’t, just like you won’t hear movie studio executives admit to double-dipping by releasing unrated/uncut DVDs 2 months after the theatrical cut is released.

            “However, there are definitely technical reasons (as I had stated) that developers might consider to impede the … it to change the underlying structure of the rest of the game just to accommodate the feature.”

            Agreed, but this speaks more of the developers’ poor skills than anything. If it doesn’t work, it should be left out, regardless of whether it will be utilised by gamers or not. Frankly, I doubt split-screen is that difficult to do given the
            complexities of other coding and programming that goes on behind every current generation game. The issue that may be limiting is whether the console has sufficient processing power to do 2 screens with the same physics, performance,
            resolution, etc. Bear in mind also that split-screen is a recent development, old games often ran MP on a single screen, as do current gen ‘party games’ on the WII and Kinect. Split-screen is not always required to have MP fun. That is
            dependent on the game architecture and genre.

            “Furthermore, while the prevalence of online multiplayer does not necessarily create a situation where local play becomes unpopular or undesirable, the application of
            local play has a niche audience in the first place.”

            I don’t agree with this. Local co-op play was often the norm in earlier generations (obviously this excludes traditionally SP-only games such as RPGs). It started being phased out about the time consoles started getting increasingly connected to the internet. Nintendo, with their strategy of appealing to casual gamers, kept the seat warm while other developers gravitated towards online-only MP. On
            the PS3 and X360, little was done to acknowledge local MP except in specific genres such as fighting games, until Sony and Microsoft needed to market the Move and Kinect respectively. The series of ad campaigns that follow almost
            always show a group of people having fun together in a room. Why is that? Humans have always had the propensity to physically play together and bond together, and this also holds true for video games. It just was not financially
            sound for Sony or Microsoft to acknowledge that until they had a marketable product catered in that direction. This also led to an increase of demand for local MP from gamers; a resurgence of interest, if you will, in recent years.

            “On the other hand, the case in which you have other players in the same physical location with enough resources to play the game efficiently while still sharing the same console (a decent screen size in the case of split-screen, a
            sufficient number of controllers), is a much rarer and less accessible case.”

            Again, I disagree. While it’s true that families have gotten smaller, I think that the reason why local multiplayer became rare was because the number of games
            allowing it significantly decreased in number, and not the other way around. Controllers are always an issue, but an extra controller or two is generally affordable for a family that is buying a new console anyway. What has not changed from then till now, however, is the fun that a group of friends or family playing a video game together. That is something online MP can never replicate. Now, I’m not knocking online MP, it has its advantages and benefits as well.

            “To say that the lack of local multiplayer options has nothing to do with assumptions that the feature would be underused completely ignores the very real technical and demographic issues that every potentially locally-compatible multiplayer game tackles in design.”

            I acknowledge that this is a possible contributing factor in why they dropped local MP, but I believe that it is not a major one. The bulk of your arguments stem from the
            opinion that local MP is hard to do and therefore not worth the effort if it will be under-utilised, but my contention
            is that local MP is not at all difficult to implement, provided the game was designed from the start to have it in place. Why developers chose not to go for this design and instead opted to go for online-only MP is the crux of the issue,
            and I think that this cannot be convincingly attributed to task difficulty and work-to-payoff ratio.

            EDIT: My apologies for the formatting problems in this post.

  • http://www.squarealliance.com/ Zackasaur

    lololol

  • Sevyne

    Aren’t they aiming to make a new version every year? Soooo, by the time it does add online mutiplayer, the next OUYA will be out or close to it? So damn stupid…

  • ShinAsura(新阿修羅)

    That’s a bad move on their part, everyone is interconnected on some type of platform these days from phones to consoles

  • Ritsujun

    Awww. OUch. YeAh.

  • Tetsu

    [she’d like to see Ouya on “every single television, every single tablet, from every single OEM you can think of.”]

    It was created to be a console experience with android adaptability. It’s SUPPOSED to have a controller and a, you know, a “silver box.” that’s what being a console means.
    What the hell is the point of the OUYA interface being on a tablet?? You can already play tablet stuff on tablet stuff, that doesn’t make any sense at all.

    If you have all these games meant to be console experiences, using a controller, and they are supposed to “bring back couch play,” how do you replicate that on a tablet? or any other way? They are completely undermining their own objectives.

  • DragonSix

    “I think Ouya is going to bring back couch play”

    At 50$ the second controller? No. It wont.

    • http://profiles.google.com/neotechni Techni Myoko

      Same cost as the other system’s controllers

  • weyou

    The second next gen console.

    • http://profiles.google.com/neotechni Techni Myoko

      Since you guys have just made the term next gen useless anyway
      We’re just going to count ps4/720 as the gen after wiiu/ouya

  • Guest

    the what