Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, BlackBerry 10’s rocky road, Comic-Con 2012 happenings you’re looking forward to, or your favorite robot, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.
Kickstarted-funded console Ouya received a ton of buzz yesterday. Part of the buzz was from the romanticism inherent to Kickstarter projects (people enjoy buying fantasies) and part of it was the crowd following the nerd chic. Additionally, there are some people that truly believe that Ouya is game-changer — a product that has the potential to disrupt the videogame world. I understand the argument for Ouya, but I’m not yet sold. For reference, let’s take a look at some recent disruptions that changed console gaming forever.
Microsoft made the Internet an integral part of the console-gaming experience with Xbox Live. It was the first company to execute Internet gaming on consoles “right” and it’s arguably still the best at it. Now every console has to have a strong Internet component. Nintendo made motion a huge deal with the Wii. Microsoft and Sony followed with different takes on the motion experience. Now every console has to have motion.
There are many pundits that say that the iPad is today’s console. A lot of people (myself included) believe that Apple is the most recent company to disrupt gaming in a major way. It brought games to a huge audience thanks to the massive reach of its iOS devices coupled with friendly pricing. While AAA console games are more satisfying to many gamers, there are millions that woud be just as happy with a $1.99 iOS game as they would a $60 console game.
Apple, Microsoft, and Nintendo are enormous companies with loads of money. It’s relatively easy for them to take risks in an attempt to change the gaming market. That’s one reason I’m surprised that so many people are buying into Ouya this early. There have been several attempts by smaller companies to disrupt gaming and all of them have failed. Indrema, Phantom, Red Jade, Gizmondo, and Pandora are just a few off the top of my head. Some people are arguing that Ouya has benefit of Kickstarter hype ($2,905,328 pledged as of this writing) and the timing is just right. I’m not buying that argument (yet). The argument that I (possibly naively) want to buy is that Ouya will empower developers and lead to more creative games. That would be sweet, but I’m not sold on that either (yet).
Anyway, there are a few things that I’d like from you today. First, I want to hear about happenings that you think caused the biggest waves in gaming. What were the biggest disruptors in your opinion? Secondly, do you think Ouya has a chance to change the videogame market in a meaningful way?
(For reference, the header graphics is from Disruptor, the first game developed by the awesome people at Insomniac. The second graphics is The Shocker fighting Spider-Man. I know he’s not The Disruptor…but he’s way funnier.)