Ouya isn’t the disruptive console it’s been hyped to be

The video game landscape is changing, but Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo need not worry about a competitor like Ouya.

The Android-powered $99 gaming console has generated a lot of buzz since it became official earlier this month. But aside from having an interesting name, this won’t be anything that captures the imagination of an entire industry market.


There have been many stories lately about what the Ouya means for video games and how it could turn the entire industry on its head, and there is just no way it will have that kind of impact.

If there is one thing that mobile gaming has taught us over the last half decade or so, it’s that it is an extension of the market, not a replacement.

For years, everyone has been crying wolf, saying that mobile and casual games will lead to the death of traditional, hardcore games. The problem is, year after year, traditional hardcore games keep coming out and keep breaking sales records.

If anything, Ouya will take a page from smartphone and tablet games, and will add a new customer base to the existing throngs of the gamer community.

On the traditional console side of things, the trend is now to offer other entertainment content – streaming video, music, etc – which means the Ouya is even less of a direct competitor than it would have been just a few years ago.

The fact is that consoles like the PS3 and Xbox 360 will never be threatened by something powered by a mobile operating system, because the paths on which both industries are heading are so divergent. When we start talking about how many millions of new Ouya units are sold every month, maybe there is a conversation to be had, but let’s not fall into the hype that such a phenomenon exists today.