OUYA has received a lot of buzz since the moment they started their Kickstarter campaign. Unfortunately, the hardware was about a year and a half too late, and the software execution has been even worse, having an UI that wasn’t even that smooth. At least this part will change with a new update that’s coming this month, that’s supposed to come with a more streamlined interface, that’s hopefully faster, too.
OUYA says a new designer has been brought in, that redesigned the interface so it’s easier to discover games, and it’s also more pleasant to look at from 10 feet away. This update will also include support for USB storage and the ability to queue games from the web, so they automatically download in the background, for you to just start and play them later.
The new UI focuses a lot more on cover art, presumably to make it easier for users to identify different games, and to discover the games they like more in an easier way. The menu headers have also been made smaller to make room for game thumbnails. Double-tapping will now bring up the system menu, so it should be easier to use.
It seems OUYA has also made some deals with some game developers to include games such as Bombsquad and Amazing Frog by default in the new update. The games will be free to play, but you won’t be able to play the full game without paying for it eventually. OUYA thinks that you’ll like these games enough so they are willing to include them by default (which some may consider bloatware). Overall, this update sounds like good news for OUYA customers, and they should be receiving it in the next few weeks.
I do wonder, though, if OUYA is preparing an OUYA 2.0 for next year, that will perhaps arrive with Tegra 5 (mobile Kepler), which could make for a pretty powerful console (more powerful than PS3 according to Nvidia). If OUYA could afford to make one at $99, or even $149, that would be a pretty great device. OUYA hasn’t announced any new console yet, though, but they did say they intend to make one every year. We just don’t know yet when it will arrive and what it will have. CES 2014 would be a good launch platform for it, and if they do have one coming up, that would be the best place where they could announce it.