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ouya

ouya (Photo credit: Saad Faruque)

If you’ve read any of my previous blogs, you know I was a Kickstarter backer of the Ouya back in August of last year. While I thought receiving a new console would be cool, putting money towards a console that really pushed for more indie content was something I was willing to do. I anticipated March not just for a new plaything, but also to see what games could be developed for it.

Fast forward to today. In a week, it will be a month since Kickstarter systems will have started shipping, and I have yet to receive mine. Add in that it could be more than a month before I get mine, and I’m getting extremely worried for the fate of this little console.

My concern stems not from the whole, “But I want what I ordered!” mindset, but from the statistics of it all.  Follow me, if you will, into the way this has played out in my head:

At the end of March, Kickstarter backers were told that shipments would *start* on March 28th.  This is very different wording than the original backing, which stated “Estimated delivery: March 2013″.  Now I’m already getting pledger’s remorse just from realizing I’m not going to receive my device when promised.

A few emails have been sent out to backers since shipments started going out to give updates for those still awaiting devices.  Of these emails, the last one caught my eye because it said that they were at full production capacity, and yet would not have every since Kickstarter backer’s system out the door until May 27th.  That’s two full months since shipments started going out, to ship out roughly 55k OUYAs.  That’s 27.5k systems a month, with all devices being made going out as soon as it’s off the assembly line.  This is probably the lowest production rate of any device that intends to compete with name-brand consoles I’ve ever seen.  The Wii U will sell faster than this just by pure willpower alone.

There are several arguments that can be made from this to look at it from an optimistic point of view.  However, consider this: if you want to buy this on its launch date in June, do you have any guarantee you will be able to get one the very month you ordered it?  Kickstarter backers may not even receive theirs until the day before full launch, not to mention the unknown amount of people that preordered one just after the Kickstarter ended.  Those were supposed to be released this month.  So either Ouya is making more consoles than they say and shipping out preorders alongside Kickstarter backers, which makes my remorse even worse, OR those that preordered and were originally told April now won’t get theirs until June.

Another possibility is that they are indeed making more than they are shipping out and stockpiling for the June launch.  If so, that means Kickstarter backers are not their priority even though we were told we would be.

All of these different possibilities make me extremely anxious.  I know Ouya keeps trying to calm their backers and preorder customers, but the fact is that they just do not have the ability to compete quantity-wise with even the smallest player in the video game market if the numbers truly are as they state.  They can’t put out enough consoles to satisfy the people that have already paid for one, and they have just a little over two months before Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, and GameStop want to have their consoles ready for store shelves.

I hope I’m wrong about this, but until I see an uptrend in shipments, I don’t see how the Ouya can have a future.

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