Rami Ismail represents Vlambeer, creators of indie hits Super Crate Box and Luftrauser. Nathan Fouts represents Mommy's Best Games, creators of 2D gems Shoot1UP and Explosionade. Jerrod Putman represents Tiny Tim Games, creators of animalia-laden titles Sheepstacker and Word Monkey.
What are the OUYA's advantages / disadvantages, its greatest strengths and weaknesses thus far?
We've actually been pleasantly surprised. Obviously, what we have is a dev console, so it's not the final version of anything from materials to UI. Considering the kit was on an extremely tight schedule, we are impressed, though -- it's fully functional and the "bugs" they preventively warned for are practically non-existent.
The OUYA is definitely an exciting piece of hardware as it's positively silly how quickly you can get something running on it. This may be obvious for all Android mobile developers, but coming from a console background, I was really impressed with the accessibility and open aspects of the platform. In fact, the openness of the OUYA is definitely one of its strongest traits. From its ease of development, to how open the marketplace is supposed to be, I think it's a real delight. Getting Serious Sam Double D XXL through XBLA's Certification was brutal! I'm happy to release the game there, but it's a nice break to have fewer restrictions.
I think the most interesting, strange part of the hardware is the touch pad. It's tough to integrate sensible uses during action games, such as game genres that you have traditionally designed with a standard controller layout. I think there is room for innovation to be made there, but will take some adjustment. Because switching between buttons and touch pad is tricky, it's probably best used in games where the player has a moment to think first, like a puzzle or strategy-oriented game.
One of the reasons why we haven't even attempted releasing something on Android is due to needing to support potentially thousands of devices. While OUYA is technically "just another Android device," the fact that it's being presented as its own platform (custom marketplace, custom controllers, custom OS services) means that we can target the OUYA hardware specifically without having to also target thousands of other devices. And since it's being presented as a home console instead of a phone or tablet, we can produce games with larger scopes and longer play times than on portable devices.
Really the disadvantage of the hardware is the passage of time. The Tegra 3 chipset inside is powerful enough to push a lot of polys around and it can even handle a fair amount of pixel shaders, but there are already mobile chipsets being introduced that will surpass it easily. But this is just par for the course for consoles, and over time developers should be able to push the boundaries of what the chip is able to do.