The launch of the world's most hyped Android-powered mini console might have been something of a dud, but at least the creators are keeping up the support. The first major update after Ouya's release includes some substantial improvements to the app/game store, most notably PIN security for purchases (to make sure those meddling kids don't empty Mommy and Daddy's checking account) and support for pre-paid gift cards. Card totals can now be applied towards new games or in-app purchases. The news came from the Forums section of the Ouya developer page.

Other additions include a new and more user-friendly Game Details page, changes to the game download dialog (which can now be cancelled), and the ability to create new users after logging out. One change that's a bit strange is that game downloads will be paused if you begin a game, purportedly to keep a high level of performance. That should help, but with bigger and bigger game downloads on Android, it will mean a lot of waiting around without being able to play a game you've already downloaded. Bummer.

Other general visual tweaks and bug fixes abound. The full list of changes for the 1.0.328 firmware is below. 

Source: Forums.OUYA.tv

Here is the changelog for 1.0.328:

  • Game Details page has been re-designed:
    • Images and buttons now easier to navigate
    • Selecting (Pressing the (O) button on) an image will show it full screen
    • Description text no longer flows off screen.
    • “More Info” button allows user to read full description text
    • Longer titles now accommodated better
    • Queued downloads now display as "In Queue…"
    • Ratings system has been updated to use a more intuitive system of age ranges
    • Founders Icon for games now appears on the Game Details page.  Thanks for believing!
  • Download behavior changes:
    • Game downloads can now be cancelled!
    • Downloads have been limited to 1 to increase performance while navigating during a download
    • Downloads are paused when a game is running to maintain best performance while playing.  They resume automatically when exiting the game
    • Downloads now start in the order they were queued
    • Downloads give a clear indication when there is not enough space left to accommodate them
  • Added the ability to set a PIN code for purchases.  Parents rejoice!  This can be found in under MANAGE -> ACCOUNT -> PARENTAL CONTROLS
  • Added support for redeeming pre-paid cards.  They can be redeemed when creating a new user, or from the MANAGE -> ACCOUNT -> PAYMENTS screen
  • Re-flowed in-game purchases to accommodate pre-paid cards.  Allows the user to fix purchase errors without leaving the game.
  • Logging out now allows users to log in or create a new user
  • PLAY category now sorts by most recently played or downloaded
  • Changed background image.  Style points +1
  • Changed layout of Network screen to match the new user experience.
  • Changed the look of more dialogs to have the OUYA theme
  • Fixed bug that could cause the account screen to appear to not respond to user input
  • Fixed a bug that could occur when getting a system update while out of space
  • New repository with 3rd party game engine examples:https://github.com/ouya/ouya-sdk-examples/

Update: looks like there's an even newer release, with a few more bug fixes. Sorry about that - the Ouya RSS feed seems a little pokey. Here's the short list of changes for version 1.0.346, and thanks to commenter Vibrunazo for pointing out the discrepancy.

  • Fixed changing passwords through Gamers Portal blocking users 
  • Fixed purchases not working when changing to a Dev account 
  • Fixed simultaneous button presses not registering in some MP games
Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • Vibrunazo

    What a curious timing to post this. My Ouya did get updated today, but not with this one. This one is actually pretty old. Did you maybe grab the wrong patch notes? Or is this just a coincidence?

    But anyway, yea. That was a pretty big update that brought many highly requested features. It was funny to see 2 posts side-by-side on top of reddit, one saying "omg Ouya will fail because there's no PIN" and another saying "Ouya updated with PIN".

  • cbstryker

    How was the launch a dud? It sold out at most retailers. For a very small startup, I call that a huge success.

    • Jeremiah Rice

      Every review I've read has been decidedly negative, and most backers and pre-orders I've read actually got their hardware after the retail release. A dud in terms of satisfaction, if not actual sales.

      • Thomas

        Actually I preordered OUYA on 6th February and still haven´t got even a tracking number. And there are many like me who paid a got nothing so far ...

        • cbstryker

          Yes, I also got mine late. The day of the retail launch actually, but that doesn't make it a "dud", just a mishandled launch.

      • marcusmaximus04

        You... might want to clarify then. I've never seen anybody say a launch was a "dud" based on reviews when the device is selling like crazy. That phrasing is pretty exclusively used in reference to sales.

      • esper256

        Yeah, first time plugging it in and booting it up was a terrible experience. It's been consistently bad since then. The Ouya is not ready to make a first impression with anybody.

        Just to give one example: One of the first things the console asks you to do is press the U button. Of course. It took a second to realize that the controller has two U buttons, one is part of the OUYA set of four buttons, and the other is a U button with a circle around it. It may be a small and ignorable detail, but it goes to show how rushed this product was to production.

        I think being a startup in this industry is tough. They probably don't have infinite funding and are somewhat under the gun to make money. So you see all these firmware changes surrounding the sales funnel. Prepaid gift card in-game item buy flows? Why are they working on that when their basic experience is really really rough around every edge?

        They needed to nail the user experience, all else should have been secondary. And if they were really focussed on the user, they would have put the Play store on it. I'm sure they could have negotiated with Google to get the absent Carrier's share of transactions. But as it is, Ouya users will be left to start with no games in their library and have to rebuy games that they already own.

        This leaves them with a fledgling platform, that wasn't built putting the user first (which is one of the few advantages available to small companies that are quagmired in corporate strategy), that they have to build from scratch, all the while bigger competitors (Amazon? Google? Apple? Off brand chinese Android sticks etc) are probably going to be rolling out more advanced / cheaper hardware in no time.

        Anyways. Bad industry to try to break into without a solid plan.

        • Candy Cab

          Your U button argument is pretty silly considering one is used in menus and games, and the other is the Home button to exit programs etc. Obviously which one to use is immediately apparent depending on the application you are running. Seems that would be immediately obvious to anyone who has ever used any gaming console to date.

  • vince

    there is no Google service in ouya, no play store, no play service,no Google service. I will skip, i will wait for what Google game console has to offer.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      It can be hacked with it pretty easily, no? But yeah, that's my primary reason on passing on it.

      • Vibrunazo

        You can sideload apps from the Play Store. But 99.99% of the apps on the Play Store aren't made for this use case (TV + dpad). So after having sideloaded a few dozens (for SCIENCE!) I found not much use from them. Youtube for Google TV being the only exception so far. The point of the Ouya are the Ouya made apps.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          I still maintain that an Android console is pointless at this point. A proper console, like the PS4 or the Xbox One, is a million times more useful at 4-5 the price (well worth it).

          • Vibrunazo

            They're different things and not mutually exclusive. Before the Ouya sold out on Amazon, it was at top 1 most sold console, and the item "most people bought with it" was the Xbox One pre-order. Many people are opting for both. :)

            The Ouya will not run high end graphics, because of its cheap hardware. But the Ouya has a much higher chance of being the first to see some actual innovative gameplay (aka, not Halo 16). Because developing for the XBox costs _literally_ thousands of times more than developing the Ouya. So Xbox games need big publishers who can't afford to take high risks. But Ouya devs can go nuts. There are already some innovative exclusives, and it's still soon.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            That's the thing though - I don't want to play indie mobile games on my TV, I want to play AAA titles that blow my mind with detail, physics, and graphics.

            I'll leave Ouya games for my phone next time I'm stuck at a doctor's office.

          • Shinrow

            If you think Ouya is limited to mobile games, you're plain wrong. It has and will have mobile games, because Android ports are rather easy, but it will not be limited to this kind of games. Moreover, some mobile games are much better on Ouya due to the gamepad.

            Well, only thing I can tell for now is that the Ouya is promising and you have to remember that it's a brand new console made by a pretty young company, it will require more time for it to have great games than the other consoles. Give it time and we'll see what devs will do on it.

          • Perv Bear

            Someone who gets it. Did hell freeze over?

          • Piyush

            but whats wrong with ps3 , xbox 360 ,ps4 ,wii u ,wii and xbox one arent those pushing innovative games why do you believe that ouya can only pull of the innovative game thing .

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            I may be open to the idea of a Google Play-enabled console, possibly even by Google, but it'll take many years for the game quality to get anywhere close to the upcoming gen consoles.

            The biggest problem is budgets and focus - few or no studios or even indie devs are investing nearly enough in Android games to make them as immersive, interesting, and appealing as console or PC games. It may be because Android users are notoriously cheap and would rather pirate than buy them, and the profit margins are just not there. So they develop casual crap, then price it at $0.99, and there's the majority of your mobile gaming.

          • Shinrow

            If it was just another Xbox One or else, I wouldn't have bought it. Moreover if it was something like that it wouldn't stand a chance in front of the Xbox One or the PS4, would it?
            It's because it's indie friendly and inexpensive that I wanted a Ouya.

            If all you want are games which "pushes the limits of realism" then it is clearly not for you. I for one like indie productions better than a lot of those "AAA" titles made on the 3 other consoles (Except X on the Wii U which looks awesome!).

            Again, because it is Android-based doesn't mean it will only have Android games..

          • ergu

            I agree that big budget, immersive games are nice, and that OUYA does not seem like it will get them. However, the reason why I'm done with PS and XB is because of the tendency for MS and Sony, as well as all the publishers putting big budget games on those consoles, to treat their customers like thieves, while increasingly reducing the amount customers actually 'own' under the guise of 'selling' products to users.

          • vince

            see i think google has the potential to bring that to google game console. setting strick restriction to qualify, also work with big game studio for big games.

          • marcusmaximus04

            " I don't want to play indie mobile games on my TV, I want to play AAA titles that blow my mind with detail, physics, and graphics."

            And some people want to play indie games that blow their minds with outstanding gameplay and/or artistic vision. The fact that those aren't the types of games you like doesn't make those people *wrong*

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            I never said they were *wrong*. Or anyone is wrong. All I stated was my opinion of why I will not buy an Ouya and why I think it's pointless without the Play Store (similar to the Nabi products until you root and flash the Play Store).

          • marcusmaximus04

            The former I'm fine with. It's the latter that bugs me. It might be pointless for you, with your particular tastes, but that's not to say at all that it's pointless in general.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            Heh. Someone somewhere always finds something I find totally pointless useful. Opinions are like assholes, as the saying goes.

          • raindog469

            How about an unbranded Android TV stick with a Bluetooth controller? I'm loving ours -- which cost about $40 and despite being dual-core approaches Ouya's quad-core performance on Geekbench -- but what we use it for is mainly TV streaming and emulation, just because there are so few games in Google Play with controller support and touch mapping is a hassle.

            Of course, our TV stick kind of makes the Ouya superfluous, since they've yet to feature a game I wanted that isn't already available through Google Play.

            As for console players wanting AAA titles, the closest to thing to one that I've bought for my Xbox 360 -- and we've bought about 50 games -- was Portal 2. My favorite game, the one that got me to buy a 360, is Fez. Sure, the people who make consoles possible are the ones who'll buy it on launch day and then pay 60 bucks for every iteration of Call of Something You Know Whatever. But some of us are looking for a console (and I do mean a console, not a $1000 gaming PC hooked up to a TV) whose games aren't about juicers in camo with realistic guns, unrealistic durability, and prepubescent boys screaming slurs into headsets (nor anything with a cartoon princess).

            Someday, the Ouya might even be that console, though currently it isn't.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            I guess this is where our opinions of what console gaming should be splits. To me, something like Fez is not appealing (just like Mario is no longer appealing after 20 years) on a console.

            However, something like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWJD8DMasCU, which pushes the limits of realism, is incredibly appealing. The possibilities that open up with Kinect 2 that we don't even realize yet, are amazing. Ouya and Android gaming is stuck years behind. There's just no innovation.

          • raindog469

            Complaining about a lack of innovation and using a Tom Clancy game as a counterexample? That's called "unintentional irony".

          • mitchschaft

            Mario is 29

          • jm9843

            Basing this on your post: if you have someone to play with, you'd probably love TowerFall on OUYA.

          • raindog469

            Towerfall does look like a lot of fun. Not $99 worth of fun, but almost certainly a purchase if I someday get an Ouya or it comes to a platform I do have.

          • Isabel Herron

            what Roger answered I'm blown away that a single mom can profit $6238 in 1 month on the computer. have you seen this site w­w­w.K­E­P­2.c­o­m

        • milk

          same here though, but it didn't take all the dozens to know that there wasn't much science in them :S

          will give them benefit of noobness though

    • buttersalts

      You can use the amazon app store...just install the amazon.apk

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  • Pengwn

    I got my ouya in the mail yesterday and I never received any shipping emails. When I plugged it in, I couldn't get past the credit card info as it kept saying "problem accessing the server". I've read online that there are others that are experiencing the same issue I'm having. I just want to see what it has to offer before putting XBMC on the little guy (this was my main intention anyway).

  • Bill

    You say it's a dud. It sold out everywhere it was available and it has been a lot of fun to play with. If you're comparing it to hardware that costs 4-6x as much you're clearly doing it wrong. That doesn't even account for the games costing ~5% of the cost of games for your "real" consoles.