Now that we’ve released the OUYA Development Kit, you have everything you need to start making OUYA games. A lot of you emailed us, asking what kind of games to make for OUYA.
And, since our friends at Kill Screen just launched Create, a contest to get great new games on OUYA, we thought it would be a good time to talk about what kinds of games we personally want to see.
OUYA, like all consoles, has the potential to immerse gamers into another state of mind and make the rest of the world fade. A television fills your field of vision, and commands your attention — it’s not a mobile phone or a browser (much as we love some games on those). We hope you will take advantage of this to make games that transport, challenge, scare, surprise, amaze, and thrill OUYA gamers.
What kind of person will play on OUYA? For now, it seems like most of the folks are devoted gamers, so you developers can assume you are building for people who know and like games. That doesn’t mean every game will be a procedurally-generated, “rogue-like” action RPG, but we’ll surely have a few of those in the mix.
By the way, we have plenty of men *and* women getting ready to play on OUYA come March.
So, if you’re feeling the need for an inspirational push out the gate, we made a list of genres we think might be especially fun to play on OUYA…
1. We have no idea. The whole point of OUYA is that it’s open to any developer, anywhere, to bring something inventive to life. Whatever games end up being the favorites on OUYA, we know we’ll be surprised. We want gamers to see games on OUYA that they can’t get on any other console (and, of course, some recognizable favorites too). So, most important of all, feel free to ignore the ideas that follow. Trust your vision. That said, we are excited about…
2. Local multiplayer action. OUYA’s instant-on means a gamer can just pick up and play, alone or with friends. Single-screen fast paced games, often in 2D, for up to four players who can take advantage of that fast start to make a blast of a couch experience. Split-screen, too — just keep your eyes on your side!
3. Puzzle-y platformers. These are great because you can take advantage of art and sound to create atmosphere, without necessarily dealing with the complexity of 3D. (Though our overclocked Nvidia Tegra 3 chip will support 3D in HD just fine if you do want to go there, and we encourage you to go there.)
4. Fighters? These are incredibly hard to balance and execute well, but OUYA’s responsive controller should make for some awesome fighting games. We’re still hard at work, tweaking the D-Pad with fighting gamers in mind.
5. Game shows? Who doesn’t love to test their knowledge and compete with other people. These are technically easier to build than a shooter or an RPG, so beginning developers might want to start here. Since OUYA is always online, you can safely build in online multiplayer play — bar trivia, anyone?
6. Stealth. Any game that needs fast, precise movements, and has real tension (will you get spotted? will you?!) will thrill on OUYA.
7. Genre mashups. Every great game stands on the shoulders of games that came before it and inspired it. OUYA is a place for developers to try hybrids. So many of the #myouyagame suggestions for our dev console giveaway were mashups.
8. Episodic games. This isn’t exactly a genre, but a way of delivering and making games. Don’t feel like you need to create a full 10-20 hour experience. We don’t charge you to update a game, so you can polish that first “episode” of your game, release it, and add more as you go. We think many developers would rather proudly release small-scale experiences than wait to make the whole thing.
9. More deeply Internet-enabled games. Do you want to use your servers to go beyond just multiplayer and leaderboards? Want to do complex AI beyond what the local CPU can handle, or host a persistent game world on a server — go for it. You can use the reliable Internet connection any way you like.
10. When in doubt, refer to #1.
And of course, shooters, RPGs, survival horror, sports, racing and other evergreen console genres will be great, too — maybe we will even get an MMO — we just wanted to offer some ideas especially suited to OUYA.
Most of you are making new games built for a TV. But some of you are porting games you made for another platform. If you are bringing a tablet or mobile game to OUYA, note the obvious: a TV is not a phone or tablet. Totally different experience. Some of your games may work well, but some will need reimagining to be stellar on a TV, and with a controller.
And a last reminder: all games on OUYA are “free to play.” We seem to have caused some confusion on this: By “free to play” we just mean some aspect of gameplay has to be free. This is because we want to have a simple console user interface (no “free games” vs. “paid games” sections), and we want to align gamers’ interests with developers (a gamer only pays after they know they like the game). No, your game does not have to use “microtransactions” (although some will). You can make a free demo and have the rest of the game unlocked with a single purchase. We like the “every game has a free element” model because all your money comes from gamers who are happy to pay you.
So, whether it’s one of these ideas or something else… build something. It’s time to create that console game you’ve always believed should exist.
If you think you can prototype it well enough to enter and win the Create game jam, go for it. We believe in you.