Ouya Drops Mandatory Free-To-Try Model, Will Allow Conventional Pricing

Ouya Drops Mandatory Free-To-Try Model, Will Allow Conventional Pricing

New Ouya 2014

Ouya has changed its mind on the mandatory "free-to-try" payment model for games and will let developers opt for the traditional pay-up-front model if they want.

Back when Ouya was new, its creators made a point of emphasizing its "free-to-try" payment model, which mandated that gamers be given a piece of a game to play at no charge, after which they could opt to pay for the full package. "It is standard policy for Ouya games to provide free game content that players can try before they buy," the company said in a document entitled "Monetizing Your Ouya Game." "This free content acts as a developer's first-foot-forward before asking the player to make a purchase, so it is incredibly important."

We used to call it "shareware" back in the days of yore, and a few companies you may have heard of did pretty well for themselves with it. These days, however, it seems that developers are somewhat less enthusiastic about the idea, to the point that Ouya has decided to drop the policy and let them charge whatever they want, whenever they want.

"In the coming weeks, we're going to let devs choose if they want to charge up front for their games. Now they'll be able to choose between a free-to-try or paid model," Bob Mills, Ouya's "Games Guy," wrote in a blog post explaining the change. "We didn't come to this decision unilaterally. Devs have been asking us for this choice for more than a year."

Mills said there are times when it is impractical, either creatively or financially, to create a demo for a game, but the main thrust seems to be choice and "empowering devs." The free-to-try model "seemed like an obvious choice for an open platform" in the early days of Ouya, but it came out last summer that the actual conversion rate was very low. Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman said shortly after that report that sales were actually doing better than expected, but this rather dramatic change in direction suggests that a lot of developers still don't see Ouya in its current state as an essential platform for their work.

Source: Ouya

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Jesus. I almost forgot the Ouya existed and then this popped up.

Good for them, I guess. I doubt anyone'll pick it up for anything other than a glorified emulating box, anyways.

This sounds like a pay for demo thing, or am i reading into it wrong?

Devs have been asking us for this choice for more than a year

I'm suprised that they didn't change their plan sooner if the content creators have asked for the choice for that long, they could still champion free-to-try without forcing it on everyone.

And does anyone else expect the Ouya will be non-existant this time next year? It seems like everything they had planned for the console is being ditched; it's more than $100, games don't need to be free and they are even planning to have a non-hardware version. Plus the exclusives they had hoped for are jumping ship to the PC.

Is the Ouya still a thing? I remember that my brother backed it and hasn't yet received his backer model. I think he go a refund last month. Other then that, is their even a reason that this should exist when their are many android micro stick console things that you can get?

While I like the idea of the Ouya, the pricing was never much of a thing for me> I suppose it would be nice to essentially have a demo of everything on the store, but that's it. Nice. Not essential, and maybe not the best idea to base your whole console around.

That's the only major thing you had going for you, why the hell would you give up on mandatory demos... I guess we really are coming down to the last few coughs of a dying dog.

Bad idea. I can see how some developers on a very tight schedule with bills due wouldn't have time for a demo. But, why not have a timed demo? Most android games are pick up and play so an half-hour max demo would let buyers see what the game is like. For any games that take a while to get going they could say "demo available soon" if a proper one cannot be made in time for release. I say it's a bad call stripping the demo mandate out. Even AAA games are iffy, so why would someone risk their possibly extremely limited budget on a game made by someone they never heard of. Anyone with a brain knows those store pages and box blurbs are pure marketing you can't trust, so the only way to know if you want to risk money on a game your may or may not like is to either play a form of the game(buddies copy, demo, the p-word) or read reviews from guys/gals who's opinions you trust. If no trustworthy reviews are can be found and no decent demo is available, your choices a pretty slim and risk of buyers remorse might shy you away from a title.

Mr.K.:
That's the only major thing you had going for you, why the hell would you give up on mandatory demos... I guess we really are coming down to the last few coughs of a dying dog.

When the only justifiable reason for your product was a pricing policy I think you were already doomed.

I'm still not sure I understand just what the point of the Ouya was ever supposed to be. In a gaming industry where consoles in general are slowly becoming obsolete, the Ouya seemed to be embracing all their worst qualities without even having good hardware to stand on.

This decision may have a lot to do with the recent move to make Ouya an "ecosystem" and get it out to other devices. It's a lot harder to enforce rules like this after you've effectively admitted that you're not going to make it as a stand-alone game platform. And given that the Ouya has already fallen way behind other Android-based hardware on the market, like, say, my goddamn phone, it needs to do whatever it can to get and keep developers on board.

The downside is that by doing this to entice devs, Ouya risks alienating gamers, especially long-time supporters who were promised a platform that would let them try before they buy, no exceptions. It's a tough spot to be in.

SonOfVoorhees:
This sounds like a pay for demo thing, or am i reading into it wrong?

Completely wrong. Before, you got a free demo. Now, you don't necessarily get a demo at all.

Gutting, this was one of the main draws of the system, and the main reason I bought quite a few of the games on it.

This seems like the Ouya is getting very desperate to maintain their devs. They've all but acknowledged that their hardware is dead so now all they have left is software. The identity of the Ouya is gone. It was supposed to be a cheap android based system with free trials and now its just an android system.

Ouya stated that some/one AAA developer would only release games for Ouya if it reneged on its promise to its already dwindling user base of fans.

The Ouya staff were honestly shocked at the negativity many Ouya users have shown.

Anyway, this is one if the final coffin nails for the system. The Ouya no longer has any discernable differences from its competitors except having less games or apps than them.

Users will sideload games without a demo easily and the devs that forced Ouya o prostitute their beliefs will drop the platform as quickly as Sega, Squeenix and moist of the other big names that released one game onto the system and then buggered off sharpish.

Ouya stated that some/one AAA developer would only release games for Ouya if it reneged on its promise to its already dwindling user base of fans.

The Ouya staff were honestly shocked at the negativity many Ouya users have shown.

Anyway, this is one if the final coffin nails for the system. The Ouya no longer has any discernable differences from its competitors except having less games or apps than them.

Users will sideload games without a demo easily and the devs that forced Ouya o prostitute their beliefs will drop the platform as quickly as Sega, Squeenix and moist of the other big names that released one game onto the system and then buggered off sharpish.

 

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