While Ouya isn’t full on ditching their free-to-try elements on all games, the company will now make it optional for developers. The announcement was made at the Game Developers Conference on Wednesday.
At GDC, Ouya’s head of developer relations Kellee Santiago stated, “In response to developer feedback, in order to give more flexibility to game-makers to decide what content they want to make on Ouya, starting April we’re making the free-to-try component optional.”
Having free-to-try/entirely free/in-game purchases are elements that made the Android-powered console stand out from other consoles on the market. While try before you buy has around since the old PSX black demo discs in the official PlayStation Magazine, the whole trial mode thing didn’t pick up until the 7th generation of gaming—PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, DS, and PSP—when digital started to become a huge thing.
Digital made it easier to present demo versions of games, but it was still a fairly slow process with some developers and publishers entertaining it, others sticking to beta keys, and others dismissing it entirely—depending on the game, of course.
One of the strong points with Ouya was taking mobile gaming’s approach of having a free version and a purchasable version for games on its console and making the promotion mandatory.
There are gamers from earlier generations—like yours truly—to gamers who picked up a controller fairly recently who can recall at least one instance of getting a well hyped game that looked beautiful and failed to deliver once disc was put to console. Sure, you could go on reviews but the more dependable method is to get some playtime yourself or check out Let’s Plays and streams. Ouya’s approach allowed you get playtime in before deciding to comment to any game, not just some.
So why change this approach now? Well Ouya has a new distribution platform called “Ouya Everywhere” which allows for games to be played on the TV, PC, or portable devices without the Ouya console. This would open the field for developers on the console and by making free-to-try optional; it could possibly bring in more developers including larger ones.
The free-to-try approach changes will come in late April and should be available when the previously announced Ouya 2 is scheduled to come out later this year.