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You need to be careful when reading OUYA reviews, there’s bad information going around

You need to be careful when reading OUYA reviews, there’s bad information going around

So a few people have sent me this review of the OUYA console, and asked if things were really that bad. I've been tweeting about receiving the final retail version of the console, and I was surprised to see a review get up so quickly. The retail kits were only sent to the press today. So I read the review and just as I thought, that's old hardware being reviewed.

You can tell a few different ways: The console itself is engraved with the names of the early backers, while the newer retail version is not. The “thank you card” when you open the box has been replaced with a plastic screen with the OUYA logo on it in the retail version, and the controllers now come with a handy piece of tape that keeps the magnetic plates from slipping off during shipping.

The latency that this reviewer complains about, and that I also have seen in previous versions of the hardware, has been all but fixed in the retail kit. The new controllers have been slightly redesigned so the buttons don't stick, the analog sticks are much more responsive, and the whole experience has generally been improved since the Kickstarter days. The people buying the retail kits are getting a much better experience out of the box than the Kickstarter backers, but that's one of the costs of getting into hardware pre-release. You're going to be a guinea pig.

You also do not need to register a credit card number in the system before you can play games; mine booted right up and allowed me to begin downloading demos without putting in any personal information except for an account name, an e-mail address, and a password. The complaint that games need to be downloaded, installed, and then played? That requirement is gone in the latest version of the firmware. You click on the download link, and it grabs the game, installs it, and lets you play in one step. You can also select multiple games to download at a time, making it easy to grab a big selection of free content.

So the linked review is based on old hardware running out of date firmware. The lack of search function has also been fixed: I've been able to search for games just fine on my system. The new firmware also comes with a few ways to show and spotlight content, fixing yet another complaint.

So be careful when you read reviews of the Ouya. Make sure the reviewer is using retail hardware, as this is the system and controller you'll be buying in the stores. You need to be sure the reviewer is running the updated firmware, because a number of significant improvements in content selection and latency have been added.

I have a developers kit as well as a retail unit, and the updates and changes that have taken place in the latest firmware and hardware are like night and day. The system definitely has some rough edges, but incomplete reviews don't help anyone.