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I hate this part... I love gaming? No, that's a sucky way to start off...

Ok here we go. If you saw me in a shop I would not stand out, amongst a group I will blend. I am just an average guy who likes playing video games and like to share his opinion on the matter at times.

I have no alliance as I find being consumer-loyal is a bad exercise to practice and will jump ship at the beat of a heart if the correct information is supplied.
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On June 16th 2012, Chris Jones and Aaron Conners (the brains behind Under a Killing Moon, Pandora Directive and Overseer) successfully collected enough money through Kickstarter to finally allow a new Tex Murphy game to be created after nearly 15 years.

For a long time the game was only known as Project Fedora, and for a while, many believed this was the final title. As of today, Project Fedora is no more and in it's place Tesla Effect stands.

A new Tex Murphy website was launched and a teaser trailer for the new game was on hand to give people a taste of what the $598,104 raised was spent on. While gameplay footage has yet to be revealed, backer exclusive screenshots show the environments to be looking decent at the very least. At worse it looks as like this game will play like your average Tex Murphy adventure game.

As for now I'll leave you with the trailer in an attempt to get people hyped.









Well today is the day and Ouya is now officially available to the world... sort of. I've just checked Amazon's listing for the item, and even with my current Prime membership, which ensures one-day delivery on items, it will still take 1-3 weeks for Ouya to be dispatched.

Anyway this blog is in response to my previous one about how Ouya has poorly handled the shipment of consoles to their financial backers. An update was posted yesterday and the company released this statement to their backers:


[quote]Tomorrow, June 25th, OUYA will officially launch.
And, while I canít believe the day has come, I always knew weíd get Here.†
Here: having shipped tens of thousands of consoles to passionate backers who bet on OUYA when it was just a concept.
Here: partnered with top retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop,Target and GAME.
Here: in hundreds of stores across the U.S., Canada and the U.K.
Here: with more games at launch than any other console in gaming history. And this is all just the beginning.

People said it was impossible: Taking on the big boys in an industry that chewed up the competition. The video game market was considered impenetrable. It was expensive, closed, and built for three. That was just the way it was and nobody thought it could be any different. Nobody wondered how.
But you -- and tens of thousands like you -- wanted something new. You -- the game players and the game creators -- you knew that things could be different. In backing OUYA, you proved that there were people out there who wanted a change.

The path we chose hasnít been easy. Our development process was unprecedented in its transparency. We solicited your opinions and heard your feedback on Reddit, on Twitter and in email. We brought everyone along for the ride making both our victories and our missteps public. Because -- we believe this process is what makes OUYA better.
OUYA is built with gamers, for gamers. We do it together.
And the games... what you game creators have done is amazing! Inventive. Different. FUN. Not the same old games by the same old folks adding +1 to the version number and slapping on a price tag of $60 or more. OUYA Devs are making it happen. From raucous couch-gaming romps like Hidden in Plain Sight and You Donít Know Jack; oddball racing games like Rush Bros and Flashout; shouting-match PvP games like BombSquad and the ďkiller appĒ candidate TowerFall; and action-packed adventures in the forms of RPG beat-em-up ChronoBlade and soon-to-come coop, iso-shooter Killing Floor: Calamity -- youíve delivered a game lineup that rocks.
So, launch is upon us. And I canít let us launch without acknowledging the role YOU played.†
THANK YOU.

You can CONTINUE to expect great things from OUYA. The OUYA team is ready. We will continue to deliver. And -- if you were one of our backers that was impacted by the complications caused by DHL (shipping service) and have yet to receive your OUYA, please know that we are working overtime to get this resolved. We will continue to push our partners to find a resolution and will work directly with you and keep you in the loop until every backer has an OUYA in-hand. Thank you for all of your patience and support.
Thank you. Thank you from the team, and thank you from me, personally. I will be forever awed by what we have all brought to life. And this is just the beginning...
Yours. Literally.
Julie
P.S. -- Be sure to keep in touch -- weíll be sure to do the same @playouya, on Facebook, Google+, and on OUYA.tv. We might not be using this Kickstarter list often anymore, but if thereís something thatís just relevant to our Kickstarter backers we might still pop it here. Otherwise, Kickstarter youíve done what you set out to do -- kindled something entirely new, that wouldnít have existed without you.[/quote]

This of course has led to more than a few angry comments from the many backers who have not yet received their Ouya console. In some respects the update is really insulting to the people Boxer8 keep claiming "made this happen".

It reeks of PR statements that are designed to look good and not really exist for any other reason. The part about being transparent and listening to the backers will cause some people to laugh in despair or put their fist through the screen in frustration.

But surely the company wouldn't do this if there really was a problem, right? Maybe the backers who haven't got their console yet are just a vocal minority. Expect only hours later another statement was issued:


[quote]Backers,
I am pissed. Some of you have not yet received your OUYA -- and, to you, I apologize. I did not promise to ship to *most* of you before we hit store shelves. I promised to ship to *all* of you. Iíve been reading your comments, and we are working to solve this.
Here is what I know:
We delivered your OUYAs to our partner in May, and since then they have been in their custody. We paid for shipping, yet the deliveries remain incomplete. We know everyone is getting their OUYA, but it is taking longer than we expected.
We are working hard to get you answers, and more importantly, to fix this. On our end, we have tripled our customer service team so we can respond as quickly as possible to your questions (though the answer may still be that itís in transit). We are working with our partners to resolve any administrative issues related to undelivered boxes (errors in shipping addresses, customs holds, etc.). Iím told that despite our best efforts, it may take another two weeks or more for some of these units to arrive.
We will resolve this as quickly as possible. Iíve had my team working all evening to provide me with the current state of affairs and what we are doing to make it right. Ken, our Special Ops lead, can give you more detail.
- Julie
-----
Hi Everyone,
My name is Ken Stephens, and I am the Head of Operations at OUYA.
This post is personally addressed to our early backers who have not yet received their OUYAs.†
As we hit store shelves tomorrow, it is very important that I try my best to explain why your units are behind schedule from our commitment and when we anticipate delivery.

As you may be aware, we manufacture OUYA in mainland China with our fulfillment partner in Hong Kong who is responsible for the individual shipments to you all.

Over the past few months, we encountered and conquered many challenges spanning both hardware and software in order to bring the best product we could to market. We have tried to make sure that the challenges we faced did not impact our early supporters, but unfortunately we came up short.

On average, shipment processing--from fulfillment center to product delivery--runs 20 days, end to end. It takes 3 to 5 days to pick, pack and ship the units out -- and then 15 to 17 days of transit time. Therefore, if you received your tracking number with your shipping confirmation email, your unit is on its way.
I know that many of you are frustrated with the DHL tracking system. While we are working hard to get this issue rectified, I am sorry to say this is still causing problems. When you receive a tracking number, you expect it to work immediately, but sometimes these tracking numbers donít do that. The reason for this is that when the product leaves Hong Kong, the tracking process does not initiate until it arrives for the first scan at your countryís local depot. As a result, you could have a period of up to 10 days within which the product appears in limbo. This, we all agree, is very frustrating.

Additionally, we have seen a lot of cases where the unit will be delivered to your door without the product ever getting an arrival scan. This also unfortunately happens when dealing with the local postal systems.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of those who havenít yet received OUYA are international backers. It just takes a lot longer to ship to some countries.

All of these units HAVE left Hong Kong, and you have received your tracking email.

So, based on the date of your shipping-confirmation email, your OUYA will arrive within 15 to 17 days from that date.

Please accept my personal apology for not yet delivering on our promise.

Sincerely,
Ken[/quote]

Julie Uhrman makes it sound as if she's only just got through the comments (which just so happens to be on release day when reviews of the company and the console are allowed to go out on retailer sites) is once again insulting. The problems have been known for a while and the timing makes this look like damage control.

The company had weeks to address this issue and dampen the fiery tempers that have just been fanned by the silence. Either way, the message did nothing to help those that have not yet got their console. Although the line that tells people that all units have shipped and that you HAVE received your tracking email is just ridiculous. Do Boxer8 really think these people are complaining they haven't got a tracking email for the fun of it?

I can't help to think that Boxer8 are still getting a slightly easier ride than they should because they are a lot smaller and henceforth go under the radar of most major news. Also some comments on the pages for these updates are very similar to the blind fanboy comments that concern Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo products.

Some seem to think that because this wasn't an actually pre-order (thus no consumer protection) that the backers should just shut up and deal with it. Except the problem comes with Kickstarter's own policies.

All project creators are required to agree to certain arrangements before they make their pitch to the world. The line in question is this one:

Project Creators are required to fulfill all rewards of their successful fundraising campaigns or refund any Backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill.


Let's consider what the reward was for the 58,768 who decided to pledge $99 or more:

GET AN OUYA: console and controller. Guarantee we will have one available for you, before it gets to stores. Plus the rewards above. We're figuring out how many we can make! (We have to ask you to add $20 for shipping outside the U.S.) Please add $30 if you want a second controller.


Like any investment, the backers are entitled to certain rights and the invested has responsibilities to own up to. Sure if the project had failed and the money dried up then we would have seen Kickstarter take a lot of the heat and possibly fade away. However, the ball is firmly in Boxer8's court and if these people ask for refunds they cannot refuse.







Jabbawocky
12:03 PM on 06.23.2013

In two days, Boxer8's much touted Ouya system hits stores around the world. The Android-operated gaming system promises to break down the barriers between the average Joe developer and the gaming industry by being manufactured to essentially be modified by the consumer.

There have been critics of the console both praising and negating such a concept but regardless to say, so far the media has shown the console as a David ready to fight it's way into a world of Goliaths. The Kickstarter campaign that launched the product was a major success when it raised over $8.5 million despite only having a minimum target of $950,000. Most news articles seem to picture a brave new world Ouya will supposedly bring us and for a while all seemed good.

But is this going to be one of those cases where maybe some people let their imaginations run wild when the reality of the situation has been rearing it's ugly head during the weeks leading to launch?

If one decided to look at the comments page of Ouya's Kickstarter campaign, the pages are littered with thousands of negative comments, with criticism varying from backer to backer.

The most common complaint is the actual absence of the console itself. While the system will be released to the general public on June 25th, the people who funded this project were meant to get theirs back in March. In defense of Boxer8 they did announce a delay and claimed the consoles for backers were pushed back to May which would allow for a better product to be manufactured.

On May 24th, the company announced that all Ouyas for Kickstarter backers had been shipped from their manufacturing center in Hong Kong and would be in the hands within three weeks (give or take a few days depending on where you lived). As I can't link you to the Backer's only update I'll quote the message here:


[quote]Drumroll ... the day has arrived.


Yep, 100 percent of all early backer orders have successfully shipped this week from our warehouse in Hong Kong and are en route to all of you still waiting patiently for your OUYA.


And yes Ö that means ALL early backer orders -- regardless of your geographical location, standard edition or limited edition, extra controllers, etc. -- if you are an early backer, your OUYA is on the way![/quote]


Unfortuantly on June 8th, this email was sent out:
[quote]
"It's not in your living room yet -- and we know that SUCKS. There are approximately 7,500 early supporters like yourself that are still waiting for their OUYA.

You want answers and we want to give them to you. So here it goes:

Two weeks ago, we provided an update through Kickstarter that 100% of early backer orders had shipped from Hong Kong. This was/is a true statement. All units were manufactured, packaged, and on route to one of our distribution facilities (based on your mailing address). At these facilities, your OUYA is labeled, scanned, and shaipped to your doorstep (hence the 1-2 week delay in receiving your shipping email and activivating your tracking code).

In your case, things didn't go as planned. It's important to note at this point that the cause(s) behind your delayed OUYA isn't the result of a single point of failure -- rather, it is the result of several small(ish) logistical hurdles (new) that we encountered late in the game.

What we do know is that 5,000 unuts will ship this weekend -- so many of you can expect your first email very soon. Do not be surprised, however, if it does not have a tracking number. In that case, you should receive a secondary email (which included your tracking number) shortly afterwards.

I don't expect this to make you feel *much* better (well maybe a little). I can tell you that everyone is pushing and working ard and YOU are important to us. If for whatever crazy reason you do not receieve your MY OUYA HAS SHIPPED email by Wednesday (6/12), we will email you. We will keep you in the loop. PROMISE.

Now, go have a great weekend. I'm getting back to work.

All my best,
Juile[/quote]

Come June 12th, most backers had still not received an Ouya and no further updates have been published.

If the fact that the item was not in most people's hands was bad enough it would become more frustrating for others. Some have reported that they had received an email stating their console has been shipped but the problem is that many are absent of the tracking link that allows customers to see where in the world it is. Others have received links that do not work until a few days before Ouya's expected arrival.

While this is a problem that lies more with the shipping company, Boxer8 have not made things easier on themselves with a lack of communication to their backers. Also there are plenty of issues with shipping that is their fault.

My prime example being if you are an international backer. Anyone from outside North America had to add an extra $20 for shipping. Yet, most backers have claimed they have had to pay a customs charge upon the item arriving for the product that ranges anywhere from $5-50 (once again depending on the country). Many feel that if this was explained during the initial campaign they would have just wait for the system to be released in the shops as it inflates the price quite drastically.

They have also messed up in regards to Europe by not including CE stickers on the packaging. For those of you who don't know CE stickers are lawful requirements for items to prove they have been made within the regulations of the European Economic Area. Those without them are withheld until proof of their legal status is proven. Many German backers are suffering this problem.

In addition to this there has even been a case of a backer from the Netherlands whose package found its way to Newfoundland, Canada.

If the madness that had prevented backers from receiving their system wasn't bad enough, some have had valid complaints when actually getting their packages through the door.

If the backer had ordered extra controllers, there's a high probability that they will not be present in the package. Also there have been reports of people who had ordered the $140 brown special edition receiving the bog-standard $99 Ouya and vice-versa.

Even then, if you where lucky to get an Ouya shipped, have it not end up on the other side of the planet, not withheld by customs, arrive on your doorstep within good time, not get slapped with an extra customs charge and had everything you ordered in the box... You still probably got shafted with an inferior product.

Some will probably defend Boxer8 and claim one of the following arguments:

1) "Boxer8 is a relativity new company. They should be given a certain amount of leniency when it comes to shipping out their first major product, especially since they are having to deal with the big bad retailers as well."

I completely agree with you internet man inside my head, they do deserve some sort of space to get things right but they have gone about it in the wrong way. PR should be everything to these guys who have nothing but their own word to get people to buy their console. The lack of communication has lead to a few thousand people getting rather upset with the service.

Most have forgiven the misgiving of getting an earlier build (after all best time to buy newly developed hardware is after a year when the kinks should have been worked out). What is unforgivable is the fact that they haven't kept up communication with the people who have financed this en devour.

A weekly update would have been enough, but instead they have remained quiet for almost a month. Recently Microsoft showed us that sometime the most damaging thing you can do is say very little to defend yourself.

2) "But the people who backed the Ouya did not place pre-orders, they are the bank rollers. Boxer8 has no legal obligations to them, but do to the retailers to get the product in stores on time."

I think this is one of those grey areas. You see Kickstarter have no obligation to get the funders money back if Boxer8 had just collapsed and not been able to produce the Ouya. After all, like any financial investment, there is risk to the reward. But since the product is released worldwide in two days I think you can argue that Boxer8 should live up to their end of the deal.

In case you were wondering I was, once upon a time, a backer of this product, but my experience with the customer service side of things went really well. After explaining that I felt in light of their lack of updates in shipping my Ouya (I never received a shipping email at all) the best course of action would be a refund of my pledge. Within six days they obliged with no issues.

Personally I feel on a wider scale the PR for Boxer8 should have been slightly better organized. Instead of setting up outside E3 to gain some media exposure (which ultimately succeeded or failed depending on whether you believe any exposure is good exposure), they should have sorted out this debacle quicker.

While it may not seem much, as I explained earlier, word of mouth is all Boxer8 has to go on right now as this is their first major venture. Unlike one of the big three who have history to work with, Ouya should of had thousands of backers singing their praises but instead enter a market that could be unsure whether Boxer8 can be trusted to support their product to the fullest extent.








If you are like me then you have probably been following all the latest news in regards to Sony and Microsoft's newest consoles. This year's E3 was always going to be a case of PS4 vs XBone. Who was going to have the better exclusives? Was Sony going to follow suit on DRM and second hand sales? How much was each going to cost?

These questions were answered and the results have left Sony looking like some sort of patron saint of gaming, when in reality they are just doing business as usual. While that may come across as a swipe at Sony, it isn't meant to.

While I may have a few issues with how the video game industry developed during the 360/PS3 generation (disc locked content for example), I sure as hell would take it over a future where the consumer loses all power over the manufacturers without any benefits replacing them. In the end, this year's E3 shouldn't be remembered so much for masterful advertising from Sony but for Microsoft's massive failure to understand the general public.

When I was discussing this matter with a friend he responded "Yep, that's the curse of three". After confirming what he meant, I had to agree, a lot of companies seem to really make ill-advised decisions when it comes to their third major console.

This trait seems to be common amongst companies that have entered gaming during the 3rd generation (the first to succeed the video game crash of 1978).

First up on the list is Sega, who after testing the video game market with the limited release of the SG-1000, released the Sega Master System as their first major console in 1985. While it failed to outsell the Nintendo Entertainment System, it did manage to gain Sega a nice foothold in the European market.

A better fight was put up by their next console, the Mega Drive/Genesis. It was during this generation that Sega learned the value of marketing for an alternate fanbase. While Nintendo stuck to their guns on violence and presenting the medium as "family entertainment" (at least until Sega profited from it) Sega decided to make their console look "cool".

Once they got round to making their third console it all fell apart. The rot had begun to set in towards the end of the Genesis' life with the addition of the Sega CD and 32x which were advertised, released and dropped in a short space of time.

The Sega Saturn should have provided much needed stability to a company that looked as if it would abandon a product the moment it looked like something better to develop was on the horizon. The Saturn reached western shores in 1995 and within two years Sega announced† the Dreamcast. This effectively caused all major developers to stop producing games shortly after for a console which already had a limited library due to it being difficult to work with in the first place. Sega never recovered from this fiasco as consumers and game developers lost complete faith in them causing the Dreamcast to fail despite it being a pretty good console.

During the same generation, Nintendo lost market dominance with the N64 and ceded to Sony as the top console manufacturer. Nintendo decided to launch their 64-bit cartridge-based console against Sony's CD-driven Playstation. Despite being a cheaper console (N64 was $100 cheaper than PS) it was out sold almost 3/1. Partially this was down to the Playstation having an earlier release but the huge difference in technology behind the systems was the biggest factor.

Cartridges and CDs are like apples and oranges. To make versions of games for both formats took a lot of effort and if a game did end up on both formats it would almost be guaranteed that the cartridge version lost something in translation. Plus CDs were the future, game developers were always going to choose the format which was going to be the better, long-term, investment.

The funny thing is that three consoles later Nintendo would also suffer another setback. While I won't say the Wii U is destined to end this generation a failure, it certainly hasn't had a good start. After the almost niche Gamecube (and not only failing to recapture market dominance from the Playstation 2 but fall to Microsoft's first Xbox) Nintendo returned to the big time with the Wii.

With it's biggest selling point that it would change the way we could be playing games (and with a considerably low entry price) the Wii was so sought after that in some countries it was hard to get one for over a year after its launch.

But with all the success it gained in sales Nintendo lost sight of the goal again. The next console was sold on the gimmick rather than how the user was going to enjoy playing it. Thus they now have a console no one wants to develop for and has a rather lackluster 3rd party game library.

The next company to stumble at the third attempt was Sony with the PS3. After two major success in a row Sony must have thought that they didn't need to try and the people would come flocking to them regardless of what they produced.

If they didn't think that then the general attitude from the company on their pricing could have fooled anybody. With the system including a blu-ray player when the technology was quite new (along with trying to include backwards compatibility for PS2's DVD games and PS1's CD games) prices were inflated to repulsive levels. Thus when the 360 was announced with a more sane cost, it was only natural that the other console would do better financially. At least it is looking like Sony has learned their lesson and the PS4 is going to be a more level headed product this time around (although time will tell).

So all in all, why did these companies seem to stumble at their third attempts into the console industry? In my opinion each company took their consumer base for granted. In different ways Sega, Nintendo and Sony didn't seem to realize that consumer loyalty can only go so far.

With Sega, they had a desire to be the best and kept continually developing new products but dropping them as soon as they believed something better could be produced. However, they did not seem to appreciate that people might not have the disposable income to keep up with their methods. They also seemed to forget that in the end, they were producing a luxury item and in competition with others who were producing cheaper systems that lasted longer. In the end the consumer is going to go with the one that benefits them the best.

In Nintendo's case it was arrogance. The Super Nintendo was the best selling console of its generation and was cartridge based and it was assumed that their customers wouldn't mind going for the same sort of system just because they were Nintendo. This was despite the fact that CD technology was now very affordable and the limitations of cartridges meant better games were going to be difficult for 3rd parties to make.

Their second time with the Wii U the issues arouse out of ignorance. The Wii's motion controller gimmick was only part of the reason it was a major success. People were actually expecting a reasonable library of games to use the gimmick with and this never materialized. The Wii U's gimmick may be quite clever and might be able to be used well in some cases in the future, but it will do no good if there aren't any games to be played and enjoyed on the console.

Finally Sony's failure during their third is obvious. They suffered from egotistical arrogance. An attitude that suggested we should be lucky they were putting out another console, regardless of price, was insane when there was a perfectly good competitor in the Xbox 360, which not only was cheaper, but came out earlier.

Looking forward to the future it appears Microsoft is going to suffer all these problems with the Xbox One. The Xbone takes its consumer base for granted by just assuming they will be OK with a console that doesn't let them freely sell and buy used games. They assume people will be OK with a console that checks up on them every 24 hours to ensure they aren't defying their lord and masters.

Some people have tried to defend the price point of the Xbone by exclaiming that the extra $100 is because of the Kinect being included. But who decided that we all needed Kinect included?

I won't say Microsoft is set to fail this generation because I doubt they will. There will be enough people who will buy their console this time around out of ignorance, brand-loyalty and general apathy to probably make ends meet but they will feel backlash for their rather arrogant decisions. In reality Microsoft have ticked almost every box in the big list of bad moves to make when launching a new console. In the end all I have to say is this:

Microsoft have been wondering so hard about what they can get away with their next console that they never stopped to think about whether they should.