It’s difficult to trust the Ouya store.
Before I can use the Ouya, I’m required to provide a funding source. Either I tie a credit card to my account or provide a code for pre-paid credit to top the account up or I cannot progress beyond the account sign up stage and therefor cannot use the Ouya for anything much beyond typing my name in on the set up account procedure. I cannot play games, I cannot access the store, I cannot change any settings without first providing either money or a source of money to Ouya.
The Ouya store is labelled DISCOVER and upon button pushing through to it you’re presented with a series of tiles divided up into all manner of categories. Lots of pretty pictures where you’re only a button press or two away from downloading the game of your choice. Want an arcade game? Zip down to the arcade tile, have a gander around and download that arcade game! Easy. Except…
There is no price listed for any of the games in the discover tab. No indication as to whether they cost any money at all. Amazing, really. A large amount of games may or may not cost money and there is nowhere on the store to find out. Not anywhere. No price. Not in the description, not on the storefront, not in the expandable more info box.
There is no way to distinguish between ACTUALLY REALLY GENUINELY FREE GAME and THIS IS A TRIAL. There is no way to know the upfront costs of anything you download or the IAP costs or any costs at all.
There are no details of how the game is gated. You are unable to discover how and when the game will be asking you for money before downloading the game. Given there is no accepted standard for trials, providing this information to the customer should be paramount. They should be informed if the game will allow them x amount of plays per day, per hour, whether it is a level limited demo, whether it is a time limited demo, they should be informed what it is they’re downloading.
They aren’t. This is disgraceful.
The store is set up in a way to not so much mislead people as to what they’re downloading but to make it pot luck, a gamble. There is no good nor honest reason to withhold this information from a customer yet the store and Ouya policies are built around doing just that.
This makes the store untrustworthy. A lack of trust compounded by the inability to use the device without providing a funding source up front. How can you trust a store that doesn’t provide the most basic and essential information but will happily take your credit card number to smooth purchasing over? Something is very wrong there.
As is, the device is only safe for a tech literate, security conscious group of people with a high tolerance for having important information withheld from them. I simply could not recommend the Ouya to a person who is not any of those things whilst the store remains as is.
The Ouya has earned itself the dubious honour of being the first and only games device of many in this home that I do not feel comfortable leaving my kids alone with.
Ouya policies around their store needs to change. At a minimum, these changes should be enacted fast.
No funding required just to set up an account to use the console. Allow people to buy as they go along with no information stored not just forcing them into pre-paid cards to negotiate this.
Provide all information on trial limitations and costs to the customer, no hiding it away. Make the deal clear.
Until then, the Ouya is not safe for the mass market and the policies reflect badly on all those who place their work on the store. We should be working towards creating as much trust as possible between us and the people who play our games, they should feel safe purchasing our work and able to make informed purchasing decisions. The Ouya store removes any and all trust from the process. In the quest for friction free, it’s forgotten humans. This is not the way we should be selling our works. Even those who might provide work for free are effected because nobody knows their work is really actually genuinely free.
It has to change. This is not the way to do things. We need to be better than this and just about everywhere else, we are.