Ed Fries, one of the founding fathers of the Xbox, has said detractors are in no position to judge whether Android-based microconsole Ouya has succeeded or failed.
Fries, who serves as an advisor to Ouya, defended the new tech in a post on VentureBeat.
He noted that back when the Xbox was approaching launch, many at Microsoft had doubts that Halo could be successful because it was too different from hits like Crash Bandicoot – showing that context often blinds us to the potential of innovation.
“This is essentially the same issue that now faces Ouya. The platform is being judged by how well it stacks up against metrics from a previous era, one with an entirely different business model,” he wrote.
“Among the criticisms is that ‘only’ one out of three Ouya owners have purchased at least one game. While the folks at Ouya are incredibly proud of this early outcome, some have chosen to interpret this as a glass that’s two-thirds empty. But is it?” he continued.
Fries said the digital distribution revolution has changed the industry sufficiently that it’s now impossible to judge success based on traditional metrics, and that new ones are needed.
“Just as there was no way to compare Minecraft with World of Warcraft three years ago, today it is nearly impossible to compare Ouya with the next-generation consoles set to debut this year.This is because the game has changed dramatically for the interactive entertainment industry – and so have the rules,” he said. “What does success look like? I can honestly say I don’t know.”