Ouya Monetization “Better Than Expected” Despite 73% of Users Not Buying a Game

ouya-headerIn a recent interview with The Verge, Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman said that, “Monetization on Ouya is so far better than we expected.”

The problem with that statement is that is makes no sense by almost every objective metric. In the first month following the $99 console’s release, only 27% of owners have paid for a game. That leaves three-quarters of consoles sticking with the free games and trials currently available.

The same article from The Verge contained an interesting little tidbit on info. Thirteen of the top twenty selling games on the console have an average of 8% of gamers paying for the full version of the game. Okay, that’s a terrible statistic but that’s implying that the best-selling games that are running a ratio of 23 to 1 unpaid to paid users of a game.

Despite these numbers, Uhrman still looks at it like a victory. She told The Verge, “I think there are a lot of social and mobile app developers that would kill for an 8 percent attach rate on a platform that’s 30 days old.”

The problem is that Uhrman isn’t heading up a new mobile platform or a free-to-play box. She’s selling a video game console. When three-quarters of people downloading a demo aren’t buying the full game, a developer or publisher on the likes of the PS3, 360 or PC would consider that a failure.

It seems as though Uhrman isn’t really sure what she’s got with the Ouya. If the games on the Ouya was a F2P box, getting an 8% attach rate would support the developers because that’s what they were budgeting for. Instead, you have developers losing money for the Ouya ports of their games because people are buying it for the free stuff and don’t see the need to upgrade.

I initially liked the idea of requiring some free trial for all the games sold on the Ouya console but it seems that it’s either backfired because no one actually feels the need to buy the full version of the game or people were just looking for an emulator that they can plug into their TV.

The only developer who’s happy with their Ouya’s sales results is Matt Thorson whose TowerFall was made him $21,000 after Ouya’s 30% cut of gross revenue.

Otherwise, it doesn’t sound so good to spend money making/porting a game for the Ouya. The Organ Trail, for example, made 501 sales from 13,112 downloads for an attach rate of 3.8%. That’s for a game that I gave a score of 8.0/10, IGN reports that most of the developers they’re talking to are reporting revenue from $500 to $6,000. That might work if other console sales covered the costs of initial development but if you spent any time or money on developing or porting the game to Ouya, that’s not a good sign of the title’s profitability. Low attachment rate isn’t going to entice anyone but small indie devs to sign up for the console.

I don’t want to see the Ouya fail but it would be nice if Ouya corporate wasn’t all sunshine and lollipops when there doesn’t seem much reason to be. It seems that everyone is willing to admit that the Wii U is struggling out of the gate. What would it hurt for Uhrman to admit that the upgrade rates are less than what they hoped for instead of saying that everything was awesome balls?

Source: The Verge, IGN

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About Steve Murray

Steve is the founder and editor of The Lowdown Blog and et geekera. On The Lowdown Blog, he often writes about motorsports, hockey, politics and pop culture. Over on et geekera, Steve writes about geek interests and lifestyle. Steve is on Twitter at @TheSteveMurray.

Posted on July 31, 2013, in Games and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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