Ouya to Enter the Competition a Bit Later than Scheduled

For those of you that do not know, Ouya, by OUYA Inc., is the highly anticipated gaming console that is powered by Android. Ouya has raised approximately $8.5 million via Kickstarter, which became Kickstarter’s second highest earning project. The console sells for $99.

The launch of Ouya was originally planned for June 4th. However, its launch date has now been pushed back to June 25th. The delay is not that far off from the product’s original launch date, but it is a delay nevertheless. The company decided to delay the release of the console due to a high demand for the console. In order to meet the increased expectations for the console, they decided to delay the release by three weeks in order to produce more consoles, and to be able to have more units available in stores on its launch day.

Ouya also discovered a slight problem in regards to the design and placement of the buttons on the console’s controllers. The issue was that the buttons could get stuck under the faceplate. Although this was a minor design flaw, it can become a great problem when users get frustrated with the buttons sticking and getting stuck. Nothing is worse than an angry customer that is angry because of a product’s design flaw. The flaw was reported by some Kickstarter backers who received their consoles on March 28th and discovered the sticky buttons when trying the product out. After being notified of this issue, Ouya has implemented quite a simple solution which was to enlarge the button holes. This has already been implemented into production and the corrected controllers will be available for launch day with the consoles. Ouya stated that “If [Kickstarter] backers have a problem with their controller, we will work with them to resolve the issue via customer service.”

In my opinion, Ouya made a smart move in pushing back the launch date in order to put more hours into production so that more units of their product will be available when the consoles are officially released. Hopefully there will be enough units to not create another iPhone5 disaster in not having enough units ready to meet the consumers’ demands. Ouya is also quick to fix and implement the solution to a design flaw to their product, and provides great customer service in offering to work with those that run into problems with their controllers if they received a faulty one.

What do you think about Ouya’s decisions to push back their launch date for this highly anticipated product? What can other companies learn from Ouya when it comes to new products or services in the future? How do you think Ouya will fare in the market for consoles?

Joystiq – Ouya launch delayed to June 25, controller defect being fixed
Joystiq – Ouya: Joyqstiq takes a closer look
Image taken from: Droid-life.com

EA Says Good-Bye to Several Popular Facebook Games

On April 15th, Electronic Arts (EA) has announced that they will be retiring several of their most popular social Facebook games: The Sims Social, SimCity Social, and Pet Society. EA stated that the reason is that,

“After millions of people initially logged in to play these games, the number of players and amount of activity has fallen off. For people who have seen other recent shutdowns of social games, perhaps this is not surprising.”

These three games will officially go offline in approximately 2 months, on June 14, 2013.

An issue that follows the closure of these games involves the in-game currency for these games. Facebook games are free-to-play, but many games (“freemium” games) like EA’s allow users to purchase in-game currency with real currency to buy certain features in the game that are not free. So while EA is fine with retiring the games, many dedicated players are not happy with the fact that they spent real money on the game, and will no longer be able to access the game and the items they purchased once it goes down. EA’s response is as follows:

“Players are encouraged to spend their remaining balance of SimCash in The Sims Social before the game is retired on June 14th. As of that date, any remaining SimCash left in the game will be invalid.”

This does not really solve the problem. Players cannot do anything about it and refunds will not be provided.

These announcements have all came after EA had recently been voted for and crowned as the Worst Company in America for two consecutive years, as well as the chaotic launch of their newest game, SimCity 5. EA’s closure of these games continues to shed light on the issue of consumers not “owning” a product that they purchased, most notably intangible products such as online-only games.

As an ex-player of some of EA’s Facebook games, I think that the reason why people gradually stopped playing their games is because they failed to meet the consumer’s requirements. They were great games at the start, but as they started becoming more aggressive with the new content and the push to purchase in-game items, the games started going downhill. Many of the players, as well as myself, did not like it. Even though the community had expressed their feelings about these decisions, EA failed to address the problems. Just as our class failed to consider the consumer group’s requirements in the paper airplane activity, EA failed to meet their players’ requirements and expectations for their games.

What do you think of EA’s move to retire these games, and their responses to their consumers’ complaints in regards to the in-game currencies? What do you think about the issue in regards to the payment for and the ownership of intangible products? Furthermore, what does all of this say about the quality of EA’s products and services, as well as EA as a company in general?