First thing you should do with your new OUYA (fix the controller lag) 9

I got an OUYA this week and my initial impression was pretty poor. Here was my tweet:

Initial impression of the Ouya: I feel embarrassed for those who put their name on this project. The controller lag makes games unplayable.

I loaded and played a game called Dubwars for my first OUYA experience, and I’m not exaggerating about the lag. It was at least 500ms between input into the controller and when the sprite reacted on screen. The experience was so bad.


If you are having lag problems and want to know the solution now: Move the OUYA console away from wires and other sources of RF and turn it on it’s side so that the plastic top is facing toward you.

The second game I loaded was Tower Fall, and the lag there was similarly bad. Finally, after a short break and some disappointed tweets, I tried another game, there the lag was inconsistent, sometimes the lag was bad, sometimes it almost disappeared (never completely).

Initially, I was terribly disappointed. I had really high hopes for the OUYA. Not just as a machine that I can play with myself, but as a platform upon which I can create games. More about this later.

After I let me disappointment subside I tried playing with a wired Xbox 360 controller. My experience there was great. There was no lag at all. Dubwars is a pretty fun game, by the way. If you are OUYA owner, I recommend it!

That gave me some hope. Perhaps, this console could still deliver on it’s promise. I have a wireless controller USB dongle for the Xbox 360, that also worked great (great meaning no lag, it shows up as 4 controllers even though only one was connected). I also tried a PS3 controller (I wanted to test the bluetooth, to see if that was the source of the lag, but I couldn’t get it to pair).

Finally, after spending some time on the OUYA forums, I found that some people were suggesting turning the OUYA on it’s side and pointing the plastic top toward the controller (the aluminium casing can shield the bluetooth signal!) I tried that, and it in fact works! So, now even with the stock controller, I am now getting pretty good responsiveness (I think the wired controller is still perceptibly better, but it’s close enough that I’m not 100% sure).

Here’s a couple of pics – this is the setup that gave me problems:

This is bad

This is bad

Here’s where I put the OUYA when it performed with tons of lag. You can see the Xbox 360 next to it, plus a whole bunch of plugs for various things.

This is good

This is good

Moving the OUYA forward away from the wires and turning it on it’s side pretty much eliminated the lag (almost completely).

9 thoughts on “First thing you should do with your new OUYA (fix the controller lag)

  1. Reply Ben Jul 9,2013 2:06 pm

    Interesting! I’ll have to give that a try.

    I have a 360 wireless dongle as well. Did the mistaken 4-controller input cause issues or can you still play with 1-4 controllers regardless?

  2. Reply sixtyfps Jul 14,2013 9:23 pm

    Holy crap, thank you. I might actually buy Towerfall if I can get an hour in without the lag BS we were experiencing. AWESOME game.

  3. Reply Sawn guy Jul 15,2013 1:29 am

    Thank you!!!!!!!

  4. Reply Christian Jul 15,2013 6:25 pm

    Wow, what a relief, no kidding. This really helps and makes gaming that much less frustrating!

  5. Reply Mike Jul 18,2013 3:17 pm


    I’ll try that out. I just got mine and had so much controller lag that it was impossible to even use. I really want to like this thing, and XBMC runs amazing on it, but you have to use a smartphone app as a remote due to the horrid controller lag.

  6. Reply Mike Oct 24,2013 5:42 pm

    This definitely helped a bit, but I still need to be far closer to the console than I’d like.

    Going to try a few more configurations and see if I can find a sweet spot.

  7. Pingback: Ouya controller lags | Frits Bosschert

  8. Reply john Feb 25,2014 12:44 pm

    OMG thank you for your input i feel stupid.

  9. Reply mieZe Mar 22,2014 8:05 pm

    Additional hint:
    I still had lags. After we turned off our WLAN and putted all our mobile devices away – we didn’t experience lags again.

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