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