There are two remarkable observations to make about the microconsole phenomenon. The first is how quickly the idea has come together, and how companies like Ouya have realised that the time is right for hardware and software to come together and disrupt all that we know.
The second is how much the main / regular / grown-up / established games industry is not getting it. The reactions I keep encountering this week at GDC vary from wait-and-see to outright bafflement. What, I keep hearing, is this "microconsole" thing I keep hearing about? How is it supposed to compete with the might of MicroSonyTendo? Who would want to develop games for something like this until it reaches critical mass?
This is how the industry typically reacts to new ideas. Five years ago the industry was equally baffled by the idea that Facebook games would be a very big thing. It had much the same reaction to smartphones, or tablets. Most developers and publishers tend to develop a fixed understanding of the gaming universe, as though how the market is today is somehow how it was always meant to be, and how it will be for all time. And then it changes.
To me, microconsoles represent a very big change. They're small boxes with big ideas, low prices, common operating systems, developer empowerment, free-to-play economics and so on. They're compelling to me because they take many ideas from the app world and say "Why not on TV too?". They're compelling to developers (especially indies) because they promise to get out of the way of the conversation between game maker and customer.
And as for the customer? You don't think $99 and free games is a compelling argument when stacked up against $3-400 and very-not-free games? Think again.