Back in 2012, the Ouya microconsole raised over $8.5 million on Kickstarter, becoming one of the crowdfunding platform’s most successful projects. Over 60,000 people backed the console, which is powered by a modified version of Google’s Android operating system.
The Ouya’s main selling point is the fact that the console can play the same games as Android smartphones and tablets but instead of those small screens, the Ouya is able to display the games on televisions with a dedicated controller. The Ouya also retails for an affordable $99, which didn’t hurt interest either.
In early 2013, Ouya, Inc. (the company behind the Ouya console) doubled their crowdfunding money when groups like Kleiner Perkins, Mayfield Fund, and even NVIDIA collectively invested $15 million. Additional funds were also given to Ouya by TriplePoint Capital soon after.
But even with all of that money, NPD said that Ouya’s initial retail sales were “relatively light for a new console.” Not to mention, the Ouya was met with mixed reviews, with critics noting that it was only as powerful as 2013’s high-end smartphones and that its controller inputs lagged too.
As a result, Ouya, Inc. has been struggling and it now needs to raise some capital if it is to continue. The company did manage to secure $10 million from Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba two months ago but as it has been unable to restructure its debt to keep running, Ouya, Inc. is now looking for buyers. According to a leaked memo sent by the Ouya’s CEO Julie Uhrman to the company’s investors and advisers, Ouya wants to get the sale settled by the end of the month.
Fortune reports that the Mesa Global investment bank (which handled Songza’s sale to Google last year) will be handling things, though it’s unclear how much money Ouya, Inc. is looking for. However, although Ouya’s sales have been poor, Uhrman’s memo notes that their catalog has “over 1,000 apps and 40,000 developers” and that they have “the largest library of Android content for the TV (still more than Amazon)”.
As a result, there is a lot of potential in the company not as a maker of games consoles but as an Android-TV gaming service. Just last year they made a deal with Xiaomi (one of the biggest technology companies in Asia) to put games on their TVs and set-top boxes and Alibaba’s set-top boxes will also get Ouya games next month.
Following that logic, it would make sense for a company like Amazon or Nintendo to snap Ouya up. Uhrman said herself that they have a larger game library than Amazon and although the online retailer does very well in the West, it has been struggling in China. Perhaps Ouya could help them get a better foothold in the Chinese market.
Nintendo, meanwhile, is about to get into smartphone gaming and is working on an online membership service that works on PC, mobile, and Nintendo consoles, so perhaps Ouya’s technology could help them with that. Additionally, Ouya sale rumors from several months ago suggest that Google was once interested in buying the company.
Which company do you think should buy Ouya, Inc.? Did you back the Ouya microconsole? Leave a comment and let us know.