After coming off an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign that raised nearly $8.6 million in August 2012, the Ouya has yet to find much success. Several missteps have hampered the Android-based console since its launch, and its run so far prevented the Ouya from becoming the proverbial David versus the industry’s Goliaths that company CEO Julie Uhrman had hoped for.
Shipping problems and controller issues left many with a bad taste in their mouths when the Ouya first released in June 2013. A relative weak launch line-up led to a paltry 27 percent of owners purchasing a game in its first month of availability. We can’t forget about that weird Ouya commercial that made matters even worse. Combine that with a lack of must-play titles, and the Ouya is in trouble of losing whatever credibility and goodwill remains.
Hoping to turn the company’s fortunes around, Uhrman is looking to free the Ouya from the shackles of its current, small physical box. She recently told Slashdot the company will soon announce “Ouya Everywhere,” which will theoretically embed the Ouya operating system in TVs, mobile phones and possibly even PCs, drastically increasing the amount of people who have access to its games and apps. Ouya would become a software service instead of a $99 console.
“Right now, our growth is limited by how quickly we can make a box and put it into market… We know that our demand far exceeds our ability to do that. It could be another set-top [box]. It could be the TV itself. There’s a number of different ways that games can be played on the television, and we’re actively exploring all of them.”
So far, details are sparse, but Uhrman reveals the company has already signed a deal with an unnamed company.
While some may think this new direction flies in the face of Ouya’s original vision of bringing PC and mobile-style games to the TV and played with a controller, Uhrman believes this isn’t the case and has previously said it has an Ouya 2 in development.
“We’ve always wanted to be an open platform. It started with a hardware product for us. We will always have an Ouya reference design… but in addition to just being a reference device, we believe our ecosystem can live on other devices.”
Of course, Ouya Everywhere won’t be the first time a company integrated its console technology into other devices. For example, OnLive did just that in 2012 when it was made available in a line of VIZIO smart TVs and on some Android-based tablets.
With Valve and Amazon soon releasing consoles of their own, the fight for space inside living rooms will become even more heated. If Ouya can get a few more solid titles in its library, like TowerFall, Soul Fjord and Ultionus, to go along with a bigger install base, it could finally become Uhrman’s David fighting against the video game Goliaths.
More: Ouya Console Review