The Ouya console was one of the golden projects of crowdfunding, raising $8.5 million from Kickstarter backers in advance of its 2013 launch. The device was seen as a shining example of the power of the gaming community, as well as a chance for developers to get their teeth into a new distribution model. The Ouya, running on an Android operating system, had the promise of opening up the realms of video game creation in fun and interesting ways.
Unfortunately, the console has not quite delivered on its potential. The Ouya launched with its flaws all-too-apparent, with many citing a limited functionality and the lack of must-have software as major problems that needed to be addressed. Although Ouya tried to further entice developers to the fledgling console with a fund for indie developers willing to give timed Ouya exclusivity, the device still struggled to find either a strong development core or a captive audience.
It was no surprise, then, that rumors began to circulate that Ouya was looking to get acquired by an outside investor. Now, it seems as though the company has had its wish granted, in the form of a somewhat unlikely source. According to a new report by CNET, Ouya is in negotiations with Razer, the tech company most famous for its PC gaming-focused peripherals and accessories.
The news may be surprising given some of the companies that had allegedly been interested in purchasing the company. When news first began to appear that Ouya was ripe for the picking, big names such as Amazon and Google were rumored to be involved, focusing on the potential of the console’s strong Android roots. It’s also surprising to see the company see a buy-out so soon after high-level investment from Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba, in a deal that saw Ouya games come to Alibaba’s set-top boxes.
Razer, however, may be a good fit for the crowdfunded console, as the company has been making some bigger risks in recent years. Most noticeably, the company has pushed beyond its gaming peripheral bread-and-butter with the super-thin Razer Blade laptop, and apparently there are even bigger plans in the works. With VentureBeat stating that a reliable source puts the deal close to the $10 million mark, Razer may make a shrewd move to acquire a property that still has plenty of potential.
Although Ouya has had an undoubtedly lukewarm reception since launch, it’s clear that at least some still see a positive future in the console. Although the company may have hit some severe snags along the line, including disappointing sales figures and a poorly thought-out marketing campaign that distanced gamers from the console, there may still be life in the Android device yet. Let’s see whether this potential Razer buyout can save the ambitious project.