Thursday, May 09, 2013

Ouya announces $15 million in additional funding, but delays console's release

Ouya, the Android-based game console -- and Kickstarter favorite -- announced on Thursday that it is pushing back the device's general release date due to high demand. The console’s original release date was early June. Instead, the $99 device will hit store shelves on June 25.

To be clear, the launch delay will not affect pre-orders made by early backers of the company. Thos pre-orders should still arrive in the hands of gamers by the end of May.

At the same time, Ouya chief executive Julie Uhrman announced in a blog post that the company had raised $15 million in funding from new investors led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers. Ouya made sure to point out that Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers was the same VC firm that originally backed Electronic Arts.

Bing Gordon, a partner at Kleiner Perkins and the former chief creative officer at Electronic Arts, will join Ouya’s board of directors. Gordon commented:
And what put me over the top was seeing the commitment from game pioneers like Brian Fargo and Tim Schafer. I had this nagging feeling that the game industry didn’t offer a good enough home for them. So many young students are also having a hard time finding a home in the game business. They want to do games like Miramax movies instead of documentaries or epic Hollywood blockbusters. Ouya could be that center for this generation of talent.
Other investors in this round of financing include the Mayfield Fund, NVIDIA (who also supplies some of the electronics for the Ouya), Shasta Ventures, and Occam Partners. In 2012, Ouya raised $8.6 million from Kickstarter, the crowd-sourced funding platform.

Over 12,000 developers have already registered to make an Ouya game. Ouya, also known as the "People’s Box," is known to be hackable and accessible to gamemakers. Naturally, it has a tough row to hoe against the big three console makers, Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony, who typically spend hundreds of millions of dollars when bringing a new console to market.

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