02
Sep
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The low-cost Ouya game console got a big start a few years back when it raised more than $8 million on Kickstarter. When the console actually came out in mid-2013, the results were less than impressive. Ouya has gone through a number of changes since then, but now Recode is reporting that it has entered acquisition talks with a number of companies in the US and China.

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Ouya reportedly feels cashing out is a better option than raising additional money to continue on its own. Despite luring in some top developers and doing away with the free-to-try requirement for games, Ouya has failed to catch on. Ouya even tried shifting from a single hardware spec to a platform that could be loaded onto devices like the MadCatz console and smart TVs

Talks are still in the early stages, but Ouya is said to be engaging with Chinese firms like Xiaomi and Tencent. In the US, Google and Amazon have been talking about a deal with Ouya. A Chinese purchase seems much more likely, though. Xiaomi in particular would make a good home for Ouya as it has already committed to including the Ouya software with its smart TVs. An Android gaming system that doesn't rely on Google services also makes a ton of sense in the Chinese market. Ouya wouldn't add anything substantial to Google's or Amazon's gaming efforts.

[Recode]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • http://www.about.me/kendallseabury Kendall Seabury

    It wasn't even a decent android device. Let alone gaming.

  • Taedirk

    To the surprise of... er....

  • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

    Why would google want to acquire this shite?

    • noel kait

      Because this shite had alot of potential that was executed poorly and google tends to like to fix companies that was at first shite.

      • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

        Google can do a lot better, as shown by Android TV box developers got at I/O. I can't see how Google would benefit from acquiring Ouya.

        • noel kait

          They can market the Ouya as an android TV box that leads towards gaming. They can beef it up with a tegra K1 (64-bit), Xiaomi can do the exact same thing.

          • Samuel Hart

            I think the point is that there's no NEED to buy Ouya. All Google would get from it is the team, who have already shown themselves to not be the best for the product. With all their balls in the air at the moment Google could release a console-like-thing without bothering to buy Ouya :/

          • noel kait

            Yeah I see your point.

  • Shane Redman

    We, uh, weren't surprised.

  • noel kait

    I hope that either xiaomi or google acquire them because they both can provide a good home for this console.

    • johnas

      Well,
      Lets hope Xiomi would also sell the boxes in Europe an US then. NOT only in Chi na (like the Xiomi TV box they have, only in Chineese).
      Otherway... Android TV (if it has browser/chrome suport, and its not only an appl3 tv for play store).

  • beyondthetech

    I was about to pick one of these up at a local Target for 50 percent off, as well as a GameStick for only 19USD. Guess I'm glad I picked up neither.

    • Sir_Brizz

      The GameStick is nice if you are in to emulation.

      • A

        Unless the Gamestick has improved significantly the past few months, I'd say it's still a no-buy. I recall that the Gamestick store explicitly forbids emulators on its store (not Google Play). You can put the Play Store on it, but it requires a lot of hackery - something involving ADB over network and a specific XBMC plugin. However, the device is awful in hardware, and unless you have the dock, you probably will need to connect the stick to a power supply as well. The thing gets extremely hot and doesn't come with a power button. Honestly, Ouya gets a lot of flak for leaving their product and not delivering, but the Gamestick thing is far worse.

    • hkklife

      When I was at my local Target the other night, these things were still sitting there on the shelf, untouched, at original full price. Like always, Target clearance sales vary dramatically from region to region.

  • Adrian Meredith

    Shame, but it was doomed from the moment it went tegra 3. Also the lack of play store meant a lot of great games would never be ported

    • andy_o

      inb4 "actually, Tegra 3 was great, it was the slow NAND of the 2012 Nexus 7 that was crap".

      • Evan

        That, the wonky wifi, the shoddy controllers that were sent out to all the Kickstarter backers, the terrible rollout of the hardware....

        There was a lot that went wrong. Which is a shame because on the off chance the system works, it is a decent little emulator box.

        • MadFerret9

          good point. I am annoyed that they never formally addressed the controller issues publicly. They released a new version with improved controller support.. but what do I do with my old Ouya + 3 controllers? Throw it in the garbage? I feel duped.

          • Bawb

            Buy new controller covers, duh... They updated as in firmware and fixed the button stick issue with bigger holes on new covers.

          • MadFerret9

            Do you mean I have to upgrade the firmware of the controllers themselves? How? Also, the controller faceplates are a ripoff- sure they are only $10 each, but the Ouya site charges $20 just to ship them.

          • Evan

            You can email them and they should be able to take the controllers in and update the firmware. I just opened a support ticket and they did it for me. IIRC I had to cover the postage, but at least I have controllers that don't lag anymore.

            I still don't understand why they haven't made the firmware on the controllers updgradeable by the end user. I'll just add "maintainability" to the list of broken promises.

      • Sir_Brizz

        I wouldn't say the Tegra 3 was great but it was just fine as a CPU and pretty good as a GPU.

        • andy_o

          The point about the Ouya having Tegra 3 though is not if it was "just fine", it's that it was a gaming console that when it came out it would have a very old SOC. The "being cheap" gambit didn't work, I guess.

    • renz

      they might not able to get that $99 price tag if they choose other SoC. also this is the reality of Kickstarter project. when they propose the project the part they choose to use might be good enough or decent at that time. but when they actually comes out (to consumer) it might very well outdated. and in mobile the tech are moving in quite rapid pace.

    • Neph

      It was doomed once they failed to include a button that would allow you to boot into recovery. Too many hacks had to be put in place that the mod community never really took off. As for the play store, I ran CM10 with the play store just fine. It was more of a gimmick, but it could be done.

    • ari_free

      Wrong. The real problem was their belief that the one thing we really wanted were more IAP/freemium games.

    • ari_free

      Most ouya games don't come close to the capacity of tegra 3. They like their 2D retro.

      • Bawb

        Exactly, only 7 games use the Tegra chipset to the fullest everything else doesn't.

  • Samuel Hart

    Not surprising but still a little disappointing.

  • http://planetmew.com/blog/ Christopher Glass

    This little box is the reason people should never jump onto Kickstarter hype to support things just because they're popular.

    • kgptzac

      And also exposes the unfortunate reality of backing hardware on Kickstarter is more akin to lottery.

    • MJ

      Never? All Kickstarter products that were popular have failed? People
      have never bought a hyped non-Kickstarter product that failed and was
      abandoned?

      Crowd sourced funded products are no different then traditionally funded products. Some are successful and some are not...

      I have backed a couple of hardware crowd funded products where I got a
      better price and extra stuff compared to the retail release and was very
      happy with it. One has to do their research, understand the product
      and it's market with any Kickstarter product just like anything else
      before putting their money down.

      • http://planetmew.com/blog/ Christopher Glass

        Which is literally what I said. The last 4 words in my sentence are important to read.

        • MJ

          That was not literally what you said but I did misread your comment. I guess my reply was better suited for kgptzac who seems to think playing the lottery has the same odds as your average hardware Kickstarter.

    • James Glen Dalby

      I'm enjoying my Pebble and Oculus Rift, which were very popular.

      • CoffeeGeeker

        Agree (on Pebble); some KS programs do deliver on the hype ,and here's why: the successful KS companies continue to back and update their products, and don't undersell too much. My Pebble was pretty much exactly what it was promised to be when I had it delivered (unlike Ouya, which didn't have XBMC or Netflix on delivery); and Pebble has stood by their product, building a rich ecosystem around it and offering a lot of added value, even 2 years later. Ouya? Took the money and ran.

        • James Glen Dalby

          OUYA has been updating its platforms and store since day 1 through regular firmware updates and software updates. The controller lag that plagued the day 1 release has been effectively fixed, and the majority of the updates to the store (such as better rating systems, pay-only games, and updated trending recommendations) have been based in large part on requests from the community of developers and customers.

          Not sure where you're pulling your facts from.

          • CoffeeGeeker

            Wow... a solo Ouya fan!!!! By chance you work for the company? I find only Ouya employees (and journalists) write the company name in ALL CAPS.

            My facts; XBMC promised on delivery of device (conveniently edited in their KS program btw) - didn't happen. Netflix, movie support strongly hinted at in initial launch - didn't happen. Crappy crappy crappy crappy crappy controller - flimsy, bad to control, you name it - fact. Controller lag on release - fact.

            This company oversold an underpowered product. They could have easily made it all they promised, with the $8mil infusion, but didn't. That's not just me saying this. This is pretty much every reviewer of the Ouya, and every single owner I've ever talked to about the product.

          • James Glen Dalby

            Then you didn't ask me. For what you pay for, you get quite a lot. I didn't kickstart the OUYA for XBMC or Netflix. I kickstarted it for buying and building independent games. It was in no way a replacement for AAA consoles. To me, it adequately lived up to its hype, and I look forward to seeing how other micro-consoles use the Android OS to build a customer base from scratch.

          • MadFerret9

            Well said. People don't seem to understand Ouya is about opening up consoles to independant developers. Historically, consoles have been a closed ecosystem. Ouya is not about catering to couch potatoes who want to play Call of Duty clones.

          • Bawb

            It's a better experience IMHO, as it caters to the casual gamer who just wants to occasionally play games with friends.

    • ari_free

      and pressy

  • mark boyle

    The problem is mobile technology is evolving too quickly to make a console based of it.

    • noel kait

      Tell that the nvidia shield and tablet that did well.

      • Randroid

        Because those are consoles, and not at all mobile.

        • primalxconvoy

          Yes. Except the ouya can easily be out in a bag and then hooked up to a friend's tv somewhere else.

          Regardless, the OP is irrelevant. Android is an OS that is mobile, meaning convergence is simply the now, not the future. Hardware and the form factor is irrelevant.

        • ari_free

          Or maybe because nvidia has a clue about real gaming. Yes to more games like trine 2 and fewer Flappy birds. Those cutey games may sell but they do not sell consoles!

      • mark boyle

        nvidia is capable of making gtx780 powerful graphics. a tegra4 isn't close to it and a tegra 3 is much slower. and ill tell that to the 5 people who own shields

    • primalxconvoy

      What a thoroughly ignorant statement. They still make you?

      • mark boyle

        you're right a tegra 3, 1gb ram 8gb hd is not obselete. It was released 14 months ago. consoles last 5-8 years.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Shawn De Cesari

    I think even Stevie Wonder saw this coming.

  • Brad

    I'll just chromecast my screen from my n5 and use a BT controller...

    • frhow

      lol good luck with the lag...

      • Brad

        I haven't had issues yet...

    • h4rr4r

      Just get a slimport adaptor.

    • dude

      Now if Google stop being an ass and enable screen casting for more Android phones.

      • http://volumeboy-man.bandcamp.com/ VBM

        ... Root..

  • jonathan3579

    It's about time. I saw this coming before they even released it...

  • DonSerrot

    I'll be honest, I wasn't interested in the Ouya for the games as much as the hope that I'd be able to watch my Google Play Movies and TV content on my TV with it. When that came up as a bust it was doomed to just sit there doing nothing. It's more of a desk ornament now than anything really.

    • dude

      Cyanogen.

  • mechapathy

    Ouno.

  • dude

    It's the Ouya staffs that seems to be acquired, not the console.

  • Matthew Fry

    Rest in pieces, Ouya. Hindsight is 20/20 but I, for one, was pessimistic from the get-go. I'm also not convinced the Fire TV will take off either. The medium is tainted by F2P. It might recover and values of games may go back up, but it will take time. I think the only way developers will make money on the Fire TV are through the deluge of Amazon coins they've handed out. Once that has dried up, they will find out that not many are dedicated to the Amazon Store platform.

    • primalxconvoy

      Fire TV is also too closed to woo vanilla android and most ouya owners to replace their systems as sideloading is a pain.

      • MadFerret9

        I tested a Fire TV because I was thinking about bringing my game to Fire TV (I have been developing it for Ouya). I found it to be an uninspired platform that costs a lot of money (once you buy the controller) and does surprisingly little. There's almost no free content available on the Fire TV, and single HD episodes of most TV shows cost a ludacris $4. I ended up returning it. The hardware specs are impressive, but it won't take off.

  • Eric Meadow

    I picked up and Ouya to use as an Emulator Box + XBMC client. it serves my needs wonderfully, and as awkward as the controllers look.... they feel surprisingly good in hand. rooting + adding google services to my Ouya is near the top of my weekend project list, and i think that will open a lot of nice options for it once i do. I hope whoever picks up Ouya commits to rolling out Android TV to us, because damn would I really really love to have that.

  • Aborto

    I backed the Ouya and although i don't regret it they definitely stuffed up a few things and overall it was a bit of a disappointment.

    * By the time they finally got it to me it had been out in retail for a few weeks, the second controller took another couple of months.
    * I backed it for XBMC support more than anything else, it was supposed to ship with it but it took about a year before it was available and in a usable state, they removed DTS/Dolby decoding as well making the official app useless for me. By the time XBMC support was where it should have been at launch I had given up and brought a NUC.
    * The UI performance sucked at launch, they improved it but it's still not great.
    * The game selection is still pretty shit, there's a few I like but only a few.
    * The bluetooth controllers do not reliably connect. Getting four of them connected and working is a real mission sometimes.

    It had a lot of promise and is not a bad buy now for as a cheap media player / emulator box but they handled the launch horribly.

  • Jadephyre

    Wow, looks like a smart decision after all that I didn't buy one... sad to see them go though.

  • primalxconvoy

    This doesn't surprise me. Their desire to remove free to play games from their system seemed like a last ditch attempt to woo more devs and investors to the platform, possibly before selling it off.

    Perhaps their new Chinese owners will create a new Ouya, with hardware that's actually any good this time. I've a lot more faith in them to deliver quality hardware than Ouya themselves.

  • WhyWai

    once again proven that mobile user who play apps are not gamer. they dun care about gaming. just wanna pass their their on train or on couch.

  • CoffeeGeeker

    I backed Ouya, got the device and extra controllers (in the rare exclusive offer colour), and never opened the boxes. I managed to sell them to some poor sucker on Amazon a few months later (sorry mate). I sold them for nearly the price I paid, so I consider myself extremely lucky. This was one of my top five worst Kickstarter backings.

  • Mehmed

    The greatest problem of the ouya is that it's just being released to soon. (Of course the kick starter project was also to early. It should have started this year) what the ouya needed was software wide android l 5.0 open gl es 3.1 android extension pack and hardwarewise at least an can 15 CPU and a GPU like adreno 420 and better or tegra k1. Of course lpddr4 and 4 gig ram + 16-32 gig sad wouldn't hurt either. Than! It would have been great. This years mobile game market is twice as big as last years.

    • http://www.modsuperstar.ca/ modsuperstar

      How could it be released too soon? They're really the last man standing when it comes to the independent microconsoles. The Gamestick is toast. The MOJO was overpriced and pitched in with Ouya since their platform didn't catch fire on their own. The reality is Ouya was first to market, was the biggest name in microconsoles and did a reasonable job of delivering on the items they promised. If they waited to launch their device they would have just been an also ran device that nobody cared about. All the specs you outline are laughable when you're talking about a $100 microconsole. As you can see with the MOJO, it tried to be a super powered Android console at the $300 price point and failed miserably.

  • ari_free

    Ouya? No.
    Ouch.

  • TechJunkie198

    it doesn't help that a 2nd controller cost half as much as the console+1controller

  • Bawb

    Ouya is not "cashing out", they actually went into partnership to get higher sales in foreign markets... Do research before making junk articles.

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