A memo from OUYA CEO Julie Uhrman leaked to Fortune says the company has run out of cash and is now frantically seeking a buyer. The memo sent to investors and advisers earlier this month asks for potential buyers to express interest before the end of April, which is a tight timetable insisted upon by OUYA's creditors. This may be the end of the line for one of Kickstarter's early success stories.
The original Kickstarter campaign that pushed OUYA into the spotlight earned the company almost $8.6 million to fund the development of the Android-based microconsole. It later took $15 million in venture capital, then shortly thereafter it went back for a little more cash. It also got $10 million from a deal with Alibaba recently.
So we're definitely looking at tens of millions in funding, and OUYA has only existed for about two years. Making hardware is expensive, but OUYA only has the one device, and it has remained virtually unchanged since launch. It seems like something must have gone wrong behind the scenes for the company to run out of funds so fast. Maybe building a dedicated game store was more troublesome than expected.
As for the future of OUYA as a product, it's not looking good. In the memo Uhrman states, "Our focus now is trying to recover as much investor capital as possible." It's possible someone will simply take on all the debt and try to move OUYA forward, but that doesn't sound too likely. OUYA might be worth more chopped up and sold in pieces.
We were never very keen on the OUYA around here, but we're not gloating. Our sympathies go out to the people who are probably about to lose their jobs... and all of those who bought the Ouya hoping for a gaming revolution. It's a bummer all around.
- The Verge