OUYA Console to Join Razer for Android-Powered Domination

Android will rule TV gaming! You know, or not…

Razer, best known for their many connected devices for gamers, has acquired the assets from Android-powered microconsole, OUYA, announced in a press release this morning.

Remember when video game industry insiders were so terrified that web and mobile games were going to eclipse the home console market? Does anyone remember Julie Uhrman’s response to that fear, the OUYA? Well, way back in 2012, Uhrman revealed the “new kind of video game console”. One that would run on the open platform, Android, and bring gamers back to the television. The Kickstarter campaign launched and is still one of the most successful crowdfunded campaigns in the platform’s time, currently sitting at #5. It is still, at the time of this posting, the most successful video game-related Kickstarter campaign. But since OUYA’s successful crowdfunding campaign, things did not go so well for the tiny console. OUYA launched with software issues and the controller — which, like the rest of the device, was lauded for being designed by Yves Béhar of Jawbone and One Laptop Per Child — had a defect where its buttons would get stuck underneath its faceplate. Then, at the time of its public release, the OUYA was ranked #108 in Futuremark’s benchmark tests for Android devices, most of which were mobile phones. Eventually, games that launched on OUYA — like TowerFall — began moving to other platforms, making the OUYA obsolete.

In April 2015, OUYA began searching for a buyer after being unable to renegotiate its debt. On June 12, 2015, Razer closed its purchase of OUYA’s platform for an undisclosed sum. While OUYA CEO, Julie Uhrman has resigned, OUYA’s technical and developer relations teams have been absorbed into Razer’s software team. OUYA’s content catalog and online retail platform will be relaunched as Cortex for Android TV, the platform for Razer’s own Android-powered microconsole, Forge TV.

“Razer has a long-term vision for Android TV and Android-based TV consoles, such as the Xiaomi Mi Box and Alibaba Tmall Box, to which OUYA already publishes,” says Razer Co-Founder and CEO Min-Liang Tan. “OUYA’s work with game developers, both triple A and indies, went a long way in bringing Android games to the living room and Razer intends to further that work. This acquisition is envisaged to usher more developers and content to the Android TV platform.”
But what of the developers? The one thing OUYA did well was create a platform that developers appreciated developing for. One developer shared their feelings on the new vision for OUYA:

“When it comes to gamers, Min clearly knows what he is doing,” says Brian Fargo, video game designer, producer, programmer and founder of Interplay Entertainment and inXile Entertainment. “I’m certain that he has clever ideas on how to make his many initiatives with Forge TV fit well with all the titles and hard work that OUYA put in.”
So current OUYA owners and developers should not notice too much of change and only time will tell where Razer will take Android gaming in the future.

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