Kickstarter darling Ouya is now in the hands of Razer.
Ouya was first launched in 2012 with a monumental Kickstarter campaign. The company launched a micro-console that plays Android games on your TV. The company struggled to gain following. In North America, the console isn't very popular these days, but the Ouya did manage to pick up a following in China, where the consoles from Microsoft and Sony have been banned for years.
In April of this year, Fortune reported that Ouya was quietly shopping for a buyer and looking to unload quickly. The company had not been able to renegotiate the terms of venture debt that it had accepted from TriplePoint Capital and as a result had been forced to sell.
Razer makes its own Android-based console called Forge TV, so purchasing the catalog of over 1,000 apps and access to the developer network that Ouya has curated made a lot of sense. In June, Liliputing pointed out a page on Mesa Global's website that suggested Razer had indeed purchased Ouya. Mesa Global is the investment bank that was hired to manage the sale. That company has since also been purchased, and the website is no longer available.
Until today, all we had to go on were rumors and unofficial announcements. We had previously reached out to Razer, and the comment was essentially "no comment." The company declined to speak about the rumors, but today it was all confirmed.
Julie Uhrman, former CEO of Ouya, sent a Tweet to Razer stating she can't wait to see what it does with her former team. She went on to thank those who helped bring Ouya to reality and hinted that we'll see her again with a new project in the future. Soon after, Razer made its own confirmation, welcoming @playouya to the Razer family.
Ouya has deals with Chinese electronics makers to integrate the gaming capability directly into TVs sold in the Chinese market. Engadget earlier reported that Ouya also has a deal with Alibaba to bring the Ouya game library to Alibaba's YunOS for its set of boxes. These deals appeared to be part of the value of the company. For better or for worse, China has just lifted the 15-year-old ban on console hardware, according to the WSJ, paving the way for much competition on the Chinese market.
In another, apparently related development, Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan posted a job listing on Twitter for a Senior Mobile Software Engineer (Android) to "join Team Razer." (Here's the actual job posting if any intrepid Tom's Hardware readers are keen to apply.)
It's unclear at this time whether Razer will simply integrate Ouya's talent and IP into its existing Android micro-console efforts or if it will completely rethink its Forge TV product. We've reached out to the company for comment.
Update, 07/27/2015, 11:12am PDT: Razer has posted a press release on its website that reveals a few more details of the purchase. While no financial details have been released, Razer stated that it has acquired the software assets of Ouya and will not be using the hardware. Instead, Razer will be integrating Ouya's software platform into its existing Forge TV micro-console.
Existing owners of Ouya consoles will be invited to purchase a Forge TV console at a significant discount. All existing accounts, along with purchased software, will be transferred to Razer's Cortex TV platform in the near future. The Ouya store will eventually be rebranded as "Cortex for Android TV" and will become the storefront for Razer Forge TV games and content.