In April, Ouya, the startup android console, announced that it was going up for sale after falling short of an investor agreement. Today, CNET reported that the company is in negotiations with Razer, the gaming computer and accessories manufacturer. No deal has been finalized as of yet, but sources close to the matter have said Razer is figuring out how to bring the Ouya staff onboard.
It’s estimated that the sale will be around $10 million to satisfy Ouya’s debt holders. In January, after rumors that Ouya might have been selling to Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba for $10 million, this money apparently came as an investment instead. With the poor performance Ouya has seen since then, it’s certainly possible Alibaba is pushing the sale.
Razer’s interest in Ouya’s assets is apparent, with its store of more than 1,124 Android games with a number of exclusive titles. Bringing this library to its Forge micro-console will be a huge boon as it enter competition with Amazon’s Fire and Nvidia’s Shield.
Here is Razer’s non-comment on the transaction: “Razer has always been supportive of Ouya, in particular, their work toward building an open platform for Android gaming in the living room and the empowerment of developers, especially indie developers, all over the world. However, we do not comment on speculation or rumors and will reach out if and when we have substantive information to share.”
The $99 Android micro-console was marketed as an accessible, cheap home console with a vast library, including “free-to-try” games. Despite its low price, sleek design, and hackability, the poorly-designed interface, rushed controller design, and poor selection of TV-friendly Android apps stifled sales. Disrupting the console market has proven to be a challenge for all contenders. Hardcore gamers have no desire for an underpowered console and casual gamers don’t watch the industry close enough to know about these micro-consoles. Ouya’s departure is due to financial troubles, but perhaps Razer, Nvidia, and Amazon’s other products can provide the funding they need to blow up.