The OUYA console started its life as one of Kickstarters most successful projects back in 2012, raising over $8.6 million from backers and blazing past its $950,000 goal in less than a 8 hours. Since then the $99 Android console has been though a few ups and downs, it has been sold in stores all across the US, but it has also had problems making much of a dent in the market dominated by Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo and it has suffered from a lack of games made for the system.
Today though word has come that Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, has invested $10 million in the Santa Monica company and may have plans to integrate the OUYA software into its own set-top boxes. This would be aided by the fact that China’s State Council recently lifted a ban on video game consoles that has been in place since 2000 and the market for cheap consoles is booming in China.
OUYA has also raised over $15 million from other investors, including Nvidia, in addition to the money it raised on Kickstarter, so there is a lot of capital behind the company and if it can break into the new Chinese market, it could easily be in with a chance of becoming one of the top console players in the world.
CEO Julie Uhrman would not confirm the Alibaba reports but she did say the following: “We have been working with partners to bring our platform and games library to their devices (OUYA Everywhere). We're live with Madcatz in the US and working with Xiaomi in China. There are a number of others in the works, with our focus outside the US because there is where we see the most opportunity and growth. Sometimes new markets leapfrog the established ones — this may be one of those cases.”
The consoles low price will help it in the new Chinese market and it recently partnered with another Chinese tech start-up, Xiaomi (who are often referred to as the Chinese Apple) to get its software onto its set-top boxes as well, meaning that a lot of the Chinese translation has already been completed. With Alibaba wanting OUYA on its set-top boxes as well, it could have a large chunk of the set-top box market with very little effort.
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KitGuru Says: I've never seen or used a OUYA but I have heard that the fledgling console was lacking in “Made for OUYA” games and lots of the ports, didn't work so well on the system. Breaking into the Chinese market in a big way though could give a massive boost to it however and with the backing of two massive Chinese companies, this should be a lot easier.
Source: Wall Street Journal