Bonnie Cha

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Game On: Ouya Raises $15 Million in New Funding

Ouya, the Android-based game console that received nearly $8.6 million from its Kickstarter campaign, is getting more money to put toward game development and its upcoming retail launch.

ouya

The Los Angeles-based startup announced today that it has raised $15 million in new funding, led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Other investors include the Mayfield Fund, Nvidia, Shasta Ventures and Occam Partners.

In addition to the funding news, Ouya revealed that Kleiner Perkins general partner and former Electronic Arts executive Bing Gordon will join its board of directors, where he will advise the company on its retail strategy, product development and supporting the game developer community.

For those unfamiliar with Ouya, it’s a TV game console based on the Android operating system and features its own built-in store for downloading games and apps. Compared to other popular videogame systems like the Xbox and Sony PlayStation, Ouya costs a fraction of the price at $99, and features a more open platform that allows anyone to create a game for the system. Also, all games are free to try.

Ouya was created by videogame industry veteran Julie Uhrman, who didn’t even have an actual product when she took her idea to crowdfunding site Kickstarter, and received more than 63,000 backers and $8.6 million in pledges within a month.

In late March, the company shipped the first units to its Kickstarter backers, and in June, Ouya will be available at various retailers nationwide, including Target, Best Buy, GameStop and Amazon. Originally slated for release on June 4, that date has now been pushed back to June 25.

ouya1

Though the $99 price tag is attractive, I have my doubts about its mass-market appeal. When I got a preview of Ouya in late March, I found many of the games to be retro-style arcade games or those you’d find on a smartphone or tablet, and I’m not sure that’s going to draw people looking for popular games like Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed.

Uhrman told me they are working with big studios to bring AAA titles to the platform, and has more than 12,000 developers registered to make an Ouya game.

But Ouya isn’t the only one playing the alternative console game. Companies like GameStick and Green Throttle are also taking a stab at the market. And software maker BlueStacks just announced its plans to bring out an Android-powered game console called GamePop. Looks like it’s game on.


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