OUYA, the Android-based modifiable micro-console that never quite took off, is being bought out by Razer—a tech company that makes products specifically for gamers. OUYA is losing its CEO and co-founder, Julie Uhrman, and presumably a lot of money as well. The OUYA itself is being discontinued.
The deal was done in cash, according to Engadget. Razer is acquiring the OUYA’s software assets and some staff, but wasn’t interested in the hardware itself. The plan is to fold those assets into the Forge TV team (the Forge TV is a similar Android micro-console). Razer’s game platform is set to come out sometime soon in 2015.
The OUYA was originally a very successful Kickstarter project. It raised $8.59 million with 63,300 backers, and landed a bunch of partnerships with big companies—OnLive, Square Enix, XBMC, Vevo, Robotoki, Namco Bandai, and Plex. The console was officially released to the public in June 2013, but it was not well-received due to the quality of the controller, the small game library, and faulty UI.
The other casualties of the Razer deal are the indie devs who participated in the “Free the Games Fund,” an effort by OUYA to get more games onto the console. The promise was that OUYA would match Kickstarter winnings as long as the games were OUYA-exclusive for six months after release (though this was later amended to include PC as well). $1 million was allocated to this project, with individual devs receiving tens of thousands of dollars, to be given incrementally.
Evidently, part of that contract was that the agreement would be annulled if OUYA was bought out—which happened this morning. While it was always part of the deal, some of the devs had assumed that since they’d received some of the funding they would go on to receive the rest, and they budgeted for it accordingly (which wasn’t necessarily unreasonable). Now, they’re floundering a little. OUYA has asked them not to go to the press, though some have done so anonymously.
As for everyone else, those who currently own an OUYA will continue to have their device supported by Razer for another year, but likely not beyond that. Presumably Razer will then maneuver those users into a switch to Forge TV.
[Update: As of a few hours ago, Razer has volunteered to pay the devs what they were originally owed by OUYA as a sign of good will. Read more details here.]