OUYA looking for a buyer — Will it be Amazon?

Gaming company OUYA is in deep water. According to a leaked memo written by OUYA CEO Julie Uhrman sent to advisers and investors, the company had failed to satisfy its debtholder’s conditions which has forced them to put the company up for sale. “We are looking for expressions of interest by the end of this month,” Uhrman wrote, so you can expect the sale to happen quickly. The question is who will be the buyer, and will it be Amazon?

OUYA raised $8.5 million in a very successful Kickstarter campaign where they sold over 50,000 of their $99 Android based microconsoles. Things seemed to go downhill from there when recipients of the first console shipments, along with media publications, gave the device lackluster reviews. Since then, the device has found some popularity with cord cutters using the discounted console as a fairly capable XBMC / Kodi box.

OUYA seems to be giving little attention to hardware. A new console doesn’t seem to be on the horizon anytime soon and the links on OUYA’s own website to buy their existing console from Amazon and Target lead shoppers to a 404 error page and a console-less search result. Their primary value today is in their game library. In recent news they’ve signed an agreement with Xiaomi and one with Alibaba, both Chinese electronics and commerce companies, to deliver OUYA games on certain televisions and set-top boxes. Uhrman boasted in her memo that they “have the largest library of Android content for TV (still more than Amazon).” That’s not entirely true since the OUYA library current has 1,113 apps to the Fire TV’s 1,483 apps. If you assume Uhrman is referring to just games, then it’s likely a valid statement if you assume the vast majority of OUYA’s library consists of games and the Fire TV currently sits at 736 games in its library.

Amazon is OUYA’s biggest competitor, but does Amazon have anything to gain from acquiring the relatively small company? When Amazon was developing the Fire TV in secret, they contact some of OUYA’s most popular developers to port their games over to the Fire TV. Amazon’s developer relations team still uses OUYA’s app library as a recruiting list of sorts to bolster the Fire TV’s app offerings. Many of OUYA’s top games are already available on the Fire TV, and more are being ported over everyday. The developer of Super Pixalo, for example, was contacted by Amazon last August to bring his popular OUYA game to the Fire TV, which arrived on the device in December. Amazon seems to be doing a fine job acquiring OUYA’s most valuable asset, it’s app library, without needing to acquire the company itself. If they do put in a bid, it’ll be for direct access to OUYA’s 40,000 registered developers and passionate community.


  1. keith says:

    There are so many cool things about ouya but it could use a serious cash infusion IMO. Bought one for my son this Xmas and now they’re fixing it/sending a new one because it won’t power on. I tried tinkering to see if I could fix it and was sort of amazed at how little there was in that plastic box. It was also very flimsy, wouldn’t take much to break. But despite all that I understand things cost money. Amazon has a ton of it (literally). If they could keep the integrity of the original idea and put it on steroids, I’d be intrigued. But all that would be pointless if it runs another version of fire os.

  2. Justin says:

    I was wondering if amazon would be interested too. I like my Ouya despite its faults. Has been good for emulation and has a lot of games. The interface was always kind of buggy such as browsing their store. Wifi and the bluetooth controller connection were also pretty flaky.

    It’s still possible amazon could be directly looking for their game library though I would think a smaller company looking to get into games would be more likely.

  3. Malouff says:

    Maybe Konami should put in a bid, after Hideo Kojima’s departure they may need to concentrate on a mobile market (their a lot of people saying they will never buy another Konami game)

  4. Tinwarble says:

    Frankly, this is not surprising news. Ever since they announced sometime last year that they were concentrating on their store and not their hardware I lost all interest in Ouya. I still use mine, but it’s been relegated to secondary TV and being used as a Kodi only box (but it’s soon to be replaced).

    It seems as though Ouya was not aware of what generated the initial buzz about them, which was the hardware. Not coming out with new hardware to keep up with the competition and expecting that other hardware developers would pick up their store was a big mistake in my opinion.

    Also, the Ouya store may have 1,113 apps (which are mostly games0, but the most of those games are not anywhere near being quality games. Ouya could have a million apps, but if the majority of them aren’t things you want to see on your big screen TV then the number doesn’t matter.

  5. Rick says:

    Amazon could make the play since the price will be a rounding error to them. Just not sure it has any value – as mentioned in the article, they can pick off the worthwhile games for the FTV library on their own. If the library had good quality and much of it could easily be converted to the FTV quickly by means of a purchase, maybe a Prime Games feature would be a route they’d take.

  6. Ujn Hunter says:

    Why would anyone want to buy them? Why not just let them die? What would be gained from buying it? Ouya doesn’t own the games on it’s service… I don’t understand.

  7. porkie says:

    Buying OUYA would be a loss, cause they really own nothing. They have an android box with hardware that they do not own. They do not have anything of value that would make big company want to buy it. Look at boxee, they had a lot of things that came with their company besides their box that made Samsung want to buy them, but OUYA has nothing of any real value. If anyone buys OUYA it will be a smaller companie like Minix or some chinese company that wants the controller and the name, but I do not see any big companies wanting to buy a company that has no real assets that could not stay afloat. why would Amazon want a junk company like OUYA? Amazon already has a set top box and OUYA would add not one thing to the Fire TV. This ain’t like when the WWF bought WCW. WCW had something that would be worth millions in the future, a video library, but what does OUYA have, a square novelty android box that is worthless. I guarantee right now that no multi billion dollar company in the world will buy OUYA. It will be bought by a startup company or a lesser known compaany already selling android boxes, if it even sells at all. No valuable patents, no valuable software, no original worthwhile software, means no reputable company will be interested.

  8. JackFrost71 says:

    If they put in a bid, along with Ouyas dev relation team and UI developers, the other important thing of value for Amazon would be Ouya’s deals with Xiaomi and Alibaba. ie access into China, which would be very enticing for Amazon

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