Ouya hasn't been in the news much lately, mostly because the company failed to gain momentum after a less than stellar Kickstarter launch. However, the $99 Android console has made headlines again as gaming company Razer announced that it acquired the console maker.
Rumors were swirling for weeks about a purchase, being confirmed after Ouya's CEO Julie Uhrman sent out a letter stating that she was looking to sell. Though with technical errors and hardware glitches, many thought it would be hard to sell the company. Razer has stepped in, off the success of its CES campaign, and has agreed to purchase the company as a whole. As a result, Uhrman will be stepping down and leaving Ouya once the deal is completed.
For Razer, the company will be taking the some of the hardware and software ideas from the Ouya console and will implement them onto their own hardware. With its latest product, the Forge TV, making its way into consumers' homes, combining the two Android consoles seemed to be the likely result anyway.
Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan said in a statement,
Razer has a long-term vision for Android TV and Android-based TV consoles. This acquisition is envisaged to usher more developers and content to the Android TV platform.
Razer will continue to provide support and service for Ouya for one year. After that, it will be shutting off the platform and during the interim, will be offering incentives for Ouya customers to switch over to the Forge TV. So for the 100 people that purchased an Ouya, all you'll get after a year from now is a slightly cool-looking paperweight.
However, Razer will be keeping the Ouya name, but as the publisher behind its Android TV games. Razer will be looking to expand beyond just its own hardware with the lineup of games offered, and keeping an external name for that project makes sense. This will hold special value for Razer in China, where the country just announced it's lifted bans on video game console sales. Ouya Games may make quite an impact in a fresh market.
Additionally, Razer did also announce that it is going to continue to honor Ouya's Free the Games Fund, which was a lump sum of $1 million set for developers who launched games via Kickstarter before August of last year with an intent of being sold exclusively on Ouya devices. Even though the contract sent to devs said it could be voided after a sale or bankruptcy of the company, Razer has stepped in to say that they will fulfill all of the remaining $620,000 owed to indie developers worldwide. In addition, Razer is lifting the exclusivity clause and will be allowing studios to publish their games on any platform they wish, through the newly-named Ouya game distribution channel.