Gadgets for humans

OUYA raises $15m through Kleiner Perkins, Mayfield Fund and others, but launch date slips to June 25

Ouya console

OUYA, the Android-based video game console that was initially funded through Kickstarter, has raised $15 million in a new round of investment led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The Mayfield Fund, NVIDIA, Shasta Ventures, and Occam Partners also participated.

The cash injection follows a record-breaking $8.59 million that was pledged by members of the public, otherwise known as ‘backers’, through the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter earlier this year.

Julie Uhrman, CEO of OUYA and Roy Bahat, chairman of the board reportedly approached Tim Chang, managing director of the Mayfield Fund about the deal before taking the product onto Kickstarter.

Chang is said to have been “skeptical” about the idea, but was presumably won over by the tremendous amount of financial support that the company subsequently attracted online.

The $15 million funding round will be used to support the console’s public launch later this year and also attract new titles to the platform from both major and independent development studios.

OUYA also announced today that Bing Gordon, a partner at Kleiner Perkins and former CEO of video game publisher Electronic Arts (EA), has joined the company’s board of directors.

Any additional funds will no doubt be welcomed by the company, but it’s not all good news for gamers. Uhrman revealed in an inteview with GamesBeat today that the console will be hitting store shelves on June 25, three weeks later than previously anticipated.

Some much needed polish

The move is likely a response to the mixed reviews given by a number of technology and video game publications recently based on developer units of the OUYA console which were shipped to the original backers on Kickstarter.

OUYA has lofty ambitions. The $99 console is inexpensive compared to new systems launched by the traditional major manufacturers Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft. Its reliance on Android-based architecture reduces the technical fidelity of what it can be shown on the television screen, but the hope is that it will stimulate a much broader and diverse range of indie titles.

In other words, mimicking what Google Play and the App Store has done for mobile gaming.

The idea of new, innovative hardware struck a chord with the public on Kickstarter, but the delay suggests that the team needs some time to iron out any remaining technical issues. Perhaps that’s a wise move; OUYA only has one shot at launching to the public and it needs to make it count.

Published May 9, 2013 — 10:09 UTC

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