Ouya, the Android-powered game console that began its career as a Kickstarter project, has just received $15 million in venture capital funding led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB). For those who haven’t followed Ouya’s wild ride, its Kickstarter project generated a feeding frenzy of $8.6 million in pledges, more than 900 percent of its $950K goal.
Ouya (pronounced “ooo-yah”) says it will use the new funding to help it “support its growing game development community, and meet increased demand for the upcoming retail launch.”
Ouya’s base unit is based on an Nvdia Tegra 3 SOC (system-on-chip), which can render 3D games in 1080p HD on users’ TVs. A key factor in the device’s early popularity is the company’s plan to foster an open game development environment, which it says will encourage developers to “bring their most creative inventions back to the television.”
Ouya base and controller
Ouya’s embedded software is based on Android 4.0. As a result, Ouya “can support any apps built for Android,” says the company. “We’ll be launching with Twitch.TV and can’t wait for more partners.”
The base unit’s hardware specifications, as listed by the company, include:
- Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor
- 1GB RAM
- 8GB internal flash storage
- HDMI to TV, supporting up to 1080p HD
- WiFi 802.11 b/g/n wireless
- Ethernet port
- Bluetooth LE 4.0
- 1x USB 2.0 port
Ouya’s wireless game controller includes standard gaming controls — two analog sticks, d-pad, eight action buttons, and a system button — and a touchpad.
Open software, open hardware
Ouya has adopted a unique approach to providing games to its users, through which “every game is free to try, and any developer can publish a game.”
“Developers can wave farewell to the roadblocks of bringing a console game to market. Anyone can make a game: every Ouya console is a dev kit,” states Ouya’s Kickstarter page. “No need to purchase a license or an expensive SDK. It’s built on Android, so developers already know how it works.” Additionally, the device is readily rootable “and rooting won’t void your warranty.”
“Everything opens with standard screws. Hardware hackers can create their own peripherals, and connect via USB or Bluetooth,” continues the Kickstarter writeup. “You want our hardware design? Let us know. We might just give it to you. Surprise us!”
Speaking of disassembling Ouya, the photos below, courtesy of an iFixit tear-down, provide a close-up look at Ouya’s Tegra 3-based embedded motherboard.
Ouya’s Tegra 3-based embedded computer
(click images to enlarge; source: iFixit)
Not surprisingly, more than 12,000 game creators reportedly have registered to make Ouya games,
Ouya’s Kickstarter project video appears below.
Ouya Kickstarter video
“I am thrilled to share that OUYA has raised $15 million in funding from new investors,” writes Ouya founder and CEO Julie Uhrman on the company’s blog. “This is a really important step towards being around for the long haul. It means we’ve got additional resources to make Ouya everything it can be. It means that we can increase production to meet our demand and continue to support game developers who are building innovative and exclusive games for Ouya.”
“Ouya’s open source platform creates a new world of opportunity for established and emerging independent game creators and gamers alike,” states KPCB general partner Bing Gordon, who will now join Ouya’s board of directors. “There are some types of games that can only be experienced on a TV, and Ouya is squarely focused on bringing back the living room gaming experience. Ouya will allow game developers to unleash their most creative ideas and satisfy gamers craving a new kind of experience.”
Ouya says it’s on track to have units shipped to early backers, from both Kickstarter and Ouya.tv preorders, by the end of this month. Additional preorders for the $100 gaming controller placed on Amazon, Best Buy, GAME, GameStop, Target, and Ouya’s website are expected to begin shipping by the end of June.