Razer, peripheral maker extraordinaire, could be looking to purchase Ouya. This news comes ahead of Razer's launch of their very own micro-console, which is set to compete in the now very crowded and competitive home console market. What the company would do with Ouya remains to be seen but many speculate it could be to help consolidate Ouya's library with their own Forge console.
Venture Beat does a brief write-up on the situation, examining Razer's potential role in the buyout of Ouya for an estimated $10 million.
For those who don't know, Ouya is in some serious debt and the company hasn't been able to turn around the profit that they thought they could after raising millions of dollars from venture capitalists. The biggest problem is that Ouya is competing in a market where it has no mind share; casual gamers don't follow dedicated gaming news and don't even know what an Ouya is, while hardcore gamers have no interest in an underpowered Android console.
The Ouya is only $99 and is oftentimes used as an emulation hub for older games, it also supports a few exclusives but they're all made within the confines of an aged Android device. And by “aged Android device” I mean a console that did not fare well at all on the 3DMark benchmark tests.
A console with very little hardware appeal and a library composed mostly of mobile phone ports isn't going to gain a whole lot of feverish support from the dedicated gaming audience.
At this venture I'm not entirely sure what Razer will do with Ouya, but Venture Beat noted that a representative provided a statement, saying...
Razer has always been supportive of Ouya, in particular, their work toward building an open platform for Android gaming in the living room and the empowerment of developers, especially indie developers, all over the world, […] However, we do not comment on speculation or rumors and will reach out if and when we have substantive information to share.
With Razer trying their hand at a micro-console, it's hard to see how this will turn out exactly. The Ouya's 40,000 title software library might be a fine way to collate into Razer's Forge but pricing and quality will certainly be an issue. A lot of publishers have wrongly assumed that if they just pump out a dozen and one games that gamers will buy them regardless and spend big money on the devices to play those games, but there's still an expectancy of quality that many gamers are hoping for out of their interactive entertainment experiences.
If Razer really wants to achieve success with the Forge they'll definitely need to consider having some kind of high-profile exclusives added to the library, something the Ouya wasn't quite able to achieve.
Even if the Ouya is bought out of debt I'm curious what would then become of the company and the device? There have been rumors about an Ouya 2.0 but if the first one wasn't terribly successful why would a slightly beefier under-powered Android console do any better than its predecessor? I guess we'll just have to sit back and wait and see what comes out of the situation.