Multiple reports indicate gaming accessory company Razer is interested in acquiring Ouya. Terms of the deal are unknown with TechCrunch reporting they are “still in flux.” CNET reports the companies are exploring ways to keep Ouya’s staff onboard after the acquisition.
Nearly three years ago, the Ouya was launching its Kickstarter campaign. The goal was to raise $950,000. By the time the campaign ended, $8,596,476 was pledged. Ouya hit all the right notes during its pitch. But, it fell apart once people started getting their hands on the micro console.
Critics and consumers slammed its controller, game library and technical issues.
Ouya’s fall from grace underscores how tough it is to get into the gaming hardware business. Hell, look how long it took Valve to give us release dates for Steam Machines and the Steam Controller. There’s a reason only the biggest companies succeed in gaming hardware. It takes a lot of money in R&D and execution to get it to work.
Today’s market is saturated with gaming options; everything from high-end gaming PCs to mobile. There just isn’t a lot of wiggle room for new companies. Oculus is a great example of a company finding a new niche with VR. Ok, VR isn’t new – but it has been overlooked for many years.
But, now look at how many companies have jumped onto the VR bandwagon. Sony and Valve are both working on VR products. Microsoft is working on HoloLens. Being first never guarantees success. A lesson Ouya learned the hard way. And one Oculus needs to be wary of. Then again, Facebook did pay $2 billion for Oculus. At least the folks at Oculus got paid.
Should Razer Be Interested in Ouya?
It’s all about how you look at it. Razer probably isn’t interested in the Ouya console. It’s Ouya’s staff and/or tech they want.
Buying Ouya would make sense. Razer has its own Android gaming set-top box called Forge TV. Razer could use Ouya’s tech and expertise to improve on Forge TV or eventually make another new console.
The big question is, can an Android gaming set-top box be successful?
I lean towards no. Who is the audience for this? Indie games would be the primary type of games on these weaker systems. But, we can just play them on PC or other gaming consoles. How do you convince someone they need another box that costs $100-$150? I don’t think you can.
Still, Razer wouldn’t buy Ouya if they thought the set-top box model wouldn’t work. Maybe by joining forces, they can figure out how to crack this nut.