OUYA Closes $15 Million In Funding Led By Kleiner Perkins, Boasts 12,000 Game Developer Sign-Ups

Posted: May 9, 2013 in Gadgets, Gaming, Startup, Technology, Venture

Today, gaming console and software company OUYA
announced that they have closed a $15 million round
led by Kleiner Perkins, and with participation from the
Mayfield Fund, NVIDIA, Shasta Ventures and Ocean
Partners. This marks one of the largest institutional
investments to go to a project that had its humble beginnings on Kickstarter. OUYA is a company that launched back in 2012 on
Kickstarter under the guiding hands of Julie Uhrman,
a video game industry veteran who believes that
gaming should be affordable and enjoyable for
everyone. She and the team developed a $99 Android
gaming console, which hooks into the TV and comes with automatic access to free-to-try games. It
launched on the crowdfunding site to much fanfare,
scoring $8.6 million in funding, which ends up being
around 9x more than OUYA asked. Along with the $15 million round, which brings
OUYA’s total amount of funding to $23.5 million, the
company will also be bringing KPCB General Partner
Bing Gordon on to the board of directors. Gordon
brings with him years of experience from Electronic
Arts. Here’s what he had to say about the funding: OUYA’s open source platform creates a new world of
opportunity for established and emerging independent
game creators and gamers alike. 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. The OUYA hardware has proven its spot in the
market with the successful Kickstarter project,
followed by an institutional investment led by a firm
such as KPCB. “The message is clear: people want
OUYA,” said Uhrman. But the same story rings true for software, as the
company has seen over 12,000 developers sign up
for the platform to build games and monetize them in
any way they’d like. This is up from 8,000 developer
signups in March. And if that weren’t enough, OUYA has been picked up
by major retailers like GameStop, Best Buy and
Amazon, with availability originally intended to begin
June 4. OUYA is pushing that back to June 25,
however, announcing the delay today as a result of a
desire to be able to meet initial demand. Clearly, the affordable gaming console speaks to
people. But is it enough to make OUYA profitable? In
an interview with TechCrunch, Uhrman explained that
OUYA essentially breaks even on the hardware from
the $99 gaming console, and that all games will be
free-to-try. Curious if that was sustainable, we asked Uhrman if free-to-try would always be the case with
OUYA games. “Free to try is a core tenet of OUYA,” said Uhrman.
“We wanted a gaming experience for the television
that’s inexpensive to get into. Developers monetize
however they’d like to, which is why we have games
with unlockable demos inside a fully paid version, or
micro-transactions, and even a donation based game. I’m looking forward to the first episodic, subscription-
based game,” she said. According to Uhrman, the latest round from KPCB
and friends will go toward further supporting game
developers and development, bringing in exclusive
and unique OUYA content, and meeting the demand
seen from all parts of the world, including Japan,
Brazil, Germany, Spain, and Italy.

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