The OUYA the $99, hackable, Android-based console wraps up its KIckstarter late Wednesday night. After setting a $950,000 goal for backers, the OUYA raised more than $8 million through the crowdfunding website to help bring its prototype to market next year.
OUYA announced its intentions on July 10: to bring an affordable, modifiable console to the public that anyone could program on. It would run on Android, and you could do anything you wanted to it without voiding the warranty. Their Kickstarter page plainly states their goal: "cracking open the last closed platform: the TV."
Within eight hours they had reached their funding goal of $950,000, and broke two Kickstarter records in one day: most money raised in a 24-hour period $2.6 million and fastest Kickstarter to reach a million dollars.
"We didn't expect so much support so quickly. To be able to respond so quickly to gamers and developers was key in the first few hours, as my inbox just was flooded from people who wanted to get involved," says OUYA CEO Julie Uhrman. "People opening up their pocketbooks just validates the ideas that we've had for months about the OUYA."
While the OUYA had not game lineup when it was launched, it has quickly drawn a more than 20 independent developers to pledge porting their games to the platform. It also now has top-tier publishers promising to bring their games to OUYA, including Square Enix, makers of the Final Fantasy series, and Namco Bandai. Uhrman also promised there was "more to come."
"I have 12 to 16 year olds emailing me saying they want to learn to program games on an OUYA. People emailed me saying they are quitting their jobs so that they can start developing," Uhrman said. "We're also in talks with all kinds other triple-A publishers that we can't talk about."
The OUYA team has also announced that many streaming media companies are coming to the console, including XBMC, Plex, VEVO and IHeartRadio. The streaming game service OnLive will bring its titles to OUYA as well.
Answering the Critics
The OUYA has also faced some criticism because many details of the console weren't released to the public when its Kickstarter launched. Only a rendering of the portion of the console's controller was made available. There were also questions if they would be able to reach their March, 2013 deadline, only seven months away. To OUYA's credit, they have responded to all the questions, releasing more renderings of the console.
"Skepticism is healthy," says Uhrman. "We have great advisors and we have an unbelievable designer. We are very confident in what we're doing."
The Kickstarter campaign ends Wednesday at 10 p.m. Pacific Time/Thursday at 1 a.m. Eastern Time. At the time of this writing, the console had raised more than $8.1 million from 59,000 backers, with undoubtedly much more before the end. An OUYA spokesperson said Kickstarter reported more than $1,000 a minute coming in from backers on the project's final day.
"Kickstarter has defiinitely been a whirlwind. It unfolds in hours, not days or weeks," Uhrman says. "After this is done, we'll be continuing to make partnership announcements. We will continue to finalize the designs and work until it's done."
Once the Kickstarter is completed, Uhrman said they will be launching ouya.tv to keep backers and others updated on the OUYA's progress. They will still be accepting preorders for OUYA consoles from there, for anyone who missed the Kickstarter campaign. But that's the only other cashflow OUYA plans to pursue; Uhrman says they will not seek other funding after the Kickstarter is done.