Remember the Ouya? The cube-shaped mini-console raised $8.5 million on Kickstarter back in 2012, and promised to bring Android gaming to TV screens. However, the system didn’t really make an impact on release, and sales of the hardware have ceased since 2015. Now, Razer is finally pulling the plug for good, and switching off all online services for the Ouya on June 25th.
The Ouya was a strange project that didn’t really pan out in execution. The idea of bringing Android games to an inexpensive home console was interesting, but it was a niche nobody really wanted. A bungled launch and cheaply-produced controllers also didn’t help. Despite the fact that new Ouyas haven’t been made in four years, the platform has still been supported. However, all accounts will be deactivated after June 25, potentially locking players out of games they have purchased.
According to Razer, “After this date, you will no longer be able to access your account, games on the server, previously purchased titles, or be able to purchase new ones. You will continue to have access to games that have been downloaded. Users should download games before June 25, 2019 to avoid losing access after the shutdown.”
Games that do not require online validation can still be playable on the Ouya if they have been downloaded. However, the system is essentially shutting down for good after that date. Some developers may allow Ouya players to access their games on other platforms, like Google Play.
Razer’s purchase of the Ouya in 2015 was clearly an attempt to bring Android gaming to the living room using this successfully kickstarted new system. After purchasing the company, Razer migrated the Ouya into its own Forge TV gaming brand. However, a combination of bad marketing, a locked-down and restrictive games library and faulty hardware left the console dead on arrival. Razer has clearly seen the writing on the wall, and is ending the system for good.
Whilst the Ouya may be dead, it won’t be the last console to attempt to bring a more free-to-play focus to home console gaming. Google’s Stadia project sounds like a refinement of the Ouya’s initial promise that all its games would be free to try. There is certainly room for a budget console in the gaming console ecosystem. Hopefully Google’s ambitious streaming console finds more success than the Ouya did.