Back when it was in its crowdfunding stages, the Ouya was set to become the console of the people. This gaming machine would free players from the walled gardens of the video game marketplace and let them play how, what and when they wanted without restriction.
It also came with a fantastic price point of $99. The Ouya team raised $8.6 million through Kickstarter, and this thing seemed bound for success to those who adored it.
Then it released. To say the Ouya performed poorly would be an understatement. Official sales numbers simply don’t exist publicly. We do know that Towerfall, the Ouya’s most popular game, sold only 7,000 copies in the roughly six months after it and the console’s launch. Yowza.
All of that doom and gloom hasn’t kept one group from investing in the console and its company. A rumor from The Wall Street Journal, which has since been officially confirmed by re/code as true, has it that Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce company worth something like $230 billion USD, has invested $10 million in Ouya.
The Wall Street Journal posits that Alibaba is trying to get Ouya into the Chinese marketplace as an early and affordable way for the country to game now that the ban on consoles has lifted. Perhaps that’s true, and $10 million to a company worth $230 billion isn’t much of a risk.
Do you think we’ll see a resurgence for the little console that could? I don’t, personally, but I’m not a soothsayer.