The Wall Street Journal has announced that miniature Android gaming console, Ouya, was given a much needed funding boost from Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba. Sources revealed that Alibaba invested $10 million in Ouya last month and the two companies have discussed a plan to incorporate the device’s software and library of more than 1,000 into Alibaba’s set-top box.
Ouya first surfaced on Kickstarter in 2012 and became on the fastest projects to crowdfund $1 million. By the end of its run, the game console’s campaign raised over $8 million. It also received funds from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Mayfield Fund, Shasta Ventures, and Nvidia. Unfortunately, the device received negative reviews and backlash after some of its backers were disappointed in the final results. Ouya may have peaked with the VC funds as the company has endured a series of stumbles following the significant investment.
Following its “downfall,” Ouya owners decided to sell the company back in September. Ouya, “has been engaged in preliminary acquisition talks with multiple big players in China, as well as a few here in the U.S. according to several sources close to the situation.”
Re/Code added, “Sources tell Re/Code that the acquisition would be for staff talent more than the company’s console product, which has not found much traction with gaming consumers after it launched last year. While Chinese companies could make their own consoles, sucking up a company like Ouya would move it forward quickly.”
The media outlet revealed that thanks to the Alibaba’s investment, Ouya may be able to find new life in China since its state council recently lifted a ban on video game consoles that had been in place since 2000. Last year, Alibaba bought around 10% stake in U.S. mobile-game company Kaham for $120 million to distribute its games through Alibaba mobile apps in China.
Alibaba executives expressed interest in bringing Ouya’s marketplace of games into its set-up boxes. Currently, Alibaba’s set-top boxes includes recently-released Tmall Box 2, and licenses an operating system for devices made by other companies.
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