The year was 2012, and the internet was infatuated with this newfangled website called Kickstarter. The Ouya game console became one of the site’s first big success stories, earning more than $ 8.5 million in pledges. After struggling for years, Ouya ended up in the hands of Razer. Now, Razer says the Ouya store and service will be shut down for good, ending this strange chapter in gaming history.
Ouya came along at a time when game consoles were obscenely expensive with the promise of a $ 100 product. The device was a small cube a few centimeters across. Inside, it had a Tegra 3 SoC, which was a capable chip at the time.
The Ouya ran a heavily customized version of Android with a game store developed by Ouya. In those days, there was no set-top box version of Android (today that’s Android TV), so there was no way to get the Play Store certified for Ouya. Most of the games developers released on Ouya were quickly forgotten, but some like Towerfall have made an impact on other platforms. Ouya never found its killer app, and the company was acquired by Razer in 2015.
At the time of the deal, Razer discontinued Ouya’s hardware. The software services have continued until now. Razer says it will flip the switch and turn off the Ouya store, website, and associated services on June 25th. Razer notes that downloaded games may still work as long as they don’t require authentication on launch — the servers that handle that will be gone.
As for the content you might have purchased on the Ouya store, don’t expect Razer to help you out. It mentions in passing that some Ouya developers might choose to help their customers by providing versions of their games on the Play Store, assuming they exist. However, most developers have long since stopped paying attention to the Ouya store.
The Ouya was an admirable idea, but the execution wasn’t there. It was fundamentally a piece of mobile hardware running mobile games on a TV. Maybe it could have survived with more exclusive hit games, but even with thousands of Kickstarter backers, it never had a substantial player base. Most of those players have probably long since put away their Ouya console, but maybe now’s the time to break it out again for one last round before it all goes away.