By Ian Sherr
Ouya, the startup video game console that became a darling of the independent development world, is in negotiations to sell itself.
The company is in talks with Razer, the computer and accessories maker popular with gamers. The deal is not yet finalized, a person familiar with the matter has said, but the companies are discussing ways to bring Ouya’s staff onboard.
The possible sale marks a dramatic turn for Ouya, a once-high flying startup, whose video game console and app store were popular with small developers. While the company and its service will likely continue to run under Razer’s ownership, Ouya’s efforts to sell itself underscores the challenges of competing in the video game industry, which is fueled primarily by blockbuster games bought by often finicky customers.
In many ways Ouya came to the market too early. In the three years since its debut, Internet-connected TV boxes have become a popular hobby of Silicon Valley, which has introduced devices like Google’s Android TV software and Chromecast streaming media stick, Amazon’s Fire TV and Roku, which has sold 10 million units since going on sale in 2008. Apple’s set-top box, called Apple TV, has sold 25 million units since it went on sale in 2007.
While these devices have begun to take pride of place in people’s living rooms, they haven’t matched the success of Microsoft’s Xbox, Sony’s PlayStation or Nintendo’s Wii. Part of the reason, analysts say, is a lack of entertainment apps, particularly games.
That’s where Ouya came in.