OUYA was founded with the idea of creating a new, Android-based platform for building games that could be played on people’s TVs. After a highly successful Kickstarter campaign, the OUYA console began shipping and went on sale in retail locations one year ago.
Since launch, OUYA has continued to grow its user base, thanks to sales and distribution both in-store and online. The startup has expanded the number of locations in which the console is available. At launch, OUYA was sold in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., while today it’s also now available in Western Europe, the Middle East, and Brazil.
It also continues to grow its developer base and the number of games available on the platform — it now has 36,000 registered developers, and is adding about 1,000 more each month. Those developers have now published more than 840 games for the OUYA console, up from about 170 games available at launch a year ago, and 575 at the beginning of this year.
All this despite the launch of two new next-gen gaming consoles from Microsoft and Sony.
While the launch of the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One might have stolen some headlines, OUYA CEO Julie Uhrman says it hasn’t slowed down interest in the OUYA platform.
There really hasn’t been any difference in sales since the launch of those new consoles, Uhrman tells me. “They offer something very different from OUYA. We have always strived to carve out our own niche, with a $99 console where majority of games are free to try,” she adds.
That is in contrast to the newer consoles, which cost hundreds of dollars each and have games that are priced at $50 or $60 each. The microconsole’s games are also designed to appeal to a different type of gamer, as opposed to the high-performance, hard-core 3D shooters built for the PS4 or Xbone.
But OUYA’s gamers keep coming back, on average launching more than 13 games a week on the console. According to Uhrman, the average number of games installed per player on OUYA is more than 30.
That’s due in part to the variety of games that are made for the platform, and OUYA is trying to increase the variety and number of games through a number of efforts. That includes its $1 million “Free The Games” fund to match the funding amount received by developers who raise between $50,000 and $250,000 on Kickstarter. That funding comes in exchange for the promise of exclusivity on the OUYA platform for some time.
Pretty soon, developers will be able to program games directly on the OUYA console, Uhrman said. By connecting a keyboard and mouse, they’ll be able to code and immediately test their games.
All of that is meant to attract a new breed of developer. About 50 percent of developers that code for OUYA had never written an Android game before. About 20 percent of developers with a game on the platform have already published a second game.
While OUYA is enjoying steady growth, the company wants to expand things even further over the next year. That starts with the development of its own next-gen console, OUYA 2. While Uhrman said the company is working on the next box, she declined to forecast when it would ship.
It’s also working to extend its footprint onto other platforms, which could include embedding OUYA into smart TVs and other devices. The idea is to take OUYA everywhere so that developers can reach gamers wherever they are. It plans to announce two specific partners for that initiative soon.
That might seem like a lot of ground to cover in a short period of time, but considering how much OUYA has accomplished so far, it seems doable.