One of OUYA’s founding members, Muffi Ghadiali, has left the company, TechCrunch has learned. Ghadiali was instrumental in helping launch the OUYA on Kickstarter and to the consumer market, and has previous experience working for Lab126 (Amazon’s hush-hush projects division, which birthed the Kindle), HP and Synaptics. A source familiar with Ghadiali’s work told us he was instrumental in the creation of OUYA as a viable consumer product, and one of the most experienced CE experts on the team.
Ghadiali led key teams at OUYA, including those involved in industrial and product design of the hardware; mechanical, electrical and RF engineering, and firmware development. In his past careers, he was responsible for products such as the HP TouchSmart and Media Center PC devices, which made him particularly well suited to his role at OUYA. At Amazon, he was a product manager for Kindle hardware.
OUYA provided the following statement to TechCrunch regarding this change in staffing:
OUYA is focusing more on the next phase of the business and product development. We’ve made some recent changes including the departure of Muffi Ghadiali who was invaluable during the launch of OUYA. As is to be expected, OUYA is an ever-changing business, and as we continue to grow our needs shift accordingly.
Another side of the story is the reportedly poor performance of the OUYA in the consumer market, however. Early developer sales numbers indicate that software isn’t faring very well on the platform (though we haven’t seen updated figures in a while), and pre-holiday sales with drastic price reductions (which were admittedly temporary) don’t bode well for buyer interest in hardware, either. A well-placed source tells TechCrunch that the decision to leave OUYA was Ghadiali’s own, not the company’s.
OUYA definitely seems to be occupying rocky waters at the moment, but it also says it’s excited about the next phase of its “business and product development.” We’ll stay tuned to see what’s next, but it’s unfortunate to see key early talent making an exit.