Ouya, the company behind a small $99 Android gaming console, has picked up $15 million in funding. The investment, announced on Thursday, follows the $8.6 million raised by Ouya on the crowd-sourced Kickstarter platform in August of 2012. Long-time executive at EA, Bing Gordon, will be joining the Ouya board as part of the deal, which was funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), along with participation from the Mayfield Fund, NVIDIA, Shasta Ventures, and Occam Partners.
The Ouya console is a small box, designed by Yves Behar, that runs Google’s Android software on an Nvidia Tegra 3 chip. The console costs $99 with additional controllers priced at $49 each. Unlike other gaming devices, Ouya focuses on a free-to-play model:
“For gamers, every game will be free to play: what this means is that there will at least be a free demo, or you’ll be able to play the entirety of the game for free but may have access to additional items, upgrades, or other features that come at a cost.
For developers, free to play means that they can set their own prices. Developers know best: There is no better way to sell a game than to have folks that have actually touched the game share glowing reviews with their friends. By allowing some form of free play, we’ll help them do just that.”
Some early Kickstarter backers of the Ouya project have received their devices but the general public won’t be able to purchase one until June 25 in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. through retailers Amazon, Best Buy, GAME, GameStop, and Target. The company is taking pre-orders now, however.
While the funding is important to help the Ouya founders complete their vision, the bigger help may be having Gordon join the board. Early reviews show the Ouya to still be a work in progress in areas, while some have even called the device a “beta”. With guidance from Gordon — and the additional $15 million in funding — Ouya could prove to be a better gaming console than originally expected.