The Android-based game console and Kickstarter darling Ouya is pushing its general release date back a couple of weeks to meet high demand.
In a company blog post, Ouya chief executive Julie Uhrman said the console’s original early June launch date will be delayed by three weeks to keep up with the interest seen from gamers and retailers. Instead, the $99 device will hit store shelves June 25.
Those delays do not affect pre-orders placed by early backers. Those customers, Uhrman said, should still be getting their consoles by the end of May.
The compact, disc-free console got a lot of attention for raising $8.5 million on Kickstarter last July on the promise that it could upturn the console market and threaten the “big three”-- Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. Because it’s built on the Android platform, it’s set up to be a playground for developers and home hackers to customize as they see fit. And it’s gotten the support of major game studios such as Square Enix, which makes the “Final Fantasy” game series.
Uhrman also announced that Ouya has raised $15 million in funding from new investors in a round led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. That infusion of cash, Uhrman said, will allow the company to meet demand and support game developers who are building titles for the new platform.
The first versions of Ouya’s console began shipping to its earliest backers in March. followed closely by harsh reviews. The bulk of the criticism was that the console had yet to live up to its potential, that those early consoles still felt like they were in the testing stage.
In an interview with Fortune, Uhrman said that the reviews hit the mark and that there wasn’t “a single piece of feedback from those reviews that we didn’t already have on our to-do list.”
She said that the early shipments were valuable for feedback and that the firm has responded by improving some parts of the device’s hardware, such as the design of its controller.
The gaming world is set to really heat up in the next few months, with Microsoft revealing its first look at the Xbox on May 21 and the entire game industry getting ready for industry mega-show — the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June.
That convention should show us just how big the battle for the top spot is among the next-generation consoles from Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. But it’s likely to also confirm that the industry is shifting away from an intense focus on those three pieces of hardware.
There’s already speculation that this may be the last time we see gaming consoles with physical discs, and the nature of the console itself is already changing to become more of an entertainment hub rather than a dedicated device for gaming. Ouya is just one example of how the industry may evolve in the next couple of years.
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