Ouya is down a man as it moves into the next phase of its plan to disrupt gaming.
Muffi Ghadiali, one of the company’s founders, has exited the gaming startup (as first spotted by Techcrunch). Ghadiali acted as Ouya’s vice president of product development and helped launch the Android-based console — which also goes by the name Ouya — on Kickstarter in 2012.
Ouya is a console alternative to the more traditional systems from Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft. It is tiny, only costs $100, and runs Google’s Android operating system. The idea of the box is to let developers make games for the television using the same style of distribution that smartphones and tablets use.
Ghadiali joined Ouya chief executive Julie Uhrman when she originally conceived of the project in early 2012. He was responsible for gathering and overseeing the engineering team that would made the Ouya hardware work.
We’ve reached out to Ghadiali to ask what he will do next. We will update this post with his response.
“Ouya is focusing more on the next phase of the business and product development,” an Ouya spokesperson said in a statement provided to GamesBeat. “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.”
While Ouya is talking about the next phase of its business, the hardware isn’t performing very well at retail. During its Kickstarter, the company only asked for $950,000, but more than 63,000 backers ended up pledging nearly $8.6 million for the new take on home gaming.
That early crowdfunding success didn’t translate into software sales.
One of the Ouya’s biggest exclusives, the four-player arena fighting game Towerfall, had only sold 2,000 copies in the first month following the system’s release. Other developers also revealed that their games were struggling to find a paying audience on the box.
In its defense, an Ouya spokesperson told GamesBeat that those numbers don’t accurately reflect the system’s current performance. Last quarter, which includes the holidays, saw the best performance for Ouya at retail, according to the company.
We’ve asked for updated sales figures for the system’s software, and we will update this post when Ouya responds with that information.