The Android-based video game console Ouya successfully completed its funding tonight, raising about $8.6M in total — roughly $7.6M more than its original $950,000 goal.
Ouya, the startup responsible for the project, gained more than 63,000 backers in less than one month. The campaign began on July 10 and earned a Kickstarter record-breaking $2.6M in its first day, hitting the $1M milestone in a little over eight hours.
“We were inspired to build Ouya because we disagree with the people that claim consoles are dead,” Julie Uhrman, chief executive of Ouya, told GamesBeat. “Consoles aren’t dead, but the thinking that has guided the console industry is outdated. It was time to challenge the basic assumptions of the business. The overwhelming enthusiasm we saw from folks like Jay Adelson, founder of Digg; Jawbone founder Hosain Rahman; Flixter founder Joe Greenstein; and [former Microsoft vice president] Ed Fries, combined with support of well-known game developers and the backing from the people who funded us on Kickstarter, proved that we weren’t the only ones ready to rethink the console business.”
Those notable backers include Marcus “Notch” Persson of Minecraft developer Mojang, Robert Bowling of Human Element studio Robotoki, and inXile’s Brian Fargo.
Ouya, which will require developers to use the free-to-play model in some way for all software releases, signed with OnLive to bring hundreds of games on demand to the platform. It also partnered with notable publishers such as Namco Bandai and Square Enix, securing titles like the Japanese Final Fantasy III (a first for home consoles) at launch, and other entertainment companies to incorporate services like Vevo, iHeartRadio, Plex, and XMBC.
In addition, Bowling will release an episodic prequel to Human Element first on the system.
“For me, personally,” said Uhrman, “the Kickstarter experience has been incredibly moving. It’s huge to see people rally behind your idea. I’m eternally grateful to the tens of thousands of people who reached into their wallets to back this project — and those are the folks that actually backed us. I have to assume that there are exponentially more people watching Ouya with interest and rooting us on from the sidelines even if they weren’t able to back us.
“Will we make history? We’ll leave that to the historians. Once the Kickstarter ends, we still have a big job to do.”
Ouya was unable to give us a specific number of units sold during the campaign, but it did provide an early ballpark estimate of more than 60,000 units. The system itself, which is about the size of a Rubik’s cube, supports up to four controllers (each complete with a touch pad) and is hardware hacker-friendly. It launches in March 2013.