Ouya, the miniature Android gaming console that began as a Kickstarter sensation but largely fizzled with consumers, is getting a boost from Alibaba. The Chinese e-commerce giant has invested $10 million into Ouya, according to The Wall Street Journal. But that doesn't necessarily mean the Ouya box we're familiar with will be making the trip to China. The Journal says both companies have discussed integrating Ouya's existing software and game lineup — which hit the 1,000 milestone in November — to Alibaba's own set-top boxes. A deal to make that happen has yet to be finalized, according to the report, but Alibaba only made its big investment sometime last month.
The idea makes sense for both companies. At least in the United States, Ouya is clearly struggling for relevancy in a market owned by Microsoft and Sony; the buzz that carried its Kickstarter campaign to $1 million in just hours was quickly forgotten about as consumers got their hands on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. And it's even had to deal with major competition at the $99 price point. Amazon's Fire TV offers decent enough Android gaming, and it also happens to be a pretty great set-top box for watching movies, too. In some ways, the launch of Fire TV might've sealed Ouya's fate here in the US.
But the company still sees big opportunity overseas — and has no problem letting other companies handle the hardware side. It's already partnered with Madcatz and Xiaomi (in China) to bring its platform and games to new devices through Ouya Everywhere, and Alibaba could extend that reach dramatically. In turn, Alibaba's set-top boxes could find their way into more homes and familiarize yet more Chinese consumers with its burgeoning marketplace.