Ouya scores Xiaomi partnership to take games to China

Date:2015-06-05 23:06:25    Point:1092

Ouya scores Xiaomi partnership to take games to China

SAN FRANCISCO - US video game service Ouya is turning to Asia to capture the growth thathas eluded the startup on its own home turf.

The Santa Monica, California-based firm has partnered with Xiaomi Inc to take its games toChinese living rooms via the smartphone maker's new streaming boxes and "smart" TVs, anOuya executive and a source at Xiaomi close to the deal told Reuters.

Xiaomi, which in three years became China's top smartphone seller ahead of Apple Inc andSamsung, harbors ambitions beyond mobile gadgets. Last year, it expanded into the TV and set-top box business with its "MiBox" and "MiTV."

Ouya Chief Executive Julie Uhrman said details are still getting hashed out but it's likely Ouya willget a dedicated channel on Xiaomi software installed on those devices, on which gamers canshop for and download a selection of its independently developed games later this year, Uhrmansaid.

Xiaomi will likely commit to marketing Ouya games, she said.

"For the likes of Xiaomi's MiTV, its set-top boxes and other Android set-top boxes that areentering the market, this could be a turning point..in bringing great content and developers togamers and into a region that they have never had access to before," Uhrman told Reuters.

Ouya, which raised funds on crowdfunding site Kickstarter, began selling a $99 game consolebased on Google Inc's Android software last year. But sales were disappointing.

This year, Ouya started marketing its software as an app through which developers sell gameson other hardware makers' devices. But the company, which has over 40,000 developers andmore than 900 games on its platform, has sealed few partnerships, such as with Mad CatzInteractive Inc to stream games onto its M.O.J.O console.

Whether the Chinese take to gaming on TVs remains to be seen. But its deal with Xiaomi, whichmodels itself on Apple, hands the startup a chance to distribute its content in a fast-growing videogame market.

Unlike games on Apple and Google mobile devices, games developed for Ouya are designed towork on TV sets with controllers, similar to the Xbox and Playstation. Ouya and Xiaomi arediscussing launch titles and marketing now, Uhrman added. The developers, Ouya and Xiaomiwill share revenue, she said without elaborating.

China is the world's third biggest gaming market, where revenues grew by more than a third tonearly $14 billion last year. The government's move in January to allow Microsoft , Sony Corp andNintendo Co to sell consoles has re-kindled interest in gaming hardware.

Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE Corp for instance has tied up with game developer The9to release the "Fun Box" console.

"The whole industry is still in a very early development stage," Uhrman said. "There is anopportunity for both" Xiaomi and Ouya.