Dark truth about Ouya debut: Retail wins, Kickstarter loses

The much-awaited little Android gaming console arrives at some big retailers, but a number of frustrated early adopters are still waiting in virtual line.

Christopher MacManus
Crave contributor Christopher MacManus regularly spends his time exploring the latest in science, gaming, and geek culture -- aiming to provide a fun and informative look at some of the most marvelous subjects from around the world.
Christopher MacManus
2 min read
So close, yet so far for some. Ouya

It should be a great day for Ouya, the tiny Android-powered gaming console that netted $8.5 million in Kickstarter funding and quickly sold out during its debut appearance at U.S. retailers Tuesday. But not all Ouya enthusiasts are smiling.

Some early adopters who donated to Ouya on Kickstarter months ago are still waiting for their console after being told they would get it before it hit retail. While some did receive their Ouya as promised (albeit perhaps a bit late), a "small subset" (according to Ouya's PR) did not.

Thousands of comments regarding Ouya on Kickstarter and other colloqui indicate that the number of people who didn't get their Ouya might be larger than a "small subset."

An example of the Ouya interface. Ouya

In any case, they are quite clear about their frustration.

"Just so disappointed and discouraged at this point," said Damian, who contributed to funding Ouya on Kickstarter. "And to think of all the people and friends we've been effectively selling the console to on your behalf. At least the non-backers can get the benefit of owning the console."

Ouya is expressing its own displeasure at the situation.

"I am pissed. Some of you have not yet received your Ouya -- and, to you, I apologize. I did not promise to ship to *most* of you before we hit store shelves. I promised to ship to *all* of you," Ouya founder Julie Uhrman told Kickstarter funders Tuesday on a page visible only to backers that Ouya also shared with CNET.

According to Ouya, the delays aren't the company's fault, but instead are caused by a fulfillment partner in Hong Kong and murky DHL package tracking from China.

"Over the past few months, we encountered and conquered many challenges spanning both hardware and software in order to bring the best product we could to market. We have tried to make sure that the challenges we faced did not impact our early supporters, but unfortunately we came up short," Ken Stephens, head of operations at Ouya, says in the message to backers.

"I know that many of you are frustrated with the DHL tracking system," Stephens adds. "When you receive a tracking number, you expect it to work immediately, but sometimes these tracking numbers don't do that. The reason for this is that when the product leaves Hong Kong, the tracking process does not initiate until it arrives for the first scan at your country's local depot. As a result, you could have a period of up to 10 days within which the product appears in limbo. This, we all agree, is very frustrating."

Adding to the frustration for some is that "it may take another two weeks or more for some of these units to arrive," Uhrman says. Are you a backer affected by the Ouya delay? If so, how are you feeling about it?