Ouya $99 Game Device Gains $15 Million in Venture Backing

Ouya Inc., the maker of a $99 video-game console that uses Google Inc.’s Android operating system, raised $15 million in venture funding to expand operations. Industry pioneer Bing Gordon joined its board.

The funding was led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, where Gordon is a partner, with participation from Mayfield Fund, Nvidia Corp. (NVDA), Shasta Ventures and Occam Partners, Santa Monica, California-based Ouya said today in a statement.

The Ouya console competes with Sony Corp. (6758)’s PlayStation, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)’s Xbox and Nintendo Co.’s Wii U for sales in a home console market that has shrunk as consumers shift to digital downloads and games on mobile devices. U.S. retail sales of game hardware, software and accessories fell 22 percent last year to $13.3 billion, according to NPD Group.

Founder Julie Uhrman is betting the Ouya player will lure independent developers back to creating games for home use from tablets and smartphones, an area they flocked to in recent years. The company plans to use some of its funding to seed money to developers, who must offer a free-to-play component for each title, she said in an interview.

“We want to work with as many as we can to bring their innovative content back to the television and, hopefully, to Ouya,” Uhrman said.

Gordon, a former executive at Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), will advise the company as it seeks to attract more developers, develop additional products and executes at retail, according to the statement.

Ouya, based in Santa Monica, California, raised $8.6 million in July through Kickstarter.com, a Web-based funding service, becoming one of the site’s biggest projects.

The cube-shaped console comes with one controller, and can be played with as many as four at once, according to the company. It’s uses Nvidia’s Tegra processor, which is based on ARM Holdings Plc (ARM) designs.

To contact the reporter on this story: Cliff Edwards in San Francisco at cedwards28@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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