Los Angeles Business Journal

Ouya Offers Store Credit to Unhappy Backers

By Natalie Jarvey Monday, August 5, 2013

To make amends with disgruntled early Ouya adopters, the maker of the Android gaming console is giving away store credit.

Ouya, the Santa Monica company behind the console of the same name, sent an email apology over the weekend to people who crowdfunded the device on Kickstarter or pre-ordered it. In the email, the company apologized to those supporters who did not receive their Ouyas before it went on sale – one of the perks of giving money to the company's fundraising campaign last summer. It also noted that some early adopters had problems with customer service.

As part of the apology, Ouya offered $13.37 in credit to the console's game store, Discover. An Ouya spokeswoman told the Business Journal that the company chose $13.37 because the numbers look like the word "leet," which means "elite" in geek speak.

"Despite your frustrations, you've played on – putting up with our bumps and bugs as we work to get better every day," Ouya Chief Executive Julie Uhrman wrote in the email.

The company raised $8.6 million from more than 60,000 backers on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter in July last year.

Of those supporters, more than 58,000 pledged enough money to also receive an advance copy of the $99 dollar device, which was expected to ship in March. But several of those who pre-ordered the device were still waiting when it began to retail at Best Buy, Gamestop and Amazon.com several months later.

Ouya has also received some sharp criticism from customers and reviewers after its long-awaited debut. Complaints run the gamut from poor-quality controllers to insufficient game selection.

"It's the pros and cons of an open development platform," Uhrman told the Business Journal last month. "We wanted that kind of feedback."

The company has been open about its missteps along the way, keeping backers updated with emails and blog posts. The latest email can be seen as an added measure to stay in customers' good graces.

"If you are annoyed with us, we hope this is a first step to winning back your <3," Uhrman wrote in the email. "We've learned a lot over the past year and we're going to continue making Ouya better every day!"