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The Kickstarter Project That Could(n’t)

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Many of you might not know what OUYA is. That word means nothing to you. But to hundreds of Kickstarter funders, it means the promise of a new era of gaming consoles. Unfortunately, that promise is going unfilled.

A Kickstarter website was started in 2012 for a new gaming console that would retail for $99, built on the Android platform by the creators of Jambox. As you can see on their fundraiser, they raised $8.6 million dollars and their reward tiers varied from UserName reservations, profile emblems, etc. If you donated $99 or more, the following was promised:

GET AN OUYA: console and controller. Guarantee we will have one available for you, before it gets to stores. Plus the rewards above. We’re figuring out how many we can make! (We have to ask you to add $20 for shipping outside the U.S.) Please add $30 if you want a second controller.

Estimated delivery: Mar 2013

It is now June 2013, and people haven’t received their OUYAs. The social media firestorm has been ignited on OUYA’s Twitter feeds (@PlayOUYA and @OUYASupport) and CEO and Founder Julie Uhrman is feeling the burn. On her Twitter page, her timeline is filled with apologies and more promises of “fixes”.

I don’t think people are buying it. Early backers are now demanding a refund. Customers are complaining of no communication, no information, and worst of all, no consoles.

And to add insult to injury: today is also OUYA’s launch day in retailers such as Target and Best Buy, and they’re selling out quickly. People who have pre-ordered since last year don’t have their consoles and people can just walk in to a store and buy one (if they can find it). Hopefully, for OUYA’s sake, they’ll at least inform the public and own up to their mistakes.

Is it too little, too late?


Update #1
CEO Julie Urhman has released the following:

Backers,

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. I’ve been reading your comments, and we are working to solve this.

Here is what I know:

We delivered your OUYAs to our partner in May, and since then they have been in their custody. We paid for shipping, yet the deliveries remain incomplete. We know everyone is getting their OUYA, but it is taking longer than we expected.

We are working hard to get you answers, and more importantly, to fix this. On our end, we have tripled our customer service team so we can respond as quickly as possible to your questions (though the answer may still be that it’s in transit). We are working with our partners to resolve any administrative issues related to undelivered boxes (errors in shipping addresses, customs holds, etc.). I’m told that despite our best efforts, it may take another two weeks or more for some of these units to arrive.

We will resolve this as quickly as possible. I’ve had my team working all evening to provide me with the current state of affairs and what we are doing to make it right. Ken, our Special Ops lead, can give you more detail.

– Julie

This is the following from Ken Stephens, Head of Operations for OUYA.

Hi Everyone,

My name is Ken Stephens, and I am the Head of Operations at OUYA.

This post is personally addressed to our early backers who have not yet received their OUYAs.

As we hit store shelves tomorrow, it is very important that I try my best to explain why your units are behind schedule from our commitment and when we anticipate delivery.

As you may be aware, we manufacture OUYA in mainland China with our fulfillment partner in Hong Kong who is responsible for the individual shipments to you all.

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.

On average, shipment processing–from fulfillment center to product delivery–runs 20 days, end to end. It takes 3 to 5 days to pick, pack and ship the units out — and then 15 to 17 days of transit time. Therefore, if you received your tracking number with your shipping confirmation email, your unit is on its way.

I know that many of you are frustrated with the DHL tracking system. While we are working hard to get this issue rectified, I am sorry to say this is still causing problems. 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.

Additionally, we have seen a lot of cases where the unit will be delivered to your door without the product ever getting an arrival scan. This also unfortunately happens when dealing with the local postal systems.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of those who haven’t yet received OUYA are international backers. It just takes a lot longer to ship to some countries.

All of these units HAVE left Hong Kong, and you have received your tracking email.

So, based on the date of your shipping-confirmation email, your OUYA will arrive within 15 to 17 days from that date.

Please accept my personal apology for not yet delivering on our promise.

Sincerely,

Ken

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Stanley Rogers

    June 26, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Maybe the backers will get some hefty free downloads. lol

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