20130625-084646.jpg Video Games

OUYA goes public, Kickstarter orders still not delivered

The OUYA hits store shelves today, but the company has confirmed that not all Kickstarter backers have received their consoles as promised. Delays have pushed back delivery of one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns to early backers, much to the frustration of gamers who sunk $100 or more into the startup company and console. Originally promised to start shipping at the end of March, the majority of OUYA backers had to wait well into May or early June before receiving their console. In response, OUYA pushed back the public launch of the console from June 5th to today under the promise that they would ensure all Kickstarter backers would have their consoles before the public launch. However, on the day of the OUYA’s public launch, the company is now stating that not all early backers have received their consoles.

And OUYA CEO Julie Uhrman is pissed. In a statement sent to early backers today, Uhrman vented her frustration and apologies to OUYA backers stating:

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.

So while technically OUYA has completed production of all early backers’ consoles, it was the company’s choice to use shipping partner DHL that has created this situation. OUYA Operations Chief Ken Stephens outlines the issues they have uncovered with DHL in the same announcement to Kickstarter backers.

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.

Indeed I personally experienced similar issues with DHL when it came to delivery of my OUYA, as I have had in the past with other products shipped to me by the freight forwarder. The tracking system is non-existent, and I too had no tracking information until it was delivered; according to DHL, my OUYA appeared to just appear out of thin air at my doorstep.

Perhaps this was a rookie error on OUYA’s part, or an attempt to save money on shipping costs, but there’s a reason most larger companies choose FedEx or UPS for their shipments. Unfortunately, for many early backers the bad taste in their mouth won’t be easily forgotten. While they can take comfort in knowing that it’s not a matter of if, but when, for the delivery of their OUYA, it’s still frustrating nonetheless.

As for OUYA, the console launches today in stores for gamers who didn’t back the project on Kickstarter, but enters into a very crowded market. The low price of the console and its ability to run emulators may be enough for gamers to splurge on it, but with the Xbox One and Playstation 4 just around the corner, it could be an uphill battle for the OUYA.