This Week In Indie: The Ouya Disaster
Indie Statik recently reported on the continual disasters with the Ouya and its Free The Games Fund. Ouya’s Free The Games Fund is intended to double the Kickstarter money for developers “who were able to raise over $50,000” for their game, meeting their funding goal and opting into the fund at a prior point. All together there is roughly $1 million available to prospective developers.
If a developer is successful they get six months of exclusivity to the Ouya marketplace, and money is distributed between the success of the Kickstarter and until the developer’s Ouya exclusivity ends. Essentially, money can’t be put towards a game’s development in the interim.
However, scams have run rampant in the whole fiasco. Two developers, running scams, have exploited the fund and the Kickstarter platform and have pocketed money in the process. With Grid Iron Thunder and Elementary, My Dear Holmes! being two noteworthy examples of the trend as it stands. Details of the Elementary, My Dear Holmes scam can be read up in this NeoGAF thread.
Ouya, as represented by Julie Uhrman, reacted badly towards the negative press and issued a blog post which was met with criticism from a number of indie developers, and the overall community. In a tumultuous turn of events Ouya have indeed started to take action against indie developers who they perceive to be scammers. But they are attacking the wrong developers. Developer William McDonald who is behind the Kickstarter campaign for Dungeons the Eye of Draconus was accused of being such a scammer by Ouya.
McDonald’s father pledged some life savings to his Kickstarter fund for his game. The game easily surpassed the funding goal of $10,000 slipping by the $50,000 qualification mark for the Free The Games Fund. But he was accussed of being a scammer, and revealed that his father had helped fund the process, to maintain transparency. Ultimately Ouya removed his game from the Free The Games Fund.
Following this, Ouya finally recognised the problematic nature of their fund, with various changes to the rules and requirements for the Free The Games Fund. This following contains the information regarding the update:
There seems to be some positive change with the Ouya’s approach, which is definitely an improvement that shows that Ouya are listening to criticism and are offering viable solutions to problems as they are revealed. This is a good step in the right direction.