OUYA attempting to fix the controversial Free The Games Fund

As reported by Twinstickgaming earlier in the month the company behind the android powered console OUYA has come under heavy criticism from developers and supporters in relation to its Free The Games Fund. The company originally planned to match any successful Kickstarter funding, should a games developer pledge exclusivity of their game to the console. This has lead to false claims and fraud across OUYA and various developers. Certain games such as Gridiron, Dungeons: The Eye of Draconus and Elementary My Dear Holmes have all come under fire and with certain developers such as Sophie Houlden retracting development from the OUYA itself, this has forced CEO Julie Uhrman to revise the terms and conditions for the Free The Games Fund.

I wanted to let you know that we do hear you. We hear you loud and clear, that the program isn’t working. Regardless of my best intentions, there’s just too many loopholes.

But sometimes you have to put a project out there to get that feedback to make it better and then you have to be courageous enough to say you’ve made a mistake and that you’re gonna change it. So I’m here today to tell you that we’re gonna change it. We’re going to make Free the Games work better for you and we’re going to change it based on the feedback you’ve given us.

The program wasn’t perfect and we’re fixing it and if it’s still not perfect then tell us and we’ll fix it again.”

Despite all of the mistakes made, Uhrman’s intentions seem sincere. OUYA do appear to want to promote creativity but the developers behind Dungeons: The Eye of Draconus feel very differently. William McDonald wrote on Kickstarter;

Well apparently Ouya has decided to change the rules on us. The timing aligns with winning back of some devs that threatened to pull their games through conversations on Twitter.

It appears we were thrown under the FTG bus. Ouya gets their fall guy and Grid Iron keeps their money.

There have been many articles written about us and forums debating us the past week. Misinformation ran wild, climaxing not in an investigation on the part of Ouya, but in our de-listing from their fund without explanation or even the decency of a notification.

Further, being essentially told Ouya doesn’t want us, makes us not want Ouya. Sadly, we were early adopters. We got our Ouya on launch day and had been one of its strongest supporters. We have no plans to develop for Ouya further.”

Since the changes in the terms and conditions and this damning statement from William McDonald the developers for Gridiron, MotoTXT, have since pulled their game from OUYA funding and has decided to remain a Kickstarter project. Julie Uhrman is in full support of this move, however it feels like MotoTXT are perhaps just trying to distance themselves from the whole debacle and attempt to win over critics by rejecting huge sums of money.

They called us and they let us know that they’re pulling themselves from the campaign, that they raised enough money from Kickstarter to launch it on their own,” Uhrman also added. “They want that money to go to you, the developer, to bring your game to Kickstarter. And I just want to say that I think that’s amazing. They didn’t have to do that and I think that’s incredibly awesome of them.”

With everything seemingly against the OUYA, Twinstickgaming certainly feels the company will have to do more than this to change the companies fortunes and perceptions from the public. Stay posted with Twinstickgaming for any further developments on the OUYA and let us know what you think.

Here are the revised terms and conditions by OUYA

  1. Project Minimum: $10k (We heard you that $50k is too high. We wanted to make sure your games get made, so we lowered the goal. And, we know first-hand, that great games can be made for $20k or sometimes less.)
  2. Match Amount: 100% of your funding goal to a maximum of $250,000. (Meaning we match what you need. If you receive more than you asked for from your backers, GREAT, but this should be a measurement of community interest, not a push for more funding.)
  3. Minimum # of Backers: The intent is for the community to want your game, not a small number of well-resourced supporters. We felt we needed to look at the minimum number of backers to make sure it is in line with the spirit of our program. So, for every $10,000 raised on Kickstarter, you have to have a minimum of 100 backers.
  4. Exclusivity: 1 month for every $10k funded by OUYA up to 6 months. So, if you set a goal for $20k and you meet your goal, your game would be exclusive for 2 months. If your goal is for $70k, and you meet your goal, your game will be exclusive for 6 months. Lastly, we think it’s OK if you develop a PC version of your game. We want your game on the TV, but we also want your audience to grow. So, if you want to build a PC version at the same time, go for it.
  5. Timing: 50% of the funding provided to you at functioning beta (You know, to make sure it’s a real project. 😉 Bawb can’t wait to play!
  6. 25% at launch on OUYA (You go live, you get rewarded!)
  7. 25% at end of exclusivity period (Congrats!)
  8. Bonus: Gone. (Again, you suggested this, and we agree it just didn’t feel right. We think this will support the nature of the fund–to make great games.) We’re going to use this money to fund games the old fashioned way–working with you one-on-one.
  9. Fine Print: It’s no longer just fine print to us. You need to play by the spirit of the fund as much as the rules. We can’t account for every loophole. So, if we, or our community, feel you are gaming the system, we will review your project (and consult with our developer friends for their advice) and determine whether to fund it or not

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