The indie console changes its funds matching program to allow for PC releases and lower project minimums.
It’s fair to say that despite being a Kickstarter darling, the $99 android console Ouya launched into a rather harsh climate. It quickly faced a chicken-and-egg issue of sales floundering due to lack of games, which lead to fewer developers writing games, and so on. Its solution was the Free the Games Fund, which would match funds for games on Kickstarter, assuming they raise at least $50,000 and were Ouya exclusive. Now that a few titles have become embroiled in controversy, Ouya’s changing the rules. Now, games only have to raise a minimum of $10,000, have at least 100 backers, and can release on the PC as well.
“We hear you loud and clear that the program isn’t working” Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman announced. “Regardless of my best intentions, there’s just too many loopholes.” To fix this, it’s lowing the minimum to $10,000 to decrease the incentive for cheating, and requiring at least 100 backers. It’s also removing the $100k bonus to the campaign that raises the most cash because “it just wasn’t in the spirit of the fund”.
More importantly, games no longer have to remain entirely exclusive to the Ouya. For every 1 month of exclusivity, a game can earn $10k from Ouya. So, the longer they stick with Ouya, the more cash they’ll receive for development, but it’s not mandatory anymore.
However, Ouya’s making the fine print nice and large here. It says that “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.” In short, play by the rules, both in word and spirit, and everyone will be happy. Here’s hoping that this helps Ouya outgrow this controversy and simply start shipping fun games.