Only a quarter of Ouya-backed indie developers actually received money promised from a $1 million Free The Games Fund.
Remember the Ouya? After breaking expectations with over $8 million on Kickstarter, this Android console was easily one of the most-hyped gaming devices of 2012. But when the Ouya actually arrived its reception was far more muted, prompting a downward slide that culminated it Razer buying company assets this past month. Yet while the Ouya’s story draws to a close – at least for now – many of its developers are wondering when Ouya will pay them. Specifically, the 75 percent of game creators who should have received money from Ouya’s “Free The Games” Fund.
Free The Games Fund was an Ouya initiative encouraging developers to produce content for its console. According to its rules, Ouya would match 100 percent of Kickstarter donations – up to $250,000 – for participants working on Ouya launch exclusive games. In the end, Ouya accepted 27 developers into the program, promising $1 million in combined matching funds as they hit key milestones.
The problem is that as of Razer’s acquisition, only a half-dozen developers reached their milestones and received their promised funds. The remaining developers who reached benchmarks after Razer’s deal passed are still owed money, and Razer isn’t necessarily obligated to pay them. “The Free the Games initiative was put forth by the original Ouya and that program was NOT part of the acquisition by Razer (the main asset acquired by Razer was the Android store while many of the other original Ouya assets such as the hardware and other programs were not part of the acquisition),” a Razer spokesperson told Polygon via email.
The exact amount owed by Ouya isn’t clear, but most reports place it under $1 million. Not that it helps developers who met requirements and deadlines, but are individually owed anywhere from $5,000 to $32,000
“The developers that are really hurt by the cancellation of the fund are the developers that are taking their time to create a real product for Ouya,” a Creative Game Theory spokesman explained. “We believed in Ouya and that it would be around for a long time to come. We wanted to support it with the best game possible. We aren’t looking for quick cash, we saw this fund as an opportunity to make a much better experience than we could have otherwise and we’re the ones who get thrown under the bus.”