Free the Games Fund

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History

In July 2013, Ouya announced the Free the Games Fund as a means for helping fund developers. Ouya agreed to match any Kickstarter if a minimum target of $50,000 was reached in return for the game being released as an Ouya exclusive for six months.[1] Suspicions were raised concerning the first two games to reach the target. Commentators noticed the small number of backers each pledging a high value amount, the large number of those who had never backed a project before, as well as the use of duplicate names and avatars that included those of celebrities.[2] This led some to suggest that the projects were artificially inflating their project's backing in order to receive extra money from Ouya.

At the time, Ouya rejected any suspicion regarding the backing of the projects and planned to continue with providing funding.[3] In September 2013, one of the games that had been fully funded, Elementary, My Dear Holmes was suspended by Kickstarter.[4] The developers of the other funded game, Gridiron Thunder, threatened litigation against a commenter on the Kickstarter page, and further dismissed concerns that they would have no rights to official NFL branding, a license currently held by Electronic Arts.[5] In the same month, another project caused controversy by openly stating that a relative of one developer had provided substantial additional backing in order to have the project qualify for the Free the Games fund. The project was removed by Ouya from the Free the Games fund, resulting in the developers removing the project from Kickstarter.[6]

Many developers criticized the fund's rules. Sophie Houlden removed her game, Rose and Time, from the Ouya Discover Store.[7] Matt Gilgenbach, who was trying to finance his game Neverending Nightmares with help from the fund, said, "It would kill me if due to other projects abusing the Free the Games Fund, people lost confidence in our project and what we are trying to do...While I believe in the idea of the Free the Games Fund, I think it definitely could use some reform in light of the potential avenues for abuse." [8] Eventually, Uhrman accepted this criticism. "Developers were telling us over and over, 'You’re being too idealistic, and you’re being too naive'...That was the part that personally took me a while to understand." Ouya changed the fund rules, including adding a dollar-per-backer limit. Houlden put her game back on the store, and Neverending Nightmares qualified for funding under the new rules.

On September 18, 2013, Ouya modified the exclusivity clause of the fund. Developers would be allowed to release on personal computer systems, such as Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, but not be allowed to release their software on mobile devices, video game consoles, and set-top boxes during the six-month exclusivity period.[9]

Successful Projects

Available Games

FTGF Games Currently Available through the Ouya Discover Store

External Links

References

  1. http://www.ouyaly.com/?p=556
  2. http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/suspicions-surround-kickstarted-ouya-exclusive-gridiron-thunder/0120517
  3. http://www.gameranx.com/features/id/17077/article/ouya-s-free-the-games-promotion-incites-dubious-kickstarter-behavior
  4. http://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2013/09/22319-controversial-kickstarter-gridiron-thunder-closes-fully-funded
  5. http://kotaku.com/accused-kickstarter-scammers-we-are-not-scamming-anyb-1224503476
  6. http://www.penny-arcade.com/report/article/ouya-shuts-down-yet-another-kickstarter-debacle
  7. https://gigaom.com/2013/10/31/ouya-ceo-uhrman-we-were-too-naive-about-its-free-the-games-fund-trouble
  8. http://www.joystiq.com/2013/09/13/neverending-nightmares-and-the-dream-of-ouyas-free-the-games/
  9. http://www.freethegamesfund.com/rules.html