OUYA No Longer Stopping PC Releases With FTG Funding

By John Walker on September 19th, 2013 at 6:00 pm.

OUYA have announced that their much criticised Free The Games Fund is to receive some dramatic changes, and most significantly to us, no longer prevent developers from releasing their games on PC.

The fund, that was designed to match Kickstarter-raised funds in return for six months of OUYA exclusivity, had led to accusations of and admissions from developers of fixing their Kickstarters with their own money, in order to receive the cash, all in return for releasing a game on a system without the userbase in place to sustain such exclusivity. It was, in short, a very bad idea. It’s getting better.

Crucially, OUYA are reducing the Kickstarter goal to $10,000. That’s a big step in the right direction, as the $50k target was so far out of the league of many developers, and seemingly impossible to reach based on the donations of the very small number of OUYA owners alone. It’s still, of course, far too high, the only thing really making sense being to match any Kickstarter goal. If a developer needs just $2,000 to make their game, and needs only to raise $1,000 on KS to get there, then suddenly the fund begins to make some sense. But at least it’s a lot closer to making some sense now.

And very importantly, developers are now allowed to release on PC during those first six months. That’s brilliant for developers, although still cuts them off from vital mobile and tablet markets. But then, I suppose OUYA wants their funding to count for something.

This certainly isn’t the end of the controversy surrounding this one, as really, sticking $10,000 into your own Kickstarter project to get a free $10,000 is a damned site easier than $50,000. Anyhow, at least the PC is no longer being adversely affected by the campaign. Here’s OUYA’s top boss Julie Uhrman explaining the changes:

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21 Comments »

  1. db1331 says:

    Great. If their console wasn’t utterly pointless, they might be on the right path.

  2. DarkeSword says:

    Also of note is the requirement that for every $10,000 raised, you need to have 100 unique backers. This is a huge thing that’ll prevent people from getting their friends and family to make $1000+ donations just to push the campaigns over the requirement.

  3. MadTinkerer says:

    Well good! Nothing wrong with extra moneys for developing on a particular platform, and it’s good to see them fixing some of the problems. It’d be better if “PC” was defined as “Also Mac and Linux because those actually are Personal Computers too”, but pobody’s nerfect.

    Still can’t buy an Ouya quite yet though. Bills need to be paid first!

  4. Bull0 says:

    This whole thing’s never made any sense, except from the standpoint of “Whoops, we’ve got a lot of money and not very much market share or exposure. Let’s get our name out there by throwing money at indie devs who’ve already raised a shitload of money anyway!”

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      I think the idea with the Free the Games fund was that if they made it more “grassroots” and open by letting the Kickstarter backers decide which games get the funding, gamers would feel they were keeping with the open spirit of the console. Turns out it was a bad idea and they should have just done exactly what you said.

  5. Detocroix says:

    I still don’t understand why they don’t just approach indie X (like Vlambeer) and tell them they’ll give them YY thousand to make purely exclusive game and let them have 100% share.

    That would sell Ouya consoles way much more than just random half-assed half-implemented half-cheat kickstarter extra moneys.

    Seriously, their whole marketing PR whatever section is dumb :/

    • Moraven says:

      I’m sure their paycheck is a lot smaller than what Sony or Mircrosoft is offering to idies for exclusives. And a lot of what Sony showed are time exclusives. Unless Ouya is willing to pay a lot more, these indies are relying on their 70% cut after release to continue making more games. Being stuck on a platform which is small and less than 50% have purchased a game, does not give you much hope.

      They should invest in indies, get them to develop for Ouya first for their games. Then the indie can port it to other platforms after the Ouya release.

      • Detocroix says:

        That is true, but I’m sure they could still find more interesting indie games by directly trying to “contract a game” than attempting to make up a broken system for kickstarter :)

    • The Random One says:

      I think what they’re trying to do is find the next Jonathan Blow/Terry Cavanagh/Edward McMillan/Lucas Pope, that is, one dude who makes a game out of nowhere that everyone loves and sells a bazillion copies. That would show that the openess of their platform is important, as they wouldn’t have been able to peddle their wares on the other consoles (and they’ll sell that the controller-waving OUYA audience doesn’t want to play games on the PC).

      Their PR team IS pretty dumb, though. That’s why they’re having to do this backpedaling now.

  6. Baines says:

    This certainly isn’t the end of the controversy surrounding this one, as really, sticking $10,000 into your own Kickstarter project to get a free $10,000 is a damned site easier than $50,000.

    You now also have to have at least 100 backers per $10,000. It doesn’t make it impossible to game the system, but it does make it slightly harder.

    Also, the payouts are structured so that you actually need at least some form of product. You get the first 50% when you deliver a functional beta, 25% at launch, and the final 25% after your exclusivity runs out. Sure, you can still knock out some fast, low quality product to grab the money, but it seems like that describes a lot of Ouya titles already.

    • Baines says:

      For some reason the edit button isn’t working. I meant to add that Ouya also added a “play by the spirit of the rules” clause, where they can refuse to fund if they feel you are gaming the system.

  7. nitehawk says:

    If Ouya has so much money to throw away, why not hire a team to create first party games?

    • Premium User Badge

      jrodman says:

      There are laws that say you have to pay employees better than the rates at which indie developers pay themselves.

      • belgand says:

        Not always. They’re just “interns” who rather than a salary are receiving a “stipend”. Oh for the days when being an intern merely meant a terrible job for college students where they received course credit rather than pay. Now people tend to use it to describe any lowly-paid or entry-level position.

  8. Gabe McGrath says:

    The best-ever Ouya news story is this one:
    http://www.p4rgaming.com/ouya-team-spends-5-4m-to-license-bohemian-rhapsody-for-commercial/

    eg: “I was going through random stations on the radio when I heard this wonderful song that seemed perfect for an Ouya commercial,” explained Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman. “I didn’t understand most of the lyrics but one of the lines sounded like ‘Ouya, Ouya‘ and that just made my day.”

    “After I learned that the song was extremely popular like Gangnam Style and Call Me Maybe, there’s no way we can make a terrible commercial this time,” continued Uhrman.

  9. sicilianomatt says:

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    rn $4043 in four weeks on the com
    puter. read the full info here s
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  10. GameDreamer says:

    Great stuff. Glad to be here!

    http://www.free-cd-key.com/payday2