Recently, the intention behind our Free the Games Fund — to provide additional funding to crowd-funded games bound for OUYA, and enable developers to make more of them — seems to have been lost.

This response surprised us — we thought this was going to be great — how could it not be? We launched the Free the Games Fund to find great games from the very platform that gave us life. We wanted to make magic happen and help developers bring their games to OUYA. We wanted to include gamers in the process of discovering great games. We aren’t like everyone else. We don’t decide what games you *should* play. We want to *open* game development.

The truth is, openness is hard. Being open means everything is fair game, and it means sometimes things don’t work out exactly as you hope. And when it doesn’t work out, everyone knows.

We’re OK with all that, though, because being open is worth it. It’s a value we stick to because it comes with so many benefits for us, and for you — the gamers and developers. For us, openness includes the benefit of your insight. We misstep, and we correct.

In launching this campaign, we’ve been called everything from naive and foolish to crazy and idealistic. This is not the first time we’ve been called any of that. Maybe we’re naive … and YES we’re definitely idealistic. It’s gotten us this far. We believe (still) that great games from great developers can be discovered this way — by you. If we can put aside the doubt and embrace the spirit of this fund as it is meant, and of OUYA as it is meant, we might just be surprised by what a little positivity can produce.

The Free the Games Fund is for you — the developer with a great idea and the community of gamers who would do anything to see a game on the TV. Today, more than 40 developers have contacted us with their game ideas, and we are honored. Please take a moment to check out the live Free the Game Fund projects so far, and support the ones you believe in:

Julie

Julie

Julie

The Head Honcho

  • dragondude

    this is great and all but im still sad that i have to hack my ouya to enjoy games such a the conduit hd which should have been on the discover store a while ago

  • wespaugh

    The only FTG project that has succeeded (and from the looks of it, the only one that is likely to succeed in the near future), Gridiron Thunder, is not the idea I bought into when giving my time and talent to Ouya. Rather than supporting a great idea from a developer that needed substantial development funding, a developer that already had what they’re claiming is a game that is within weeks of shipping is receiving funds that I can’t begin to imagine are truly needed. The fact that that project has an average backer amount that is so grossly out-of-step with the average Kickstarter project makes it highly, highly suspicious that this is anything but a developer abusing the fund to get money they don’t truly need.

    One FTG project was already suspended by Kickstarter for suspicious activity. The campaigns that aren’t setting off red flags are failing tragically, and that is a real shame, because some of those ideas are ones the world needs far more than a football management game.

    I have no evidence that anything uncouth has taken place with Gridiron, but the project has made it clear how a developer with $50k themselves could very easily abuse this promotion. I would rather Ouya hand-pick games to fund with the investment capital than allow this system to continue, with a loophole that allows developers to claim money unscrupulously.

    Ouya’s creation was a step towards fixing a broken system. Please, fix this broken system.

    • http://www.youtube.com/pixelfreakgames Pixel Freak

      Nailed it with that last line.

    • Jay Griffin

      Controversy aside, the numbers around the fund in general feel out of touch to me. Kickstarter has changed a lot since the early days, it’s not the way it was when OUYA was looking for funding, and $50,000 projects are well outside the dreams of most indie devs these days that aren’t riding on a known name. Never mind for a timed exclusive.

      Spreading funding across a wider range of smaller projects could have encouraged a wider range of talent and had much more of a knock-on effect. Personally I like wespaugh’s idea of curating the system yourself instead of setting some arbitrary hoops to jump through and hoping it all pans out, you could be nurturing the next wave of young talent instead of bankrolling people who are quite capable of doing it themselves.

      • James Coote

        This was always aimed at developers a step up size wise from the one or two man band indie operation. Those “Independent” developers made up of three or four industry veterans striking out on their own

        It’d be nice to have something for the little indies, but it should be in addition, not instead of this

        • Jay Griffin

          I know who it was aimed at. It’s just the more I think about it, the more I’m baffled how anyone thought it was a good idea.

          If you’re aiming for higher-end, higher quality games, and you only have the funds to support a small handful of them, wouldn’t it make sense to be more selective? Y’know, take the time to do your homework and support the kind of things people want to see? It doesn’t take a marketing expert to see that Gridiron Thunder isn’t that kind of project. It’s had nothing but coverage the last week or two, and people didn’t even give enough of a shadow of a toss to buy more than a third of the super-duper-early-bird bargain passes. They couldn’t get much more than a hundred regular joes onboard when they were all but giving it away. Those would be crappy enough numbers for a newcomer. For a potential “tentpole” project it’s a shambles.

          How is this an attractive proposition for bigger developers on any level? They get to burn through whatever goodwill they have struggling to realise an almost certainly doomed project with unrealistic goals tied to an exclusivity window that’s more than likely actively alienating to most of their existing fanbase. Look at the other projects on that list, most of them aren’t even coming close. Most developers don’t have friends with surprisingly deep pockets, and this kind of project may be doing them more harm than good.

  • Rob Remakes

    The FTG was an absurd idea from the off. Long before you launched it, I lost count of the amount of people pointing out that it was a complete disaster waiting to happen. From the idea of asking people to raise 50k to the abusive language on the FTG fund page where you flat out say that if you can’t raise 50k, you can’t be making a videogame so byeee – essentially, the people most likely to provide content for your console, you’re telling to get stuffed, you don’t want them, that’s what that sort of language says.

    “Of course, if you don’t meet your Kickstarter goal at all, then maybe
    that means you can’t afford to make a game. We’ll be sad, of course, but
    we’ll understand if the game you can’t afford to make isn’t on OUYA.”

    How many people making a game for Ouya, how many people outside of this absurd scheme you’re running that want to make games for your system have access to 50k spends? Did Amazing Frog have a 50k spend? Did any of Sophie’s games have 50k spends? What are you thinking? Why are those words still there if you’re listening?

    But of course, Ouya is for many an ideal. I’ve got one, I’m making a game for it currently and it’s an ideal that’s worth supporting. But not like this. Not this way. FTG is a disaster, it’s an easily exploitable disaster and one that so far has done little for developers or for Ouya, it’s asking things of developers the big players would never ask. Yes, you’ve changed the terms to “console” exclusivity for 6 months but honestly, look at the world changing under your feet, that’s an insane request still. What sets you aside from the big players with this policy is that they would not ask for this. Not now. So where does that leave you? How is this a good alternative? You repeatedly claim you’re not like them, this is true, you’re not. You’re currently -worse- for many. Is that really what you want?

    But here’s the thing, you talk about correcting, you talk about taking feedback, but on the evidence you’re presenting here, it’s a fiction. This post is nothing but a deflection and a distraction that refuses to address anyone’s concerns. Concerns that are coming from respected developers and prospective developers, the people who could turn your platform from a little box that just runs ROMS into something to be reckoned with. They’re the people you’re running through the mill here and it’s saddening in the extreme. These are people you -should- be listening to. Sony listen to them, Microsoft listen to them, Nintendo listen to them. I’m not saying that’s a reason to listen to them but it’s perhaps reason to pause and ask yourself why aren’t we listening to them as well? You want developers? You treat developers well. Word gets round really fast about that sort of thing, y’know? Just ask Sony who are getting all the headlines you can only dream of in recent times.

    I’ll say it again. Forget things like FTG, forget marketing tactics that make Acclaim seem like it was staffed entirely by sensible grown men who gave a monkeys, get Ouya’s out to developers that need them, start being the difference you repeatedly claim you are because those actions speak louder than a thousand distracting blogposts. If you want to fund projects, give Matt the money he’d need to make Neverending Nightmares or whoever else you believe would be worth funding, I don’t know who, there’s plenty of developers out there aching for a leg up and you could give it to them. Or you could continue to be the little console that could but didn’t.

    Be better than this. You can be better than this. But you’ve got to show it.

    • Nikkolai Davenport

      Good response. I agree with this whole hardheartedly. The appeal of OUYA was that it was made for indie games like Ballpoint Universe and Monsters!, and the developers behind them. Both were successfully Kickstarted projects, %144 funded at $8,628 and %128 funded at $5,116 respectively. Regrettably, neither one would have qualified for funding under this program due to the $50k baseline requirement. By setting such a requirement, OUYA is essentially asking for a very specific subset of games be made for the platform. Thereby excluding the typical micro-budget indie, which is who this micro-platform was made for!

      A better approach to this initiative would be to for OUYA to selectively fund these projects. If you get your project Kickstarted, and you plan to release on OUYA, regardless of exclusivity, you would then have a chance at being selected and granted double your funding. Either way, a successful project still gets funded, and OUYA is in the position to curate projects and appropriate funding as they see fit. Which hopefully would go mostly toward these smaller budget games. The little guy gets a helping hand. OUYA gets more titles for the amount their willing to put forth. Everybody wins.

    • Phil

      If I’m comprehending correctly, (rarely happens) FTGF is like a worse version of steam greenlight? (Don’t get me started on how bad greenlight is)

  • bowserusc

    I’ve given up on you, your company and your console. I truly regret backing your project on Kickstarter and wish I could get my money back. Time after time you’ve let your customers down, and you don’t see any problems with your actions.

    You are not about fixing the system, you are about making money at the expense of your customers. You’re worse than the big console companies because you pretend to be about the user, but you’re just more of the same old garbage.

  • TheIndieArmy

    Let’s talk about not giving Gridiron Thunder $171,000 for thier scam of a campaign. It is quite clear, and they have admitted to, a majority of their backers being friends and family. Their game is coming out in weeks. It doesn’t need funding. All they are doing is stealing money from you and doubling up their friend’s money. Stealing money from all of us along the way, because hard as it may be to remember, it’s us backers who made Ouya what it is today. We’re the ones that funded your project as well. Do you think we enjoy seeing the result of our pledges amount to $171k getting sent to some rich Californian lawyer and his friends just so some unfinished-looking football game will be on Ouya exclusively for six months? Do you think that exclusive deal will make more Ouya owners happy than the amount of Ouya owners this has pissed off?

    You are losing your customer base just as fast as you gained it over a year ago. It’s because you aren’t listening to them. You throw words like ‘open’ and ‘community’ around like candy. Yet your defintion of those words are not the same they were last July. They are not the same as what your customers expected when they backed your project.

    There are a lot of better ways to spend $171k, but I know of one that would make a lot of people happy. Go give Mojang that money and tell them to bring Minecraft to Ouya like you eluded to so long ago.

    Give us what we want, not what you think we want. Because what you think we want couldn’t be farther from reality.

  • ifisch

    Julie,

    Nobody wants Gridiron Thunder. I know this because despite all the media attention it received, and the millions of eyeballs that saw its campaign, it only earned 186 backers! Even the vast majority of those were friends and family or trolls who wanted to make a comment on their kickstarter page.

    Please don’t give them the money. It won’t help your console at all.

    • http://magory.net/ Tomasz Kucza

      And many of those backers were those who wanted to comment so backed the game $1.

    • Mike

      I’m going to buy Gridiron Thunder just because I read this ignorant statement. So there…

      • ifisch

        I can’t even imagine what part of my statement you think is ignorant.

        Do you think having an extremely rushed football game, one that doesn’t have the NFL license, will drastically improve the Ouya’s sales?

        Do you believe the 170k did NOT come directly from the product creator and his friends?

        • Mike

          I couldn’t care less.

  • http://tyrus.tumblr.com/ Tyrus Peace

    I get what you’re going for with this, Julie. Kickstarter is usually a relatively open funding platform. Unfortunately, Free the Games introduces a motivation to donate massive amounts of your own money to Kickstarter that doesn’t exist normally, meaning that instead of it being the community contributing funds, it may just end up being a small group of people funding themselves. I know you want to trust your community here, but people that can get $50,000 dollars given to a Kickstarter for an OUYA-exclusive game are generally not members of the OUYA developer community.

    Best of luck with FTG, though! I hope it does end up getting some more games with production values in the tens of thousands of dollars range onto the OUYA. Just because some people can take advantage of Free the Games doesn’t mean that everyone will.

    • Roger Levy

      I like the level-headed tone of this.

      People are flying off the handle.

  • ★ Sophie Houlden

    This is not a satisfactory response to the situation at all. I originally thought, as I assumed people at OUYA did, that though the FTG fund could be exploited nobody would do that. We have clearly been proven wrong… yet you are STILL running the thing? and *this* is your response? THIS is still the way you want to put money into the hands of developers?

    I emailed Kellee (who you’re amazingly lucky to have on your team IMO) a couple of weeks ago to bring up my concerns about this issue, and say that I was prepared to pull my game from the store if OUYA didn’t have a decent response.

    This isn’t even a response, let alone a decent one. You don’t get to keep my game, you don’t get to have any of the games I was looking forward to (or even started) porting to OUYA. But hey you get gridiron thunder.

    Treat developers better, listen to us, be more honest, admit when you have fucked up (without all the wishy-washy handwaving here that amounts to nothing), and be prepared to change course. you really could make a difference to developers with the kind of money you have and you are burning it with FTG which isn’t helping developers and just seems to be a really bad PR move at this point, and it’s not putting your console in a good light.

    I love the OUYA dearly, it actually has a couple of my favourite games of all time on it, and I had a good time developing for it myself. but I’m not prepared to support bullshit like this, you’ve lost me. There’s a tiny chance you could get me back, but honestly I don’t think you have it in you at this point.

    • James Coote

      OUYA can’t just cancel the whole thing as it’d put out a whole bunch of genuine developers.

      They’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, and bitterly complaining that they should have opted for rock doesn’t really help

      • Tony Perriello

        The majority of complaints I’ve read (and complaints I have) aren’t that they “should have opted for rock”, it’s based around that they appear to be in complete denial of the situation they’re in and refuse to admit that maybe this idea wasn’t the best one.

        Regardless of whether or not they are aware and this is just PR (awful PR at that), or they really are just clueless, this whole response is just doubling down and comes off as arrogant.

        They may as well have just posted a “haters gonna hate” .gif.

        • James Coote

          I was referring to the difficult decision on whether or not to drop the fund completely.

          Couldn’t give a hoot about some American Football game. If OUYA or anyone else wants to throw money behind this or that game, that’s up to them

          • Tony Perriello

            I completely acknowledged that’s what you were referring to..? I don’t understand what you’re getting at.

          • James Coote

            I mean, you can’t exactly admit something wasn’t such a great idea, but then not drop it completely.

            Dropping it damages faith people have that the company will stick to its commitments, hurts those hoping to use the fund later, and makes them question whether the company has a plan or are just knee-jerk reacting to everything

            Changing the rules or making an exception for one game because you (or the angry mob of the internets) don’t like the idea has a similar effect

          • Tony Perriello

            Okay you’re just strawmanning me now

          • Mighty Rabbit Studios

            I’m right there with you as someone who defends OUYA on a regular basis, but you can’t honestly say following through with giving $171,000 to Gridiron Thunder would benefit people hoping to use the fund. It doesn’t, it hurts them because now there is $171,000 gone that can’t fund other, better, projects.

          • TripleXXXBalla

            How does it hurt them, if they are not able to create a game of that budget, or obtain the backing needed to raise the funds, like the type that OUYA needs in order to stay relevant in the business.

          • Mighty Rabbit Studios

            Because no one actually wants Gridiron Thunder. The point of the FTGF was to unearth games people wanted. I’m assuming the logic was that getting $50k of funding would mean lots of backers and thus, lots of interest. Gridiron Thunder has 180 backers. Most are investors, friends, family. OUYA stands to gain nothing from that game.

            If a game legitimately raises $50k through normal means (which would probably be 3,000 – 10,000 backers), it probably is legitimately something people would want. Instead of saving the money from the FTGF for those projects, it’s being given to people out to cheat the system (Gridiron Thunder), and it isn’t just a small chunk – it’s nearly 20% of the money OUYA set aside to help developers.

            This is clearly hurting other developers hoping to utilize the FTGF,

          • TripleXXXBalla

            Silicon Valley Lawyer, 20 years experience, High Profile Athletes, Lawsuites…
            Win or lose does that sound like something OUYA wants to go up against right now with everything else standing against them?
            Or would it be so much as to ask the high profile indie devs that made us all want to buy an OUYA in the first place to step it up, and give us a little bit of their time.

      • Lewie Procter

        This is incorrect. From the Terms & Conditions listed on the Free The Games Fund website:

        “9. RIGHT TO CANCEL OR SUSPEND CONTEST If for any reason the Contest is not capable of running as planned, due to infection by computer virus, bugs, worms, Trojan horses, denial of service attacks, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes beyond the control of OUYA that corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of this Contest, OUYA reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual(s) who tamper with the entry process, and/or to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the Contest.”

        They can change the rules of the contest at any time. They can disqualify any developer at any time. They have no legal obligation to pay money to the Gridiron Thunder developers.

        If they match the Gridiron Thunder developer’s kickstarter funds, it is because they have chosen to do so, not because of any legal obligation.

        • halbarad

          Totally agreed. The T&C’s are set in place to let the guys do what they want with their competition. The rules of FTGF are actually about as flexible as a five star gymnast with years of pole-dancing experience.

          But I have a genuine problem with the fund itself. It’s called “Free The Games Fund” and the obligation to get the funding is that you actually don’t free your game, you tie it to a single system. It’s a contradiction if there ever was one.

      • Mygaffer

        Man, do you work for OUYA?

    • badr

      I have been reading left and right about the OUYA incident with the Free the Games Fund, and clearly, there was some foul play, and the fact that Julie Uhrman’s reply was so…. unilateral to this new hidden agenda that OUYA seems to be having… has made lost what little faith I had for the company.

      We really aren’t getting any advertising from having Dawn Earth sitting in the pit they have it in the Ouya Marketplace, and we are not really making any significant money (Ithink we have made $6, lol). I think we should at least support the integrity of developers like us (IndieHex) who could use a fund like that to make a really cool game, I’d rather be part of the group who are taking their games out of the OUYA marketplace. Even if we were making some good coin I think we need to stick together when things like this happen.

      We need to set the example to our future customers that this kind of behavior is not going to be tolerated. I don’t want OUYA to disappear into oblivion, I want them to stop, think and retract their statement to give us the environment they promised us. The only way this is going to happen is by having both developers and consumers hit them where it hurts the most, and that is with our product and with their wallets.

      I am pretty sure if Ouya suddenly didnt have any games to showcase and no consumers buying products, Julie Uhrman is going to have to retract that statement and give much thought at how they are going to survive at the micro-console entertaining field.

      Even so, I think Ouya is done. They have messed up one too many times and they have not admitted to their mistakes along the way. If anything comes from OUYA, it will be that they showed the world that there is a desire for something like this. Sadly, they failed at it miserably, to the point where their reputation is tarnished. I don’t see too many people (developers and paying customers) sticking with Ouya for much longer.

      So this weekend we will be pulling Dawn Earth out of the OUYA Marketplace to show our support for this grave situation.

      Gilbert
      Lead Engineer
      IndieHex
      http://indiehex.com

  • Steven Hoskins

    I will be completely honest here, somewhere in the region of $3-$5k would personally be enough money for me to work full time, flat out for a few months on an OUYA game and I’m sure many other people feel the same. So how $50k is supposed to seem a realistic number for your average developer is beyond my understanding. Can you not see that you are shooting yourselves in the foot every time you make a statement in support of your FTG fund? The media has had a field day on this. Maybe it is time to reconsider the plans?
    I have been a fan of OUYA and still am, however I can’t help thinking that it would be a better idea for developers to pitch their ideas directly to OUYA for smaller amounts of funding (maybe have some requirements such as small tech demo for the team to look at etc). I’m sure OUYA would gain much more credibility by deciding to back genuinely good ideas over what are publicly seen as potential scams.
    I see there being more of an issue with the external storage thing at the moment. I know many gamers have stopped (or at least been put off) buying more OUYA games because they have filled the space on the console and do not wish to delete anything to make room for something they may not even like. I know personally I have caught myself looking at the download sizes of new games before deciding if to bring them down or not due to the limited capacity on the system. I know there will be a system update on this but surely that should be the number 1 priority for OUYA at the moment?

  • Vcoleiro1

    The problem with the FTGF is the minimum limit of $50K is pretty much impossible. And therefor is ripe for people to game the system to get to $50K.

    Lets do the maths, there are maybe (if your lucky) 160,000 Ouya owners. As we know, only 27% of Ouya owners are buying games ie 40,000 Ouya owners are buying games. If a game was very successful , it might sell to 5% of them ie to 2,000 Ouya owners. If the game was offered at $15 a pop on Kickstarter , then that’s 2000*$15 = $30,000 . ie well short of the $50K minimum. That’s the problem with the FTGF in a nutshell.
    Your basically then relying on people buying the game for other platforms who are willing to wait 6 + months after the Ouya release.

    Why not do it this way:

    Have people pitch their games like on Kickstarter along with how much they need. Post them up on your web site. At the end of 8 months, poll the 60,000+ Ouya KS backers on which ones they want . Then fund the ones in order of preference up until your $1 Million limit.

    Pros:

    1) Can’t be scammed since you are polling the 60,000+ Ouya owners via their emails you got from the Ouya KS.

    2) Gives people the games they actually want, rather than potentially getting games that no one want which were only funded by rich backers or project creators who gamed the system.

    3) No funds are lost to Kickstarter and Amazon fees.

    Cons:

    They miss out on funds they may have got via people backing a copy of there game in a KS. This is true , however, the people that would have backed it on KS will end up buying it anyway when it comes out. So no money is really lost.

    • stonedonkey

      Sounds like Steam’s Greenlight, which makes a hell of a lot more sense.

    • srbharris

      I REALLY like this idea a lot.

  • Scott

    Ugh, so happy I got my Ouya for free and that they didn’t get any of my cash, lost faith in this company and Julie months ago, the revolution will NOT be televised

  • mikebithell

    Wow.

    This post makes me sad, for a lot of reasons to be honest, but mainly for the wording. This isn’t an acceptance of criticism, or an explanation of how clearly dodgy as hell schemes are being supported by you publicly (in PR at least, I really hope you weasel out before giving the Gridiron Thunder guys a penny).

    This reads like a press release from a console company locked into a foolish policy and using aspirational language to shift the blame, weirdly, onto its critics.

    And that, that is the old way you’re so eager to push away from. You can do better. A $1m pot of money to support new indie talent is very possibly the coolest thing ever. To use kickstarter, and a cap of $50k, is probably the silliest possible way of doing it. The maths are covered in a previous post, but yeah.. it’d be impossible for a legitimate project with a recognisable indie name to raise that money, let alone the kind of new talent OUYA as a platform should be nourishing.

    Why didn’t you reach out, or test the water? Who made the decision to do it this way? Did that person not have access to a calculator? The coolest thing you could do right now is switch this over, change track. What if you split the money between anyone who wanted it in the PAX megabooth, or set up your own ‘vote for this game’ platform with which to make a longlist, which you could curate. I know, work, but then.. you are now a platform holder.

    I am saddened by this process. A couple of rich people gaming the system to get slightly richer, and a number of amazingly talented indies (Terry, Sophie etc) angered to the point of leaving the platform.

    A beautiful dream of a console, marred by a complete lack of understanding of the space it is designed to serve.

    • James Coote

      “A $1m pot of money to support new indie talent is very possibly the coolest thing ever.”

      That’s not what this fund is. It isn’t really aimed at one-man band or similar indies. It’s aimed at “Independent” developers. The sort of venture where 3 or 4 industry veterans have struck out on their own. Hence the relatively high $50k+ goal.

      • SirTapTap

        That’s what it SHOULD be though. Ouya was supposed to be about super open, anyone can make a game. If you’re going to be all “anyone with $50k and game development experience can maybe make a game if they have a really really good pitch” why the heck wouldn’t you just go to Sony, Nintendo or Microsoft? Pretty much anyone capable of making FTG work is almost certainly capable of putting a game on at least one mainstream console.

        If you remove the super small indies, and the too-big-to-be-exclusives, all you have is scam artists and the very limited group of people so principled or desperate as to hold out for the Ouya exclusivity. And so far it seems the principled projects are failing, and the scams are succeeding.

        • James Coote

          I think OUYA were finding the super small indies were exactly the sort of developer turning up on the platform already. Hence offering financial incentives to slightly bigger ventures to try and lure them away from the big 3

          Right now, those console makers are practically falling over each other to try and attract indies of all sizes. And ironically, OUYA can probably claim not-undue influence in that

          • wespaugh

            I’m getting a little off-topic here, but Ouya haven’t even made their smaller developers happy, yet. There are fantastic games on the platform, many of them exclusive, that just aren’t making money.

            If Ouya can’t even get those developers to be happy enough with the platform to sing praise for its potential as a lucrative development platform, rather than a place for hobbyists, why are they going after bigger fish? Bigger devs aren’t interested since smaller devs aren’t profitable.

            Bigger devs realize there is only one way to make substantial money on this console: the FTGF. So it makes sense that the people most interested in it don’t care about Ouya as a platform, but see a way to free money.

            And, while I’ve tried to avoid letting my personal opinions about Gridiron as a game get into the discussion, I think it’s pretty fair to say that it’s not the kind of game that’s going to make Ouya attractive to a wider audience.

            When FTG started, I thought a game like Mighty Brawlers actually might have had a shot. But this campaign is most attractive to people that don’t care about the games they develop for it.

            I understand that it is maybe just as bad a PR move to cancel the fund as it is to persist. At least if they cancelled it, they’d still have $1m they can use to support legitimate projects.

          • Mygaffer

            I think Minecraft, Fez, Super Meatboy, FTL, and a host of other very successful indie games were much more influential than the OUYA when it comes to that. Steam is much more influential than the OUYA when it comes to that.

      • mikebithell

        a team of ‘3 or 4′ industry veterans working for a year is nearer to $250k.. if that was the intention, this was even dumber.

        • TripleXXXBalla

          Maybe you didn’t read the campaign website well enough, that is exactly what they said, if it only get them 4 good games so be it…

          • mikebithell

            It’ll get them 4 scams. Which is unfortunate, because I’d love to see good games come out of this.

          • Will

            Which one of the 10K Gridiron Thunder backers are you, again?

        • James Coote

          The fund is between $50k and $250k. I don’t think it’s dumb to try and chase those type of developers (even if you disagree with them using kickstarter as the way to go about it)

          • mikebithell

            These games are not going to even get funded for $50k.. if you want the 3-4 veterans, you talk to them like people, you don’t go the kickstarter route.

          • James Coote

            As in, $50k is not enough to make a game? Sure, but if the game gets $50k on kickstarter, then that gets doubled, so game devs have got at least $100k overall. (Minus the costs associated with doing a kickstarter, which are often not insignificant).

            Also, before the campaign, you need to talk to OUYA to let them know it’s happening. So it’s not like OUYA aren’t talking to the devs and vice versa

  • Ben Tan

    Ouya KS backer here. I trusted in Ouya to have backed it in the first place. So it is in my best interests to see the platform succeed. I even took the time to register for more online accounts to state this piece. FTG is a good idea (on paper). However, implementation of it leaves much to be desired. It isn’t too late to pull the plug or change the direction of FTG. You’ve no doubt seen our response to the idea of FTG. The key is to take the criticism and fix the FTG system. Part of being “open” is to have potential Ouya games vetted by the public (or backers, if you so wish!). 183 backers for Gridiron Thunder are not the majority. They are more like the 1%. So please, take the good suggestions from all the indie developers out there and fix the system.

  • Richard Perrin

    I’m going to tell you a bit about my history with the Ouya. Not because I’m particuarly interesting but I hope it will show you how you’ve come across at least to one developer.

    I’ve never been convinced by the whole microconsole market, so I was always super dubious of the Ouya I came at the whole thing with a huge degree of skepticism. However upon launch I could not help but become caught up in the enthusiasm Terry and Sophie exhibited for the platform. So I went out and bought one of your machines.

    Even once I got the machine I remained skeptical, but I wanted to give it a fair chance. I began porting my game to your console. However since then you have had such a run of negative press that I’ve found it hard to come up with the enthusiasm to finish the port work.

    When I originally expressed my disappointment over your Free The Games funding model your developer outreach people did get in contact with me. That made me think my doubts were unwarranted as you were a small start up company and maybe I’d been too quick to judge. Maybe with a bit of time you guys could get on track with all this.

    However this Gridiron fiasco has been the final straw for me. It’s abundantly clear (if not conclusive) that they’ve put their own money and that of friends into the Kickstarter so you guys would be obligated to double their money. In fact I notice most stories have failed to notice you guys will also be obligated to give them another $100k on top as they’re the most highly funded project. So for the relatively small cost of their Kickstarter fees they’re getting hundreds of thousands of dollars out of you for a football game that few people are particularly interested in.

    As a small developer myself I know that making $270k for a game project is an incredible amount, and normally would require so much hard work and luck to acheive. However you’re now going to be giving that much money to developers who had the capital to pull off this sham and the lack of shame to not care about the backlash. That’s hugely demotivating to me and makes me feel very alienated from your platform. I’d try and do the same but my own personal ethics prevent from exploiting this loop hole in your funding.

    I said the Gridiron thing was the final straw but in reality this blog post was. We’ve all been waiting for how you guys were going to deal with this and your response is to post a blog entry that ducks and doges around the one central issue. We’ve all been watching very concerned, and you’ve basically made it clear you’re either not listening or are not willing to engage with us.

    That being the case I can’t work with you guys and I won’t work with you guys. Thankfully we seem to be in a new era with game development where companies like Sony are taking the time to engage with smaller developers and are willing to admit mistakes and try to make things better. That your small plucky start up is coming across more impersonal and corporate than Sony should worry you deeply.

  • AlwaysGeeky

    This response saddens me for a couple of reasons.

    1) Firstly, if this is the way OUYA responds to the (valid) criticisms and complaints about the existing FTG fund, and how it handles the pressure it is receiving for publically supporting scam projects like ‘Gridion Thunder’, then this just goes to prove that they really don’t understand the many concerns and worries that people have over this. Or they are woefully ignoring them and instead deciding to stick to their guns, in absence of admitting they have made some mistakes and changing.

    2) And secondly, by continuing to stick to the current FTG fund despite it being a hugely broken, and easily abusable system. I myself have considered bringing my own game, Vox, to the OUYA and having a platform supported development fund is EXACTLY the additional “cherry on the top” that I need and one that would probably push me over edge and cement the decision to allow me to move forward with these plans. But putting this funding behind a Kickstarter paywall, an impossible target goal of $50K, and the continued belligerence of the people running this funding have put me squarely off the idea. There is no way that small, independent developers are ever going to hope to achieve that level of funding on Kickstarter alone, before you even consider the OUYA exclusivity period and other barriers that will limit uptake on a project.

    As many have pointed out previously and even on this discussion page, the funding would be much better spent and go a lot further if it was used more sensibly and actually got into the hands of developers who could bring cool and fund games to the OUYA. Giving out smaller amounts where required, and ditching the Kickstarter requirements would be a huge step forward, but sadly one that I think will never happen.

  • Rich_Woods

    “We’re OK with all that, though, because being open is worth it.”

    I wonder if you could be open with us about how you feel about the Kickstarter funding pattern of Gridiron Thunder?

  • Smiley

    I may not be a Ouya backer, but I purchased your console with great faith in its potential, and wish to support it as it competes under the wave of next-gen consoles. What drew me to the system was that it felt like it openly supported its community and inspired future games from the not-yet-known developers. This truly saddens me when I clearly see people exploiting the FTGF in a way that discourages developers and potential backers. It’s made worse by the people behind Ouya allowing this to continue. I’m sorry that you’re fund is being taken advantage of and you feel like you have no choice but to move forward with it. But keep in mind the people, your customers, who bought or backed the Ouya in good faith who you will be letting down by wasting away money to cheaters. You could use that money for honest developers hoping to bring out the best in your system rather than support a game that is tainted with lies and deceit. I want to support you guys. I really do. Please don’t turn the other cheek on this matter.

  • TripleXXXBalla

    How about instead of complaining about Gridiron, or telling OUYA how to run their business, the GOOD devs that can make GOOD games actually start putting up their kickstarters to get the funds.
    So far Neverending Nightmares is the only one putting their money where their mouth is.

    • mikebithell

      Because we would waste a lot of time not hitting the $50k.

    • Thamer Alharbash

      And Neverending Nightmares isn’t taking off in terms of funding. It’s slowly getting there. Ultimately, I think, FTG is actually hurting it.

    • Mighty Rabbit Studios

      Because by the time “good” developers raise $50k, scam artists will have claimed the remaining $829k with bogus “Gridiron Thunder”-esque Kickstarters.

    • Rob Remakes

      Because I don’t want to run a Kickstarter?

    • Will

      So yeah, any of the reasons they said. Which one of the 10K Gridiron Thunder backers were you, again?

    • Gavitron

      Because the Ouya doesn’t have the customer base to make GOOD games profitable?

  • John Brown

    Honestly, I support FTG. I think it’s a good idea. It’s the execution that is pretty lackluster. First off, why is the FTG fund focused on getting people to raise funds through kickstarter? Why not just start your own funding initiative through ouya.tv? People who want ouya-exclusive games are more likely to come to the ouya site than to kickstarter. I understand you guys have a projects page, but that isn’t cutting it. We need to build a community around ouya, and it should start here! Secondly, don’t you (@ouya) feel that 50k is a bit steep for indie devs? Most indie dev teams only consist of a few members. Why in the world would it take 50k to develop an android game? I say you start off lower, around 10k. Allow the developers to create somewhat of a showcase demo; a free-to-play release. And if the product is well-received, then give more funding to the team to continue development.

    • SirTapTap

      People don’t have a problem with FTG because it gives devs money, it’s all in the execution. The combo of Kickstarter, 50k and an exclusive deal is pretty brutal to many developers.

  • Thamer Alharbash

    Julie,

    FTG is not doing what it is intended to do. Time to suspend the program and admit to your users that you made a mistake.

  • Mighty Rabbit Studios

    As others have said, this response is not satisfactory. If you go through with backing Gridiron Thunder, you are literally throwing money away. There is no ifs, ands, or buts about it – they are clearly gaming your program. Do the right thing and back away.

    Just to prove my point, we have $50k in our bank account right now. I can literally start a Kickstarter today for the worst game of all time, give five family members $10,000 each, have them “back” the project – and boom, I qualify.

    We have loved our experience with OUYA so far, but this whole thing is making us seriously doubt your business sense. We don’t want to invest our time developing for a platform that will go bankrupt putting money into things that are clearly a scam. I’ve been a staunch defender of OUYA since day one, and am incredibly happy to have had my game on it since the March launch. It hurts to see the people behind Gridiron Thunder stealing your money. It’s like watching someone get beat up and they’re OK with it the whole time. Stand up for yourself. Don’t let these guys take $171,000 of your money for a game no one wants. Use that money to invest in individuals who are making worthwhile content.

    • Mighty Rabbit Studios

      I also wanted to add that I am someone who truly cares about this platform, I would never want to game your program because I respect you guys. It’s clear the folks for Gridiron Thunder do not have that same respect and that’s what really bothers me about this whole thing. They just want to take your money, they couldn’t care less if they’re robbing you blind.

      This really is the kind of situation that will win or lose developers for you. If you go forward with backing Gridiron Thunder – you WILL see a noticeable change in developer opinion, and it won’t be positive. It’s already clear that this whole thing is adding to the press’ negative opinion. Standing up for yourself could change the entire tide. Please do the right thing!

  • Roger Levy

    Julie, I am an innocent bystander to this quagmire but it seems like the problem with FTGF really is very simple. People who know people with money can use their wealth to obtain more money. That is not the spirit of openness, that is the spirit of capitalism. I would strongly urge you to reevaluate the efficacy of your strategy in light of this simple but tremendous flaw in the logic of the fund as it stands.

  • WaferMouse

    What a horrendous debacle. And what an awful response. But hey, at least BioWare doesn’t need to feel so bad about the ME3 ending any more.

  • Wes J

    Holy crap! What the hell is going on with Ouya? We were just getting ready to start porting our quality racing game to Ouya when this FTG controversy hit. I wasn’t interested in the promotion because our game is already complete and only needs about a week or so to bring it over. I was willing to look past the various hardware/software problems with the console, but the horrible PR team (or is it just Julie) make me leery of the long term success of the company. I guess we’ll spend that week bring our game to some other platform. Windows Phone?

    BTW, I know hindsight is 20/20, but maybe the contest should have been based on the number of backers for a project rather than the amount of money obtained. At least then you would know that even if you were getting gamed by some unscrupulous people, that the game would sell when it came to the console.

    • Hogwild333

      Bring it to Vita!

  • BCarbaugh

    How about OUYA stop ducking and dodging and answer the real question directly: are they quietly donating to these games’ kickstarter campaigns, in a dishonest fashion which involves fake donor accounts — and if so, why?

    And if not, then how do they explain (or what is their comment upon) these hordes of fake donor accounts pouring large sums of money into FTGF kickstarters?

    Does OUYA have knowledge as to the source of this suspicious activity?

    If not, does OUYA plan to investigate?

    If so, when?

    If not, why?

  • Justin Sawchuk

    Am I the only one that doesnt see the big deal, all they want to do is take there money and ba-ba-ba-burn it.

    • BCarbaugh

      Here’s the big deal:

      Say OUYA is dishonestly donating to these games’ Kickstarter campaigns.

      Now say these campaigns succeed.

      Now say the games don’t turn out — or do turn out, but are underwhelming frauds.

      Guess what OUYA and/or the developers of these campaigns just did? Artificially inflated a small amount of seed money, via dishonest means which extort money from a large number of people, for personal profit.

      That’s called a pyramid scheme.

      And that’s a felony.

  • Hogwild333

    Ouya should not be using its million dollars to get devs to make their games Ouya exclusive. Its a nice idea but it just isn’t practical with such a small install base. Use that money to entice lots of devs to bring their game to Ouya but don’t insist on exclusivity. Sony is trouncing Microsoft right now by using a similar indie-dev-friendly approach (i.e. we’ll help you come to our platform and you are welcome to go to any other platform you want). The million will do a lot more good to help devs bring 200 multi-platform games to Ouya rather than 20 exclusive games.

    • Joshua Racz

      The thing with that though is, alot of potential consumers are overlooking this device primarily because there are little to no exclusives catching their eyes. OUYA inc knows they need exclusives if they want to draw people in, hence why this was created. Great idea, I feel the execution was left to be desired though, especially when going to Kickstarter (only US and UK are allowed to Kickstart.. I think Canada has just been allowed recently). OUYA may still be using money to entice devs (that we are not aware of). Look at Clark for example, even Sine Mora. Ouya may have enticed them with money or other ways, but they are bringing the developers over.

      The fund was more geared for the “Independent development company” Those firms with no publisher but a strong team, moreso than the smaller “indie devs” (there is a difference these days, who knew?)

  • Tabby

    OUYA developer backer here – My husband and I own a web dev studio and we were really excited for OUYA and excited to make a game for it – something based on a TOJam game we made a year back. When FTGF first launched, we thought “Ok, that’s kind of a neat idea, we’re not ready yet but maybe next summer before the deadline.” We are just a couple of indies who have never made a full game together but we’re confident we can make something compact and cool and maybe pretty novel.

    But as this controversy has developed, my husband and I started asking ourselves… do we want to be associated with FTGF? Do we even necessarily want our name associated with OUYA, which has gotten a lot of bad press as of late? We had been planning to release as an OUYA exclusive before FTG was announced, since that was the first platform we were going to develop for… but now, we’re probably going to release on Android first and try to build a fan base before porting to OUYA (issues lie with the controls also, but that’s another story). I’m pretty sad about that… but I also don’t want to get dismissed out of hand as making a “shitty game” since that’s a lot of the opinions I see on game forums about any of the games on OUYA. As new devs, we know this game will be about gaining fans, not making money. The fans are an investment for the next one – but if OUYA looks like it will be an impediment to helping us achieve that goal, we have no choice but to look elsewhere.

    The other thing, as others have mentioned, is that $50k is a pretty preposterous amount for an indie to raise (and yes I realize that’s maybe not what they were looking for). We would have been very happy to launch a KS for 5-10k since that would be an attainable amount, enough to fund us towards the end of production, fund artbooks and other cool stuff for backers, and help build a fanbase (which I think is what FTGF is for?) We were planning to do that anyway. If OUYA wanted to kick in and help to ensure their exclusivity, that would have been wonderful. But $50,000? That’s a pretty tall order, especially when you are alienating much of your potential fanbase who doesn’t want to own an OUYA.

    Anyway, I guess what I’m saying is that unless OUYA can turn the press around on this – and the first step for that will be denying funding to fraudulent campaigns and speaking plainly about that – I’m pretty sure we’ll be heading elsewhere. And I really don’t want to.

    • TripleXXXBalla

      Im sure they would rather be scammed by people with lots of money and good connections than a bunch of starter devs or people not in the industry at all

      • Jay Griffin

        What on earth are you going on about Balla. Do you even know what you’re trying to argue for anymore?

        • TripleXXXBalla

          I’m argueing the case that everyone seems to think this would be resolved by lowering the funds needed, which would only be giving into low budget starter devs, and not giving OUYA or the customers what they need out of it.

          • Jay Griffin

            Lowering the funds was discussed as a possible alternative, but I think the main issue people have with it is that the whole plan seems fundamentally flawed. Even if everyone were 100% in agreement that the money should go to established developers to help raise the system’s profile, the problem still remains that that money isn’t getting to people who can help as of right now.

            The notable developers that have shown up here all seem to confirm that the targets set for the fund are largely unworkable, and I’d say this is supported by the low take-up from developers in general, along with the generally weak performance of the currently active projects. There just isn’t that kind of market to Kickstart OUYA exclusives yet, there’s nowhere near enough paying users out there in the wild.

            I’m not sure why you think they’d rather be scammed by people who know what they’re doing though.

          • TripleXXXBalla

            because its better to have the hate on one concentrated project that has plenty of industry connections OUYA could use, then lots of little projects doing it everywhere and trying to keep track of them all…

  • Grant Moore

    I have to admit this response is a little lack-luster. And yes, there are problems with FTG fund which I think OUYA should be addressing directly. However, you all still have my support because I think offering up funding to indies is an un-unprecedented move and personally has motivated me to finally take a leap of faith and try to pursue my dreams. There is a lot of negativity being expressed here (which you should read, listen to and address) but I also feel the need to voice some positive support. I believe that good projects the community will get behind will surface as a result as a direct result of this initiative.

  • Steve Bishop

    Julie, like Sophie and so many others have lost faith, I too have lost faith. I’m not a developer (though I’ve dabbled with Blender and Unity), I’m just an average Joe who likes good games. I thought an “Open” console was the best thing that could ever happen to the industry.

    Up until this point, I defended your company and even convinced several of my friends to buy an Ouya. In fact one of them sold their XBox 360, Ps3, and Wii U, and bought an Ouya instead. Their kids LOVE the system and don’t let mom/dad play it at all. Now, I can’t even look them in the face without apologizing.

    Sometimes the best PR a company can have is to just tell the world they F’d up and are going to do X to fix it. But instead you’ve chosen to say you don’t understand why we’re pissed about someone committing fraud to get money. We ALL feel betrayed by it. WE, the people who have supported you from the start are BETRAYED by YOU for letting Gridiron Thunder stealing from the community. You have betrayed our TRUST IN YOU by letting this happen and doing nothing to stop it.

    When you lose the TRUST of your fan base, you go extinct. And now, everyone who predicted your demise will be proven right to the sheer horror of everyone who fell in love with your console. We fought for you tooth and nail. But now you’ve lost us. All of us.

    My parting words of advice. Drop Gridiron Thunder and perhaps even sue them if you can find legal reason to do so. Make an example out of them. Show US that we should TRUST that you WANT the small guy to win with the open console that could. And you will not accept this putrid attempt to steal money from the very developers who desperately need it.

  • Patrick B.

    *throws rotten fruit at the stage*

  • Phil Fish

    Julie, I am honestly impressed with your ability to use so many words to say so very little. All you did was acknowledge the controversy and then go on some circular logic train to PR speak. Not once did you address the fact that the FTGF was exploitable by people in bad faith. Not once did you address the fact that the only two so called “successful” Kickstarters were by people seemingly acting in bad faith. You guys just keep doing this charm offensive BS in hopes that nobody will see anything inherently flawed with OUYA. This goes for everything you’ve done thus far, including blaming the shipping company for not delivering to backers on time. The only people I can see still defending OUYA are people who still have the delusion you will take on The Big Three, or people content enough with playing emulators, aka The Big Three’s hand me downs. At least you are smart enough not to openly promote piracy anymore

  • FMinus138

    When will people realize that the Ouya is not worth anyones time, except maybe those who want to have ti as a media player. Put your games on other consoles or on Steam or really anywhere else where they are going to be appreciated.

    • Nezecaneber Alexander

      It’s not your place to decide what’s worth peoples time it’s an individual assessment. If you feel it’s not worth your time, then don’t come to ouya dedicated sites and waste time trying to convince others to think like you.

      That said, I’m coming to the conclusion that the OUYA may not be worth my time if they continue to handle things in such a consistently horrid manner. Admit your short-comings and failures, correct them and make them better…. that’s all i ask. But it seems that is too much to ask of the OUYA camp.

      • FMinus138

        Well, 3 years passed… was it worth your time?

  • Grill Murray

    Idiots.

  • Lawrence Mak

    Obviously there are a lot of problems with the FGF initiative.Why not try something different? OUYA can do something similar to Steam’s Greenlighting but with a twist: user approved milestones. It can go like this:

    1. Anyone with an OUYA console account can opt-in as an approval voter.
    2. Developer who wishes to utilize the fund must submit a minimum playable prototype of their game, to be posted in a special section of the OUYA dashboard that voters can try.
    3. Developers must also submit a development plan for their game, things like budgeting, estimated launch dates, and set different milestones according to the plan.
    4. Voters get to try out the game at each milestone and can provide feedbacks and suggestions.
    5. Voters can also vote and approve further development of the game based on a pre-defined set of criteria.
    6. Only when further progressed is approved by voters will fundings be released to the developers for the next milestone.

    Of course this is still a very rough idea but at least the process will be VERY OPEN (almost anyone can join in as voters), developers get to receive feedbacks along the way, the funding chunks become smaller and more flexible, lowering the barrier of entry to allow more developer to apply, and (hopefully) be less prone to fraudulence.

    What’da you guys think?

  • Mygaffer

    You people are terrible at running a business. You either don’t realize or don’t care that your program is turning off way more developers than it is drawing to your program. You seem to be chasing the dream of a console that competes with the PS3’s and Xbox360’s of the world, the OUYA definitely does not do this.
    You don’t play to your strengths, you don’t understand messaging or brand management, if the OUYA succeeds it will be despite its leadership.

  • rychanwr3

    Hey OUYA. You should really read Mikes post on gamasutra here:

    http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/200011/Ouyas_Free_the_Games_debacle_comes_to_a_head.php#comment216150

    If you want to establish some credibility with indie developers of all sizes then the reference to the intel accelerator program may save your bacon.

    Even if you do end up funding an illigitimate kickstarter due to people taking advantage of the fund. I think ending the campaign, admitting that you oversaw people using kickstarter for nefarious means and then replacing the campaign with an alternative, even friendlier campaign would help you out immensely.

    I can understand that you can’t just stop a campaign like the Free the game fund just like that but winding it down to replace it with something safer and therefore, probably better in terms of PR with indie developers.

  • http://www.dreamfeel.net/ Paul Andrew McGee

    It’s not the idea of the FtG fund that’s the issue, it’s the nature. If developers were asked to raise 20/25k for 2/3 month exclusivity this would be a success story!

  • Tejay Battle

    Plz explain to me what the issue is. Why is there so much disdain for a move that after going over in my head over and over again seems like its going to only hurt Ouya? Are you mad cause Ouya is supporting some devs thay might have or might have now scam them? Its sounds insensitive but how is that directly affecting you as a developer? Yes you can say there are other dev’s more deserving of the fund but how is that cause for all this noise? The terms of the fund states that a kickstarter just has to meet its goal, not state on how it met that goal. Matter of fact how do you know how any goal is met on kickstarter? Whose says creators arent telling there friends with there own money to back there projects all the time, So are we mad cause someone who abuse the system and as result got a piece of the pie? so knowing that…is the answer getting rid of the pie entirely? People abused welfare all the time but does that mean we do away with the whole thing? What about the people who really need it? The veteran that cant work cuz he has a disability or the lay off mother who has kids to feed. Your answer is One person abuses it and as a result we treat everyone as such. Just cause the system isnt behaving the way you want it to doesnt mean it isnt serving it purpose. Ouya isnt giving money away(it isnt a grant or a scholarship) ..Its paying for time exclusivity and a guarantee game on its system.. Common practices in the game industry. Everyone does it just usually behind close doors and with its own money. Ouya is using there wallets, not mine, not yours.. there own wallet. There investing in kickstarters THEY feel will benefit there system, if THEY invest there money in the wrong hands then THEY suffer the consequence, Not you, not me, Them. And the most important issue is how is this hampering your progress as a developer? None of the policies have change. Its still an open platform where anyone can make a game for and where creativity is allow to reign. Its still a 70/30 split and it takes no power away from indies. How much more catering do you want? You dont get to tell Ouya what to do with its money, you get to SUGGEST what it could do with it but if it decides not to then understand its not being dishonest with you or disrespecting you as a game developer… its just declining to listen. If that bothers you then create an ouya game that bashes ouya ftg fund cuz you have the creative power to do that on there system. If it bothers you that there not using there opportunity to fund real deserving games then create a real deserving game that expresses that idea, talk to other indies and spread the word to create meaningful content on the platform.. This is a developers console. The power belongs to you.. Become the driving force of the games you feel the fund should have really funded.

  • Manly Chicken

    So what you’re saying is you don’t care if developers allegedly put their own money up on Kickstarter so they can get your funding without putting any effort into it while also robbing potentail developers the share of the million that could have been their’s but now goes to some scam artists?
    God guys, what the fuck happened?
    I was so excited and was thinking of getting one for development, but it’s bullshit like this and facts like the vast majority of users only downloading demos that make the Ouya seem less atractive than the Virtual Boy.

  • Action

    I’m going to offer up another unpopular point of view. This is a win win is it not? I mean think about it. Gridiron Thunder wins for getting tons of money to make a crappy version of NFL Blitz. Kickstarter wins for their commission. So the only one that loses is OUYA, or am I missing something? I mean it’s not like the players lose, they just don’t buy the game.

    I mean I gotta be honest, the MINUTE I read the FTG fund, I thought of the scam. Make an easy game, start a kickstarter, self-fund it, boom – free money. Now I didn’t do it lol, but I could easily see someone else doing it – especially if all they had to do was port another game. Heck what if said game was really good? Wouldn’t that be a win all around?

    Point is, OUYA was stupid to do this in the first place. Do the work needed to properly fund indies. It’s just my sick sense of humor I guess to see Gridiron Thunder do what they did. Heck, they might even win the additional 100K! LOL

    • Justin Sawchuk

      Well action I could in theory just do it myself I do have the money and I could get an easy cool 100k but I dont do it because its immoral.

  • Mike

    Wow, I never realized how sensitive indie developers are. Makes me want to abandon indie games all together to be honest. I’ve never seen a group of people get the Boo Boo face so quickly. I’m reminded of my five year old daughter who throws a fit when my ten year old can do something that she can’t. I wasn’t going to purchase this grid iron football game, but now I’m going to. Simply because I’m tired of reading about developer’s (sophie for example) complain and moan because they don’t have the means to raise 50K. Grow up. Maybe, your passion isn’t game development after all. Maybe, your passion is more in line with tabloids and afternoon garbage talk shows. I hope all those complaining and bringing down support for the OUYA are happy with yourselves. Pathetic.

    • Jay Griffin

      Not big on the whole self-awareness thing, are ya?

      • Mike

        If you say so.

  • Will

    93 comments (and counting.) Might be time to care.

  • John Brown

    I think the more important thing is this. Although Gridiron got funded, legitimately or not, it may indeed be a fun game. I don’t know anyone who didn’t like Blitz. If you don’t support the guys who got the funding, just don’t buy the game. End of story. The biggest issue with FTG shouldn’t be focusing on alleged scamming kickstarter projects, but the lack of intriguing and entertaining projects being proposed. I mean seriously, have you seen some of the other projects? I won’t name any specific ones, but they all look like silly arcade games that could be made with less than $1,000. I honestly don’t care who gets funded on kickstarter and receives additional funds through FTG, I just want some amazing CONSOLE QUALITY experiences on OUYA. Games that feel like they used every bit of funding received. A polished gem.

    As of now (on the marketplace), there are only a handful of games that have my attention and are capable of being called console worthy titles. Everything else just seems like average ports; games I could play just as comfortably on my touchscreen android device.

    In closing:
    The Free The Games Fund should encourage and inspire indie devs to think outside of the box. We (the players) want and expect games that are on the ouya, to be ones that can only be experienced on the ouya.

    We really shouldn’t be getting angry at OUYA co., we should be telling indie devs to step it.

    Although, admittedly, I will restate that I believe the 50k limit, and funding through kickstarter instead of ouya.tv is a bad idea.

    Suggestion:
    How about Ouya just set up something like Steam greenlight?

    • Mike

      I’m impressed with your statements here. Well thought out, critical, but not full of childish venom. Constructive, well thought out criticism. I tell you it is refreshing to see statements like this. Gives me hope.

  • John Brown

    Oh yeah, does anyone know when/if the ouya framework will include backend networking for things like friends lists, system-wide achievements system, voice chat, community, etc?

    These would really help devs create better experiences. Right now Ouya just feels like a big screen tablet with a controller.

    Ouya, please work on releasing these. It would greatly benefit the console.

  • Hiram

    the saddest part about this whole scenario is that, whether this is true or false,Gridiron is getting too much free publicity while other more deserving games which need to be funded are being overlooked. Even in the words of OUYA’s creators, they vouch to learn from their mistakes. Well then, now is the time. Deserving games need to get funding, you can work with smaller budgets, oh yeah, and please refrain from funding ex-lawyers.

    • John Brown

      I would have eliked to see Mighty Brawlers get funded, but that’s about it.

      • Hiram

        And other great games. I don’t understand why Kickstarter hasn’t taken action yet to protect their members from such low individuals who think they can threaten their backers and get away with it. And OUYA needs to have an ethics review of who they are choosing to associate themselves with business-wise. I was actually considering developing my game for the OUYA but i’ll be waiting to see what happens before I take the next step. If Gridiron Thunder makes it through this fund, no way I am getting on-board.

  • Sercio

    ps4 ftw!

  • Grant Moore

    Julie & OUYA Inc, I would like to make a suggestion.

    As someone who is putting a lot of work into a prototype and Kickstarter campaign destined for #FreeTheGames fund, I really want to help turn this negative press around and remedy the situation. This is a great opportunity not only for myself to achieve my dreams, but for others such as Matt from Neverending Nightmares. But the problem right now is that the rules are exploitable in a way that is not in the spirit of the campaign itself.

    Anyone with large sums of money can make a campaign, contribute and then reap the rewards you are offering. Now, this wouldn’t be that big of a problem, except that the purpose of this fund (and likely the reason you chose crowd-funding) is to ensure that it has some level of community support. Right now, that element is not needed to succeed and this is really the core issue.

    My suggestion, as others may have voiced, is simply to put a minimum percentage of backer-to-dollars. I don’t have an answer as to what that number should be to be honest, but with a bit of research and a few calls to Kickstarter, I’m sure you could figure out what the average number is per dollar raised and come up with a bare-minimum barrier of entry.

    Something like, if you raise $50,000, you need 1/4 of the backers to contribute to your “base level” tier. Assuming the game is sold for $15, you’d need 3333 backers for the total, so you can say the minimum required is 1/4 of that, or 833. That way it would allow for some large backers who bring the average up, but would cut out any project which tries to self-fund and push it through.

    Of course, have a clause in there allowing for OUYA’s discretion either way, but I think something as simple as that would really solve the problem and send a message to the projects which are bit participating in the spirit of the campaign.

    • Shawn Blais

      This could have been as simple as “Get more than 1000 backers, and we’ll contribute an additional $5000 to your title!”

      Boom: 200 games get a small amount of funding, money is spread around, at the behest of the people, and everyone’s happy. Mission accomplished.

      They also would have gained a mountain of dev support and positive word of mouth.

  • Big Dog

    I was thinking it would be good to have a cap on the amount a single pledge could contribute to the Free the Games Fund.

    So, for instance, if a pledge of 10K was given to Kickstarter, only a certain amount, say 1K, would actually contribute to the FTGF matching amount.

    In this way, only campaigns with a high number of voters will pass.

    This is the same idea as limits put on political campaign contributions. It makes sure that the “little people” have their say.

    • John Brown

      This is the only idea that would work. It’d essentially ensure that a project would succeed and sale upon completion. In the model they have now, they’re undoubtedly going to lose money. One kickstarter today raised $50k with only 140 backers. Most of which were from the creators inner circle! http://kck.st/14YQval

  • John Brown

    RANT!!!

    Damnit, now I’m starting to dislike FTG simply due to the developers who are taking egregious advantage of the charity.

    The quick story. I go onto twitter today and search ouya, looking for any ouya news. I see someone shout out a game with a hashtag of #freethegames. I’m guessing this is a game that’s shooting for the fund and I get excited thinking I’ll find a killer app for ouya. I tab over to kickstarter and find the game. Here’s where the shock sets in.

    First off, I’d seen this game a few days ago and wasn’t particularly interested in it. However, this time something was different. Without trying to delve into suspense, the amount that the project was backed had risen dramatically. And when I say dramatically, I mean it had shot up around $50k!

    So I began checking the stats of the project, and like a bad mystery, clues just kept popping up everywhere.

    1. The creators kickstarter is asking for $10,000, but they are still participating in the FTG campaign, one which requires a project to raise at least $50,000.

    2. The project shot up a staggering $50,000 with just a week left in their funding period!

    3. Scrolling down and viewing the backer numbers, it can be seen that exactly 5 backers pledged the maximum amount… $2,000!

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how Ouya’s being played, but I’ll spell it out anyway. This group of developers got on kickstarter and made a campaign asking for $10,000 to complete their game. They gave all the necessary information about the project and even included the fact that if they raised $50,000, their funds would be doubled by OUYA’s Free The Games Fund. They waited and waited for the funds to roll in over their amazing game, but they never really took off the ground. They need not panic however, because they already had the 10k needed to fund their project; it was in their own pocket! They waited until a week was left (4 days as of now) and decided to put funds into their own kickstarter. They were obviously able to surpass the 10k mark to fund their game, but that didn’t stop them from adding an additional unknown amount helping them reach $52,986!

    So, at the end of the day, they’ll be getting the additional funds from FTG and all it took was them creating a kickstarter page and funding their own project. That’s how easy it is to get the FTG money.

    And you want to know the kicker? The projects only reached 140 backers…

    So at the end of the day we have to ask ourselves what is the point of FTG? Because if it was to allow developers and the community to get behind a project and boost it’s popularity through a high minimum funding goal, ensuring it’s future success, then we have failed.

    Here’s the project – http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/suckerfreegames/dungeons-the-eye-of-draconus-completion-fund-ouya

    • John Brown

      Actually, the maximum amount was $10,000. I think they took that tier off the page though. In reality, the creator’s father gave him $50k to disperse amongst friends to put into the account. So yeah, free money from one’s own funding.

  • John Brown

    Ouya pulled funding from Dragons. Thank. God. You guys have re-earned my respect. Now please, put some clear, concrete, stipulations to this fund. Otherwise, you’re going to get ‘gamed’ everytime. I say you fund games not by the amount they raise, but by the number of backers they get. The more exposure the better. A game receiving $50k from anything less than 1,000 backers is pretty suspicious, not to mention dangerous if the game isn’t a smashing success upon release.

    Again, thank you for doing the right thing.

    • TripleXXXBalla

      They didn’t pull Dungeons, they didn’t tell them they were pulling them they just removed all traces of them from the advertising, and didn’t even as much tell them if they still qualified for the funds.
      Dungeons had to removed the campaign themselves, for OUYA’s failure to communicate, they couldn’t possibly keep the kickstarter up geared towards an OUYA exclusive, without the assurance that it would be able to get the matching funds to fulfill their kickstarter agreements.
      All OUYA did is reinforce their lack of communication with developers and customers, and now are showing an extreme amount of biased from one game to another.

      • John Brown

        “Dungeons had to remove the campaign themselves”. What do you mean HAD TO? They pumped their own account $50k, and when Ouya pulled the funding – secretly though it may be – they bitch and moan and make up some half-assed excuse that without the funding they’d be in debt? Oh come on! They now had a great opportunity. They had $54k in the bank with no restriction to exclusivity or even developing the game for Ouya. At the end of the day, Ouya did them a service. So you should rephrase your post. They didn’t HAVE to pull anything. They chose to because they were greedy as hell and wanted money they had no right getting. Loophole or not, they had no ethics. This only perpetuates the idea that they were planning on pumping their account all along.

        Yeah, Ouya made a HUGE mistake with creating a fund that had essentially no rules & regulations, but they’re getting their act together and are listening to the gamers. Mistakes are expected to be made from a virgin company. I guess it’s just sad when a good intention is taking advantage of – and even worse – so blatantly.

  • stevie bops

    This isn’t any kind of useful response.
    Gridiron is clearly dodgy, and it’s being allowed through. All you have here is PR fluff and no substance. It is damaging your reputation, and Gridiron is already carrying a big negative stigma.

    • John Brown

      Well good news, MogoTxt refused the funding. :D

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