Two games have already had their issues with Ouya’s Free The Games funding campaign with one being pulled from Kickstarter while the other, which ended up successfully funded, was almost pulled as well. Ouya’s Free The Games program will match developers who have a successful Kickstarter campaign for $50,000 or more as their initial goal. Ouya will then turn around and match whatever their goal was as long as the game developers also agree to a six month exclusivity period for their funded game.
The two titles in question originally were accused of gaming the system (no pun intended) by submitting fake donation pledges in order for their games to be successful on Kickstarter which would then have their goal amount of money matched by Ouya. Ouya’s founder Julie Uhrman released a statement about the entire situation over on the Ouya blog which ended up ruffling the feathers of legit developers on Ouya even more. Everyone already looked at the Free The Games campaign as controversial already and the issue with the original two games didn’t help much nor did Uhrman’s response.
As the dust was settling from all of this a new problem has arisen with yet another game taking advantage of the campaign with another developer admitting to playing the system. The game is called Dungeons the Eye of Draconus which was slowly coming along in its Kickstarter campaign when out of nowhere five big pledges came in over two days, boosting the campaign past the $50,000 goal it had.
However these pledges we not fake. The developer’s father basically pledged $50,000 to get the game funded successfully on Kickstarter which, in turn, made it qualify for Ouya’s Free The Games campaign where Ouya would give the developers of Dungeons the Eye of Draconus another $50,000. The father split the payment up using five different checks that were given to five family friends to turn around and pledge to the game’s Kickstarter campaign.
While the plan is technically a legit way of funding, the problem is that this was done in order to get the money from Ouya. This fact obviously didn’t sit well with the gaming community nor Ouya who happened to be paying attention as well, which they should be considering the problem with the first two games.
There is nothing in the rules the we’ve seen that states that family can not pledge donations to a Kickstarter project, even if it is the entire amount. Ouya didn’t like the fact that this was done in order to qualify for their Free The Games campaign though and ended up pulling their support for the game by not matching the goal amount. Since the entire project was based on the fact that Oya would be matching the $50,000 goal, the Dungeons the Eye of Draconus campaign has basically been canceled, the game removed from the Free The Games website and the game’s future is in the clouds right now.
Even though the campaign didn’t break any of the rules, the way the pledges from family were handled was pretty bad. This was enough for Ouya to withdraw their part in matching the funds. The interesting part is that one of the others games, called Gridiron, that was successfully funded (even though it was almost pulled) and qualified for the Free The Games campaign had a few small donations but was successful because of some rather large ones as well, just like Dungeons the Eye of Draconus. Unfortunatey, because of all the trouble Ouya’s program has had, Dungeons the Eye of Draconus ended up getting the ass end of things.
Ouya should probably close this program down as it seems that at every turn there are problems with it. You can read the entire story regarding this new issue over at the Penny Arcade Report which goes into more depth regarding this.
Website Referenced: Penny Arcade Report