Controversy has been brewing over Ouya's Free the Games Fund campaign. The promotion aims to match funding towards Kickstarter games that promise Ouya exclusivity--as long as they secure at least $50,000--up to $250,000. But two games quickly fell under scrutiny for their funding practices. Elementary, My Dear Holmes and Gridiron Thunder have been accused of boosting funds in not-so-nice ways.
Facing criticism, Ouya's Julie Uhrman responded with a blog post lamenting that the intent "seems to have been lost."
Uhrman's blog post didn't offer much of an apology. "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," she wrote. "We're OK with all that, though, because being open is worth it."
"We believe (still) that great games from great developers can be discovered this way--by you," she continued. "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 post closes with links to some of the games that have contacted Ouya for the promotion.
The response was met with further criticism from indie developers. Thomas Was Alone developer Mike Bithell called the program "clearly dodgy as hell" and criticized the response for "using aspirational language to shift the blame, weirdly, onto its critics."
Sophie Houlden, developer of the Ouya game Rose and Time, committed to pulling her game from the Ouya store entirely, calling the response "entirely empty and dishonest."
"I love the OUYA dearly, it actually has a couple of my favorite games of all time on it, and I had a good time developing for it myself," Houlden told Giant Bomb, "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."