Ouya 'Free the Games Fund' promotion making changes following criticism

By Steve Watts, Sep 19, 2013 11:30am PDT

Ouya's Free the Games Fund promotion has been met with some criticism. After a handful of projects were accused of gaming the system to receive Ouya's matched funding, founder Julie Uhrman issued a response that seemed to inflame the situation for some indie devs. In response to the controversy, Ouya is now instituting a number of changes to how the promotion works.

The official site has a note from Uhrman detailing the changes. The new minimum goal to have Ouya match funds is set at $10,000, downfrom the original $50,000. But, projects will now need 100 backers for every $10,000 raised. This seems aimed at preventing a few large donations from pushing projects to their funding goal, as some of the projects accused of foul play had seen. Finally, it is asking for only one month of exclusivity for every $10,000, up to 6 months. PC builds are exempt from that requirement.

The payouts will still work the same as originally planned, and it still matches funding up to $250,000. Uhrman does note, though, the funding goal should be "a measurement of community interest" and that they'll be matching "what you need." The language seems to indicate that they'll only match the Kickstarter funding goal, not additional funds that reach beyond that.

Finally, it closes with a note aimed at those who might still be tempted to cheat in some way. "You need to play by the spirit of the fund as much as the rules," Uhrman said. "We can't account for every loophole. So, if we, or our community, feel you are gaming the system, we will review your project (and consult with our developer friends for their advice) and determine whether to fund it or not."

Indie developer Sophie Houlden had been critical of the Ouya promotion when Uhrman issued her first response, and pulled her game Rose & Time from the service. Her response to this recent development is largely positive.

"I wouldn't say that the fund is now perfect, but it is a *really* big step in the right direction, and I expect/hope a lot of indies will go for it as it looks like it can really help now. I want them to be able to afford to do that, and I want to play their games too," Houlden said in the comments. "If you can keep this up, keep listening to concerns of gamers and developers, I think it will be super promising for the console. My faith has certainly gone a long way to being restored."

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