The controversial Free the Games Fund program from Ouya has undergone an overhaul in response to fierce criticism from the development community.
Boss Julie Uhrman said in a video you can see below that the company got it wrong and has implemented many changes in response to the feedback it has received.
“I wanted to let you know that we do hear you,” she said. “We hear you loud and clear, that the program isn’t working. Regardless of my best intentions, there’s just too many loopholes.
“But sometimes you have to put a project out there to get that feedback to make it better and then you have to be courageous enough to say you’ve made a mistake and that you’re gonna change it. So I’m here today to tell you that we’re gonna change it. We’re going to make Free the Games work better for you and we’re going to change it based on the feedback you’ve given us.
“The program wasn’t perfect and we’re fixing it and if it’s still not perfect then tell us and we’ll fix it again.”
Uhrman also revealed that Gridiron Thunder developer MotoTXT has withdrawn its game from the program.
“They called us and they let us know that they’re pulling themselves from the campaign, that they raised enough money from Kickstarter to launch it on their own,” Uhrman added. “They want that money to go to you, the developer, to bring your game to Kickstarter. And I just want to say that I think that’s amazing. They didn’t have to do that and I think that’s incredibly awesome of them.”
The video, as well as Uhrman’s obvious sincerity and willingness to front up to the company’s misjudgement, seems to have already gone some way to building some of the bridges that have been burnt, with devs such as Mike Bithell and Sophie Houlden already cooling their previously hostile stance toward the company.
Here are the Free the Games Fund changes in full:
Project Minimum: $10k (We heard you that $50k is too high. We wanted to make sure your games get made, so we lowered the goal. And, we know first-hand, that great games can be made for $20k or sometimes less.)
Match Amount: 100% of your funding goal to a maximum of $250,000. (Meaning we match what you need. If you receive more than you asked for from your backers, GREAT, but this should be a measurement of community interest, not a push for more funding.)
Minimum # of Backers: The intent is for the community to want your game, not a small number of well-resourced supporters. We felt we needed to look at the minimum number of backers to make sure it is in line with the spirit of our program. So, for every $10,000 raised on Kickstarter, you have to have a minimum of 100 backers.
Exclusivity: 1 month for every $10k funded by OUYA up to 6 months. So, if you set a goal for $20k and you meet your goal, your game would be exclusive for 2 months. If your goal is for $70k, and you meet your goal, your game will be exclusive for 6 months. Lastly, we think it’s OK if you develop a PC version of your game. We want your game on the TV, but we also want your audience to grow. So, if you want to build a PC version at the same time, go for it.
Timing: 50% of the funding provided to you at functioning beta (You know, to make sure it’s a real project. ;) Bawb can’t wait to play!
25% at launch on OUYA (You go live, you get rewarded!)
25% at end of exclusivity period (Congrats!)
Bonus: Gone. (Again, you suggested this, and we agree it just didn’t feel right. We think this will support the nature of the fund–to make great games.) We’re going to use this money to fund games the old fashioned way–working with you one-on-one.
Fine Print: It’s no longer just fine print to us. You need to play by the spirit of the fund as much as the rules. 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.