The first two titles to qualify for Ouya’s Kickstarter funding promotion have been greenlit – although controversy has since enveloped one of the games.
Both Sam Chandola’s Elementary, My Dear Holmes and MogoTXT’s Gridiron Thunder have hit their Kickstarter goals and pledged Ouya exclusivity. This means they qualify for Ouya’s Free the Games Fund and will have their Kickstarter totals doubled by Ouya.
This means My Dear Holmes will receive an additional $50k and Gridiron $75k.
However, as highlighted in this NeoGAF thread, serious questions surround the Kickstarter campaign for Gridiron. The game raised its full funding amount from just 126 backers, meaning the average pledge was a whopping $600 per person – certainly an unusually high amount.
That’s not where it ends either. A seemingly unusually high amount of backers had new profiles with no previous Kickstarter activity logged. There were also instances of duplicated names and celebrity avatars.
Ultimately, the accusation is that the developers themselves stumped up the majority of the cash – or at least pretended to – in order to secure Ouya’s funding.
Ouya itself seems satisfied with the goings on, however. The official account tweeted the following:
@eveawesome We're thrilled to see Gridiron qualify for the FTG fund & hopefully they'll bring their supportive community with them to OUYA!
— OUYA (@playouya) August 27, 2013
And a company statement issued to Joystiq said: "Based on our program’s guidelines, the team behind Gridiron Thunder have successfully qualified to receive the match and we couldn’t be more excited to see them bring their game along with their supportive community to Ouya."
Andrew Won, the CEO of Gridiron developer MogoTXT, has also come out on the offensive, telling Gamasutra that there is nothing more sinister afoot that a handful of generous donators.
We are not trying to do something improper with Ouya’s Free the Games promotion, and we are in full compliance with both KickStarter’s and Ouya’s rules,” he claimed.
We have had some generous donors but so have other KickStarter campaigns. In our case, we have very deep roots in Silicon Valley and great ties to fellow tech entrepreneurs in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. We also have friends in the professional sports world who want to see us succeed. I don’t think there is anything wrong with having generous supporters, and we make no apology for this. It does not violate any KickStarter or Ouya rule.
Some of the same people who initially accused us of being scam later said, when we showed that we are working on the game, that our game is not very good. So far as we can tell, these criticisms were made by people who have not developed a game of any note. As seasoned developers know, very few games look good until they are actually complete and we took pains to try to explain this.
UPDATE: New claims about some dubious activity surrounding the Holmes Kickstarter have emerged, with allegations that not only some of the Kickstarter backers fictitious, but also that the identity of a missing woman was used for one of the sock accounts.