Razer 'not taking up the withstanding contracts'

Ouya owes Free the Games developers thousands of dollars

Ouya still owes thousands of dollars to developers who took part in its $1m Free the Games Fund.

The microconsole outfit, which has just been acquired by Razer,began the programme in July 2013. The scheme was designed to match-fund successfully crowdfunded projects that would release exclusively on its platform up to $250,000.

Eligibility for the campaign was lowered to $10,000 from $50,000 following a backlash of the scheme after developers had seemingly tried to take advantage of the offer. It would also only match-fund crowdfunding goals, rather than total money raised.

According to one developer, speaking to Develop on condition of anonymity, this was due to be paid in separate instalments: 50 per cent upon submission of a beta, 25 per cent upon release on Ouya and 25 per cent after the end of its exclusivity deal.

But following negotiations with Razer over a buyout, and plans to move over Ouya’s games library to the Forge TV microconsole, Ouya will no longer be making payments to the Free the Games Fund developers. Our source said they are owed tens of thousands of dollars.

The source claimed that Ouya avoided directly answering questions about rumours of a sale when approached for clarification, and it was suggested the team continued working on an Ouya release. It wasn’t until recently the team was contacted via Skype about the incoming announcement and changes. They were told that Ouya as a company would no longer exist and Razer “is not taking up the withstanding Free the Games contracts”.

It was added, however, that the developer has been offered to put together a pitch for Razer’s own planned publishing efforts. Without a Razer publishing deal or Ouya funding, the developer may have to resort to paying team members after the game’s release, or finding another way to market.

Another developer, Gaslight Games’ Mark Jawdoszak, whose studio is working on Master of the Seven Teas, said the team has been paid in full. The studio received all its payments, though the final payment took “far longer than any of the others, as that was due around the time of the rumoured troubles”.

Despite the late payment, Jawdoszak says Ouya had pushed the title on its storefront and kept in constant contact over email.

“I fear it was all too easy to bash Ouya and perhaps there’s still a part of me that wishes it would deliver on everything I hoped it would be – and maybe Razer can finish what Ouya started?” he said.

A number of developers have also spoken to Vice on the matter, who similarly confirmed they are owed between the region of $5,000 to $30,000.

One source said the situtation could affect Razer’s reputation moving forward if it did not pay up.

"Claiming Ouya no longer exists as a company to get out of funding commitments, while continuing to use the name in the announcements today as if they still are a company that exists, or that they’ve somehow transformed the company into a product or service, just stinks," the developer said.

"I think Razer will have trouble ahead if this is the level of respect they continue to show indie devs."

Develop has reached out to Razer for comment.

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