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Ouya's Free the Games debacle comes to a head

Ouya's Free the Games debacle comes to a head

September 11, 2013 | By Mike Rose

September 11, 2013 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Indie, Business/Marketing

Although the team behind the Ouya microconsole attempted to address recent issues with its $1 million Free the Games initiative this week, the response has left many developers feeling cold.

The Free the Games initiative is designed to match funds from successfully crowdfunded games in exchange for short-term exclusivity on the Ouya platform. It's an interesting proposal, but one that has caused quite a stir, as a couple of Kickstarter campaigns have been widely accused of gaming the system.

Weeks after the initial outburst from devs over the scheme's issues, Ouya boss Julie Uhrman has finally responded -- although her short blog post doesn't appear to be going down very well with developers.

Uhrman said that the intention behind the funding plan "seems to have been lost" on some people. "The truth is, openness is hard," she added. "Being open means everything is fair game, and it means sometimes things dont work out exactly as you hope. And when it doesnt work out, everyone knows."

Notably, however, the blog post doesn't appear to address many of the concerns that developers originally had with the Free the Games initiative -- for example, it doesn't mention the two Kickstarter campaigns Gridiron Thunder and Elementary, My Dear Holmes that have fallen under much scrutiny.

The response from developers has been overwhelmingly negative, with notable devs such as Sophie Houlden, Rob Fearon, Mike Bithell, Richard Perrin and Wes Paugh putting forth their distaste for the way in which the Ouya team is handling the fallout.

Houlden has even taken it a step further and decided to pull her game Rose and Time from the Ouya marketplace, stating that, "every single piece of PR that is put out damages Ouya's reputation more, and the plastic-marketing-smile never seems to come off. They never get serious to deal with stuff."

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