The lights are on
Today, Ouya announced a new Kickstarter matching program that will help support development projects. The company is offering a pool of $1 million that will be used to match successful crowdsourcing campaigns in amounts ranging from $50,000 to $250,000.
There are strings attached, of course. Participating projects must prominently display a badge that shows inclusion in the "Free the Games" program. Games must be exclusive to Ouya for six months with 25 percent of the match coming at the close of the Kickstarter campaign, 50 percent when the game arrives on Ouya, and the final 25 percent at the conclusion of the exclusivity period.
Of the matched projects, the one that raises the most money will receive an additional $100,000 bonus. The funds in this pool are contributions and not loans or advances. There are guidelines around projects that can participate. The rules prohibit hate speech, violence, sexually explicit content, intellectual property infringement, viruses/worms/malware, illegal activities, and "misrepresentation" of the game.
The latter of these states, "Be who you say you are. Don’t confuse gamers by being “like” other games." Use of the Ouya trademark is also addressed, letting game makers use the name and logo, as long as the inclusions accurately represent that the game is on the console.
For more information, visit the official Free the Games Fund site.
Our TakeOuya's funding pool is not very large, possibly set to only support four games. It also doesn't address the console's biggest problem, which is a lack of quality games right now. There is nothing motivating interest in the device beyond illegal emulation.
Most Kickstarter projects have a nine to eighteen month turnaround, which provides additional complications. Ouya has projected new consoles every year, fragmenting an already fractured Android environment. If a game is going to be exclusive on the platform, developers will no doubt want to make sure it's tuned for all of the available hardware revisions, costing time and money.
Right now, this isn't a compelling offer. A developer could be giving up as much (or more) in potential sales on the App Store and Google Play store to be exclusive to a platform that couldn't even manage to get all of its backers their consoles before the device hit retail.