There are many factors that have the power to sink a new game console. However, few of them are as powerful as the nasty cycle of few games on a platform leading to a significant drop in console sales — which, again, leads to a lack of software. The Ouya came to be through Kickstarter funding, and so the folks behind it are using the powerhouse crowdfunding website to stave off the aforementioned cycle of doom by giving some of their previously earned crowdfunded cash to developers trying to get their games out. Enter the “Ouya $1M Free The Game Fund.”
Just about a year ago, Ouya was able to raise almost $8.6 million to get the console off the ground and into players’ hands. That part has so far been mostly successful. Retailer Best Buy has difficulty keeping them on shelves and Amazon had sold through its initial supply of the little cube. In fact over 10,000 of them have found their way into early adopters’ and eager developers’ hands. So now, the focus is on bringing the games home.
With the ‘Free The Game Fund’, Ouya Inc. will match the funding of any Kickstarted game projects that first sign up, and then campaign between August 9th, 2013 and August 10th, 2014. Those that meet their funding goal and raise at least $50,000 will then have those funds matched by the Ouya crew. The maximum match amount, per Kickstarter campaign, from Ouya will be $250,000. So if four campaigns do that right away, the $1M will be gone pretty quickly. Additionally, the campaign that raises the most money during this time will get an extra $100,000 on top of what was matched. Essentially a prize for the big winner. It is a fund for games after all.
But wait! There has to be a catch! If someone’s handing out money, there’s always a catch. And indeed “the man” has gotten some fine print for all the recipients of the Ouya Dollars to read. It says that the games that receive the matched funding from Ouya have to be exclusive to the console for a whole six months. Wait. That’s it? Six Months? Indeed that is it. After the timed exclusivity period is over, the creators retain ownership over the game and are free to do what they want with it, whether that’s heading over to Steam Greenlight, PS4, iOS, or Wii U.
Overall, it seems like the fund could be a win/win for both sides. Ouya uses some of its extra cash to help get some fresh and hopefully exciting content on its machine, and those developers get a little extra help in doing so. During our initial time with the box, it seemed that there were a handful of worthwhile titles, but there was definitely room for more. With more games comes more players, and more players will lead to more games, and hopefully define a strong lifecycle for the Ouya.
What do the Ranters think? Does this seem like a solid incentive program for new Kickstarter campaigns to get serious about their games? Will it lead to a vast number of smaller games or will four big budget games get the lion’s share? Let us know below.