OHHO – Double funding for OUYA Projects

July 20th, 2013 - No Comments
Ouya "Free the Games" Logo

Free the Games! We actually NEED them!

So the intent was to write a post about the games available on the OUYA last week. At which I have failed. This is admittedly because I have had little to no time to play many more than a handful of games (Saturday Morning RPG being my clear favourite, and will be on my purchase list as soon as I finish this write-up), but also because there isn’t much more than a handful of games available.

As to be expected on a Mostly-Open-Platform, there’s a fair few games I’ve experienced that I felt fell short of “games console” worthy. No name drops at the moment though – maybe in another rant. And that’s a problem. Even though there’s a few decent games available, there’s also a lot of dross, and not a lot of motivation to release onto a console that’s either a huge targeting risk to invest in, or an afterthought when it comes to releasing for OTHER Android devices (like tablets, or the soon-to-drop Gamestick)

Smart guys over at OUYA have seen the problem that’s going to create, and have a promotion. They’ve put aside one million dollars to invest in Kickstarter’d games that make the bold statement of being exclusive to the OUYA for a minimum of six months. If a game’s Kickstarter drive goes above US$50,000, OUYA will match the amount raised, dollar for dollar, up to $250k. They’re running the drive for the next year, between August 2013 and 2014. It also looks like you need to announce to OUYA you’re planning to run in this, and for them to okay you before you make the bold claim to their money

A few thoughts spring to mind. Recently, Double Fine managed to weather a PR Disaster after raising three million dollars for their forthcoming game projects, and have promptly returned to ask for more investment. While it’s understandable that a professional game development studio is going to struggle to even pay the fees to get their game onto the XBox and PS3 with that amount, let alone pay the staff and rent and electric and hardware to make the game with that amount, the recent high profile “failure” to make a game with Just Kickstarter’d Money may tarnish future investment. Hell, the Skullgirls drive raised some people’s outrage owing to the amount of money being asked just to add a SINGLE character as DLC in light of the money being raised for Double Fine. The golden age for Kickstarter, of which OUYA itself is a highlight, may be coming to a close as people start to see the fruits of their angel-investment and seeing less of a return than they were expecting.

I know I’m still waiting on a few things from the things I invested in anyway. Channel Awesome’s British contingent still owes me a hyper violent movie about LARPers and I’m waiting for a Dark Sun Order of the Stick parody (but a top of the hat to Tom and Dim at SFBGames for being oh-so-close to finishing Detective Grimoire! Still rooting for you guys!).

Cynics will always see Kickstarter as being a hole you throw money into and, maybe, it throwing something kewl back out. And if that cynicism spreads, even for Indie Games that don’t need these gigantic sums, it may be hard to ask for the minimum fifty-g to qualify.

Second, from what I remember of a few Kickstarter projects, a lot of projects fail due to ignoring Windows or Mac gamers. Easy money is on a comment being on an update asking, or even demanding, that a port be announced for the PC before the speaker puts more money down. Being required to shout, loudly, about exclusivity to a risky console for even six months might be enough to put everyone off. If OUYA goes out of it’s way to promote the hell out of every one of the likely winners of it’s grant money, this might be something it can push through – but asking a developer to commit to six months exclusivity (especially on games that are likely to be developed in Flash or Unity by indie developers, ready for cross-platform deployment to ALL channels) and put that front and center for picky personal computer gamers to snub in the public comments section may sink a few potential projects.

I’ll be looking forwards to see what comes out from this. And maybe throw something together myself. Got a year to at least scrape together a tech demo, right?

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