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Ouya Seeks To Free The Games With $1 Million Matching Fund [UPDATED]

The Ouya $1Million Free The Games Fund

After scoring support from the Kickstarter community to the tune of $8.6 million dollars last year, the makers of the indie based console are seeking to return the favor. Ouya has put together a plan to set aside $1 million to match the successful Kickstarter campaigns of Ouya exclusive games. There are some restrictions of course.

At the Free the Games website, they list the restrictions that apply to this campaign but they aren’t bad. First up, you have to let Ouya know that you plan to participate. Second, you have to include a specific notice on your campaign. Then you have to successfully meet your funding goal and raise a minimum of $50,000 to qualify for matching funds. Finally, your game must be an Ouya exclusive for a minimum of 6 months after release. That’s it.

Their hope is that they get a lot of attention from indie developers who want to get their hands on some of that money and who are willing to release exclusively for the console. I have been really enjoying playing on my Ouya and would love to see more quality games come to it. This could be that nudge to get even more great content.

There are some provisos though. They will only match up to $250k per campaign and only have set aside $1million. That means if there are 4 successful $250k games, then all the funds are used up and unavailable for other developers. I have sent an email asking for clarification on this issue (response below). I hope to hear back soon. Additionally, if you don’t raise the minimum of $50k, but do successfully complete your campaign, you do not qualify for the matching funds and are thus not bound to the exclusivity requirement.

This is an exciting time to be an Ouya developer and an Ouya owner. While this is no promise that these games will be available soon, it does mean that they will be made. I look forward to seeing what happens.

Update: I have heard back from Kellee Santiago on a couple of questions I had. First up, on the subject of how the funds get divvied to multiple completed campaigns:

We match up to $250k, regardless of what the total on the campaign was.  And yes, I believe it will be dependent on the timing of completion, if it’s a matter of multiple campaigns occurring simultaneously. Honestly, it’s something that we will be looking at once we see how many developers are interested in participating, and we’ll keep the FAQ updated accordingly!

So if you complete your campaign after the funds have already been allocated, you may be out of luck. I have asked for further clarification on if you are still bound by the exclusivity agreement. Now I have it:

Hm, that would be an unfortunate scenario! I would guess in that scenario we would not be able to include the project in the fund, and therefore would not be subject to the exclusivity. But I would also try and figure out a way to include it. 🙂

On the subject of demos/prototypes used during the campaign:

We’ve been going around on this a bit, but I believe that a prototype released with the campaign is acceptable as a proof of concept to your potential funders. However, it cannot be made available after the completion of your campaign.

So you can have a demo or prototype, but must pull access once the game is funded. Sounds fair.

More news as it develops.

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