Julie Uhrman, the CEO and Founder of the Ouya has defended the Free the Games fund in face of criticism that the idea was “foolish, crazy and naive”. Although she doesn’t explicitly mention it, her blog post comes as a response to the first two successful Kickstarters involved in the program, one of which had its funding suspended by Kickstarter and another which generated $171,000 from only 183 backers.
In her post, Julie laments the “lost intentions” of some developers in seeking the additional funding from the Free the Games program, in which Ouya put aside $1 million to double the funding of any successful Ouya timed exclusive Kickstarter that surpassed $50,000.
“This response surprised us — we thought this was going to be great — how could it not be? We launched the Free the Games Fund to find great games from the very platform that gave us life. We wanted to make magic happen and help developers bring their games to OUYA. We wanted to include gamers in the process of discovering great games. We aren’t like everyone else. We don’t decide what games you *should* play. We want to *open* game development.
“The truth is, openness is hard. Being open means everything is fair game, and it means sometimes things don’t work out exactly as you hope. And when it doesn’t work out, everyone knows.”
In the blog post, Julie goes on to embrace the accusations of being too idealistic and perhaps naieve, going so far as to attribute the company’s success to the same idealism they launched the Free the Games fund with.
She then encourages “developers with a great idea” to submit games to the program before showcasing the nine currently active Kickstarter projects in the fund. Of those nine only one has received more than $10,000 of funding so far and looks to have any realistic chance of being funded, although it’ll be a tough battle for the developer behind it, Matt Gilgenbach.
Most of the projects she points to have failed to even break a thousand dollars in funding, which might just be indicative of the number of projects which go totally unnoticed on Kickstarter or maybe reflects a lack of interest in Ouya titles specifically.