As the hours wound down until Dungeons: Eye of Draconus’ Kickstarter project came to an end, SuckerFree Games’ William McDonald issued an unexpected update announcing some unfortunate news for the indie development company.
“Well apparently OUYA has decided to change the rules on us. With less than two days to go they have removed our #Freethegames link from the OUYA homepage and delisted us from www.Freethegamesfund.com website,” McDonald wrote. “The timing aligns with winning back of some devs that threatened to pull their games through conversations on twitter.”
We previously published an article based on an interview with William, where he admitted to obtaining $50,000 in funding from his father to go toward his Kickstarter campaign. Up to that point, McDonald raised less than $3,000 of his $10,000 goal, and it looked like his campaign was doomed to fail. The money from his father helped meet SuckerFree Games’ Kickstarter goal and technically qualified them for OUYA’s Free The Games Fund. The FTG Fund matches dollar for dollar any Kickstarter video game project that’s OUYA exclusive for six months and raises at least $50,000.
With about $54,000 raised in total, McDonald was close to getting an additional $54,000 from OUYA had his project not been removed. However, McDonald wasn’t the only developer who recently came under criticism. The developers for Gridiron Thunder and Elementary My Dear Holmes apparently created dummy accounts on Kickstarter to help fund their game. Gridiron Thunder, however, wasn’t cancelled, while Elementary My Dear Holmes was suspended on Kickstarter.
“OUYA gets their fall guy and Gridiron keeps their money. So while a bunch of ex-EA employees with rich friends can apparently receive $171,000 in match funds for a game they, allegedly, already finished,” McDonald wrote in the update. “A person whose father was willing to make a large sacrifice so his son’s team could qualify for the fund and actually develop their game properly is disallowed. If we had remained silent we very likely would have received the funds, our transparency and honesty apparently was our undoing.”
“So we have no choice, but to cancel our Kickstarter,” he concluded. “Episode one will still be finished in time for PAX 2014.”
OUYA has come under tremendous criticism over its handling of its Free The Games Fund. With a lack of strict rules, it’s incredibly easy for developers to skirt around the intent of the Fund. It will be interesting to see if OUYA stays the course with the program or cancels it entirely.