To update: Razer has now said it will honor Ouya’s excellent Free the Games payouts. Read more.
Indie developers say they owe thousands of dollars as a result of Razer’s acquisition of the Ouya microconsole storefront and tech team. In anonymous conversations with Vice, multiple developers claim that the contracts they originally signed with Ouya, which promised to pay them thousands of dollars, are not honored. The value of those deals ranged from $5,000 (£3,000) to $30,000 (£20,000), according to Vice.
Shortly after the release of the Ouya, the microconsole maker tried to entice developers to make games with the Free the Games Fund. The idea behind the fund was that Ouya would match a game’s successful crowdfunding campaign, provided it raised a minimum of $50,000 and the developer agreed to a six-month exclusivity deal. Unfortunately for Ouya, the fund became embroiled in controversy after developers were found to be backing their own Kickstarter campaigns to get their hands on the free money.
Ouya later updated the fund’s terms to prevent gaming from the system, including a clause stating that developers would get 50 percent of the money if they completed a playable beta, 25 percent if the game launched and the final 25 percent at game launch. the end of the exclusivity period. According to Vice, during the launch of their beta versions, developers were also asked to sign a new contract, which stated that either party can terminate the agreement in the event that the other party becomes insolvent, unable to pay its debts, or goes bankrupt. .
Recently, Ouya reportedly notified developers via Skype that they would no longer receive funding due to the Razer acquisition, claiming that Ouya would cease to exist as a company. Ouya then suggested that the new parent company might be able to help, while also “quietly” asking developers not to take the news to the press.
“[Ouya] paid the first installment when we submitted our beta,” a developer told Vice. A lot of hard work has gone into controller support and UI elements just for OUYA. It’s hard to ask for extra artwork to finish a game when the end of your budget just disappears, let alone advertise on release.”
“Claiming that Ouya no longer exists as a company to get out of its financing obligations, while continuing to use the name today in the announcements as if they were still an existing company, or that they have somehow transformed the company into a product or service. , just stinks,” another developer told Vice. “I think Razer will be in trouble if this is the level of respect they continue to show indie developers.”
If true, these claims add to what has been a tumultuous few years for Ouya, once Kickstarter’s darling. After raising more than $8 million (£5 million) in crowdfunding, Ouya suffered from slow retail sales and slow developer adoption. As debts mounted, developers continued to report slow sales of their games on the microconsole. The company later received a $10 million drip from Alibaba, but this clearly wasn’t close enough to save the company from a buyout.