OUYA revises Free the Games Fund to lower project goals, reduce exclusivity

It looks like outspoken indie devs are finally getting their wish: OUYA is revising the rules for its "Free the Games" fund. The matching contest (which provides additional funding to Kickstarter campaigns that meet certain goals) has come under fire recently due to OUYA's tepid response to exploitation controversy. One developer, Sophie Houlden of Rose and Time, even pulled her
game from console's marketplace, accusing the company of being "incapable of ever correcting their mistakes." Now, it seems, the OUYA is ready to take a stab at doing just that, modifying the contest guidelines to lower pledge requirements, reduce participant exclusivity terms and limit loopholes.

Projects applying to the fund now only need to reach a minimum pledge requirement of $10,000 (down from $50,000 previously), and to prevent exploitation of the system, every $10k a project raises must be funded by at least 100 individuals. This is a direct response to criticism of the fund's backing of Gridiron Thunder, which raised $171,009 from only 183 backers (Gridiron Thunder has since withdrawn from the program). Exclusivity requirements are now scalable too, and last for one month for each $10k funded to a maximum of six months. According to OUYA's Julie Uhrman, these changes are designed to protect the original intent of the fund, but suspicious projects will be still be reviewed on a case by case basis. "You need to play by the spirit of the fund as much as the rules. We can't account for every loophole," write Uhrman on the company blog. "So, if we, or our community, feel you are gaming the system, we will review your project (and consult with our developer friends for their advice) and determine whether to fund it or not." OUYA continues to explain the changes in an accompanying video (at the source and after the break), promising that if these changes don't fix the program, that they'll continue to tweak the rules until developers are satisfied.