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Developers react to Ouya's defense of Free the Games Fund


Yesterday, Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman voiced her support for the company's Free the Games Fund, noting that nothing about the program would be altered. Since then, indie developers have expressed their displeasure over Uhrman's statements.

Sophie Houlden, who launched Rose and Time on Ouya in July, announced that she will be pulling the game from the Ouya store. Houlden said that after reading Uhrman's response, "it became very apparent to me that the company does not support indie developers who need the support most, and that they are incapable of ever correcting their mistakes. I'm simply no longer comfortable supporting the company."

Free the Games Fund was first announced in July with the intention of encouraging Ouya development by rewarding successful Kickstarter project creators with extra funding in exchange for at least six months of Ouya exclusivity. Two eligible games came under scrutiny as they met their funding goals in late August: Elementary, My Dear Holmes and Gridiron Thunder. While Elementary was recently suspended due to suspicions over Kickstarter accounts that backed the game, Gridiron Thunder was successfully funded, bringing in $171,009 from only 183 total backers.

Houlden isn't the only developer backing away from the platform. Kairo developer Richard Perrin noted via Twitter that he "had an Ouya on my desk since launch. Nearly finished porting Kairo to it. Gonna pack that away until a time when they become credible again." In the comments of Uhrman's response to the growing concerns over the program, 100 Rogues Ouya developer Wes Paugh said that "the campaigns that aren't setting off red flags are failing tragically, and that is a real shame, because some of those ideas are ones gaming would greatly benefit from."

Thomas Was Alone developer Mike Bithell also criticized Ouya's response in the post's comments, saying it "isn't an acceptance of criticism, or an explanation of how clearly dodgy as hell schemes are being supported by [Ouya] publicly," but that it "reads like a press release from a console company locked into a foolish policy and using aspirational language to shift the blame, weirdly, onto its critics."

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