The first two games from Ouya's Free the Games promotion have been funded on Kickstarter. Gridiron Thunder, a football game that uses official NFL licensing, reached its $75,000 goal with 13 days left in its campaign. The other funded game, Elementary, My Dear Holmes met its $50,000 goal with 17 days left. Developed by Vancouver-based Victory Square Games, point-and-click adventure game Elementary, My Dear Holmes has players investigating mysteries not as the famous Baker Street sleuth, but as his faithful companion John Watson.
Ouya's $1 million Free the Games campaign has the company matching funds for successfully Kickstarted projects that earn at least $50,000. Ouya will match up to $250,000 for an individual project, the trade-off being that each game must remain Ouya-exclusive for six months. The company said more than 40 games have been submitted for the program, and 11 campaigns are live, including that of Gridiron Thunder and Elementary, My Dear Holmes.
Gridiron Thunder is at $78,250 with 125 backers. Nothing suspicious there. I hope Ouya has some way to verify the pledges because if not, this is the easiest was to double your $50k ever.
There's definitely something happening. Checking the backers, there's a couple of duplicates, with people with the same surname having decided to back the same project. And even in the case that a person with the same name decided to back the same project, and this is their only project that they backed.
Note the URLs in the next two pics, different accounts for the 'same person.' And 'Justin Won' isn't the only dupe.
2nd Edit: Looks like Ouya's going to turn a blind eye, despite being questioned about the legitimacy of the projects.
PolTits 23 minutes ago
OUYA is officially closing their eyes on any potential fraud or funding issue. They tell us to shut up and rejoice with them for the coming a new OUYA game (it's been a long time)
3rd edit: Joystiq updates and gets quotes from OUYA people.
Update: We've contacted both Ouya and Kickstarter regarding Gridiron Thunder's legitimacy, as the project's $78,259 came from just 126 backers, with some suspect funding spikes as tracked by Kicktraq. We will update as we learn more.
Update #2: Ouya responded with a statement to Joystiq, saying that "based on our program's guidelines, the team behind Gridiron Thunder have successfully qualified to receive the match and we couldn't be more excited to see them bring their game along with their supportive community to Ouya."
4th Edit: Gamasutra was able to contact and interview Andrew Won, (same surname as 'Justin Won', CEO of the company making Gridiron Football. They also gave a shout out to this thread as well, thank you Gamasutra! Andrew Won response are in italics for easy reading.
Here are some longform excerpts from Won's statement to Gamasutra:
We are not trying to do something improper with Ouya's Free the Games promotion, and we are in full compliance with both KickStarter's and Ouya's rules.
[...] We have had some generous donors but so have other KickStarter campaigns. In our case, we have very deep roots in Silicon Valley and great ties to fellow tech entrepreneurs in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. We also have friends in the professional sports world who want to see us succeed. I don't think there is anything wrong with having generous supporters, and we make no apology for this. It does not violate any KickStarter or Ouya rule.
Gamasutra did not suggest MogoTXT had violated Ouya or Kickstarter's rules. We asked for MogoTXT to respond to speculation regarding the average donation per backer and the speed at which the funding target was met.
Some people, who are not lawyers and who have no knowledge of the facts, also said that we lack the intellectual property rights to build our game. They have no idea what they are talking about.
Gamasutra did not ask about intellectual property rights. However, that's a good question.
Some of the same people who initially accused us of being scam later said, when we showed that we are working on the game, that our game is not very good. So far as we can tell, these criticisms were made by people who have not developed a game of any note. As seasoned developers know, very few games look good until they are actually complete and we took pains to try to explain this.
What is really unfortunate is that some people, while being so cynical about our motives, repeatedly choose to disregard KickStarter's standard for behavior which is set forth in its community guidelines, namely:
[...] If people do not want to support a project, they really should just move on. If they think that they can do better, they can start their own project for the Ouya which is what Ouya would want.
We have a great relationship with Ouya, and we want very much for Ouya to succeed.
5th Edit: OUYA responds and denies there is a problem.
We've seen the controversy around the games and we'd love if you would let the community know a couple of things:
We've heard our community's concerns and appreciate their interest in OUYA not being scammed.
OUYA has not contributed monetarily to these two games or any other games participating in the FreeTheGames fund program.
As of now and as far as we know at this point both Gridiron Thunder and Elementary My Dear Holmes comply with our rules and regulations so we will be moving forward with funding. If that changes, we will let you know as we always do.
We really just want to support game development while bringing great content to OUYA - this was our full intention with the Free The Games fund and we hope that spirit is embraced.
Kotaku does an interview with MogoTXT's Andrew Won, makers of Gridiron Thunder. Who claims on first admendent rights that they can use the NFL license. Also, they're not scamming anybody because everyone knew coming in that they're making a 'great' game!
In response to questions about how exactly such a small game with such a limited showing was able to secure its funding so quickly, Won says "We have some generous donors owing to our Silicon Valley backgrounds and relationships with the sports community." Asked whether he was aware of, or was investigating the claims of falsified backer accounts contributing to his game's campaign, he claims "To the best of our knowledge, we do not have a problem with falsified contributions. But there has been no violation of any KickStarter or Ouya rule."P
Another source of criticism of Gridiron Thunder's project page was the fact it showed screenshots containing actual NFL branding, an area that would surely raise the ire of both the league and its main gaming license-holder, Electronic Arts. "We have rights under both a number of different license agreements and also under the First Amendment to display certain images, scores, news, stats and other content within our games and other properties", Won says.P
Which seems absolutely crazy, but hey, that's a problem for the team and their lawyers to face.P
Are we scamming Ouya? No. Ouya will have an awesome football game in the Ouya store in just a few weeks. Our hope is that Gridiron Thunder will help attract a mainstream user base for the Ouya that will help grow the installed based of consoles and increase the ecosystem to benefit all Ouya-focused game developers.
Are we scamming the people who signed up for a copy of Gridiron Thunder on KickStarter? No. They are going to receive a great game that will get better and better over the course of the football season.
So who are we scamming exactly? No one. No one is being hurt in any way.
At this point, I want to see all the games come into fruition just for the absurdity of it all.