OUYA wants you to develop exclusive games for their Android gaming console, and they are willing to pay you to make it happen. They have unveiled a fund-matching program they are calling the "Free The Games Fund" that aims to incentivize developers to create new games that will be released just for the Ouya console.
Over 8.5 million Ouya gaming consoles have shipped since the original Kickstarter campaign launched last year. The idea was simple, and people really liked it, at least at first. Unfortunately, most users seem to have gotten their Ouya consoles and then…not used them. About three-quarters of Ouya owners haven't purchased a single game with their console. That's not good news for the company that has plans to make a new, upgraded console every year.
"We've set aside one million bucks to turn your ideas into a reality. It's our way of giving back to the platform that helped us make OUYA a reality and to rewrite the 'rules' of how a game console is brought to market. Kickstarter was our beginning–here's hoping it's yours too."
Enter the Free The Games Fund. It's a pretty simple plan. As a company, OUYA will match any fully funded Android game design Kickstarter that reaches at least $50,000. The match goes up to as high as $250,000. The campaign will only end when OUYA has handed out $1 million in funds. Any successful games that receive funds from the program will have to stay exclusive to the Ouya console for six months. In addition, the most successful Kickstarter campaign will receive an additional $100,000.
Why is OUYA doing this? Wouldn't it be easier just fund indie games directly? There are a number of answers, although they are all speculation. OUYA may just want to give back to Kickstarter and Kickstarter backed projects. Kickstarter is the reason the Ouya console was as successful as it was. Another reason could be that Ouya doesn't have any real indie developer connections to support. They also may not want to make a move until Android gamers have shown them what games they want to play. Once a Kickstarter campaign has been funded on its own, OUYA can step in and buy exclusive rights to the game for six months.
Whatever the reasoning, OUYA's head of developer relations, Kellee Santiago, has stated that there are already 19 game projects registered for the Free The Games Fund. We'll just have to wait and see if it's successful.