One of the big pushes made with the launch of the Ouya game console was the Free the Games Fund. When Razer bought the Ouya name and software this week, word initially was that Razer wouldn’t be touching the outstanding debt, but it looks like that’s not the case.
The Free the Games Fund had Ouya matching, with some limitations, crowdfunding raised by developers to help them get their games going on the new console. 27 developers joined the program and were promised in total about $1 million dollars. A few of the developers reached their goals and got their funding, while another bunch received some of it. At the time of the sale, though, over a half million dollars was left unpaid.
Razer’s deal didn’t include the hardware or the fund, but in speaking to Polygon, Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan said that that since Razer is backing the Ouya publishing arm, they “are going to try to make good on this fund and give these developers an option.”
The developers who sign on with Razer are no longer obligated to remain exclusive to the Ouya platform, but to receive the funds – which Razer is under no legal obligation to provide – they’ll be required to give away some copies of the game on the Ouya storefront once the game is finished. Tan gave the example of a developer publishing a $10 game and receiving $10,000 in funding having to give away 1,000 copies of the game. Razer is basically treating it something like guaranteed sales.
This is an interesting compromise that seems to be very beneficial to the developers. If they can meet their milestones and put the game out, they’re guaranteed that a certain number of copies of the game will be out there in the wild, giving them some potential word of mouth while they put the game out on other stores instead of having to wait.