Android-based home console maker Ouya announced this week that it is making important changes to the way its Free the Games Fund works after it acknowledged that the program contained "too many loopholes" that could be manipulated by those who want to take advantage of the matching funds program. The $1 million promotion had offered to match the donations made to Kickstarter games that raised at least $50,000 in exchange for six month exclusivity to the system.
But a number of games that successfully qualified for the program by raising money via Kickstarter campaigns were called out by the community for large influxes of cash including Gridiron Thunder and Dungeons the Eye of Draconus.
As criticism continues to grow from the development community and from gamers, Ouya founder Julie Uhrman has admitted to problems with the fund, and updated its rules.
"The program isn't working," she said in a video update, above. "Regardless of my best intentions, there are just too many loopholes."
For starters, the project minimum has been lowered from $50,000 to $10,000.
"We heard you that $50k is too high," Uhrman said. "We wanted to make sure your games get made, so we lowered the goal. And, we know first-hand, that great games can be made for $20k or sometimes less."
The matching funds amount has also been changed to 100 percent of the funding goal to a maximum of $250,000.
"If you receive more than you asked for from your backers, GREAT, but this should be a measurement of community interest, not a push for more funding," Uhrman said.
Now, for every $10,000 raised on Kickstarter the crowdfunding drive must have a minimum of 100 backers.
"The intent is for the community to want your game, not a small number of well-resourced supporters," Uhrman said. "We felt we needed to look at the minimum number of backers to make sure it is in line with the spirit of our program."
Ouya has also tweaked its exclusivity requirement so that developers can launch on PC at the same time as the micro-console.
"We want your game on the TV, but we also want your audience to grow. So, if you want to build a PC version at the same time, go for it," Uhrman said.
Finally the controversial bonus has been ditched entirely.
"We agree it just didn't feel right," said Uhrman. "We think this will support the nature of the fund-to make great games."
Uhrman closes by saying the following:
"You need to play by the spirit of the fund as much as the rules. We can't account for every loophole. 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."
You can watch a video of her remarks to your left.