UPDATE: Free the games fund was update to a more indie friend approach and gridiron thunder declined to receive the fund money.

Ouya’s ‘Free the Funds’ Fund

Ouya’s freethegamesfund.com idea, is interesting to me.
The first time I saw this, I know it would be open to abuse.

1. Get a couple of friends to pledge at the $10,000 dinner with the developer level

2. Get 25% of matching funds

3. use the matching funds to return ‘friends’ money

4. profit

Gridiron Thunder will be receiving $170,000 + an extra $100,000 from ouya (the bonus prize for the ‘most funded game’).

That’s $270,000 to develop a title they’re selling for $5. They would have to sell 54,000 copies of Gridiron Thunder just to recoup that money. That’s far, far more copies than ANY game has sold on the Ouya.

In other words, the rational thing for the Gridiron Thunder team to do would be to keep the money from Ouya and spit out a very very crappy football game. I think that’s been their plan from the start.

Ouya’s matching funds will be paid out as follows:
25% = When your Kickstarter campaign ends.
50% = When your game launches on OUYA.
25% = When the 6-month exclusive-to-OUYA period ends.

Elementary, My Dear Holmes!

Suspected of having 50% dummy accounts!
“And let’s be even more honest, don’t pretend like you are going to do anything about these 200 accounts, because we both know if you do it, your campaign won’t ever reach its goal.
I tried to be polite and to help you prove you had nothing to do with this, you clearly show your lack of concern in face of the seriousness of the fraud that is taking place here. But if I can’t post here anymore, let’s this be my last message to you:

Most people know there is an extremely large number of fake accounts that have been used to reach your KS goal. Most know exactly why you do it. We don’t want to be mean to you, but please try not to insult people’s intelligence too much by acting like you have no idea what’s going on. We don’t really care if you get OUYA’s money, but at least you could have the honesty of saying “OK, we will prove our good will and start a new KS and redirect everyone there”. But we all know why you can’t (or rather don’t want to) do it.

It’s OK, it was a good idea, unfortunately poorly executed and many thought of it before you. You will win the money, but the trust and image will be damaged, you can’t win on all accounts in this kind of situation.

This project was suspended, see the letter below.

Gridiron Thunder

You just have to read a few comments to see if it is?
Currently at 156 Backers for a total of $98,823 that’s an average of $633.48!

Goat: “When I say ‘You’ fund your own game to get the pledged doubled by OUYA, you are quite correct to precise it’s not you personally of course (that may even be against KS rules) but by your friends, family and relationships as you mentioned it. Again, nothing illegal, and at least these backers aren’t fake like the ones from the Holmes I game I was referring to in that sentence.”

Goat: “ MogoTXT: ” We too want to support other developers and help where we can. This has always been our intent and approach.”
How exactly are you doing that? By draining the OUYA Free the Games Fund for a game that hasn’t proved any interest from the public, you are doing the opposite of this.
I’ll believe you are really concerned about ethics the day you will provide an answer to my previous question:
why a game that has only 140 backers should get OUYA’s money more than one who got 500 like this one for example:

Let’s be honest, per KS standards (number of backers), the popularity of your game is extremely low. Yet it’s the one that will get the most money from FTGF.
You think you are good at PR and can ignore those questions for 8 more days until the campaign is finished and you don’t have to answer questions anymore.
You think people asking these questions are hurting your reputation.
The truth is that you do it yourself by the way this campaign was funded.”

I don’t doubt these two games will come out.. they have to to get 75% of the ouya money!
But will it bring the masses as ouya hoped?.. I highly doubt it.

Why is it open to obuse?? Obviously freethegamesfund is targetted at larger games/companies.
Which ouya decided means more money!

http://www.freethegamesfund.com FAQ:
No. We only require the 6-month OUYA exclusivity if we provide funds for your project out of the $1M Free the Games Fund (e.g., you successfully reach your funding objective, surpass $50,000 in funding, and therefore receive matched funds from us). Of course, if you don’t meet your Kickstarter goal at all, then maybe that means you can’t afford to make a game. We’ll be sad, of course, but we’ll understand if the game you can’t afford to make isn’t on OUYA.

I take offense to the last statement, and so should every small indie trying to support their console!
“… we’ll understand if the game you can’t afford to make isn’t on OUYA.”
Gee, isn’t that 99% of ouya games?? Made by small indie UNITY3D developers?

They are saying here.. hey starving indie dev’s don’t bother getting our money.. we’re not interested in helping indies… we’re giving it away for big titles.. something you can’t do!

It’s a shame there are targeting larger games/developers.. and I don’t understand why (obviously for a killer app and fan base) but in my opinion they targeted the wrong developers:

“The topselling title on Ouya is presently Matt Thorson’s TowerFall, which has brought in approximately $21,000 to date, after Ouya’s 30 percent cut. The consoles other leading title, Adam Spragg’s Hidden in Plain Sight, has brought in a mere $4,381.”

Both these indies guys could have used some extra cash to help fund their lives/titles.
I hope ouya learns from their costly mistake!

My thoughts on the ouya console

1. I don’t have one.. in Australia they cost a lot more to get (99 Pounds + shipping * AUD conversion is over 200AUD).

2. The controller has no start/select button.. fail!
Especially knowing the console was specificly built to support emulators?? Ouch that hurts!

3. The SDK… is really focused targetted at UNITY3D and including jars on the side

4. NDK support? still inexistant… Epic fail!

The gamestick is looking a lot better now for me, with C++/JAVA/UNITY3D API’s.. which actually looks a lot better (controller/leaderboard/in game purchases etc).

Golden Axe-inspired Dungeons: The Eye of Draconus met its funding goal thanks to family member, openly admitting it but they were suspended from the ‘free funds’ funds!

"It appears we were thrown under the FTG bus. Ouya gets their fall guy and Grid Iron keeps their money," McDonald wrote regarding Ouya's decision, referencing Gridiron Thunder, a game that received $171,009 on Kickstarter from just 183 backers as part of Ouya's program. Due to Ouya's decision, McDonald said the team opted to cancel the Kickstarter project, noting that the developer has "no plans to develop for Ouya further

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For comments or questions, please post on twitter @mgarcia.

Sam’s letter from google cache:

This is Google's cache of http://victorysquaregames.com/elementary-my-dear-holmes/. It is a snapshot of the page as it appeared on 30 Sep 2013 21:55:26 GMT. The current page could have changed in the meantime. Learn more
Tip: To quickly find your search term on this page, press Ctrl+F or ⌘-F (Mac) and use the find bar.
Full version
Victory Square Games
Startup game studio located in Vancouver, Canada.
Navigation Games About Contact
A Message to all our Kickstarter Backers
Dear Backer,
First of all, thank-you for your awesome pledge to the Kickstarter campaign for Elementary, My Dear Holmes. I know I promised to send a personal message to each one of you, but apparently one cannot do that with suspended projects.
Unless you've been without internet over the weekend, you've probably read it in the news: the Kickstarter project for Elementary has been suspended. It's over. Finished. Zoinked. And not in a good way.
I want to take this opportunity to tell you what this means for you, what our thoughts on the matter are, and what this means for us. I will try to keep the bad jokes to a minimum: it's difficult to make good jokes when you're somewhat down in the dumps.
On your end, your pledge to us on Kickstarter has not been charged. And it will never be charged. There will be no transactions to your credit card from our project, and in the weird chance that you do see them... well, you go yell at your credit card company and yell at them hard. They have no right to charge you for that.
So why did we get suspended? It would be a lie to claim that I have the 100% correct answer. Kickstarter did not give a reason to us, and it does not comment on suspensions. Do I have my suspicions around the suspension? You bet I do.
For many weeks, there were allegations that our backers were astroturfed. Which means that there were claims that there were fake backers for our project in order to increase the total number of pledges. At first, like any other normal project creator, I naturally cried "Balderdash! Of course not - everything is fine!" But when some members of the community pointed out the discrepancies to me, I, like any other normal project creator, scratched my head and said "You know what? You're right. Something is fishy."
And then I did what any other normal project creator might not have done. I reported the matter to Kickstarter and Amazon payments asking them to investigate.
Again just so we're good: I reported my own project to Kickstarter because I did not want anything to do with any shady matter.
Fast forward - the project got suspended. I was hoping our pledges would be investigated and any suspicious ones removed. But the project got suspended. And, to put it quite freely, that sucks.
Some people allege that I have a hand to play in this. That I orchestrated the whole campaign. That I am an evil overlord who laughs like a maniac in the middle of the work day to scare all our employees. Those people have a right to their opinions. You've probably heard me saying this to the media, but I want to say this to you personally as well: Not me, nor anyone at Victory Square Games did anything to astroturf our project. We did not do it ourselves, we did not pay anyone to do it, we did not ask anyone to do it. If we had, I would not have reported my own project. I created four accounts for my immediate friends and family, and the employees we have at Victory Square Games created a few for their friends and family to donate. We operate from a huge shared office space with 7 other companies, and so we coaxed some of those people to donate as well.
We went to Kickstarter because we did not have money to build this game. If we already had the money to finance our own project, there wouldn't have been any reason for us for Kickstart it. And before any claims of us doing so because Ouya would double our funds are made, let's take a minute and think about this. We would not have seen the bulk of the Ouya money until the end of production, which was not happening till March 2014. Our survival, for six months, was going to be on the amount raised from Kickstarter. The money we would have got from Ouya later was a security against exclusivity on the platform. We did not have high expectations for a gazillion sales on the Ouya - the install base does not justify it - and so the money we would have received after  we would have shipped the game would have kept us alive till the exclusivity was over and we could go to other platforms. It was not  in our best interest to go with Free The Games. But we chose to do so because it appeared to be a guarantee against low sales.
So if we did not astroturf ourselves, do I know who did it then? Do I know what vile sorcery is this? Do I know who tried to make us look like shit and succeeded? No, I don't. I wish I did. Do I have my suspicions on whom I think did it? Yes, I do. But they are suspicions. Strong suspicions, but suspicions nonetheless. And I will not make claims based purely on suspicions.
What I will do, though, is talk about what this means for the project going forward.
I hinted earlier that Elementary is not dead. I stand by that. Not everyone on the Internet thinks we orchestrated this mess. Some people believe our side of the story. That we, more than anyone else, are victims in this entire mess. Some of the people who believe so happen to be people with access to capital and people who like to invest in high technology.  And they have reached out to us. Has anything been finalized yet? No. But it is our hope that things soon will be.
And even if not,  things shall still proceed, even if we have to work out from an alley. John Watson shall not have to suffer eternally from the sidekick syndrome. His chance to shine in his 15 minutes of fame shall live on. And we'll make sure that it's a damn good and fun chance.
As far as things stand now, the project will not be exclusive to any one platform or publisher. Rather, it will be platform agnostic, and will be released on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android. And it might come to some consoles as well. We'll still need at least six months to make this, and because of the setbacks we have had, we might not be able to start till mid or late October. But start we shall and deliver we will.
I would love for you all to join us on this development journey. The easiest way to do so will be to keep in touch with us on either Facebook or Twitter, as it is not possible for me to be able to keep in touch with you on Kickstarter. If you want to go one step further, we will be setting up a pre-order page for the game on our website as well. But if you just wish to connect with us on social media, that's fine as well.
Facebook: www.facebook.com/victorysquaregames
Twitter: @vsquareg
There will be haters, there will be supporters. There will be critics and there will be believers. I cannot win them all, but I did have my own two cents to put in to make our stance clear. I have now done that and I'd like to end with a bang and quote Roosevelt. It's cool to quote Roosevelt.
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
With love and gratitude,