Ouya Still Owes a Lot of Money to Multiple Indie Studios (Updated)
Razer Inc. CEO Min-Liang Tan has told Polygon that his company will shell out over $600,000 to the various independent game developers who were left unpaid by Ouya's Free the Games funding campaign. This was announced after multiple indie studios claimed they were owed thousands of dollars by Ouya, which was recently acquired by Razer. The Free the Games initiative worked with a tie-in Kickstarter campaign where Ouya, Inc. would match up to $1 million in crowdfunding to help pay small-time studios to develop their games for the Ouya microconsole.
After being purchased by Razer, it has been revealed that the microconsole makers at Ouya, Inc. still owe quite a bit to independent developers.
Polygon reports that Ouya, Inc. owes payments to roughly 75 percent of the studios it backed financially in order to bring their games to the Ouya microconsole.Two years ago, Ouya launched the Free the Games funding campaign that was going to support games on Kickstarter that were being designed for the microconsole, and the company was going to match up to $1 million in the money sent to these developers. After the program was finished and apparently a success, the indie studios that were developing their games for the set-top box claim that Ouya has been refusing to pay the money they were promised due to a contract clause.
Here's the debatable part of the clause sent to Polygon from one of these studios:
8.3. Termination Upon Bankruptcy or Insolvency. Either party may, at its option, terminate this Agreement immediately upon written notice to the other party, in the event (i) that the other party becomes insolvent or unable to pay its debts when due; (ii) the other party files a petition in bankruptcy, reorganization or similar proceeding, or, if filed against, such petition is not removed within sixty (60) days after such filing; (iii) the other party discontinues it business.
The deal was that 50 percent of the funded money was to be given when the game had a playable beta, 25 percent when the game launched on the Ouya and the last 25 percent after the game's exclusivity period with Ouya ended. We have a feeling that the first 50 percent was paid using the Kickstarter crowdfunding. These indie studios have been told not to expect the rest of their promised funds now that Razer purchased Ouya, Inc.
"Claiming OUYA no longer exists as a company to get out of funding commitments, while continuing to use the name in the announcements today as if they still are a company that exists, just stinks," one of these developers said. "I think Razer will have trouble ahead if this is the level of respect they continue to show indie devs."
Many developers were planning to use their money from Ouya to work on porting their games to other consoles and for promotional material once the microconsole's exclusivity ended, but now this might not be happening.
"A month later, July 8th I get a Skype call saying since the company does not exist, they have no obligation to hold their end of the deal and of course I'm no longer required to exclusively release (thanks Ouya). I ask about publishing on Razer, but haven't gotten anything definitive out of them on who to contact at Razer or if Razer is really interested," the developer added.
If Razer was serious about their acquisition of the Ouya, they better rectify this predicament in order to maintain good relationships with these indie developers, but it may be easy for them to wiggle out of this using the legal loophole mentioned above.
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