is the largest crowd funding website in cyberspace, and it's managed to raise millions of dollars for promising projects. One of them is Ouya
, the $99 Android game console that originally had a goal of soliciting $950,000 but ended up with nearly $8.6 million in pledges
when the dust settled. It's not the only project to blow past its goal, but it does bring up an interesting question. If the project fails, will backers receive a refund?
It's a question NPR presented to Ouya, which admittedly didn't know the answer.
"Technically, from a Kickstarter perspective, I don't know the answer to that," Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman said. "But from a doing-the-right-thing perspective, we will treat our backers the best possible way."
It's a nice thought, but if Ouya were to blow through its $8.6 million pile of cash and have nothing to show for it, then what? We're not saying that's going to happen, mind you, but given how popular Kickstarter has become, it's a question that's inevitably going to be answered, one way or another. As it stands, Kickstarter founder Yancey Strickler doesn't even know the answer.
"You know, that would be new ground," Strickler said when NPR asked if Kickstarter would get involved if Ouya turned into vaporware. "I don't know. I mean, no, I don't think that we would. But certainly, the kind of thing you're talking about is not a bridge that has been crossed yet. Someday it will. And you know, I think if something did go awry, it would be -- it wouldn't be my favorite day."
Ouya has a dozen backers who pledged at least $10,000, thousands who have pledged $140 or more, and over 46,000 pledged $99, equivalent to the cost of the console (minus shipping). There are a lot of eyeballs on this particular project, and with the amount of third-party support that's been announced, it will probably come to fruition. But at some point, a high profile project will drop the ball, and when that happens, the harsh reality is that backers will likely never see their pledges returned.