OUYA Gives Back, Pledges to Seed Game Developers with $1 Million "Free the Games Fund"

What a difference a year makes. Early last July, OUYA didn’t exist; fast forward through an astonishing Kickstarter campaign, successful hardware and software development, another round of funding, and a retail launch, and OUYA has suddenly evolved from merely a cool idea for an Android-based console to a highly sought-after product that sold out at online retail outlets.

Suddenly, the OUYA gang has a success on its hands and is already in the position to be a patron instead of a supplicant. OUYA founder Julie Uhrman wrote in a blog post that OUYA is launching the “Free the Games Fund”, a program wherein it will support game developers by matching the funds they raise on Kickstarter up to $250,000.

OUYA console and controller

To qualify for matching funds, OUYA developers must launch and end their Kickstarter campaigns between August 9th of this year and August 10th, 2014; raise at least $50,000 in funding on their own; and agree to launch the title exclusively on OUYA for the game’s first 6 months. Another perk is that OUYA will deliver another $100,000 to whichever game raises the most money on Kickstarter during this time period, meaning that a dev could theoretically take home $350,000 in free money from OUYA.

The program only has a $1 million bankroll, so OUYA will only be able to seed so many devs, but it’s still a nice incentive for the ones that will be able to take advantage of it, and it’s classy that OUYA is giving back.

Of course, the Free the Games Fund is also a shrewd business move. OUYA hopes to excite its developer base, which numbers over 21,000, and it will end up with a nice smattering of new titles for the young console while the vast majority of devs that participate won’t actually get any matched funds.

Regardless of motivation, it’s a good idea, and a few game makers out there will get a nice boost in funding and be able to make better games. Cheers to that.