Razer Will Pay Ouya's Debts to Developers
"What we had is nothing, so this is better."
On Monday, gaming peripheral company Razer announced that it acquired the software and part of the team behind Ouya, which infamously raised $8.5 million through crowdfunding in 2012 to build an Android-based microconsole. Last night, several indie developers told Motherboard that they will not receive money Ouya still owed them as a result of the acquisition. However, Razer today said that it will pay Ouya's debts, even if it's not legally obligated to do so.
The developers in question were owed money through Ouya's Free the Games Fund, which promised to double whatever amount they raised on Kickstarter if they agreed to make the game exclusive to Ouya for six months. As Ouya was finalizing the deal with Razer, it notified developers that it didn't intend to follow through on remaining payments.
Just now, Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan told Polygon that Razer isn't obligated to follow through on the payments developers are still owed through Ouya's Free the Games Fund, but that it will make good on those payments anyway.
"This is purely being done out of goodwill," Tan said. "I think this is going to be great for the developers. I think they're going to be able to get the games done and gamers will get access to games for free. Then those games will spread through word of mouth."
Developers who want to get the rest of the Free the Games Fund payments from Razer will have to agree to a new deal that's different from the original in some key ways.
Most importantly, developers will have to give copies of their games away for free on Razer's Cortex storefront. The number of copies they have to give away will be determined by the payments Razer gives them. For example, a developer that received $10,000 and is selling their game $10 will have to give 1,000 copies away for free on the Cortex storefront.
However, these games, which the Free the Games Fund deal made exclusive to Ouya, can now be published and sold on other platforms, so developers will still be able to make money that way.
Tan added that while he knew that Ouya had some debts, he wasn't aware independent developers were still owed, in total, more than $600,000 through the Free the Games Fund. He told Polygon that as soon as he learned about the situation, the current plan, the details of which are still being finalized, started to come together.
One developer who spoke to Motherboard said he's not sure how this new deal will impact him since his game is free-to-play, but suggested that he might be able to give Cortex users in-app purchases for free, equal to the amount he'll get paid from Razer.
"In my case I'm happy about it, for other people, it's a decent outcome," the developer said. "It's better than what we expected. What we had is nothing, so this is better."