Earlier this week, Razer announced that it had purchased micro-console maker and game distribution platform Ouya for an undisclosed sum. The transaction details weren't made public, but the company did state that it had purchased the software assets, distribution platform and the name of the company, but it had no intention of moving forward with the hardware side of Ouya's business.
One aspect of the deal that was unclear was a previous Ouya program for independent developers to receive funding, and the fate of the agreements already in place with many developers.
Shortly after Razer's announcement, several publications ran stories about independent developers who were owed thousands of dollars for games that were to be released on the platform. Ouya had started a program called Free the Games Fund, which set aside $1 million to be distributed to indie developers who launched a Kickstarter campaign before August 10, 2014, managed to raise at least $50,000 in funding, and agreed to launching exclusively on Ouya for at least six months.
In exchange, developers would receive a 100 percent match of the Kickstarter funding up to a maximum of $250,000, until the $1 million fund dried up. The official rules stated that 50 percent of the funds would be awarded upon completion of a playable beta, 25 percent when the game is made available, and 25 percent when the exclusivity agreement expires.
According to an article published on Motherboard, where they stated a contract was provided to them, a provision exists that can essentially void the contract in the event of bankruptcy or insolvency. In the same article, a spokesperson from Razer was quoted as saying that the Free the Games fund was not part of the acquisition.
Razer has since announced that it will be honoring the agreements of developers taking part in the Free the Games program. The company said the fund is estimated to have as much as $620,000 in agreements, and Razer plans to fulfill them all. FtG developers will be required to sign up for the new Ouya publishing agreement to receive their milestone benefits, as there are currently no ongoing relationships between Razer and the FtG developers, legal or not.
The company has largely left the financial agreements in place, with one notable change: Developers will no longer be required to have exclusivity agreements. Razer has no plans to limit Ouya developers to one platform, and will encourage publishing to all Android gaming platforms.
Instead of exclusivity, Razer will be requiring that developers fork over the equivalent dollar figure in game licenses to be distributed for free on the Cortex TV platform. Razer gave an example of a $1 game receiving $10,000 dollars in funding. That developer would provide 10,000 free copies of the game in exchange.