The Ouya Free The Games campaign is quite the generous offer. If a developer pledges six month Ouya exclusivity and raises a minimum of $50,000 in a successful Kickstarter funding bid then Ouya will match the funding, effectively doubling the development pot.
However, it appears that at least one of titles taking part in this promotion may be nothing more than scams. The sleuths of NeoGAF have been pouring over funding for Gridiron Thunder, picking up some very strange funding activities behind the game in the process.
At the minute the Gridiron Thunder Kickstarter has managed to raise $78,257 from 130 backers. That’s on average $601.98 per backer. What’s even stranger is that most of the rewards have gone unclaimed. If I were putting that much money into a game then I’d definitely be claiming my reward. Call me a cynic but I find it hard to believe there are that many selfless people funding this.
What really set the alarm bells ringing though are the alleged backers themselves, with one really standing out in terms of absolute callousness. Apparently a person called Alivia Das has pledged to the Kickstarter, but the accompanying profile picture is of missing Alivia Kali, who went missing in the Pittsburgh area two years ago.
The developers behind the game have spoken to Gamasutra , claiming they have had very generous donors because they have ties in Silicon Valley, as well as friends in the sports world who are backing them. Strange that no such names were forthcoming.
There’s also speculation that MogoTXT may not have the rights to NFL player assets, including names and pictures. Those rights belong to EA, though those may expire soon. In the Gamasutra statement the devs said those who were questioning the legitimacy didn’t know what they were talking about, but I’d like to know how much it cost to get the rights in the first place.
Ouya themselves have pretty much stayed quiet on the matter, instead celebrating that a game has been successfully Kickstarted and will appear as a timed exclusive on the console.
Right now Ouya need to be doing damage control and doing checks into who exactly backed Gridiron Thunder, and how an unknown group managed to raise so much money so quickly. This situation isn’t going to go away, and a statement from Ouya about these suspicious moves would be very welcome.