Razer has spoken up about the deal it did to acquire troubled microconsole pioneer Ouya's assets, and has confirmed that it will 'try and make good' on the funds owed to developers under the Free The Game programme.
Following its storming Kickstarter campaign, which raised $8.6 million, Ouya was beset by troubles ranging from early bugs in the software and hardware through to a lack of titles on the Android-based microconsole it had created. It attempted to resolve the latter with a programme it dubbed Free The Game, in which independent developers were offered cash payouts in order to create timed exclusives for sale on the Ouya store. Sadly, it didn't result in the turnaround for which Ouya had hoped and the company recently sold its assets to peripherals giant Razer
, which is developing its own rival microconsole system.
As the news of the deal broke, developers who were part of the Free The Game programme piped up to say they had been forced into signing a revised contract which saw the debt wiped clear as part of the acquisition - stiffing them out of up to $30,000 each in a move which was likely to see the smaller companies, reliant on the money which had been promised to them, go belly-up.
Razer's chief executive and founder, Min-Liang Tan, has broken the company's silence on the matter and told Polygon
that he is looking to do right by developers - but has stopped short of promising them the money they are owed. 'We only acquired the team, the platform and the assets of Ouya. We didn't look at the debts because that's not how the deal was structured for us,
' Tan told the site - seemingly claiming ignorance of the programme and the money which is owed to the developers.
'What we want to do is make sure we support indie developers,
' Tan continued. 'Razer will be backing the new Ouya publishing arm. So we are going to try and make good on this fund and give developers an option.
' That option, the site explains, is a new contract which will give the developers the money they are owed in exchange for giving an equal value of inventory away through Razer's own Cortex storefront - in other words, a developer owed $30,000 will receive the cash immediately, but $30,000 worth of sales will have to take place via Cortex before the developer will see a penny more.
The deal isn't quite as bad as it sounds: where the original Free The Game deal, ironically, required a period of exclusivity, games released on Cortex as part of Razer's replacement deal do not require any exclusivity at all. Thus far, the developers have not publicly responded to Tan's offer.