We often wonder how Kickstarter alters public perception on a project. For example, if the Ouya
were backed by investors and hit the market without any crowd funding, would its audience be more receptive to the final design since they never had the opportunity to imagine what could have been, or would the mysterious corporate vibe be more off-putting?
Ouya, for its part, is taking a gamble on completely open, crowd-sourced funding, and so far has raised almost $5 million in just one week. Earlier reports that Ouya would seek funding from other sources in addition to Kickstarter are completely unfounded, Julie Uhrman tells Engadget
"Totally untrue," she says. "We've been approached many times in the last week, of course, and told everyone we are totally focused on getting our support from Kickstarter."
Ouya has support from Digg founder Jay Adelson, Flixter's Joe Greenstein and Jawbone founder Hosain Rahman, and they all backed Ouya in its early stages, helping to get the Kickstarter set up.
Another potentially confusing aspect that has arisen during Ouya's Kickstarter campaign is its "free-to-play" approach. The Kickstarter page reads "All the games on it will be free, at least to try," and many people have taken this to mean that all games will follow the standard free-to-play model. Not quite, Uhrman says:
"When we say free-to-play, we'd also include free demos or early levels of a game, so we are confident that while not every game will use in-game items, every game can offer some aspect of its gameplay for free."
Uhrman and the Ouya team are taking feedback from developers and players, and even direct input when applicable. "In fact, when we first brought the concept to Adam Saltsman, he made us promise to let him weigh in on the controller," Uhrman says. "And he's not the only developer excited. We've heard from Brian Fargo and others that the innovative controller design is likely to inspire new types of gameplay."
Through the $99 Kickstarter reward tier, Ouya has pre-sold almost half of its initial stock of 80,000, and is expected to be sold online and at retail when it launches in March.