Independent games Elementary, My Dear Holmes and Gridiron Thunder have come under fire for having questionable Kickstarter results. Both games are early successes of Ouya’s Free the Games project which promises to match crowd-sourced funding as long as the developers agree to give the Ouya console a six-month period of exclusivity. Polygon reports that because of odd Kickstarter results, the games’ campaigns are being called into question.
In the case of Elementary, My Dear Holmes, some backers noticed that a large number of pledges were coming from first-time Kickstarter accounts with suspiciously similar celebrity names and celebrity user images. (Many of these accounts’ profile pictures and names have been subsequently changed.) Developer Victory Square Games acknowledged that it looked odd and subsequently posted the response they received from Kickstarter when they asked about the suspicious accounts.
“If you’d like to know more about backers who have found your project, you can always take a look at their profile to get a better feel for them. It’s very possible that these first-time backers have found your project through your outreach, or just by browsing Kickstarter – I wouldn’t be surprised if Sherlock Holmes fans had a way of sleuthing these things out! And of course, if needed, you’re also welcome to message any backers who you’d like to know better, if you really have hesitations about their pledge.”
In Gridiron Thunder‘s case, while the Kickstarter accounts don’t seem obviously suspicious, the amounts donated do. As Kicktraq shows, the project only has 141 backers with an average of $556 pledged per backer with nine days to go before closing the campaign which is extraordinary. The daily results also have some suspicious spikes in donations. MogoTXT CEO Andy Won says the accusation that they may have gamed the system to have a successful Kickstarter is false.
“We have done nothing wrong,” said Won. “And we are about to roll out an awesome title for the Ouya. We are just a hardworking game development firm.”
Ouya has refused to comment in either case.