Ouya is accepting Bitcoins as a method of payment to purchase the Android-powered console. Using a tweet, the company announced the official Ouya store now has the option of using Bitcoins along with more common methods of payment like credit cards and Paypal during the check out process. Purchase an Ouya without the interference of those dirty Illuminati run banks!
Bitcoins are the virtual currency that uses peer-to-peer computing to generate money that exists as magic, or something. Bitcoins have gotten a bit of an unsavory reputation thanks to market volatility, recent trading house robberies, and their frequent use by people conducting illegal activities. Because the virtual coins are difficult to trace, people trading in firearms and drugs have taken to using them in place of regular money. Bitcoins have also been criticized for being limited in usefulness and for being easy to steal because most banks do not recognize them as legitimate currency.
Now that I think of it, Bitcoins might be an Illuminati plot!
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.
On Monday, we reported that Ouya’s first month of retail availability has resulted in generally low sales for developers’ games. Some of the studios complained about their performance on the console, while others like the folks behind TowerFall were positive about their 2,000 units sold. Ouya’s CEO Julie Uhrman defended her console’s ability to sell games by stating that 27% of Ouya owners have purchased a game so far. She told The Verge that 13 of the top 20 grossing titles in the console’s online store have experienced an 8% conversion rate from demo to full purchase.
“I think there are a lot of social and mobile app developers that would kill for an 8 percent attach rate on a platform that’s 30 days old,” Uhrman said. “These numbers will grow as more gamers pick up consoles, and as we attract more developers, and I believe that by the end of the year, we’ll see a few developers telling us they’ve made more than a million dollars on Ouya.”
Uhrman also dismissed the mixed reviews of the Ouya console itself by noting that the product is engaging players despite some negative critical reception.
Ouya, the crowd-funded $99 Android console, had its retail launch on June 25th. It garnered mixed reviews from critics for its combination of neat concept, somewhat underpowered hardware, an interface much improved from the beta, and a selection of games that mostly mirror the kinds of things you’d find in the dregs of the Google Play store. Early adopters seem pleased by the mostly fulfilled promises of the Kickstarter. For its part, OUYA Inc. announced a $1 million fund for indie game development to help improve the catalog of titles.
Consoles live and die by the developer support, so how is the Ouya treating its launch partners? Gamasutra rounded up some game developers to ask them how well the Ouya has been for their bottom line. Like the critics’ hardware reviews, the partner opinions are mixed. Ryan Wiemeyer, developer of Organ Trail, expressed disappointment.
It’s sold about half of what my low-end predictions were. Last I checked we were at 501 purchases from 13,112 downloads. (a 3.8 percent attach rate.) This accounts for about 0.1 percent of our total Organ Trail sales to date (which is over 400,000.) So, I don’t even know if it was worth the man hours yet. Then again… Organ Trail was a pain to add controller support to and that was the bulk of the port.
While some developers agreed that sales were less impressive than hoped for, others were less negative. Matt Thorson, creator of TowerFall, told Edge that he was pleased with his sales so far.
“We’ve made about 2,000 sales so far at $15 each,” Thorson said. “So sales have been surprisingly high for a new game on a new console. The game has definitely proven itself on Ouya, I think there’s enough demand to warrant bringing it to PC.”
Developers praised the ease of communicating with the Ouya company, including its engineers, but many pointed out that title discoverability remains an issue in the console catalog menus. Between the cool reception by critics and the low software sales, the Ouya has quite the hill to climb to reach the peak of the industry.
The venture firms of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, The Mayfield Group, and others have invested more than $15 million towards OUYA, the $99 Android-powered console. The Wall Street Journal interviewed CEO Julie Uhrman for details about the new funding.
“The money’s going to be used predominantly for two things: one is to support game development. We’d love to bring exclusive titles to OUYA. We announced an exclusive game from Airtight Games last week, we have others coming from Tripwire Interactive and high-profile games from high-profile independent games like Fez from Phil Fish. Tim Schafer’s DoubleFine is bringing ‘A Broken Age,’ so it’ll allow us to do more of those things.”
“The second is to support demand. We’ve seen incredible demand from retail and from the website. Obviously it depends on the retailer. It’s gonna be no different than what any other product.”
OUYA also announced that although some early backer units were shipped, the official launch date of the console has been pushed back to June 25th to fix controller manufacturing issues. The OUYA initially created waves by raising over $8 million in its Kickstarter funding when the company had only asked for $950K.