A couple of people noticed that my twitter account isn’t there anymore, what has happened is I’ve deactivated it for the time-being because I need some space from the indie game community, and I think it could probably do without me for a while too.
I’ve got 30 days from deactivating to log back in if I don’t want my twitter account deleted. Right now I’m not sure if I want that or not, so we’ll see.
Anyway I’ll keep working on my things for now, but in private.
So a while back I pulled Rose and Time from the OUYA store, not because I had problems with the console, but with the OUYA company at the time. long story short; those problems don’t exist any more, and I’m happy to have the game back on the OUYA marketplace.
The longer version of the story is this; when I first pulled the game and wrote some very harsh things, there was the impression of a lack of humility from the company; hard to reach, only mentioning the good, and glossing over problems. I didn’t want to support such a company.
Something I said then was ” you’ve lost me. There’s a tiny chance you could get me back, but honestly I don’t think you have it in you at this point.” – I was totally wrong.
At the time a lot of developers besides myself were upset at how the free the games fund was going and said so. Then, within a week of chatting with developers (including myself) about how the fund could be improved and what the best outcome for all concerned would be; The free the games fund was changed, none of the scam games received a single cent of the fund, the company admitted it’s mistakes, and was asking for yet more feedback to further improve things.
Listening to developers, responding quickly, showing humility, and of course showing passion. All the reasons I pulled the game for, were non-existent after just that week. I didn’t put the game back on immediately – I’m pretty suspicious so I wanted to keep an eye on things for a while longer – “If this keeps up for a while I’ll put it back for sure” I thought.
Well, I’ve seen OUYA listening to developers, I’ve seen the humility multiple times, I’ve even chatted to Julie a couple of times in email and on skype so I am confident at this point that I can no longer justify keeping the game off the console.
Will the company screw up again? probably. Will they do something that pisses me off? almost certainly! But I believe when it happens the company will be receptive to criticism and will not be afraid to say “my bad” if they realise they took a wrong step.
So, now I’m going to talk about something else; I am not walking out of this without regrets myself. I do not regret pulling my game from the store (I feel that was the right thing for me to do at the time and I’d probably do it again). What I regret is making a blog post about it; it was honest and true and what was written was me. However, because of that what I did became a “story”, one that fit into a narrative that many gamers and journalists like to buy into; “OUYA is shit”.
I don’t like that narrative at all, it’s simply not true and despite doing what I felt was right at the time, I gave ammunition to this narrative and I damaged the reputation of a console I dearly love. I even say how much I love the console in the post, but that was irrelevant, I had provided some drama that could be framed just right and people framed it as they pleased.
Somehow I suspect the news that the game is back on the store, that all my worst worries about the company have been addressed, that I continue to love the console and will continue to target it for every game that suits it… will be ignored. It won’t be covered by even a small fraction of the blogs and news sites that covered the game’s pulling. I think that is telling, but sadly it tells very few.
(if you bought the game on OUYA, you can still download it from my site instead of OUYA’s marketplace, email me and I’ll hook you up)
I’ve been stewing on this for a while, and made the decision this morning; I’ll be withdrawing Rose and Time from the OUYA marketplace.
The reason is not because of any flaw of the console (I love it), or the game (the OUYA version may even be the best), or sales (I average 1 sale per day, way more than elsewhere). The reason is because I am no longer comfortable supporting the OUYA company.
It’s not that they put out a tasteless advert, it’s not that the Free The Games Fund is a poor way of investing in interesting developers, it’s not that they shun the very developers they claim to want, it’s not that they support people using the fund that are clearly scammers.
It’s their inability to admit that they have fucked up. Shit is blowing up on all sides, every single piece of PR that is put out damages OUYA’s reputation more, and the plastic-marketing-smile never seems to come off. They never get serious to deal with stuff. They never change course when things are going down the toilet. They try to have this image of an indie, but it’s only an image. you can’t get a word out of the @playouya account that isn’t joyous celebration of something they are doing or enabling. A real indie has more faces than just “look at how well things are going for me”, we have to deal with all kinds of problems and we respond when people come to us with them. Responses like the one I read last night (weeks after the problem became apparent) feel entirely empty and dishonest to me. I know what honesty looks like, I know what dealing with problems looks like, and I sure as shit know what putting developers first should look like, and this isn’t it.
I have tried (desperately) to tell people that the console is good, well worth $100 and that there are some great games on there, that the policy of letting anyone publish on the console for free is amazing and a big step forward… but OUYA are making me look stupid for supporting them. and I don’t like being made to look stupid.
They have made it clear they care more about saving face (in who’s eyes I have no idea) than working to address the concerns of the developers and gamers they need the most.
Frankly, I wish I didn’t feel the need to do this; I love the console, I love developing for it, I love playing on it, I was super proud to hear Kellee Santiago (OUYA dev relations, who I have tons of respect for) say she liked my game and that it was featured on the store, I was super mega amazingly proud when I was asked to suggest some games to feature that I liked, I have really enjoyed the feedback from gamers who wouldn’t have found my game if it wasn’t for OUYA, and of course I have enjoyed actually getting consistent sales of the game even after I raised the price.
All of that is why it’s taken me this long to decide if I should really go through with pulling my game, but after reading Julie Uhrman’s blog post last night it became very apparent to me that the company does not support indie developers who need the support most, and that they are incapable of ever correcting their mistakes. I’m simply no longer comfortable supporting the company.
(shouldn’t have to say it but I will anyway; my decision to pull my game is not a call for others to do the same, or an implication that they should. My decision was very difficult for me and I have a great respect for all developers who continue to support OUYA… well, maybe not *all* developers…)
I’ve been putting together an OUYA version of Rose & Time lately, and it just went live on the OUYA store! 😀
The first ten levels are free, and you can unlock the rest for
If you don’t have an OUYA (you’re missing out, get one if you can!) the last release of the game is still available for Windows/Mac/Linux over here. 🙂
So here’s a kind of overview of my No Quarter game “There Shall Be Lancing”, how it happened and the other games I scrapped on the way 🙂
No Quarter is an event organised by the NYU Game Center, each year they commission some developers to make games for the space, invite people along and frivolity is had. Charles Pratt got in touch with me last year asking if I’d be interested, and my answer was hell yes. I had free reign to make whatever game I wanted to, so I mostly just went with whatever was interesting to me at the time, I only actually started work on There Shall Be Lancing about a month and a half before the event.