updated 07:08 pm EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
Limited deal gives Ouya owners access to more than 800 games for free
The team behind the Android gaming console Ouya is trying its hand at a new pricing structure that could draw some extra attention. Polygon found a listing on the Ouya Shop today that offers an "All-Access Pass," giving Ouya owners access to more than 800 games for the price of $60. Ouya states the deal is worth $2,000 for 12 months of free game access through the pass.
The pass is obtained through a non-refundable digital code, rather than a physical card that gives gamers access to free games and downloadable content under $30. Once the code is entered, the games included in the promotion will turn up at zero cost on the shop. Downloadable content such as in-game items to "enhance gameplay" are not included in the pass.
An interesting note to the limited offer is the qualifications that Ouya places on it. The company says that it has the "the right to remove from the marketplace any game or gamer" that could be abusing the system during the promotion. Ouya's terms of service indicate that no such provision was in place before the promotion. Ouya had previously taken some heat for adding the ability to remove games and apps from devices in its marketplace terms of service.
The "All-Access Pass" is only available for a limited time, and in limited quantities. When Polygon's Samit Sarkar reached out to Ouya for more information on the pass, the company returned a note confirming that the program is a limited-time offer. The spokesperson said that the pass is just one of the paths the company is exploring. It is possible that a subscription could become "official" if the limited test does well.
Gamasutra obtained the letter from Ouya announcing a "very limited test on a new pricing model" to developers. In the letter, the company asked developers not to change their prices to take better advantage of the promotion. If a developer wishes to change pricing, they must contact Ouya directly to discuss it.
While the program could be construed as a way for Ouya to take a larger cut of money and exclude developer payments, it appears that isn't the case. In the letter to developers, the company said that there would be no change in how payments are made.
"Please note, during this test, there will be no change to how you get paid -- in other words, if anyone with the pass 'purchases' your game, you still get your 70 percent," said the letter.
There is no indication of how the change in pricing structure came about, but recent announcements in the tech world made have forced Ouya to be competitive. With Fire TV having the ability to play some Android games, and with Android TV coming in the future, Ouya could be trying to establish a larger following. The console, which reached $8.5 million in funding on Kickstarter, has faced its share of woes after a rocky launch and problems with its Free the Games fund.