All week, Ouya's "Free the Games" program has faced allegations of crowdfunding fraud — but today a Polygon report finds evidence that the project owners are just as mystified as everyone else. The program, which offers matching funds from Ouya to games that clear a $25,000 threshold on Kickstarter, came under fire when gamers noticed big-ticket donations from mysterious first-time backers, many of whom had used stock photos as their profile image. The suspicion is that developers (or their associates) could be inflating donation totals to get more matching funds from Ouya. But when Polygon caught up with one such developer, the team behind Elementary, My Dear Holmes, they seemed equally mystified. It leaves the question: if the developers aren't behind the mysterious donations, who is?
"We're grateful and thankful to all our backers."
Unfortunately for would-be sleuths, privacy policies at Kickstarter and Amazon prevented the Elementary team from digging too far into the backgrounds for their mysterious backers, but delving through their own records, they revealed that the average donation was much higher than usual, and there were an unusual number of first-time backers with minimal personal details. But when they tried to correlate these first-time backers with details of payment information, they ran into a brick wall. That leaves skeptics with a lot of questions and no clear answers. "At the same time," project lead Adam Chandola said, "we at Victory Square Games are grateful and thankful to all our backers."