Can anybody tell me what Ben Kuchera thinks of Ouya?

Seriously. I mean, I love when a person has an opinion on something. I also like when that person shares their opinion, even if I don’t agree, because it makes for good discussion. But when you’re in a position of authority, I think it’s entirely irresponsible to pick a target and just needle it incessantly. And this needling is exactly what Ben Kuchera has done over Ouya.

For those not familiar, Ouya is a Kickstarter-funded (still in funding as of now) gaming console that runs on Android. Ouya is aiming to create their own marketplace while creating a console that is easy to customize (hack), easy to set up, and cheap to purchase. Several developers have shown interest, and the team involved in the project includes some impressive names. For $99 you can get in on the Kickstarter and get a console with a wireless controller. It sounds nice if it all pans out, but nobody is sure quite yet how it’s all going to come together. What is clear, however, is that there’s a large group of interested people who are willing to put their money down and gamble on the device. Right now, the project has over 40,000 backers and has raised over $5.1 million dollars. Seems like there’s some good excitement out there.

But don’t look towards Ben Kuchera if you are seeking nods of approval.

Over the past week, Ben has gone on a personal crusade against the little upstart. He seems to have a daily tweet quota where he whines about the number of people backing it, how much money is going into the project, what questions are left unanswered, and even goes as far as to whine about “what if” scenarios the he creates himself. It’s crazy.

Now, Ben is fine to be cautious. Anybody who puts money into Kickstarter should always be cautious to some degree, but he’s crossed a line with his fervor. Ben has used his standing at the PA Report to write up reasons why you should pull your money or keep from pitching in. He’s tweeted out all kinds of reasons why you’re foolish to hope for anything good to come from Ouya. And the worst part of it all, it seems to be rooted in his disdain for Android. For evidence of that, look at his earliest criticisms where he basically asks, “who would want an Android device?”

Ben, nobody is asking you to support Ouya, but I am asking you to find a lower horse to sit on with this one. It’s not your place to single out a Kickstarter project and rain all over it. There are literally hundreds of destined to fail projects on Kickstarter right now, so why pick just this one? Why choose the fastest growing Kickstarter of all time? Sure, Ouya may fail, but people who are pitching in aren’t too concerned about that. They’re backing the concept. People are proclaiming that they want an open console and they want something affordable and customized. While Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, and Apple release devices that are extremely locked down (or even lose features over time), people are ready to embrace something affordable and open.

Ben is a smart guy. Ben is a great reporter. But in this case, Ben needs to chill out and stop acting like he’s exposed the Illuminati and it’s his mission in life to warn everybody else away. Ouya may fail, and Ben might be right, but for many backers, they won’t care. Ouya might be a huge success, and that would be a great thing, so why can’t we just let them keep climbing the ladder without stomping on their fingers?

If you’re interested in Ouya, you can find the Kickstarter project page here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ouya/ouya-a-new-kind-of-video-game-console

Republique Kickstarter – When the Industry Decides You Need to Pitch In

Update: With a furious last push, Republique was successfully funded. Congratulations to Camouflaj and Logan Games. Now, make us a game worthy of all the attention the project has been receiving.

Republique is a game being developed by Camouflaj and Logan Games for iOS, PC, and Mac. It aims to be a higher quality gaming experience on the mobile scene. I’m a backer, but I have to admit that I’m not terribly excited by the project as it looks a bit hokey to me. I’m just supporting the project because I like to see developers try something a little different, and for me, $10 is a pretty small price to pay to support new ideas. I am getting a little bothered, however, by the constant evangelizing of the project from the gaming press.

Ryan Payton is the founder of Camouflaj studios. For those unfamiliar with Ryan’s background, he’s gone from games journalist to working in the game industry as a developer. After his time with 1up and Famitsu, Ryan had the chance to work on some high profile projects, including Metal Gear Solid 3 & 4 and Halo 4. Last year Ryan left 343 Industries to found Camouflaj, where he could start up mobile game development on iOS. Due to his roots as a journalist, Ryan has a lot of friends spread around the games journalism scene, and the overwhelming support from the press for his Kickstarter is a direct result of those relationships.

I don’t have a problem with anybody giving a quick shout out to a friend’s project or even a little encouragement to check out what a colleague is doing. But this whole Republique banner waving is getting a little gross. I feel as if we, the readers of these video game sites and blogs, are being held captive to their evangelizing. We don’t even know if the game is going to be any good, and every time you turn around, another major media outlet is reiterating how you should be donating or increasing your current donation to the Republique Kickstarter fund. Shacknews, Giant Bomb, Joystiq, etc. are all over this pitch, and barely a day goes by without a mention hitting the podcast or news feeds.

I don’t think that reporters are totally conscious of how heavy handed they’re being. I don’t think they realize how biased they appear. Many of the people constantly reminding us about Camouflaj through their stories, Twitter updates, Facebook statuses, and podcast mentions are some of my favorite journalists and editors in the industry. I just think that the nepotism that we show for fellow games journalist brothers (or former members of the media) is getting to the point where lines are being crossed.

I think an editor, podcast host, or reporter should be able to give a mention to the stuff that they love, but I don’t think they should act as bannermen, pledging loyalty to a product. If Camouflaj wants the exposure, they should buy it through marketing efforts. Not everybody with a good idea is lucky enough to have come from the ranks of games journalism, and it’s unfair to them (and to readers of the site) that certain projects get constant attention ahead of their own for no significant reason.

There are only three days left on the Republique Kickstarter, and it’s pretty obvious that the project won’t be funded. Everybody who pitched in will get their money back, but the profile on the project has been raised so much that when the game eventually makes its way to release via alternative funding, most of its marketing push will already have been established and “paid for” through free mentions and articles on many of gaming’s largest news and opinion outlets.

I hope Camouflaj puts out a good game. I hope that they find themselves successful as a studio, but I don’t think it’s our burden to ensure that they are.