aNewDomain.net — This past week Kickstarter unceremoniously suspended the OUYA timed-exclusive game Elementary, My Dear Holmes! fundraising campaign. At this time Kickstarter has not disclosed an explanation for the suspension to aNewDomain.net or to Victory Square Games, the company that created the game.
Image credit: Kickstarter
The point-and-click adventure game gained some measure of Internet fame when its creators decided to participate in OUYA’s Free the Games Fund. The organization matches between $50,000 and $250,000 of successfully funded Kickstarter projects as long as the funded game is an OUYA exclusive for the first six months after launch. Trouble began brewing for Elementary, My Dear Holmes! last week just after it reached its funding goal of $50,000, the minimum required in order to receive OUYA pledge matching. Geek culture blog Fanboy’s Anonymous reported that the project received pledges from suspicious sources, including one Kickstarter member who used a photo of a woman whose family reported her missing in 2011. Currently, only one of the accounts referenced in the Fanboy’s Anonymous post — of Cora Jones — is still listed on the Kickstarter project’s Backers page.
In an email to aNewDomain.net, Sam Chandola, the project’s founder and founder of Victory Square Games, said that he informed Kickstarter and Amazon payments — the payment processor for Kickstarter projects — early on regarding suspicious accounts pledging to the Elementary, My Dear Holmes! project. According to AllThingsD, Kickstarter’s initial reaction to the allegations that Victory Square was gaming the system was dismissive. In a support email shared to AllThingsD from Chandola, a Kickstarter representative stated:
“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.”
Chandola told aNewDomain.net that his company announced a console giveaway in which all backers contributing $15 or more would be entered into a raffle to win one of four video game consoles. When he discovered that this was in direct violation of Kickstarter’s rules against contests where people are required to back the project, he posted a new update cancelling the giveaway. It was not long after this that the Kickstarter team suspended the project.
The folks at Kickstarter remain tight lipped about the reasons for suspension, telling the project founder that “…they do not comment on suspensions.” According to Chandola, however, the project is long from dead. Several venture capitalists have expressed interest following the project cancellation, he said. It is unclear whether the OUYA team will allow Elementary, My Dear Holmes! to continue participating in the Free The Games Fund. In a post on the official OUYA blog, the company stated that Elementary, My Dear Holmes! had secured matching funding. No update has gone up since news of the project’s suspension became public. No response from OUYA has been received at this time.