With more than US$8 million backed to the project, the Ouya console has been one of Kickstarter’s biggest celebrities – which isn’t bad going for a device that didn’t even exist outside of a 3D modelling application at the time, and may or may not exist even now.
That’s something Kickstarter plans to avoid in future, with new hardware design guidelines now prohibiting any simulations or renders of products, as well as a requirement that project creators be upfront about the risks of backing it.
Effective immediately, all hardware project creators must provide photos of the actual product, and demos must show only what the product is capable of doing at the current stage of development. The new guideline also bans multiple quantities of a product as a reward tier, as this could potentially overload production schedules.
All Kickstarter product pages now also include a “Risks and Challenges” tab, with a compulsory question for project creators: “What are the risks and challenges this project faces, and what qualifies you to overcome them?”
“We added the ‘Risks and Challenges’ section to reinforce that creators’ projects are in development,” wrote Kickstarter people Perry Chen, Yancey Strickler, and Charles Adler in a blog post about the policy changes.
“Before backing a project, people can judge both the creator’s ability to complete their project as promised and whether they feel the creator is being open and honest about the risks and challenges they face.”
If the Ouya Kickstarter campaign had launched under these restrictions, would it have been the same success? Maybe, maybe not. With no images or videos whatsoever, and a “Risks and Challenges” page that pointed out that the Ouya console was still just a concept on paper that might never actually go into production, I’m guessing probably not.