What is worth considering, though, is a distribution deal – one fine day we will need hundreds of thousands (one hopes) of actual boxes for the stores and for that we will need someone who knows what they’re doing, because it’s certainly not our thing. So cutting a deal with someone who will put the game out in their boxes and take a cut of the profits, leaving us with creative freedom, is quite a sensible option.
We’ve already had a whole bunch of meetings with such potential partners. We’ve also heard, of course, from publishers, though mostly just the ones who showed the greatest interest even before our campaign. The offers were a mixed bag and it can be said that the smaller the publisher, the more sensible the offer. It seems the big publishers have yet to grasp the concept that unless they offer serious money and accept a significant share of the risk, nobody actually needs them for anything anymore.
A funny thing happened, where a big publisher described the massive costs they intended investing in marketing, on account of which we would have to give them half our profits. Then a big, prestigious marketing agency told us they would do exactly the same thing for half the cost if we dealt directly with them. What would you do in a situation like that? A deal like that might be OK for someone who doesn't have a dime and really needs someone to pay their marketing costs. But if you do have the cash for that…?
It seems that the smaller publishers are much more sensible. I get the feeling they have a much better idea about the way the world is moving.I’ve been telling everyone from the very start of the company that it would probably be best for us to put the game out ourselves (if we had the cash for it, of course). Following all the meetings, the rest of our GDC delegation also came to a similar conclusion, including our investor’s representative. We can easily put out the digital version of the game for PC and console and share with smaller distributors, who have been much more forthcoming than the big guys, on the boxed game. In the past you needed a publisher as a go-between for a whole range of services that developers didn't have access to, but today the only thing they have going for them is money, and if they don't want to spread it round or you don't need it, then they're basically good for nothing.