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Default future of gamers: indies vs publishers

September 14th, 2014, 11:45
everyone knows its a fact. indies have sold well. there are lots of failures, but with crowd funding everything dreamed of can become a reality(if you are successful in campaigning of course).

so, the question is-how does that impact the usual publishing companies when they are calculating their odds in creating a successful game?
they spill tons of money in development and marketing campaigns to bring back their investment-at least.
the artistic development decisions are moderated by the producers/publishers to make sure they get maximum effect, the one that makes them more money.

they base their moderation on the past, which genre has sold great, or what gimmick did that well etc. but now the market has changed. you cant calculate it like this, because there are many successful crowd funding projects that are produced by the market itself, and many of the ideas aren't moderated at all. or they are but just much differently-and more artistically.

so the money that could buy their game(the big companies vs art houses), is now channeled toward those crowd funding projects.

does that make them even more panicked? or do they learn from that and manage their campaign more likeable to indie consumers market?

does anyone have an idea or inside knowledge, how does that work?

it also seems that some of those companies are trying to put a leg in the crowd funding market.

hope you understood the question.
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September 14th, 2014, 15:04
I don't think crowdfunded and indie games are much of a threat yet to publishers. I think they see it as a blip on their radar that they are surely keeping a close eye on, however, they are not a huge threat. The reality is the gaming business is growing. With the growth comes room for indie and published games alike to co-exist. Indie games rarely make it big and the majority of gamers don't even give indie games a chance unless they have already made it big. Also some indie devs eventually find a publisher for their games. Publishers might eventually just need to adapt and start working with smaller indie devs. It's evolving over time, like everything in life I guess.
I'm sure someone is being paid a lot of money just to solve this problem in most of the big publishing companies.
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September 16th, 2014, 17:49
On the surface, it may seem that things like crowd-funding, rise in popularity of digital distribution, Steam Early access, etc. have made traditional publishers less relevant in the past few years. It's absolutely great that thanks to these new funding models games that couldn't have been made (or would have had to been scaled back or made with major changes that a publisher would demand) are now able to be developed. And if you can fund and distribute your game yourself why would ever give a cut of your profits to a publisher?

But overall, I agree with FixedDiceGames: Tiny blip on their radar. The most successful KS video game project to date has raised just a little over $4 million… and with the growing skepticism due to delays, disappointments, failures, and even a few full-fledged scams, as well as the apparent "Kickstarter fatigue", it may be some time before that record is broken (We'll see how Obsidian's next KS does). Considering that AAA games typically cost at least $15 million to make, that's still small potatoes as far as big publishers are concerned. Any developer who wants to make a AAA type game still has to rely on traditional funding or at least a wealthy private investor (whose meddling may very well cause many of the same issues that publishers are known for). Of course if you're an indie developer, you're likely targeting a niche audience anyway, who are probably more forgiving about simpler graphics, lack of voice acting, shorter game length, etc. so you don't really need that kind of budget.

Chris Avellone has claimed that big publishers have been taking notice of the success of KS games like PoE, Torment, etc. and thinking that maybe there's a market for "old school" single-player CRPGs… but we haven't really seen anything come to fruition yet. I still very doubtful that most big publishers would ever fund a game like D:OS, PoE, T:TON, TBS, W2, or SRR without wanting to make significant changes: "Turn-based? Nah, research shows most fans of the RPG genre prefer action oriented combat"

"PC / Mac Only? We can triple our potential audience by developing this for consoles"

"Nobody cares about 'role-playing'. Reduce the number of dialogue options so that we can afford full voice acting…"

"Make combat more grindy to stretch out gameplay length"

"Cut features X, Y, Z, so we can release for the holiday season" Etc.

Of course, I would love to see more semi-niche RPGs like these get made.
I wouldn't even be entirely opposed to bigger publishers running KS campaigns to gauge in interest in games they may consider too risky to fund on their own. Hell, if SEGA ran a KS for Shining Force 4 I'd probably back it. I just hope it doesn't ever get to the point where crowd-funding just becomes a way for games that would probably get made anyway to get some publicity / gauge public interest… It would be a real shame if it got to be that small indie developers who just need a little money to survive long enough to finish their game or pay for music, etc. can't succeed because they're overshadowed by "big name" projects. Or that the KS failures and disappointments scare so many people away from alternate funding that traditional publishers become the only funding option for anything but the most modest games, again.

I find things like Square Enix Collective (where SE is taking 5% of what the Kickstarter for Moon Hunters raises) to be extremely shady. I know SE is helping promote the game on their site, but that still just seems wrong. I kinda hope this doesn't become a trend.
Last edited by daveyd; September 16th, 2014 at 18:04.
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