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October 22nd, 2013, 15:24
Brian Fargo gave a speech at the Gaming Insiders Summit on why crowdfunding trumps the traditional publishing model. Gamezebo has a new article of what he said if you're interested.

Fargo came out with ten key benefits to utilize crowdsourcing as a developer. One of the recurring themes among these points was the benefits of the freedom obtained by functioning as an independent game. Fargo explained that working with a publisher means that every few weeks, he and his team needed to show progress and defend their product. This process takes time away from the actual development. He also explained how crowdsourcing lets the team treat the game as it should be: A passion project. Without a publisher able to push the team in a certain direction, developers have a broader range of creativity.

Of course, the other big benefit to crowdsourcing is the crowd. Running a campaign on Kickstarter (or a similar service) is an excellent way to generate buzz and excitement for a product, even long before it launches. More important than that, the simple act of running a crowdfunding campaign will provide feedback when it matters most. One of the points Fargo kept returning to was that if the crowd wanted something, they’d support it, regardless of how publishers and other entities feel. This was proven by inXile’s wildly successful Wasteland 2 campaign, which began a whole new strategy of development for the company.
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October 22nd, 2013, 15:24
Somebody correct me on this if I'm wrong: the primary benefit that a publisher provided that crowdfunding can't was a manufacturing/distribution network. Now that games are delivered digitally, I hope the publisher-developer model dies forever.

Disclaimer: I haven't been a fan of AAA projects, or the features that drive the cost of making games into tens of millions of dollars (voice acting, first-person perspective, fancy-ass worlds, huge crowds of NPCs), for many years now.
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October 22nd, 2013, 23:47
I think it's very unlikely that the publisher-developer model driving AAA games is likely to die anytime soon. There is still a very large group of people that buy games retail, and as you mentioned, the distribution pipeline is a big advantage there. And mainstream audiences also want voice-acting and shiny graphics, regardless of whether buying retail or digital (something I used to dream about as a kid). That being said, I think you're absolutely right that digital distribution has been a huge reason that indie developers and crowd-funding have become as successful as they are. You could say that both models are advancing gaming, just in very different ways.
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October 23rd, 2013, 12:56
I doubt the publisher model will die - because not all developers are in the business for the art.

The publisher model is about money - and it's about reaching the widest possible audience. Developers who care more about money than the art will naturally want to use a publisher - because they have the kind of money and marketing clout that crowdfunding can't hope to provide.

I know developers aren't necessarily getting rich under the publisher model - but they can use it to establish a big name and eventually get much more of a return from their work. Also, with big sales comes respect - as most of modern society is about how much money you make, not how passionate about your work you are.

Most people care more about being perceived as something special than doing what you care about without necessarily being recognised for it.

That said, it seems that Kickstarter and crowdfunding has become quite "hip" - and it's not entirely unlikely that the mainstream audience will start getting behind it - just to be cool. But I don't think it will last forever - as these things tend to die after they come full circle.

No matter what model you use and no matter how passionate you are about your work - the end will still rely on your talent and your skillset. There just isn't enough talent in the gaming segment to make everyone an indie superstar.

It's much easier to make money with money than quality art with limited resources.




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