Results 121 to 140 of 438
21-09-2012, 08:21 PM #121
Except this time, there's no longer any risk to the publisher, because the publisher isn't fronting any of their own money. If the developer's just gonna start a Kickstarter project to get funded, then why the fuck do they need the publisher? The whole fucking reason to approach a publisher is to get funded.
21-09-2012, 08:23 PM #122
Chris Avellone has another interesting anecdote in today's interview:
Franchises weíve worked with have specifically stepped in to ask us to limit portions of content that we felt was mature and treated maturely, for no reason other than fear. Because you canít trust players to appreciate subtlety or mature themes, apparently. Itís bad for business.
21-09-2012, 08:25 PM #123
I agree, I like KS (to a degree) because it largely eliminates the need for publishers. But if you want to sell any retail copies, you still need a distributor. And, as you mentioned, publishers are good at finding PR firms.
And some people do well with their own PR (and by "their own PR" I generally mean "They hire someone in-house"), but that isn't always true.
Wardell (the Molestor!)
Blizzard in recent months
Relic before they started getting real PR people
Gearbox... Sweet baby Jesus, Gearbox hates women...
The Zomboid devs
I don't know WHAT "The French Monk"s real job title was at CD Projekt/GoG, but there is a reason they placed an ad for a real PR person shortly after "closing" :p
Of course, that is not to say the designated public face is always one you want to show. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAY27NU1Jog
And if the Publisher has an idea (they DO have idea people) but they aren't certain how well it will sell ( a risky game that usually only the REALLY big guys, like EA, can absorb the loss on), KS is perfect. Partially fund with KS, partially fund by themselves. But they still need to get a dev team to start with.
21-09-2012, 08:32 PM #124
21-09-2012, 08:45 PM #125
Ah, I see. Seems unlikely. I'm still not sure what a publisher brings to the Kickstarter table, where most of the copies being sold will be distributed digitally and in the $10 to $30 range, except maybe cheaper boxed copies for backers who want them.
With the obvious exception of entities that both develop and publish, publishers, as far as I'm aware, don't generally have ideas. They have properties. I suppose that if a valuable IP (owned/licensed) by party A were involved, sure, maybe. However, I think most people in the games industry will probably agree that there's no shortage of ideas.
In your scenario, a publisher that held an AD&D license could be party A and Obsidian party B, except that fantasy RPGs are so ubiquitous these days that party A doesn't really have anything Obsidian needs. Obsidian's name is the thing of value here. A publisher typically bears the brunt of the risk, and is thus traditionally indispensable for a lot of devs. However, there's no real risk with Kickstarter. A dev has the same access to the same pool of money that a publisher would. That's a lot of money (and control, and sustainability) to flush down a toilet just for an IP/idea.
I also suspect that given the relative transparency that's expected of Kickstarter project creators, this kind of arrangement would either require a precarious lie or an unpalatable truth. I'm guessing the last thing the Kickstarter community wants is to be used as a source of no-risk investment capital for publishers, especially when many publishers have been extraordinarily poor stewards of the IPs and game mechanics that have required a whole new paradigm to revive.
21-09-2012, 09:03 PM #126
And who says Kickstarters have to all be about budget digital only games? Pretty sure the one discussed in this very thread isn't a "budget title".
And you picked a bad example. If we are going to pretend that publishers have no ideas (something I strongly disagree with), let's pick a better IP. Let's say we figure out who owns the rights to the TV Show Reboot. And the Publisher is interested in making a(nother) video game based on it. Maybe the premise (a "real (computer) world" with periodic trips into "Game worlds") isn't something radically new, but the IP definitely holds a lot of value to anyone who watched TV in the 90s. But the Publisher is concerned that nostalgia alone might not be enough (let's say they want to make it very stylish or something) and don't want to go "all in" as it were.
So they do what a few KS projects have done*. They combine KS with an alternate source of funding. So if the game gets funded to X dollars, they'll chip in an additional X (possibly more). Not only does that greatly lessen their burden (so if the game flops, their shareholders won't go crazy), it also lets them see how well the game would sell. If the KS barely passes, they probably will just make it and be done. If they raise 4X (hee hee), you can be damned certain that game is getting the AAA treatment. The Publisher is still taking a risk, but not as large of a risk. And it potentially puts the devs in a good position as far as negotiating their contracts.
*: The only name I recall off the top of my head is the PA Kickstarter where they used funds to compensate for their ad revenue while still keeping the rest. But I do recall a few others where the goal was basically "Make a prototype so that our real financial backers will give us a chance". Either way the KS backers get the prototype (and probably the real title, I forget), but the point is that the KS-backed part is just a portion of the whole funding.
21-09-2012, 10:08 PM #127
At some point, I don't know when, Affleck went from being a douche bag to being a pretty damn good director. I don't know how it happened, but it made me wet my pants a little. Yes, in the scenario you're suggesting here, a developer's name is tremendously valuable. But in general, no they aren't, judging by how Activision and EA do business. I'll take from that that a dev's reputation is important when a publisher is trying to court its community, but not worth much when the community is built around a franchise owned by the publisher.
Project Eternity still falls in the $10 - $30 range I mentioned. I'm not sure what it's going cost at release. It's still budget by AAA standards.
I'm full of bad examples, but I don't know that Reboot is any better. I used AD&D because, well, Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, Planescape. Clearly there's plenty of value in those names, but the devs behind those games no longer work off of licensed WotC properties, probably because doing so is a restrictive, problematic hassle with little payoff. I don't see why there would be any difference in perspective for an indie dev turning to Kickstarter.
Back to your example, show me a publisher with any interest in anything remotely analogous to Reboot, and I'll give Affleck an HJ. The dollar signs they've got in their eyes are, presumably, not over making use of Kickstarter to take and mitigate risks on nearly forgotten, niche properties that need to be acquired, but to make use of properties they already own by propping up well loved devs at the helm.
I recall three or four projects that were raising money for an investment prototype, but they were still developers, not publishers. I don't see a publisher-started project ending well at all, which is probably why Obsidian was propositioned to astroturf. If EA or whoever wants to reboot a property using Kickstarter, I'm sure they'd have no trouble assigning a dev to it. We'd exhaust the world's supply of popcorn, but the entertainment value would be immense.
21-09-2012, 10:57 PM #128
As for developer names being powerful: Bioware, Maxis, Infinity Ward, ... Hell, everyone EA bought over the years :p. And as much as they cock-up almost everything, Obsidian are definitely a big name (if only because their cock-ups are disappointing, but worth playing).
And I am not referring to "AAA games" as the standard. The very point of that term is that those are the games that have budgets WAY higher than anything ever should be.
And considering all the remakes/reboots lately (the FPS x-com game that apparently wasn't complete garbage, then disappeared off the face of the earth after a REAL XCOM was announced. Blood. Probably some more I already blocked out of my mind), a major publisher (Or even a minor publisher) wanting to cash in on an IP they own is not something radical. And Publishers aren't stupid: They understand that there is potentially a pretty big market for a faithful remake. It is just that said market may not be big enough to justify the risk.
And Publishers DO make risky moves. Remember when The Sims sounded like the stupidest idea in the world? Well 12 years before that EA actually made it :P. Why? Sure Will Wright's name is powerful, but you still need a pretty solid base to take a risk on something like that. EA, at the time, could absorb the potential losses. They did the same thing with Spore a few years later (and didn't do anywhere near as well...). Why? Because someone convinced them (in this case, one of the gods of game design) that it was a good idea, but from a financial perspective it was probably a stupid move. Look at the economy: Taking ANY risk is stupid these days (if you are a huge publisher, or even a moderately sized developer).
So really, I see no meaningful difference between
"We are Publisher X and we want to bring you the continued adventures of Frisket and Enzo (big or little, I'm cool with either). But we aren't sure if that is what you want, so what say we make a deal? You express your interest in terms of dollar signs by buying the game now, and we'll match that in Euros (because we are Publishers and don't realize Euros aren't Dollars)! As an added bonus, we got Developer B to agree to do the development if we give them the moneys. And if you didn't like Reboot, your mom is a dirty whore and I hope you die of AIDS"
"Hi, I am famous dude Y. Me and my development studio want to make a game about the continuing romance between AndrAIa and Matrix. But we need money for it, so get going"
In both cases, it is an established entity in the industry raising money to make a game they want to make, but that they might otherwise not be able to get funding for. Because for a big publisher to really pump cash into something means they are probably gonna make a safe genre like racing or manshoots.
And in the first case, it will probably lead to Steam and the like having non-stupid pricing :p
21-09-2012, 11:08 PM #129
I also think Alpha Protocol would have had more mature moments if they had their way.
22-09-2012, 04:56 AM #130
I don't want to seem like I believe I can read EA, et al.'s mind, but it's a lot less interesting to me to toss money into a pot to finance what is likely to be, for an entity like that, purely a financial endeavor. The EAs of the world haven't really demonstrated an interest in publishing the kinds of games that Kickstarter is, beginning with titles like FTL, on the cusp of churning out, certainly not (even in part) for the sake of making something that a small community of gamers wants to play.
Obsidian started taking pledges before anyone knew much of anything about Project Eternity. We've all got a pretty good sense of what they're capable of, where their interest lies, and what we're going to get if we hand them several million dollars. Would the community be willing to give EA the same blank check? Let's pretend Syndicate 2012 never happened. Suppose that EA found a suitable dev and brought a Syndicate reboot to Kickstarter. Would we end up with something its fan base wanted, or would we end up with something closer to the Syndicate we got? I shudder to think, honestly. I'm guessing EA would have to significantly retool to even comprehend what the "alt" segment of the gaming community wants.
Aside from that, I can't imagine that the risk we're talking about for these sorts of games is the limiting factor for an EA or Activision. There's probably a fair number of devs on Kickstarter who don't know what it takes to make a profit, even if some might make one in spite of themselves, but a lot of them clearly have the experience and wherewithal to know. However, are non-mega hit profits like this even on EA's radar? After hearing about the 90-day, no-commission deal Origin offered successful Kickstarter projects, I got the sense that EA sees this potent mix of money and goodwill flying around in the funding scene and doesn't want to be left behind in the event there's a massive hit. I see them stroking a fuzzy little chick, pondering how big and juicy it could get before they slit its neck and rotisserie the ever living shit out of it, but I don't see them chasing little chicks all over the yard, doing the poultry farmer's job of bringing each chick to fruition.
I'm not sure if EA learned anything from Syndicate, which they've said was something "we took a risk on. It didn't pay off - it didn't work." At the time Syndicate had sold somewhere around 150,000 copies, roughly $9 mil in sales, perhaps closer to a bust than not. Given the opportunity to do things differently, would they set a dev to work on a sequel more in line with the previous two games, or would they try to turn a dusty IP into a modern hit again? I can't answer that, but my guess is that EA would rather sit on a property until it sees a chance to turn it into a mountain of gold than take a foothill of silver for a more classic, indie-style release.
I'm using EA here as an example because they're sitting on such a huge cache of great legacy IPs. If nothing else, I think Syndicate demonstrated that they don't have the instincts to know what to do with them. When I pledge to a project on Kickstarter, I'm betting that a dev's love for and dedication to their own concept will go a long way toward producing something I want to play. I don't really know what EA-sized publishers are passionate about. However, I don't think it's games as gamers play them, but IPs as masses consume them. Syndicate's relative failure was addressed as a failure to sell, but never as a failure to live up to what the franchise's fans wanted to play. I'm not sure publishers like this are prepared to look members of a community in the eye and have a frank discussion about the merits of their properties, ideas and actions. Kickstarter just seems a terrible fit for how they prefer to do business.
22-09-2012, 10:04 AM #131
Linux support has been officially confirmed, and the $2.2m goal replaced with more content. Project Eternity will use the... Unity engine.
22-09-2012, 11:51 AM #132
I would imagine EA et al's plan will be to find a relatively popular developer to front a project that they intend to publish so as to have gamers take some of the risk and then a while after the KS is over the dev "decides" that they're best off being bought out by EA et al which was the plan all along. EA wont announce their involvement in the project until after the KS has closed and the money has been taken. Those who have pledged to the KS have absolutely no recourse because the money given is essentially a donation and it is a win win for EA et al: If the game sells in spite of selling out/being a deception then EA gets an even bigger profit, if the game doesn't sell and people are really angry it means people wont trust KS as much and EA et al get to weaken a potential rival to their publishing model.
22-09-2012, 12:20 PM #133
In such case the developer will take a reputation hit, because he makes players angry by signing a pact with EA. And Kickstarter is adding a "Risks&Challenges" section as well as a place to comment on a project before backing it. So it will be easier to warn people about scams.pass
22-09-2012, 02:14 PM #134
Oh indeed, EA et al would have to have to give a lot of compensation aka a big bribe, to any developer they wanted to do this because they would be a lightning rod for negativity from that point on. To be clear I mean like a big name individual developer, usually how these deals go is that only the person at the top of an organisation gets the payoff and all the other employees get to go hang.
EA et al wont care about the Dev's reputation hit of course so the only factor is finding a developer with some popularity who is willing to sell out completely which given how human beings in general are seems pretty likely.
I don't think this is certain to happen or if it does it'll be the end of kickstarter or anything but I do think it is pretty likely to be what the big publishers will be trying to do.
22-09-2012, 05:10 PM #135
And who says the devs wouldn't be dedicated? I know that if I had a dev team and I got approached to do a Reboot game, I would need to buy a new pair of pants almost instantly. And even if not: Do you honestly think most of the staff at Obsidian give a rats ass about Project Eternity beyond "We get to make something interesting and make some moneys"? It isn't THEIR baby. It is their boss's baby.
22-09-2012, 06:47 PM #136
No, you have it backwards. EA won't "bribe a developer to make a kickstarter". Too much risk, too much effort. Better to message a kickstarter that turned out to be successful and try to sway them, luring with a promise of a bigger budget.
EA doesn't care about the developer's reputation, but the developer should and potential backers definitely will. A developer that sings a pact with EA after a successful pact will burn (kickstarter) bridges behind it.pass
22-09-2012, 10:59 PM #137
As to dedication, I've no doubt that Obsidian (+Troika) was wholly dedicated to all the brilliant-ish games they were rushed to release in partially unfinished states. I've read some of their ruminations on these shortcomings, and they accept a lot of the blame. Still, publishers were a factor. With all that history, would you really want the same old paradigm in your Kickstarter cereal flakes? One of the selling points for me is, essentially, "Look Ma, no publisher." Of the 16 or so projects I've backed, I expect some to be delivered late. That's immeasurably preferable to me than a rush job.
I also don't trust big publishers with money up front for something not clearly defined, and even then, not really. (See this -- yeah, I just referred to myself as a source, deal wid it.) An independent developer might be willing deliver a sound finished product for a slim profit margin simply as an investment in its own reputation and future. Throw a publisher into that mix and I think it's more likely the dev would be sacrificed for the sake of extracting as much as possible out of the project.
For a lot of devs using Kickstarter, it's probably make or break, and their incentive to survive and/or flourish is my added security. I doubt it would be the same for a sizable publisher, many of whom routinely slash and burn projects they don't expect to live up to their financial standards. While I wouldn't expect a full-on torpedoed project, I wouldn't be surprised to get a game with a great first half and a latter half sculpted out of poo. This is all fine and well for their interests, but I'm not touching that with a one-dollar bill, especially given their apparent aversion to candor. If someone's going to take a dump in my lap, I at least want them to look me in the eyes afterward. Number 10 in this video sort of sums it up for me.
Edit: this the second time RPS has saved one of my long, pointless posts from a power-outage loss. +1 for the universe today.
Last edited by internetonsetadd; 22-09-2012 at 11:04 PM.
22-09-2012, 11:20 PM #138
Oy. I am not going to argue against the "All publishers are evil stupid poopy heads who are the only reasons any games ever fail". You seem to refuse to let go of that, and that really has nothing to do with this.
Pick your FAVORITE publisher. Hell, pick your favorite "visionary developer with a crapton of cash" if it makes you feel better.
Imagine if they approached another development team and said something along the lines of "Hey, I got this great idea but I would rather not fund the entire thing out of pocket for some reason or another. So I am going to crowd-source it. But I don't have the resources to make it all myself, you want in on this?"
THAT is what I am talking about. It doesn't matter who the first party is. And many of the already accepted KSes ARE basically that.
22-09-2012, 11:54 PM #139
Even as you restated it once again, I still think it's a terrible idea. I don't see the utility you seem to, and I don't see how it would be of benefit to anyone to enter into an agreement with either a) a party that is not in full control of the business side of the project or b) a party that is not ultimately in control of the product itself.
And you keep stretching your hypothetical. A rich developer with a great idea crowd-sourcing funds for a project it doesn't have the resources to complete so it hires another developer? What? Yeah, developers using Kickstarter have been known to hire people with the funds they've raised (and I've seen at least one collaboration), but we're getting a long way from what you initially suggested.
Last edited by internetonsetadd; 22-09-2012 at 11:56 PM.
23-09-2012, 12:07 AM #140