The Rezzed PC and Indie Game Show presented by Eurogamer.net and RockPaperShotgun took place this past weekend, where they held a panel discussing the effects of new business models on PC and indie gaming. No women or foreigners were injured in the process.
If you have no desire to watch the entire 50 minute video I’m about to post, do yourself a favour and watch minutes 12 to 13, it’s a guaranteed laugh and sums up how most feel about publishers and retailers.
Right, now that that’s out of the way. John Walker hosted a panel with Prison Architect’s Chris Delay and Mark Morris, creator of The Secret World Ragnar Tornquist, Mode 7’s Paul Taylor and video game designer and comic book writer Chris Avellone, who’s currently employed at Obsidian Entertainment. During the panel they discussed particularly how the Kickstarter model changes developing games as well as buying games.
The most prominent opinion from all of the members of the panel was that creating a publicly funded game significantly eases the process of development as the developers are able to get feedback a lot sooner than when their game is funded by a publisher. Instead of only knowing whether gamers want your game or think it’s a goods idea after about two years or so of development, developers are able to know within the first month whether their game is rubbish or not. Also mentioned is that this in return enables developers to either improve their game or scrap it completely, not wasting months of valuable time.
It makes a lot of sense that developers would rather go for crowd funding than sell their souls to publishers, for all of the obvious reasons, like having more freedom to add unusual adjectives publishers don’t want to take risks with in AAA games.
For me, and I’m sure for many others, this raises the question of “but will your game still be AAA quality when it’s only funded on Kickstarter?” While publishers might invest 10, 20, 30 million in a game, most kickstarters don’t even come near that amount. It’s unlikely that we’ll see the same calibre of game when a budget is as much as 10 times lower than that of a AAA game. How plausible is it that we’ll see a BioShock Infinite, or Far Cry 3 or The Last of Us as a result of a crowd funded game?
This brings us to the player experience and why gamers would back kickstarers and buy them after they’re released. An interesting point made by the panel is that kickstarter allows gamers a greater sense of ownership and investment in the game. Having something of their own for example their face, adds a greater sense of emotional attachment to the game. Because of this, developers run the risk of disappointing their backers.
The panel continues discussing the subject until questions from the audience is allowed, the last of which was obviously a question by a woman about female protagonists. She starts off by stating that there is this assumption in the industry that female protagonists don’t sell as well as male protagonists and asks whether the panel thinks that kickstarter helps bring more female protagonists into games.
I wouldn’t say that this wasn’t a viable question, but I kind of do feel that the concept of kickstarter answers that question by itself. If developers present their vision to the public, whether it’s including a female protagonist in their game or not. It is up to the gamers to decide if they want to play as that female protagonist or not.
The question in my opinion might have (intentionally or not) just been setting up a panel of white men to look sexist and evil. Wouldn’t the industry have loved that one eh?
I think it was a fantastic panel, however, I don’t feel like the initial question, “How can new business models improve PC gaming?” was really addressed as much as talking about indie games and crowd funding.
Last Updated: June 24, 2013