Big Publishers Eying Low-Budget Games Due To Kickstarter Success

By William Usher 2013-06-25 14:29:59 discussion comments
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With Kickstarter games having some massive success in the crowd-funding arena, the amount of money that core gamers have poured into their beloved hobby has caught the eyes of many publishers. In fact, the lucrative Kickstarter bubble is so appealing that some publishers are approaching developers to make games that you might see on Kickstarter.

Strategy Informer caught word from Obsidian Entertainment's front man, Chris Avellone, where he explained...
"These Kickstarters for RPGs have been really successful, they have garnered more backer support and more funding than many had thought, and we have noticed that publishers have paid attention to that and they are aware of the success these projects have had,"

“We have actually had companies reach out to us and go 'you know what, for that price point, which is a much smaller risk than a lot of our AAA titles where there's a lot more at stake, that's much less risk for us and we wouldn't mind exploring the idea of doing old-school RPGs that are set up like this'. That totally floors me, I did not realise there would be that sort of sea change from publishers, but apparently there are a number of publishers that realise that doing an Eternity-style game is a good fit for them, and I am thankful for that."

That's like a “hurr, durr” moment for publishers. In fact, employing a brain where intelligence is always on vacation makes the thought machine kind of pointless to own, yeah?

Even though a lot of people might see this as a good thing – as a way to increase competition, even – there's that stinging venom of truth that resides in the back of all our thoughts saying: What happens when the bubble bursts and these nostalgic low-budget PC/console titles over-saturate the market?

The whole reason us core gamers love Kickstarter so much is because it offers us a window of opportunity to back games we like and games we want to play without worrying about the political nonsense that disrupts the creative flow of bigger budget titles. For example, remember how Overstrike went from a comical cooperative title to a generic, straight-laced shooter and then EA had it turned into Fuse? Now I'm not saying Overstrike was a winning formula, but it sure beat the focus-group-tested Fuse in terms of originality and having some form of life.

However, that kind of mentality as explained above is how publishers approach games. I would hate to see the love and popularity of these nostalgic RPGs, action titles and niche crowd-funded games become an overbearing, over-saturated, over-marketed fad for publishers to milk gamers and then end up ruining a lot of franchises, brands and IP in the process. Heck, that's the main reason developers and gamers retreated to Kickstarter and IndieGoGo in the first place.

Maybe, though, there is some good to come out of it... but I think it's a 'wait and see' kind of scenario. Publishers have been screwing the pooch too often for me to be entirely optimistic about them going the nostalgic route, but I would put pessimism aside if perhaps they start using low-cost methods on newer IP with fresh, innovative ideas, doing games like Starbound or Project Awakened. Bigger publishers being budget-conscious while exploring new, emergent territory in gaming would be a welcome change of pace.

You can learn more about Obsidian Entertainment's successfully Kickstarted Project Eternity by visiting the official website.
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