Today we are announcing a fund that provides very good terms for talented indie developers working on high-quality games. Â Our terms are much friendlier than what publishers offer. Â Our goal is to help indies become stronger while retaining their independence.
The past couple of years have been good for independent game developers. Â Through download services like Xbox Live Arcade, the PlayStation Network, WiiWare, and Steam, independent developers have found a very large audience. Â Some of us have been lucky enough to develop hit indie games that were very financially successful.
Braid was one of those games. Â The success of Braid has allowed me to undertake more-ambitious projects like The Witness. Â At the same time, I felt that I wanted to do something with the profits that would help other indies with their own games. Â More recently, while talking to publishers about The Witness, I felt that the business climate around publishing and funding these smaller games had not caught up with reality: it’s a model where the standard terms are tuned for budgets in the tens of millions of dollars. Â Because publishers want to stick to this model even for low-budget games, it was very hard for indie developers to get a fair deal.
It turns out that other successful indies felt the same way, so we have pooled our resources and launched this fund. Â We will be announcing further details soon. Â At the GDC, Ron Carmel will be giving a talk about the problems that exist in the current publishing model for indie-budget games.
We’ve had the timing of this announcement planned for a while, but it seems like some kind of strange synchronicity that we’re revealing our existenceÂ just as all this trouble is happening at Infinity Ward. Â When you’re a mainstream developer, and you’ve made one of the most successful and profitable games of all time, and then just a few months later your publisher and parent company is willing to so bald-facedly mutilate your company, well, what conclusions can be drawn from that? Â If publishers of that size are so megalomaniacal as to be incapable of seeing the importance of a developer’s talent — instead believing that the game’s success is somehow due primarily to their brilliant marketing strategy or their CEO’s charming personality — then how will this ever change?
If Infinity Ward can’t be treated with respect, then who can?
Independent developers can. Â That’s one answer, at least. Â Indie Fund is here to help make that independent existence a reality for as many talented developers as we can.
Here’s a link to the main Indie Fund site, with an email you can use to contact us.
(Cross-posted from The Witness Development Blog.)