News Flash: Things Cost Money

I read an excerpt from an upcoming interview with Strategy Informer on the topic of our OZombie Kickstarter Campaign. Apparently, in view of what’s happening with Double Fine, my honest suggestion that Spicy Horse might seek additional funding above and beyond what’s raised on Kickstarter, is a bad thing. There’s enough attention on this topic that this excerpt from the larger interview was published prior to the main article… here’s a bit of it:

While $950,000 may seem like a lot of money, but it’s not a massive amount when it comes to making games. Spicy Horse have recently started a Kickstarter for the Oz-set game titled OZombie and eyebrows have been raised at the scope versus the goal price.

We spoke with lead designer American McGee and he suggested that the price would only be to start the game and fund a few chapters. After that they would need to get further funding, including the possibility of publishing deals which might upset a few backers.

Just want to say to all the press, public and others who are gnashing their fangs at Kickstarter, Double Fine and anyone they think look “fishy,” you can’t have it both ways. You can’t complain about big publishers and their bad business models – highlighting all the times they’ve pushed overpriced, buggy, unfinished product onto the shelves in hopes of a quick buck. Then when an indie developer lays bare their business model and struggles, crucify them for taking risks and being honest. In both cases the hyperbole is through the roof and completely unproductive.

“Kickstarter is done!” “Consoles are dead!” “Always Online is the devil child of DRM!” “Get the pitchforks and burn Microsoft!” “She’s a witch!” “Early Access is a scam!” “Publishers are evil!” “F2P is evil!” “Mobile phones are Lucifer’s gaming device!” “Game developer are the devil!” “Moar COD!” “Sequels! Kill them with fire!” On and on and on… these chants of rage make it so no one can do anything right. Any attempt at honesty or innovation is met with derision and contempt. Even the slightest mistake must be repaid by public lynching or Hara-Kiri.

What’s going on here? Why are we so bent on finding enemies and destroying them? What’s happened to civility and constructive debate? Could it be true… all this video-game playing HAS had a significant psychological impact on us all? Are we unable to go through a day without seeing a bag of MacDonald’s as a power-up and misquoted game developer as a demon from hell who must be beheaded with a shotgun and cast into a lake of lava? Why are gamers becoming so antagonistic, combative and resistant to constructive engagement? Have all those hours spent destroying and killing rotted our brains and turned us into robotic griefers?

Note to the online kill squads:

Developers aren’t your enemies. They’re just people, like you, trying to make a living doing what they love. Publishers aren’t the spawn of Satan. They’re just corporations trying to compete with other corporations for your wallet, soul and first born. Accept these things and the world around you. Not everything should be answered with criticism, negativity and buckshot to the face.

The games you play cost HUGE amounts of money to develop and market. Productions are insanely complex, which means there are many places where they can breakdown or fail. Outcomes aren’t predictable, so that money to fund these things is nearly impossible to come by. Simply put, this shit is hard.

Things are going to go sideways and sometimes horribly wrong. Instead of wanting to murder someone when they level with you about these facts, embrace them. The choice is yours – support transparency, honesty and constructive involvement… or don’t complain when the industry shrugs and shifts back to a model dominated by monolithic, uncaring publishers.

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Comments (11)

 

  1. Jota says:

    I must say that this isn’t even related to videogaming. These behaviors are also present in many other places of the cultural consumption spectrum.

    Youtube is a big example of it. You can lapidate an over-the-averagre youtuber with downvotes and destructive (public) comments, if you consider that the related video doesn’t overcome your expectative of the youtuber in cuestion.

    You can also see this in all over the internet, specially in places when an autor tends to consider public opinions in the production of almost any cultural product (not only videogames).

    I accept the “videogame culture” is one of the most noticeable topics nowadays, but I think what you’re saying it’s not an intrinsic problem of this culture.

    I think it’s just one example of the Culture of Hating.

    Haters gonna hate.

  2. Machaira says:

    The problem everyone that I’ve seen has with the Double Fine KS is the difference between what was asked and what was raised (about 7x I believe) and wondering how someone like Tim, with his years of experience, could have been so far off in estimating how much it would take to make the game. Many are taking it as a sign of one of the problems with the industry. Most of what I’ve read aren’t people upset with DF, just that if someone like him could be so far off, what is going to happen with projects from people with far less experience? What chance do they have of succeeding?

    Obviously, there are many idiots ranting about stuff they have no knowledge of, but that’s just the typical internet stupidity. Everyone should just automatically discount them. The questions above are honest, worrisome issues IMO.

  3. Syed117 says:

    The advent of the internet has given people a voice. The problem is that the voices are coming from an immature audience that feels a ridiculous sense of entitlement.

    The people screaming on every video game site and forum are the immature minority that are extremely vocal about everything and anything they have no understanding of.

    No one is safe and I feel the video games “press” is partially to blame. They constantly post to their various outlets in ways that are meant to incite rage. Everything turns into a console war, a war against corporations and now a war against the smallest of developers.

    None of these so called journalists want to to provide an avenue for civil discussion, they simply want to provide the tiniest spark to start other battle in the comments sections of their sites. They earn per click and maybe they are being business savvy, but a lot of the time ethics are thrown out the window.

    Double Fine specifically has a great reputation. They have made games loved by the gaming audience for years. The success of their kickstarter is proof of that. They are being completely transparent about the money they need and why they need it. Check the headlines on any major games site and it will make you think that they have stolen money from gamers pockets and run away.

    People cry about call of duty and yet buy it and get dozens if not hundreds of hours of value from that $60. Instead of just walking away and speaking with heir wallets, they kick and scream.

    The same applies to the xbox one and the controversy surrounding it. No one complains that you cant sell your digital games purchased on steam. No one complains that you can’t sell back your library of smartphone or tablet apps. No one complains about a game bought digitally on xbox live or psn. Yet, when Microsoft wants to move towards a digital future that is obviously the way forward, the same people are first to call them the devil. The hypocrisy of the gaming community could not be more apparent. The gaming press is guilty of the same. They have the responsibility to direct gamers reading their content to speak about what the reality today is. Instead we get headlines proclaiming that the xbox one is dead and other nonsense that is equally idiotic.

    The simple fact is that the people who are crying and complaining are simply the immature audience that is still the majority of the “hardcore” gaming audience. Gaming is still in its infancy and there is no greater proof of that than what you find in the comments sections of any video game site. All that negativity and spawns further negativity. There is no winning.

  4. American says:

    I don’t know specifics enough to comment in detail… but what they asked for and what they got is largely irrelevant to where they ended up. Look at it like this… you ask for $5 to make something and end up with $500. You might have had a plan to make something with only $5, but you now have 100x times them money to spend, so you adjust the plan. Having more money doesn’t reduce the risk that things might go wrong. And I think Tim has been pretty honest about his tendency to be over ambitious when it comes to design and development. Not sure I see anything to question in all of this. Seems simple and straightforward to me. It only becomes devious when you assume these guys are out to trick people or something. Again, doesn’t look that way to me.

  5. [...] insanely complex, which means there are many places where they can breakdown or fail,” McGee wrote last night (thanks, GamesIndustry International). “Outcomes aren’t predictable, so that [...]

  6. darkfool58 says:

    well said and i think with any proposal anyone makes they need to look at the background of the person there proposal and the likelyhood it will be delivered. On the otherside of the coin i think kickstarter should fine someone for not meeting expectation just like big business contracts do…..

  7. [...] finished with over $1.2 million, to Alice: Madness Returns developer American McGee’s response to the outrage, everyone seems to be weighing in on the topic. So, naturally, here’s my [...]

  8. [...] developer American McGee put it in his defense of Schafer, you can’t have it both [...]

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