We’ve all heard the arguments made by Kickstarter’s detractors. A lot of people have started to see crowdfunding as an easy way for developers, and perhaps even publishers, to risk other people’s money on projects that may never achieve success, or even get made. Kickstarter is essentially an interest free loan or a straight up donation, one that beneficiaries have no legal obligation to ever give you anything in return for.
Some claim that the big publishers are afraid of Kickstarter, that it has the potential to put them out of business. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Publishers are just as eager as everybody else to get on board this gravy train. Who wouldn’t be tempted at the idea of potentially making millions off a game that has proven that it has an audience, without the risk of losing any of your own money even if it doesn’t end up selling well?
The obvious problem here is that publishers don’t exactly carry much good will with gamers these days. If they’re going to rake in the fat Kickstarter bucks, they’ll have to do it discreetly, lurking in the fine print of a respectable developer’s Kickstarter terms, waiting to claim their free money and easy new IP.
But surely not even the worst of publishers would have the balls to try and get a dev to agree to such unfavorable terms! Surely no company could have the gall or utter lack of respect for their business partners to-
Oh, nevermind. It looks like a few of them approached Obsidian to try and get them to do just that:
“We were actually contacted by some publishers over the last few months that wanted to use us to do a Kickstarter” said Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart in a recent Q&A. “I said to them ‘So, you want us to do a Kickstarter for [you], using our name, we then get the Kickstarter money to make the game, you then publish the game, but we then don’t get to keep the brand we make and we only get a portion of the profits’ They said, ‘Yes’”.
It’s a shame, though understandable that Obsidian won’t name the publishers that so generously offered to screw them over, but obviously it isn’t hard to think of a few who wouldn’t bat an eye at this sort of thing. Read those Kickstarter terms thoroughly before you back something kids, or your cash monies could easily end up going straight into some CEO’s yacht fund rather than the hard-working developer’s pockets.