With publishing giants such as EA deciding to stall original IP and focus mainly on their already well established franchises, indie developers are finding it increasingly difficult to launch their games and find the right space in the market. But, with promises of “reversing the traditional publishing model”, new company – Easy Tiger – looks set to give all those developing digital download games another choice.
In an interview with gi.biz, Joel Benton – who launched Easy Tiger today – explains what’s different about the company and what they will be offering to encourage more developers to ditch the old publishing model.
At present, most developers would typically approach a publisher with their idea and then that publisher would give them an financial advance in order to make the game. Obviously royalties are also gained from sales but the game would need to be very successful in order for the publisher to not only recoup the advance but also the cost of marketing the product. This means, even more so in this current economic climate, that a lot of publishers are wary of spending money on a new idea without any indication of how well it will sell. This is where Easy Tiger’s business model differs.
Instead of gaining an advance, developers will be in charge of financing their project and when it comes to marketing and publishing, Easy Tiger will take over, do all the work and then take a small percentage of the royalties.
…a lot of developers have enough money to make their own XBLA and PSN games, and they’re struggling less with the finance, but more with the marketing and getting it on platform.
This also means, due to royalties from sales now being the means of income, that the developers take on the risk of the game failing; whereas before the risk fell to the publishers who had provided a lump sum before the game went to market.
Whilst this opens the door to all manner of developers looking to get their products on services such as XBLA and PSN, it’s more than likely that more and more similar companies will emerge.
Easy Tiger uses a service called PlayReplay. Much like indie musicians who use digital distribution companies to promote their music on services such as Amazon MP3 and iTunes without the need for record labels, PlayReplay publishes the content onto digital platforms. Despite being a relatively new company PlayReplay have already been instrumental in getting such games as Burn Zombie Burn into the public domain.
Whilst it sounds like a great step forward in terms of allowing indie developers the chance to get their goods seen, played and ultimately bought, it does mean that it is of use only to those who are able to fund their projects. A download title may not need the budget of a full-blown disc release but it’s by no means cheap. This may eliminate those who are looking for a quick financial boost via a bad game, but it could also mean that those with real talent who may be looking to get into the industry, will also find themselves struggling once again.
You can read the full interview with Joel Benton here.