Earlier today I attended a talk by Phil Elliot from Sqaure Enix at the NordicGame Conference. He talked about the Square Enix Collective and the publishing business in general.
The Sqaure Enix Collective isn't really a defined thing at the moment as far as I understood it, but essentially it's about finding new ways of publishing games and giving more options to developers and gamers to see new ideas championed and released.
Phil gave three examples of how this could look. (I'm trying to remember them as best as I could, but it's been a few hours and I didn't get much sleep last night…)
First, similar to Steam Greenlight players could be given the option to indicate whether or not they would buy a game if it were made. Or they could also be allowed to vote on things like price point or choose whether the game should be episodic, free to play, or be traditional full-priced title.
Second, existing IPs could be opened up to independent developers.
That is to say developers could pitch ideas for games set in the world of existing lower profile IPs (e.g. not Final Fantasy) or games that might not necessarily sell that well these days, like Gex or Kane & Lynch.
That way developers could bring back old characters and/or expand upon worlds that a small group of players know and love, but that might not necessarily warrant a triple A treatment. Developers might even be able to take characters from say a traditional first-person shooter and put them in a sidescrolling platformer like, say, Flashback.
Finally, players could invest in games. Much like you can today with Kickstarter there would be different levels. At the base level you would just get the game, but where it deviates from Kickstarter is that instead of giving you the soundtrack, a mug, and a T-Shirt, for investing more money you would essentially get shares. The more you pay upfront, the more shares you get, and the more money you will earn from the shares after the launch of the game. (This would most likely be a legal nightmare
as highlighted by Project Cars.)
Anyway, I thought these were some interesting ideas and I was wondering what you guys would think about publishers giving developers more options and allowing players to give feedback on game ideas as well as the games' price and business model.
Would you be willing to invest some of your money, if you knew that you might get back a small share of the profit? Do you think this would make it possible for developers to make more medium-sized titles again? Would developers be able to bring new ideas to the market if there were different publishing deals? If you could make any changes to existing publishing models, what would you change?
I particularly like the second idea of allowing third party developers to take on existing franchises and approaching them in a new way. Of course, for this to work publishers/IP owners must be willing to give developers the freedom to do anything they like with those IPs, but I think we could see some really interesting new games.
Not to mention that new developers and students straight out of university could take an existing IP and modify it. It's often easier to take existing idea and adapt since you start out with a basic skeleton and don't have to start from scratch.
For those who only read the last paragraph: The old publishing business needs to adapt to new circumstances. What would you change? What could make it easier for developers to bring new ideas to the market?