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Obsidian's Feargus Urquhart on insane publisher Kickstarter requests

EatChildren

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Jan 29, 2008
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I'm giving this its own thread because goddamn. Feargus Urquhart (CEO of Obsidian Entertainment) made a comment on their Kickstarter page, noting prior conversations with publishers in regards to a Kickstarter project. Here:

We were actually contacted by some publishers over the last few months that wanted to use us to do a Kickstarter. I said to them "So, you want us to do a Kickstarter for, 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".

"See, if we don't use lube when we fuck them, we'll save more money!"

Fucking video game industry.
 

hiryu64

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Prophet Steve

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I wonder when publishers are going to make a Kickstarter for a game of "their" developers just to save some costs.

Although this is pretty damn close.
 

hiryu64

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I joked about this with some friends before, but we're THAT much closer to the logical extreme of big-name publishers creating Kickstarters for their big titles.

Want Megaman Legends 3? Well we got this Kickstarter goin on...
 
D

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That's really quite horrid. I'm glad Obsidian didn't take the "offer"...
 

MacBosse

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Isn't it rather obvious that if a publisher can remove the financial risk of building a game that they will jump on that like a crazy monkey?

It's just a matter of time.
 

DocSeuss

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Hopefully his response was something along the lines of "...and what, exactly, would you be providing for us? Because it sounds to me like you're doing fuck all."

Because seriously... what, exactly, would a publisher be providing? Boxed distribution? Advertising? Obsidian would already be advertising through the Kickstarter, so the latter makes little sense.
 

michaelius

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I'm perfectly fine with publishers using kickstarter to finance risky projects partially.

What is wrong is using someone else name to do it.
 

wondermega

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this doesn't surprise me one bit. what's also not surprising is if some developers actually agree to such a proposition - there's lots of devs in the red who are pretty desperate to get their heads above water, and making "deals with the devil" like that are hardly new in this industry.

Obviously Obsidian knew they didn't need to jump on such a setup, but at the same time I believe they could not have known what to expect when they launched their KS (if they had, it would have happened sooner, and for a lot more than $1m)

As for "the days of publishers are waning" this is absolutely not true. The role of pubs is changing to a degree, but they still pull the strings, and they will for a long time to come (forever?) This new KS period is a strange time, bright even, but it's hardly a herald of a sea change in the way things are done.
 

Victrix

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It's hardly anonymous - whoever said that is now fully aware of his opinion!

Admittedly Obsidian has been in a shitty place for some years, Feargus may simply no longer care.

Have to see how this project pans out, I don't see how that's enough money to keep them going for the duration.

Interesting times to be sure.
 

Prophet Steve

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Hopefully his response was something along the lines of "...and what, exactly, would you be providing for us? Because it sounds to me like you're doing fuck all."

Because seriously... what, exactly, would a publisher be providing? Boxed distribution?

Marketing I'd assume, and yeah, the box distribution.
 

so1337

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That is so incredibly shady that I kinda don't want to know who the publisher in question is...
 

Lancehead

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Hey publishers gotta eat.

I'm perfectly fine with publishers using kickstarter to finance risky projects partially.

What is wrong is using someone else name to do it.

No, there isn't anything wrong with publishers (big or small) using kickstarter. The egregious stuff in that comment is that they practically do nothing significant but want the IP rights and majority of the profits.
 

zerokoolpsx

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I'm perfectly fine with publishers using kickstarter to finance risky projects partially.

What is wrong is using someone else name to do it.
Why won't the publishers use their own name to start a kickstarter and develop, publish it? Obsidian would have gotten the shit end of the deal if they let that publisher use their name. Seriously.
 

teeny

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Nov 29, 2009
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Seriously?

I am in agreement. Obviously, the way that the publisher sought to use Obsidian and get out of doing any work is fundamentally wrong, but I also have no problem with publishers themselves using crowd sourcing, especially for risky projects that might not see the light of day otherwise.
 

Callibretto

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you know... there's a chance that some of the current known kickstarter is like this already. the publishers are the one approaching obsidian, so I'm sure obsidian is not the only dev they approached.
 

whalleywhat

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I'm perfectly fine with publishers using kickstarter to finance risky projects partially.

What is wrong is using someone else name to do it.

I'm also fine with this, because if they were forthright about it they'd get no money.

teeny said:
I am in agreement. Obviously, the way that the publisher sought to use Obsidian and get out of doing any work is fundamentally wrong, but I also have no problem with publishers themselves using crowd sourcing, especially for risky projects that might not see the light of day otherwise.

The thing is, a publisher deeming a project 'risky' generally means that they can invest their money elsewhere and have it be more profitable. I'm not interested in giving money to a publisher to help them save opportunity costs. The devs are the ones who make the games. If they can venture out on their own, then we can talk.
 

Callibretto

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I am in agreement. Obviously, the way that the publisher sought to use Obsidian and get out of doing any work is fundamentally wrong, but I also have no problem with publishers themselves using crowd sourcing, especially for risky projects that might not see the light of day otherwise.

I doubt publishers are okay with risky projects even if the money come from kickstarter, because from publishers point of view, the team/developer is better spent on creating other more safe/profitable games
 

michaelius

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The thing is, a publisher deeming a project 'risky' generally means that they can invest their money elsewhere and have it be more profitable. I'm not interested in giving money to a publisher to help them save opportunity costs. The devs are the ones who make the games. If they can venture out on their own, then we can talk.

And that's also fine with me.

As long as i get copy of game for my donation I'd be very happy to fund Valkyria Chronicles 4 or translation of VC3 while Sega puts their own cash into another Sonic crap.
 

teeny

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The thing is, a publisher deeming a project 'risky' generally means that they can invest their money elsewhere and have it be more profitable. I'm not interested in giving money to a publisher to help them save opportunity costs. The devs are the ones who make the games. If they can venture out on their own, then we can talk.

I doubt publishers are okay with risky projects even if the money come from kickstarter, because from publishers point of view, the team/developer is better spent on creating other more safe/profitable games

Fair point guys, I didnt really think about it like that. I was just thinking of the devs and IPs that I enjoy being locked to the publishers that own them, but either utilise them differently in the case of devs, or dont exploit them at all, in the case of some IPs.
 

Acosta

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you know... there's a chance that some of the current known kickstarter is like this already. the publishers are the one approaching obsidian, so I'm sure obsidian is not the only dev they approached.

The backfire would be massive.

Honestly, I have no problems with publisher using KS. I don't see crowdsourcing as a merit based system like those people who think that only startups and individuals should have the right to start one. I see it as a consumer, as an alternative method to buy something I'm interested enough.

What puzles me about this is that there is really no benefit for Obsidian at short term. They would burn the goodwill of their userbase if they kept that hidden, they would lose the chance to create their own IP for the future, they get attached to the ususal conditions in the relationship with a publisher... and all for what? Marketing support (that would be crappy for sure)? support for a multi release Obisidan doesn't want to make anyway? financial support that will be worthless at long term when they get screwed with royalties ?(New Vegas anyone?).
 

Imp the Dimp

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You really have to wonder, what was the publisher thinking? Why would anybody accept such a "deal"? There seems to be absolutely no upside to this at all.
 

Pikma

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OMG, there already are people defending/excusing publishers from using Kickstarter?
Idontwanttoliveinthisplanetanymore.gif

I mean, fuck, that's one of the reasons kickstarter exists in the first place. We deserve the shitty industry we currently have.
 

SparkTR

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You really have to wonder, what was the publisher thinking? Why would anybody accept such a "deal"? There seems to be absolutely no upside to this at all.

They probably had a different idea as to what game Obsidian wanted to make. They probably thought, like with all of Obsidian's recent games, there would be console versions that would needed some publisher support in order to distribute. In the world of PC digital it's apparent how pointless publishers are.
 

RSP

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I'm curious to see what happens to "second generation" Kickstarters.

This game will get made, it will sell a lot more copies aside from the people already backing the project, making Obsidian a lot of money.

Will developers eventually just make the investment themselves, or will they still look to the crowd to fund the game before starting development.

I can also see a "participation" project where people are paying some money to be part of the development cycle. Coming up with quests, or doing QA for instance.
 

Yagharek

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Mar 3, 2007
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Goddamn, publishers are stepping up their scam game again.

I want to see names named as well. Bunch of thieves.