Square Enix to Launch an Indie Game Funding & Publishing Platform
In case you thought that Steam Greenlight, The Humble Store, Desura, Kickstarter and IndieGoGo weren’t enough platforms for indie game developers to get their game to the masses, Square Enix is throwing their hat into the ring. The Japanese publisher has announced that they are launching their own platform to fund and distribute indie games called Square Enix Collective.
The idea behind Collective seems to try to hybrid the Steam Greenlight system with the crowdfunding setup of Kickstarter and IndieGoGo.
A developer submits an idea to Collective (which can’t be withdrawn at a later time) which is posted to for review by users signed up to the platform. The community votes on the idea and provides feedback over a 28 day evaluation period. The game will also go through a Square Enix evaluation. The publisher will determine if the dev actually has the tools and ability to execute the idea.
If the game makes it through that Greenlight-esque evaluation phase, it moves to the crowdfunding phase. To fund games, SqEnix has partnered with IndieGoGo to use that site as a crowdfunding platform for games on Collective. That’s a bigger coup for IGG than Square Enix because I never go to IndieGoGo to see what’s there for funding. For a while, I did skim Kickstarter for interesting things.
According to new Collective boss, Phil Elliott, the plan is for the devs to get the majority of revenue from game sales and they also will get to keep the rights to their intellectual property. Square Enix is also planning to offer up its own IPs for use on Collective and allow other studios to make games based on these IPs.
With EA and Ubisoft getting into game sales and distribution platforms with Origin and Uplay, it’s interesting to see Square Enix moving away from the model they’re using. If I was to describe Origin and Uplay, I would refer to them, rather cynically as a way for the devs to distribute their triple-A products and keep as much money in their pockets as possible.
The Collective platform seems to be geared toward indies rather than being an exclusive digital store for triple-A games. That’s almost unexpected for Square Enix considering how much we hear them talk about their recent triple-A games being commercial failures. I suppose this is a way to bring in money without taking on much risk while still helping the indies. Basically, Collective is starting life as an alternative to Steam Greenlight rather than Steam proper but how long until that changes?
Still, this does strike me as odd. A publisher getting into crowdfunding for games that it’s effectively publishing doesn’t seem to be keeping in the indie spirit. And proposing using their own IPs on Collective really sets off alarm bells in my head. Want your favourite old franchise to come back? Crowdfund it. We’re not putting our own money on the line for that. How long until we see that from other big devs and publishers?