Up until now, Kickstarter has been a potentially industry changing tool, allowing developers to create videogames without having to jump through hoops and sell their souls (and IP) to publishers. Now, however, we see that Kickstarter is much more exploitable than we previously thought.
We all know about the runaway success of Obsidian’s ‘Project Eternity’ Kickstarter but some comments by CEO Feargus Urquhart reveal some troubling news:
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’.
It seems that Obsidian has no intention of giving up intellectual property rights to a traditional publisher (none of which were named specifically), when Kickstarter is already letting developers like them fund and distribute their own games.
It also raises the question of why a publisher that already has the resources to fund a game would look at the Kickstarter platform instead, though Urquhart offers a reason for this too:
I think they were trying, honestly, to be able to do something with us and they felt that was the easiest way to do it. They would then not need to go get budget approved and deal with the challenge of that. What I don’t think they did was to think about our side of it and what they were really asking.
I still can’t help but wonder which publisher it was that tried to pull this stunt though.