Self-publishing is not the answer

It is an answer.

Alex Champandard summed up my entire previous blog post as:

Essentially, making self-published games requires the skills running a business — and not everyone has, or wants, those.

He should know: He has the skills for running a business as well as deep programming skills. Just look at AIGameDev.

Here is the other side of the coin, from Cat Valente, via the excellent (not game related) Making Light:

Funny thing is, if this future came to pass and the market were nothing but self-published autonomous authors either writing without editorial or paying out of pocket for it, if we were flooded with good product mixed with bad like gold in a stream, it would be about five seconds before someone came along and said: hey, what if I started a company where we took on all the risk, hired an editorial staff and a marketing staff to make the product better and get it noticed, and paid the author some money up front and a percentage of the profits in exchange for taking on the risk and the initial cost? So writers could, you know, just write?

And writers would line up at their door.

This applies to game development as well as to writing. It is basic economics.

So not everyone is going to be self-publishing. We’re just going to move away from the pure publisher-developer constellation to a more diverse situation.

And naturally it is a huge oversimplification to even talk about a “pure publisher-developer constellation”. Things are already diverse, they’re just getting more so. The future is already here, it’s just badly distributed, to quote William Gibson.

Ever notice how whenever there’s a new profitable market segment, the leaders in that segment do not resemble the leaders of the older segments? MMOs, Flash, free to play, social…

Comments 2

  1. Ido wrote:

    Just before I got to the penultimate paragraph, I was thinking “welcome to 3 years ago” ;)

    Facebook, flash portals, the iPhone AppStore, XBLA/PSN/WiiWare/DSiWare/etc have already changed the nature of the market.

    Posted 28 Apr 2010 at 12:53
  2. Meili's Runescape Blog wrote:

    Oh wow, I can barely even talk about self-publishing. It’s a harsh world out there. Even a guy like Stephen King failed with self-publishing (he made less self-publishing than he would have with a publisher).

    On the other hand I do play a very successful game called Runescape with was self-published by Andrew Gower with some help from family.

    Posted 11 Mar 2011 at 9:04

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  1. From Intelligent Artifice - Marketing/PR vs Product development: A false dichotomy on 19 Mar 2012 at 0:30

    [...] Self-publishing is not the answer [...]

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