Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Square-Enix Collective vs Doing it yourself... which way is better for an Indie Dev?

Do you need Square-Enix Collective or can you do it yourself? These aren't the only options... but these are the two being discussed today for indie game developers out there.

Square-Enix Collective... is, (hmmm) for the people who lack the know-how, support, or willingness to go the process of crowd funding alone and (or just) want a major 3rd party company distributing their game.
I'm not going to go into extreme detail, but expect them to receive money on both ends of the process... because time is money (making it worth their while if there is any to go around through this process).

They get a percentage from crowd funding, a percentage for distribution, the sales platform gets a chunk (...unless you refuse to use one), the licensing fee, sales tax, and... once the smoke clears you basically surface with about 40% of the sales revenue.

That's not bad (at all)... because a lot of developers may receive around the same, or just a little more than this. They will... not provide you with advertising (which may be one of the bigger things some indie would hope for... and they should give them some sort of spotlight on their social media channels and at E3 in a reel or something), but it results in less cost for you when they don't require an ad cost.

Should the option still be there? Yes... but in replace of them doing it... they will provide you alternatives companies if you desire marketing (so the option is there). Marketing can prove very helpful... so that people know that your game even exists.

Square-Enix Collective... in my opinion, serves a purpose that shouldn't be required... but often is... because some great games never get a chance at life (aka released to the public). Either there is no interest (which can happen), no one knows about the game (which happens too), or there isn't enough interest. So while I can say "Do it yourself" with the reasons I list below, I know that not everyone has that option... and some feel like they need a bigger company to start them out to get the ball rolling. Support is that magical word that makes all the difference, and there has been more of that to go around because of PC & Mobile giving you the option to go your own way and be great. (This isn't new to some of you... but I had to mention this "duh"... so that those new to all this, do not feel powerless when it comes to doing it themselves.)
There has to be a starting point though, and sometimes the concept creator needs the money in order to hire the right people to bring that concept to life. Double-check if the concept is good enough to get a good response and solid support (because liking is not the same as financial support... remember that). There are some development teams that start off developing with no financial compensation through that entire process... but that's a freaking labor of love, if it ever gets completed. You've seen labors of love before, people dedicating hours upon hours to remake games in HD... only to have the company tell them to shut it down when it gets too much attention (rather than bringing them on and seeing if it has enough support to work with them and get the game done the legit way).

Honestly, when I see labor's of love when it comes to fan remakes... I think of the hours gone down the drain that could've went towards making amazing indie games. The fan version is usually going to be taboo to the game industry from a legal standpoint, so it really isn't as worth it to me... when the plug can just be pulled.
There are indie developers who will tell you that team members come and go for all sorts of reasons... good, bad, tragic, and weird... making it hard for a game to be completed. Some games you may have looked forward to being released... and they just "died" while you're screaming "What?! The game's almost done... just finish it!". A game can't be finished without people to finish it, and teams usually consist of multiple team members because not everyone has the same skills (and know-how... usually).

That's one of the sad truths that can happen in indie (and even in bigger studios... but you'd expect them to have money and resources for projects they take on... or believe in the project enough before they even allow development to begin so that they don't end up cancelled like "Mega man Legends 3").

That said, you still have access to crowd funding without Square-Enix Collective. So if you want to do it yourself... more power to you because there will be a higher profit percentage that comes with that. Understand that doesn't always mean more profit as a result, because a higher percentage of the profit from $100,000 is not going to be as much as that 40% mentioned above out of over 1 point whatever... MILLION dollars or more, because a known company is behind it. I can't say the game would net that amount (could be much more or much less)... but examples are helpful.

You won't have as many rules when you develop your own game without obligations to a big company... but don't let that mean there is a lack of structure (we try to maintain a structure here also). Having a successfully crowd funded project can gain you the help you need to get your game booming... but remember, you are responsible for handling the funds appropriately to get that game to the people who believe in you and your presented vision.

So you will have some rules with crowd funding (that rewards), which should include:

- Make the game

- Maintain a real schedule for the release date (so that the dates don't change... at all or at least not dramatically.)

- Deliver as promised (on all platforms, and rewards)

Hope this gives insight to everyone on the fence about going with Square-Enix Collective or Doing it yourself.