Announcing Indie Fund

Today we are announcing a fund that provides very good terms for talented indie developers working on high-quality games.  Our terms are much friendlier than what publishers offer.  Our goal is to help indies become stronger while retaining their independence.

The past couple of years have been good for independent game developers.  Through download services like Xbox Live Arcade, the PlayStation Network, WiiWare, and Steam, independent developers have found a very large audience.  Some of us have been lucky enough to develop hit indie games that were very financially successful.

Braid was one of those games.  The success of Braid has allowed me to undertake more-ambitious projects like The Witness.  At the same time, I felt that I wanted to do something with the profits that would help other indies with their own games.  More recently, while talking to publishers about The Witness, I felt that the business climate around publishing and funding these smaller games had not caught up with reality: it’s a model where the standard terms are tuned for budgets in the tens of millions of dollars.  Because publishers want to stick to this model even for low-budget games, it was very hard for indie developers to get a fair deal.

It turns out that other successful indies felt the same way, so we have pooled our resources and launched this fund.  We will be announcing further details soon.  At the GDC, Ron Carmel will be giving a talk about the problems that exist in the current publishing model for indie-budget games.

We’ve had the timing of this announcement planned for a while, but it seems like some kind of strange synchronicity that we’re revealing our existence just as all this trouble is happening at Infinity Ward.  When you’re a mainstream developer, and you’ve made one of the most successful and profitable games of all time, and then just a few months later your publisher and parent company is willing to so bald-facedly mutilate your company, well, what conclusions can be drawn from that?  If publishers of that size are so megalomaniacal as to be incapable of seeing the importance of a developer’s talent — instead believing that the game’s success is somehow due primarily to their brilliant marketing strategy or their CEO’s charming personality — then how will this ever change?

If Infinity Ward can’t be treated with respect, then who can?

Independent developers can.  That’s one answer, at least.  Indie Fund is here to help make that independent existence a reality for as many talented developers as we can.

Here’s a link to the main Indie Fund site, with an email you can use to contact us.

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6 Comments

  1. Posted March 2, 2010 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like a very admirable movement – and succinct words on recent events.

  2. Posted March 3, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Go get’em boys!
    Exciting movement, by some brave souls.

    Thanks!

  3. The Devil Tesla
    Posted March 3, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    That list of names of people involved in Indie Fund is like a hypothetical indie game super group of every company that I adore, and instead of making overproduced music you guys are funding awesome video games.

  4. Romain
    Posted March 3, 2010 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    For the past 3 years I had a little game studio together with some friends. Our last 3 deals brought the studio to its kness. The last one, that we completed about a month ago, was with a “nice” German publisher and was the best deal we had yet. But even then, it was still a deal made with a mentality for million-dollars retail titles, not the small iPhone/DSi game it is.

    Now our studio is almost dead, as we decided to stop trying to develop it as a company and to go 100% indie with it (in other words: we don’t accept commissioned projects anymore, we all went to get another job, and we’re going to try and finish our last original game one week-end at a time).

    I salute the Indie Fund initiative.

  5. Posted March 5, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Awesome! Good to see some counterweights being developed against the EAs and Activisions of the world.

  6. Katosepe
    Posted April 1, 2010 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    Nice speech, definitely. Thank God that there are still people in this world willing to give back to those less successful or fortunate.

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