Costikyan and Wilson's new venture

Just what this thread needed. The bastard child of Abe Lincoln and Rollie Fingers.


Holy shit, the bitterness is strong with this thread.

But there is still good in us. I can feel it.

He didn’t have one in Ultima Online.

I suspect a few of you will know what I’m talking about. :)[/quote]

SPOILER! :wink:

“A slime named after Johnny Wilson, Chief Editor of Computer Gaming World (CGW), who gave UO the award for “Coaster of the Year”. A slime by another other name…”

Costikyan is putting his money where his mouth is. Very few people can make that claim.

As to his chances for success? If he never tried, the chance would remain zero. I rarely have agreed with his rants (but then, I’m a talentless corporate hack by his lights), but I must respect his bravery and commitment.

As for what an indie dev needs - well, that’s to make the most money possible with the least amount of non-dev related effort. So that means no developing your own payment portal, no developing your own serial code distribution system, and most importantly - NO MARKETING. Most people don’t know shit about that. Hell, that’s how I make my money, sort of, and I suck at it… All that should be handled by the “indie label” that Greg envisions.

Really I wanted to do this over a year ago, but the interested party wouldn’t cough up the funding I wanted to get it done right.

If he does it right, and there’s no reason to expect he won’t, it’ll kick ass.

As for Shrapnel… I agree that they probably realize that downloads are important, but their primary reason for not doing it is technical - they don’t have the infrastructure to solve those problems. And it’s always been my position that there’s no reason you can’t sell a download, with an additional charge for the media and printed manual. That’s not what costs $60 after all.

I faxed them a letter of intent.

I doubt it’ll ever be any more successful than the likes of or Shrapnel, but as others have said, it’s nice to see the guy at least put his money where his big mouth is, or at least whoever’s money he got to fund this thing…


Or maybe they’re just incompetent at it. Matrix Games seems to do it just fine.

Commitment, sure. But brave? When did getting investors and starting a company become a noble act? And why aren’t all the existing indie publishers getting the same sort of love from everyone?

Wonder if they’ll carry titles made by the Taco Commander?

I love their attitude. I wish I could contribute.

Absolutely. If you want to be in a box on major store shelves – which not everyone does.[/quote]
I don’t know… Marketing and distribution seem pretty damn important to me – regardless of whether you’re looking at retail.

The developers I know that have tried both all prefer to have a publisher, and switched after finding being a Lone Wolf wasn’t all it was cut out to be.

Besides, what’s the harm in asking what sort of deal they’d offer?

How much money are they spending? It sounds to me like all they are doing is creating a website through which to sell games via download.

You need hundreds of thousands in sales to recoup your costs? Yes, under the dysfunctional business model that rules today. But if you develop games the right way, the fearless way, the independent way, your costs are drastically smaller. A few thousand unit sales will pay the bills.

Clearly, if the business model they are promoting will be profitable on sales of a few thousand, then they will spend next to nothing on marketing. Other than their time and the money it costs to host a website, I don’t see them putting much money behind this.

Hey, they’ll impress me when I find out they are subsidizing indie developers with money during the development phase to help these games get made. It doesn’t seem like that’s what they are about, though.

But, if they can put a ton of good Indy games under the same label, there is things like name recognition and familiarity come into play. I think there are a few things that keep people away from the indies. One is risk of the $$$ vs. reward. you don’t know these guys like an id, epic,blizzard or EA, activision, Eidos. Why part with 20 bucks on a risk? Now if there is a brand name behind it that you trust…
The other is graphics vs. gameplay. Look, Starships unlimited is amazing, except it is ugly, and could use some serious UI tweaks to make it more acessible to the ‘masses’. If these guys can someohow set up a depository of art resourses for indy guys to use that would be huge. almost every indy person i talk to the Art wall is the biggest hurdle.
Having a indy label might also get these games reviewed more often-PC Gamer CGW exc. Hell, even get the games on the CD’s or DVDs. Is there even a single indy game on the review list on gametab? PC Gamer does have thier MOD/indy game section…but they treat the indy game like a retarted stepchild, and do not even give it a review or score.
There is also trade shows exc, all in one booth.
Also, there are some distrubution avenues outside of Gamestop and EB. How about hobby stores and comic stores? It seems logical to me, you know the same place you can get Steve Jackson games in a little plastic baggie, could have CD’s of indies with very little shelf space. There are also companies that like to pride themselves on supporting the little guy like Borders…
Bringing back the shareware model- not just the downloadable shareware, but hardcopy, is another option. Manefesto Fall 2k6 preview Cd or some such…
I’m all for this- i look at the current state of games and I can think of only 1 title this year that I’m buying- Oblivion. everything else frankly- i’ve played these games with a different face- Age III, civ IV, shooter 7000X…
I can think off the top of a few indy games I’m playing or going to be buying- wierd Worlds, Starship unlimited, Gal Civ II…this cool little space shooter on the Mac that actually has newtonian physics and gravity…

About the same time that game playing morons started saying things like, “I’d rather pay more for games, to support the industry!”

Forwarded the thread link to Johnny. His reponse: “Tell them that Johnny told you that he wouldn’t stop until he had as many failures under his belt as Trip Hawkins.”

Commitment, sure. But brave? When did getting investors and starting a company become a noble act?[/quote]
When you quit your job with no funding to do what you dream about doing-- that’s brave in my book. He had no investors when he started-- just a little personal money. I respect people who act on their ideology, regardless of my feelings about the ideology itself.

Yay, I’m brave too. Or as Mom says, “stupid”.

Johnny Wilson rocks!

I still don’t see the financial risk on their part. They want to sell indie games via the web but it sounds like they want someone else to make the games. They will spend next to nothing on marketing the games. I assume they will want a cut of the sales too. How is this any different from what Shrapnel and Matrix do?