Brian Fargo: The Old Gatekeepers are Gone

April 24, 2013 -

The days of worrying about what mass consumers at big retailers like Wal-Mart think are over for his company, says inXile CEO Brian Fargo. After successfully funding two major role-playing game projects - Wasteland II and Torment: Tides of Numenera - on Kickstarter and through other payment methods, the gatekeepers are gone. Or more appropriately, the gatekeepers are now the players who actually want the kind of role-playing game that inXile wants to make and are willing to pay in advance to make it happen.

"We used to have to make changes to our content because of what the buyer at Wal-Mart said," Fargo tells GII. "Gatekeepers are out now. The gatekeeper and the audience are one and the same. Now that I have a symbiotic relationship through crowdfunding, my goals are exactly in sync with the customer giving me the money. We are on the same page; all we both want is a great game. When you get money from other people, you think that's obvious but it's not. They might have other agendas, which could be their shareholders, or making the quarter, maybe I'm competing with another product of theirs, they want to change it because of that. They often will have different perspectives on the audience."

You can catch the entire interview with Fargo on GamesIndustry International. He also talks about developing two major RPG projects at the same time, inXile's excellent relationship with Obsidian, and how both projects are so drastically different from each other. If you are interested in these games or crowdfunding, then this interview is worth a read.

Source: GII

 


Comments

Re: Brian Fargo: The Old Gatekeepers are Gone

I was actually just thinking about this subject before I read this article. If only some of the older studios realized that this could work, we'd get a lot more ports and rereleases. Imagine if, for instance, Nintendo put up a Kickstarter for putting Mother 1 (which was localized in English for NES but never released) on DSware, to see if it would be worth their time and money - everyone who pays a couple dollars gets a digital copy. Zero risk to them to see if it's profitable or not, and if it doesn't meat the margin for profitability, they have a damn good excuse to tell players who complain about it later.

Problem is, Nintendo's an old company, as video game companies go, and so they're slow to keep up with things like this. There's always hope, though. If the Veronica Mars Kickstarter movie proves successful (It already massively overshot its funding goal, so hopes are high), other companies may start giving Kickstarter a second look.

Re: Brian Fargo: The Old Gatekeepers are Gone

I imagine they are watching it carefully.  Slow to keep up with things initially sounds like nothing but a problem, but for older companies, well, not jumping on every new bandwagon is a big part of how young companies survivde to become old ones.

Kickstarer has demonstrated that such crowd funding can work, but the point of saturation has not really been discovered yet.  There will always be things that work for a small number of projects, but that is not good enough for an industry, they have to wait and see what the falloff is for a larger number of projects which are lower profile.  It could even be bubble-like, very profitable for the small number who get in early but once too many people get in the whole thing collapses.

So Nintendo and others are probably taking a 'wait and see' approach, though it would probably be in their best interest spin off a wholy owned subsidiary to experiment with the process.   Hrm.. I also wonder how much of a barrier the accounting proceses inherent in large publicaly traded companies are....

Re: Brian Fargo: The Old Gatekeepers are Gone

I don't really like the idea of large companies using Kickstarter that way. The entire point of Kickstarter is "we don't have the money to do this on our own and the suits won't loan it to us, which is why we turn to the public at large for funding." Nintendo not releasing the entire Mother series on the VC is not necessarily an issue of money -- I mean, heck, they only recently released Earthbound on VC, and I know that the game's copy protection wasn't the issue since they released Mother 2 for Japan's VC (or so I assume; Mother 2 was one of the game demos included on the Smash Brothers disc), and the American copy protection has been circumvented by emulators for years.

Re: Brian Fargo: The Old Gatekeepers are Gone

Earthbound isn't on VC yet ,they only announced that they're going to release it worldwide again.

 
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