Of all the stupid things to be outraged about in the video games industry, people’s attention has turned to not whether developers are independent or not, but rather how independent they are. It’s all a bit Blur crying foul on being called BritPop, really, as just being indie isn’t enough to appease anymore. The traditional-modern image of the struggling indie in their basement coding away eating nothing but scraps from the floor is long gone, which perversely is a shame because the market – hell the media – need a nice sop story about people selling their houses and dipping into their kids’ trust funds to make their game.
Something is killing the bearded indies and people are angry and they’re out for blood.
So the pitch-fork wielding mob closes in on the not-indie-enough big names taking to Kickstarter to fund their passion projects. What they’re trying to say amidst all of the pontification is that the big-name developers turned indie are exhausting the market’s capital, taking funds from those that really need it to fund their masterpieces, and just perpetuating the big budget publishers that brought the indie movement about in the first place. They’re not of course, and so begins the long-winded analysis of what essentially equates to capital-gate, along with a fair share of stone throwing and pseudo-economic analysis.
And I’m not having a bar of it.
It’s ridiculous really, to think that people have taken to analysing sources of capital, and arbitrarily dividing available capital up according to who is more deserving on what equates a welfare scale. Kickstarter is a great tool for budding developers to fund their brilliant idea, and directly connect with its potential market, by putting the idea out to market. But Kickstarter isn’t investment and funders aren’t investors, and it certainly isn’t a wealth transfer mechanism to give the smaller guys a go. Creating a hierarchy of ‘indie’ – or even excluding those with an existing profile – won’t change this. And nor should it.
Kickstarter is a market not a social welfare system. And as such, unlike a social welfare system, there will be losers. But that is no concern of yours.
Capital? Not quite.