“Capital-gate” is stupid.

coinOf 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.

3 Comments

  1. I wonder how many of the people complaining are game designers/writers/artists who blame their failures on the industry, and also that time their Kickstarter only reached 2% of their goal.

    As with any other form of art, to be commercially successful you have to have a good idea, build on it and pitch it well, and once people notice it they’ll be interested in it even if you’re just a guy in a basement. Kickstarter has no duty to help the “most independent” or the poorest developers first. And dall this whining is kind of amazing to me especially considering how much Kickstarter projects just seem to be some thrown-together ideas without much obvious progress at all. If you want to get a book published and you’re a no-name, you have to write the whole damn thing first.

    1. Great point.

      It’s the way of the world – investment capital whether crowd sourced or not requires some level of certainty of return. Just because in the case of Kickstarter that return may be creative as opposed to monetary that fact doesnt change. If you’re a no name you have to do more to reduce that risk of return for people laying money down.

  2. I see this a lot in the creative writing field: writers who blame the system instead of looking inwards. A tiny handful of skillful writers legitimately get used/abused by the good old “big five”, and the persons outside of them expand that injustice to cover their own faults.

    Video Gaming strikes me as a most capitalistic environment. Even the largest publishers croak and quit the video game business because the competition is so steep, and because profit often eludes high production cost games.

    Personally, I don’t mind it. It separates the passionate from the desirous. Am I skilled at writing? Sure. Do I expect to make a living off it? No. I write because I love writing; and given the extraordinary supply and quality of supply within the video game industry, I would assume the same mind-set if I entered development.

    Much like the writing industry, the video game industry seems to be swelling with creators; and without a subsequent rise in consumers.

    For me, the video game consumer, this is a win. Creator abundance naturally enforces originality and quality. For the aspiring developer, he/she may want to examine game development as more of a hobby; or else assume the meritocratic mindset: “I will overcome.”

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