Obsidian: Publishers Are Trying to Abuse Kickstarter
Publishers are attempting to get developers to create covert Kickstarter campaigns, in order to fund games the publisher would otherwise have to invest in itself, according to accusations from developer Obsidian Entertainment.
On the page for its Kickstarter campaign, Project Eternity, Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart said that the developer was contacted by publishers in an attempt to get Obsidian to create campaigns to fund development projects. The idea is that Obsidian would drum up fan support to get people to pledge money for the game — which would then be published by the unnamed companies in question, just like any other game development. Except that the publisher wouldn’t have to put up nearly as much money, because it had collected it from the fans.
Urquhart even said that Obsidian wouldn’t get to keep the ownership rights to the intellectual property under the deal one or more publishers suggested.
“I said to them ‘So, you want us to do a Kickstarter for, using our name, we then get the Kickstarter money to make the game, you then publish the game, but we then don’t get to keep the brand we make and we only get a portion of the profits’ They said, ‘Yes’.”
While that sounds incredibly slimy, since Kickstarter runs on donor goodwill and on the assumption that creative types can’t get their stuff made using the usual machinery of publishing — Urquhart went on to say that he didn’t think the publishers were necessarily trying to take advantage of Obsidian and its IP rights.
“I think they were trying, honestly, to be able to do something with us and they felt that was the easiest way to do it,” he said. “They would then not need to go get budget approved and deal with the challenge of that. What I don’t think they did was to think about our side of it and what they were really asking.”
But that’s to say nothing of the advantage that situation would take of players who think they’re helping developers make cool things they could never make otherwise.