Double Fine’s efforts to enter the publishing space are about keeping indies visible and profitable, according to chief operating officer Justin Bailey.
Speaking to USGamer in response to recent op-eds about the lowering price of indie games and the potential collapse of the market, Bailey said that there is a risk.
“I think what indies really need to watch out for is not becoming the new casual games,” he said.
“I don’t think that’s a problem from the development side. Indies are approaching it as an artform and they’re trying to be innovative, but what’s happening in the marketplace is indies are being pushed more and more to have a lower price or have a bunch of games bundled together.
“I’d like to fight that. Double Fine wants to keep indies premium. You see that in our own games and how we’re positioning them. We fight the urge to just completely drop the price. That’s one of the things we want to encourage in this program. Getting people to stick to a premium price point and to the platforms that allow you to do that.”
Double Fine’s publishing arm is really about promoting games and maybe helping with fundraising, Bailey explained elsewhere in the interview, as it hopes to help other developers achieve the “evergreen” sales status of its own games, which may not sell hugely on launch day but have very long tails.
This model still allows room for traditional publishers, as with Double Fine’s Costume Quest 2, which is being published by Majesco offshoot Midnight City.
“We’re not looking to replace – we’re trying to augment the system,” Bailey said.
“We’re making small strides right now. Costume Quest 2 is a high-budget game. It’s one that I thought it was best to have a publishing partner who can also spend some marketing funds around it.
“With Midnight City, they’re working with us very much like partners. We’re not trying to say that publishing is not a good route to go. I think there are some publishing contracts that operate like a partnership and can still bring value to the table, which we’re happy to say is the case with Midnight City.”