Archive for February 18th, 2008

Vincent and Luke on Publishing

2008 Feb 18

Over at Anyway, Vincent responds to the recent anti-publishing conversation. He suggests that people give commercial publishing a shot before deciding it’s not for them. Fair enough, I guess. Personally, I think that if I had done some real self-reflection before deciding how to publish Push 1, I might have ended up settling on a publishing scheme that made more sense for me and my priorities. I would have still published it, but probably not in a commercial fashion and that might have made me happier. On the other hand, I wouldn’t have gained the experiences with commercial publishing that I now have. So I guess I could go either way.

Luke’s response to the discussion is so spot-on that I have to quote it:

The phenomenon that Jon and Neil describe sounds like an age old case of “Old dudes trying to help and young dudes thinking, ‘These old dudes won’t get off my back! Outta my way Old Man, you’re Old! I know what I’m doing!'” I think most of us are like that when we step into the arena. I know I was.

Upon further consideration, perhaps framing advice in the negative “reasons NOT to publish” isn’t such a good idea. It seems to make a lot of people defensive. Perhaps we should try to frame all of our war stories and sage advice in positive or at least neutral terms. Laying down hard numbers for money and time is probably much more eye-opening than our creaky opinions.

And ‘sides, who are we to offer advice? We certainly wouldn’t have accepted it way back when — five years ago!

Yes. I have certainly felt that way about Luke at various points, though now I find that very idea hilarious. If Luke is an Old Man then… well, we’re all screwed. He’s right that framing the discussion as “why NOT to publish” is probably a mistake. What I’ve been trying to say is something like:

Don’t think that you have to publish according to the methods that have been developed by other indie game publishers. You can blaze new trails (or old trails) and publish however you like. The model that most independent publishers follow is great and works for many people, but it has weaknesses and difficult areas too. Learn from other people’s experiences and maybe you can publish in a way that works better for you. Also, people that choose not to publish or just like playing games are super great and deserve respect.

The internet tends to turn that into a giant glass of hate-o-rade, but that’s not the intent. Do what makes you happy. That’s all I’m saying.