I remember when I first read The Scratchware Manifesto detailing the problems with the game industry’s economic and development models. I thought that it was a nice read but probably written by someone who might not actually know about the game industry.
Then Greg Costikyan reveals that he was the author of the piece, shocking many in the game industry who also thought it was written by some wannabe game developer. He wrote a few articles for The Escapist about the topic as well. They all boil down to rants against the current model which stifles innovation and creativity and will not be sustainable for long. Of course, everyone knows that there are problems, but not quite so many people are doing much about them.
Now, he decided to quit his job at Nokia and startup a company to help make his dreams for a better game industry a reality.
From his recent blog post announcement:
The new company will be called Manifesto Games; its motto is “PC Gamers of the World Unite! You Have Nothing to Lose but Your Retail Chains!” And its purpose, of course, will be to build what I’ve been talking about: a viable path to market for independent developers, and a more effective way of marketing and distributing niche PC game styles to gamers.
It sounds exciting. Heck, it’s exciting anytime someone starts up their own business venture. Indie game developers seem to have issues with marketing their products. Not everyone can make a Bejeweled or Snood. And those that make something like Darwinia struggle to get noticed. I can see Manifesto Games being an Amazon-like one-stop shop not only for indie games but also for those niche hardcore titles that retailers won’t carry.
I’m not sure if I’ll like how it will get implemented. I’m mainly afraid that game developers will insist on Digital Restrictions Management everywhere. That would quickly make Manifesto Games really crappy for the customer, and I wouldn’t want my games to have any part of it.
But Greg will be blogging about the startup, and so he’ll likely be looking for feedback. I wish him luck.