Back in April, Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda expressed that he felt the games industry’s business model with regard to big-budget titles is broken. You spend a number of years developing a title, Matsuda said, and don’t see a penny of the profits until it’s out in the wild, where it has to compete against a vast selection of other such games. This makes it difficult to guarantee sufficient returns on your investment.
The solution? Initiatives like Kickstarter and Valve’s Early Access program, which involve the developer interacting directly with consumers, keeping them informed of a game’s development, and seeing a share of the profits start to come in while the game is still in development, too. Matsuda was deadly serious when he made that comment—so serious that, this morning, Square Enix launched their own crowdfunding program in partnership with crowdfunding site Indiegogo.
Titled Square Enix Collective, this initiative allows indie developers to post their ideas, and gamers to decide if those ideas are worth developing. Every idea that is successful will be assisted by Square Enix.
Here’s the process. You get your game idea out in the wild on Square Enix Collective. After 28 days on the Collective feedback forum, if the community supports your idea, Square Enix will step in. They’ll help you figure out how much money you’d need to raise, in order to make your game a reality, and provided you pass a test of sorts, will help assure the community that you have the necessary expertise to create the game you want. If all goes according to plan, the Square Enix Collective community will help you get funded via Square’s partnership with Indiegogo.
Essentially, the Square Enix Collective brings publisher involvement into a process that publishers typically have no control over whatsoever. So, why even bother when you could just go the whole nine yards without Square’s help?
Because Square Enix are dangling the chance to work with “some of the older Eidos IP” from their back catalogue, which they will detail at GDC Next, from November 5th – 7th.