In a bid to take advantage of the growing popularity of crowdfunding services such as Kickstarter, Square-Enix have announced a brand new “curated platform” known as “Collective”. Taking plenty of cues from Steam Greenlight and even forging a partnership with IndieGoGo, Collective aims to change the growing insanity that is AAA game development.
The idea behind the service is two fold. The first part of it is that any developer is able to freely submit a pitch to Square-Enix, to which the community can vote as to whether or not it’s a game they’d like to see made. After 28 days on the platform and with enough support from the community, it moves onto the second phase, which is the crowdfunding phase. You then proceed to fund the game by pitching in however much you can. From there, there’s the standard model of getting the backers involved with exclusive forums and feedback threads, up until well after the game’s released.
Where this becomes interesting is that Square-Enix are not only just accepting original ideas, but they’re also willing to accept pitches for older Eidos IP’s (no Square IP’s unfortunately, sorry all those that wanted a new Einhander game). What they deem to be acceptable “older IP” hasn’t been established yet, but they’ll be announcing more on this aspect at GDC Next in November.
I’m of two minds on this. On one hand – it’s definitely an interesting idea for a service, and by being tied to a gigantic entity like Square-Enix, avoids one of the greatest fears people have about crowdfunding – people taking the money and running away with it. That, and I’m curious to see what Square define as “legacy Eidos IPs”, and whether or not something can come from this. On the other, it just screams lazy – it’s Square getting all the money upfront, and it’s easy to think this is shady as all hell. Still, definitely curious to see how this all turns out.