More Reasons Not to Publish

February 9, 2008

Following great posts by Clinton R. Nixon and Fred Hicks on the subject, Joshua AC Newman (creator of Shock:, one of my favorite roleplaying games, though not for playing science fiction, interestingly enough) weighs in with reasons not to commercially publishing your games.

I do worry a bit that the “anti-publishing” discussion will be (or has already been) misconstrued in a number of fashions. For example, when Malcolm Sheppard talks about “diluting the market,” what I hear him saying is basically:

There are too many indie games. Many of them are crap or less good. We can’t make money selling our games because there are too many competing products. Your game is probably crappy or less good, so you shouldn’t sell it, because then more people will buy our games, which are really great.

I don’t find that convincing. Hopefully, this is not what he is actually trying to say and I am just misreading him. This is certainly not what Clinton, Fred, Joshua, and myself are saying. Clinton started this conversation out by saying “Selling my games doesn’t make me as happy as sharing them in a non-commercial fashion.” Then Fred said, “Make sure you really want to run a business before getting in the business of selling games.” And Joshua is now saying, “Even the best indie games are selling fewer copies at conventions nowadays because there are so many competing products. Be careful when planning for commercial success and consider how your original intentions for your game might be betrayed if you are intent on making it commercially successful in a competitive market.” These are all really important.

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