One thing is undeniably clear, the consumer trust in video game developers is in fact at an all time low. Today we see titles constantly released in a buggy, often broken state with promises from the publisher or developer to fix it later. Alongside the slew of broken tiles comes the even more egregious push for games as a service. A monetization practice that utilizes gambling like mechanics to exploit the vulnerabilities in both children and those susceptible to gambling addiction in the name of maximizing returns for increasingly shallow experiences. Never mind that if not for corporate protection laws this behavior would be no different than what the mafia has done, you are to appreciate that the child exploiting developers are human beings as well.
Toxic developers and publishing houses have formed a great divide between them and the consuming public. Not all have been so foolish to jump on that bandwagon and ride merrily down the road of destruction, while Epic’s exclusivity money and quasi legal child/gaming persists. Many like the developer of Darq understand the long term viability of customer relations. Now joining their ranks is Rockfish Games, developers of Everspace.
In lead up to the launch of their second Kickstarter and subsequent release of Everspace 2 in early access, Rockfish has taken to discussing the poor relationship between developers and consumers. Noting that the divide resulted not from the consumers end, but from the opposite end with how Publishers and Developers treat their customers.
Finally, we have noticed that since our last Kickstarter, things have changed quite a bit. Due to broken promises from indie devs all the way to AAA publishers, it is probably no exaggeration to say that trust in developers is at an all-time low, especially in regards to Epic Games Store exclusives of titles that were originally (co)funded on Kickstarter.
Ironically, one of the main reasons why we are doing another Kickstarter is to double-down on our promise that EVERSPACE 2 will launch on Steam first, no matter what. Just in case there are still any doubts, you might want to read an official interview on Gamesindustry.biz why Steam is and will be our most important digital games storefront.
Though short on details on Kickstarter, the interview conducted with Game Industry proceeded to go into specific details behind their reasoning for not taking an Epic exclusivity deal that appears to have been offered, but turned down.
“Schade admits that there were conversations with Epic about Everspace 2, but Rockfish never seriously considered pursuing exclusivity.”
Rockfish appears to have a similar focus as the developers of Darq, focusing more towards community building and long term viability over short term monetary payouts from Epic. Nor has the company put on blinders to forget that over 50% of their money was made from steam with 100,000 Early Access adopters and promotion by Steam putting them on 20,000 wishlists. Doubling according to them where they were at the launch of their previous game.
Those that have followed the Epic Vs Steam debate are well aware of the former’s lack of features that make life convenient for both consumers and developers. Rockfish, not only hasn’t forgotten, but declares these features are integral to their strategy moving forward.
At this point in time, Schade says, the Epic Games Store simply doesn’t have the tools that Rockfish needs to build its sequel, and to build an even larger community around that sequel.
In our case, it doesn’t make sense. We need Early Access, the full feature set, the forums, the constant updating, the whole infrastructure. Valve has the best platform, by far, to roll out a game as an independent developer. It’s by far the best tools and the best communities. This is exactly what we need.”
Whether one buys into their explanation for launching a Kickstarter before Everspace 2’s early access release is entirely up to the individual. Whether they truly believe in gathering as much market feedback as possible or just want to not leave money on the table, the fact remains they talk a lot of sense regarding long term viability. In an age where publishers and developers remain dead set on further an ever expanding divide Rockfish knows which side they’ll be standing on: The side that buys their games.
During the process of writing this story, the Ghazi ran /r/games opted to censor the original story on /r/games under a misappropriate rule violation. Given the administration’s long standing anti-gamer and anti-consumer bent it comes as no surprise the story was shut down as it was gaining traction where the average consumer could see it.