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Sony Is Creating A List Of Crowdfunding Projects To Gauge Interest

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In an interview with Endgadget, Sony discusses how Shenmue on Kickstarter came to be and future plans to gauge interest and fund intellectual properties via the help of Kickstarter. This, once again, prompts the discussion of whether the Linux community or interested parties such as Feral and Aspyr should do the same in order to bring games both old and new to Linux that would otherwise not make it over.

QuoteSo I want to switch gears a little bit. I want to talk to you about Shenmue and crowdfunding. That was announced onstage on Monday and it's at about $3 million now. So let me ask you: Why did Sony PlayStation decide to allow that crowdfunding announcement as opposed to funding it?

Ah, no, no, no. It's a very exciting project and there are lots of PlayStation fans asking for it. But it's a Sega IP and of course Suzuki Yu-san is the creator. So somehow Suzuki-san was able to work out with Sega to allow them to Kickstart the project. And because we liked the project, our third-party relations team struck a deal to help Kickstart the campaign at the E3 conference. That's great PR.

Are there other beloved cult titles we can expect to see Sony boost in terms of crowdfunding?

I don't know. Gio Corsi [director of third-party production and developer relations] is the guy working on that.

(Sony PlayStation PR: They're building a list.)

Is there any game that you would like to see crowdfunded so it comes back?

Well, there are many old IPs that have not seen any new games. I can't name any specific ones. But this Shenmue campaign is very successful and also [Koji] Igarashi-san's Bloodstained campaign was very, very successful. And [it] proves that there are a lot of game creators in the past and [that] there's demand for their kind of games by the current consumers. So I hope that the developers in Japan, especially who are used to making console games ... see the success of Igarashi-san's and Suzuki-san's and get encouraged to do their own.


There you have it. What many Linux gamers have suggested and what many other Linux gamers have shot down time and time again is now being done by Sony, a major publisher and console manufacturer.

It was always brought forth that crowdfunding Linux ports would be rife with abuse, and understandably so when considering this list, but persuading developers to allow their games to be ported by trusted porters such as the aforementioned Feral and Aspyr, or by one of the renowned individual porters i.e. icculus, with an actual, monetary pledge should reduce any such risk greatly for us as well as for them.

In addition, for those who say that the larger companies have millions in funds and scores of programmers to throw at a project, you must also remember that these bigger entities usually answer to investors who care solely about how much they profit from an investment. Bringing older games to Linux or even introducing recent games to Linux poses a risk to them, so the more we can accommodate them, the more likely they will be to consider us for their investments as well.

What say you, members of the community? Does Sony doing this change anything? Are you for or against pledging money toward a Linux port, or are you still undecided?
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DrMcCoy 18 June 2015 at 1:38 pm UTC
EDIT: Toned my reply down a bit. I guess I misread the intentions of this article, and went in far too hostile. My apologies.

QuoteWhat many Linux gamers have suggested and what many other Linux gamers have shot down time and time again is now being done by Sony, a major publisher and console manufacturer.

It's was a bad move then, and it is a bad move now. Sony is exploiting the Kickstarter model to abuse it as a marketing tool. This is not good and we should not applaud it. And no, we should not strive to emulate it!

Quoteyou must also remember that these bigger entities usually answer to investors who care solely about how much they profit from an investment.

Yes, and they are now entirely heaping all the risks of investing on us, while keeping all the benefits and profits. This is a weighted system: entirely good for them, entirely bad for us.
BTRE 18 June 2015 at 1:49 pm UTC
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For me it's always been a case-by-case basis. Developers with a good track record in bringing over games to Linux, like Harebrained Schemes, are much more likely to get my support when it comes to crowdfunding. I think that in the case of Japanese developers I think they're much more conservative when it comes to PCs and it's only just recently that we're seeing companies like Capcom and Sega bring their games onto Windows. I think it's an almost alien concept to them, historically speaking, that people play big-name games on PCs, let alone on other operating systems. So, yeah, crowdfunding might be a way to show them that there's interest in other platforms.

The reply I got when I asked the Shenmue III kickstarter if Linux was a possibility was:
QuoteThank you for your message! 
The PC version will support Windows. Everything else is currently under consideration. Any further news on this will be announced on the Updates page.
Even though UE4 is a multiplatform as it gets I don't think they even considered that there would be interest in other platforms.

Do I want to see more crowdfunding for ports in general? No, not really. Not if these are titles with established publishers with existent cashflow. It's asking too much from a community that's already plenty generous. But I guess money talks and it might be the only way to get some of these holdouts invested in bringing ports to Linux.

That said, I think that it would be good for everyone if Valve acted a bit like Sony here and helped finance ports for SteamOS/Linux. It's in their best interests if they want Steam Machines to succeed. I would even go as far as suggest that they need to be aggressive and secure timed exclusives, but I don't think that's too likely.
rustybroomhandle 18 June 2015 at 1:51 pm UTC
I agree with Bones. The whole thing is just gross. (do the kids still say that?)

The original Shenmue cost $70m to make. So they raise a few million on Kickstarter to "gauge interest"? The games were wildly popular with a cult following - there is nothing for them to gauge. The end result is that a bunch of gamers now think that a game like that can be made for a few million dollars. No wonder so many consumers expect all games to cost <$5 these days, or yell at Double Fine because they think $3m should have produced a AAA game in 6 months or less.

I like crowdfunding and support many projects on there of varying sizes/budgets, but when the Sonys and Microsofts start poking their nose in, things start to get rotten.
Keyrock 18 June 2015 at 2:13 pm UTC
I don't have much of a problem with it. People forget that the two Shenmue games, while beloved by fans and generally liked by critics, did not do well financially. In particular, Shenmue 2 lost SEGA quite a bit of money. It's understandable that Sony would be cautious about tossing Yu Suzuki 30 or 40 million to do Shenmue 3 when Shenmue 2 was, more or less, a financial disaster. So they set a goal on Kickstarter that, if reached, tells Sony that there seems to be enough interest out there to make it worth the risk of tossing Yu Suzuki 30 or 40 million (a game like Shenmue doesn't get made for 2 million dollars). It's kind of the same thing Kingdom Come: Deliverance did with their Kickstarter. They have financial backer(s) too, we just don't know who they are. The Kickstarter was to show said backers that there is sufficient interest out there to make the financial risk worthwhile.

In the end, Kickstarter still serves the same ultimate purpose, it allows a game to be made that wouldn't have been otherwise. If Shenmue 3 or KC: D don't make their Kickstarter funding goal then their financial backers don't fund the project and the game doesn't get made.
rustybroomhandle 18 June 2015 at 2:22 pm UTC
I'm going to guess here that the majority of the 40k backers so far are people who are fans of Shenmue 1 & 2. All this KS is telling Sony is that some people who played Shenmue 1 and 3 would like to play Shenmue 3. Not sure how useful that information is to investors.
Keizgon 18 June 2015 at 2:27 pm UTC
KeyrockIn the end, Kickstarter still serves the same ultimate purpose, it allows a game to be made that wouldn't have been otherwise. If Shenmue 3 or KC: D don't make their Kickstarter funding goal then their financial backers don't fund the project and the game doesn't get made.

No, if this trend continues, Kickstarter will become the only way to even make a game. Why make a game when you can get paid a grant for the concept and fuck it up with no liability attached? Disgusting. It served its purpose for people who CAN'T afford it (indie), not people who WON'T take the RISK (at this point, why bother having a publisher).

If the well gets poisoned any further, indie games will be shoved to the side and ignored because that next big AAA title everyone else wanted this year. This has nothing to do with Linux, and not a single company is going to start giving a fuck. They didn't before, why would this make them start? The only thing they learned is to become self-aware in acknowledgement (btw you pay for a professional Kickstarter PR spokesperson these days to handle this). One more sucker is one more dollah bill to feed a cracked out whore (SEGA).

Why are we even comparing Feral, Asypr, and the like? They aren't even close to the size of these big corporate wankers.

Kickstarter might as well change their name to "the internet's world bank".
liamdawe 18 June 2015 at 2:33 pm UTC
The title is a bit confusing to see here :p

I will still never pledge on Kickstarter again, simples. Too many risks for me.

I buy games that are on Linux, and not before.
BTRE 18 June 2015 at 2:36 pm UTC
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KeyrockI don't have much of a problem with it. People forget that the two Shenmue games, while beloved by fans and generally liked by critics, did not do well financially. In particular, Shenmue 2 lost SEGA quite a bit of money.
This is more on Sega than anyone else. They didn't do budget control and had unrealistic expectations. The Dreamcast was ultimately a flop for them. It's a different situation when you have the 100+ million install base of both Steam and the Playstation 4.

KeyrockIn the end, Kickstarter still serves the same ultimate purpose, it allows a game to be made that wouldn't have been otherwise. If Shenmue 3 or KC: D don't make their Kickstarter funding goal then their financial backers don't fund the project and the game doesn't get made.
In a perfect world, maybe. I'm wary of big comapnies turning to kickstarter becausse it minimizes risks to them while pushing it all on us. And, of course, maximizing profits with a large amount of what are basically preorders. I'd rather only smaller studios who otherwise couldn't make games use crowdfunding, ideally.
FutureSuture 18 June 2015 at 2:41 pm UTC
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liamdaweThe title is a bit confusing to see here :p

I will still never pledge on Kickstarter again, simples. Too many risks for me.

I buy games that are on Linux, and not before.
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Segata Sanshiro 18 June 2015 at 3:56 pm UTC
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To be honest, the idea of multi-billion dollar companies like Sony essentially using crowdfunding as a "market research" platform doesn't really sit well with me. They have the funds to take risks, but time and time again the AAA industry puts out the same generic garbage because they're not willing to "risk" their stock falling by fractions of a percentage due to a new IP not selling as well as predicted. The more big companies are using the platform, the more the little guys who are actually creating original stuff and don't have the money to throw around will be shut out.

The only plus side I can see to big companies doing this is that it might put a load of marketing people out of work and maybe they can cease to define popular culture by making broad generalisations on demographics and "market demands" despite having no contact with reality:

(warning, lots of naughty words)
View video on youtube.com

However, I would love to see companies like Feral and Aspyr do it since they are in the same category as indie developers in the sense that big developers and publishers won't cough up the money if they think there's no "market" for it (see above). I think a lot of Linux gamers would put forward the money since these companies are very trusted names and there wouldn't be as many of the associated risks that come along with crowdfunding.
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