Indie Fund

By: Derek Yu

On: March 3rd, 2010

Indie Fund

A group of successful indie developers have started Indie Fund, a funding source for independent developers. The 7 backers of the fund (Ron Carmel, Kyle Gabler, Jonathan Blow, Kellee Santiago, Nathan Vella, Matthew Wegner, and Aaron Isaksen) are investing in indie games and supporting their development. The primary goal is to provide a way for indies to create and sell games without having to compromise their vision or legal rights to publishers. Of course, you’d also be getting the advice of some of the community’s most experienced and successful creators.

Currently, the Fund is investing in a few undisclosed indie titles, which happened “through word of mouth within the indie community”. Eventually, though, there will be a way for developers to submit their games. You can find out more about Indie Fund in this Gamasutra Q&A with Ron Carmel of 2D Boy.

  • Kamos

    Whoa, this is great… I don’t see how this could go wrong. There are some things to watch out for, of course. Some time from now, people will start complaining about unfairness in the selection of games to be funded, how the indie fund is not indie, etc.

  • BMcC

    But who cares about those people? :P

    This is only a good thing. Another option cannot be a bad thing.

  • magallanes

    Do you want to help indies?.
    Then bring us a new platform store with a fair percentage. Iphone is really popular for indies because:
    a) everyone can publish it (a $100 fare is fine).
    b) you are not charged for publish your material, you are simply charged a commission x sale, if you game is for free then you don’t need to pay anything.

  • falsion

    How will you make sure that this doesn’t get abused? What if you fund someone only for them to blow it on something besides making games?

  • ninomojo

    “Do you want to help indies?. Then bring us a new platform store with a fair percentage”

    Developer’s share is roughly the same on all download stores, WiiWare, AppStore, XBLA, Steam, etc. There are variations but as far as the share goes, they’re much more favorable to the developer than ANY retail deal with a publisher. The entry barrier is still too high for indies on most consoles, yes, but if the goal here is for indies to make a decent living from their games, then you have to consider the fact that when a platform goes “wild open” like the Appstore, it becomes a very unhealthy business environment. We’re at what now, 200,000 apps available? No matter how cool is your game, it’s gonna be very hard to sell it because there’s always gonna be a dozen free or a one dollar competitors to it, whether it sucks or not. It’s now as hard for indies to make a place for themselves and make people aware of their game on the iPhone than it is on other platforms.

    “However, when you say “the developer has total control”, I don’t really believe that.”

    Well you’re right, that’s why I said “near total control”. :) You obviously can’t do porn on either service, and as Antony Flack points out, anything related to the release etc is pretty much out of your hands. But that’s their platform so they got to have some control over it, plus an online store quickly becomes an unhealthy mess in which you can barely survive without selling below $1 (Appstore) or one that is so unappealing that simply no one shops on it (WiiWare), if they don’t run it with a bit of strength I suppose.

    @Paul Eres: Well, at least for the legal side of things, the console makes deals a developer signs are “distribution agreement”s. They really position themselves as a distributor (but a distributor IS powerful, and they’re the ones holding publishers by the balls in the retail world). I didn’t know about the Braid demo, that really sucks yeah. But seeing the sales of the game on XBLA, I wonder what part the demo played in that. I wonder if Braid’s conversion rate wold have gotten higher or lower if Jon Blow could have made the demo the way he wanted. But yeah, I’ll agree that’s not the point, and a game maker should have creative control on his demo, period.

  • ninomojo

    “How will you make sure that this doesn’t get abused? What if you fund someone only for them to blow it on something besides making games?”

    I’m pretty sure Indie Fund or not, you’re going to have to sign a contract and you’ll be legally responsible if you blow the money on hookers. :)

  • Del_Duio

    Everyone can use the extra help. This is a great idea!