Ghostlight will release Devil Survivor 2 on DS… provided enough people pay upfront

Devil Survivor 2 on DS will be released in the UK on the condition that consumers pay up front for its manufacture.

That’s how publisher Ghostlight is pitching a new solution that will allow it to publish DS title Devil Survivor 2.

We’re now offering the game for pre-order on the Ghostlight store,” the company explained. However the game will only get manufactured if we can get enough pre-orders to cover our manufacturing costs. If not everyone will be refunded.

Anyone pre-ordering the game will have the option to include their name in the manual and also as a bonus, pre-ordered units will feature a special gold coloured Devil Survivor logo on the inlay.”

Interesting. There are two ways of looking at this:

1. Retail has long been criticised for its unwillingness to gamble on anything other than triple-A. It’s good that a publisher isn’t letting that stop it from releasing a game for which there is a clearly a market, albeit a relatively small one. And retail is just shooting itself in the foot here – these are exactly the sorts of issues a digital future will help bypass. If games retail doesn’t adapt to serve all demographics then its demise will only be hastened. Crowdfunding is yet another threat to bricks and mortar and pushing publishers and developers toward that model is ultimately self-defeating.

2. Crowdfunding has removed the culture of accountability from business and this is a dangerous step towards introducing that model into physical games publishing. Surely Ghostlight should be the ones footing the bill, not consumers? And as an operating publisher it surely has all the infrastructure and money in place to do so. After all, when it first hinted at a plan to get Devil Survivor 2 into shops back in March it only mentioned issues with retail, not problems with funding the manufacture of the game. And what’s the problem with releasing the game with online retailers? After all, online retail has been the reserve of the more specialist console and handheld gamer for some time now.

Ultimately, though, no-one is forcing consumers to do anything. If enough buy into Ghostlight’s plan then that in itself is all the validation we need, right?

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