Managing director of small UK indie team Mark Morris has told attendees to today’s Northern Exposure conference that developers will do well to fight against the typical deals publishers try and put through which see them take ownership of a developer’s IP.
In a provocative talk charting the studio’s six year history in producing and self-promoting games Uplink, Defcon and Darwinia, Morris debated whether or not publishers were really necessary for developers.
Introversion’s games have all so far been made by its small team and everything from the distribution to the sales have been handled by the same group of people.
"Do we really need publishers to help with development?" he asked of publisher interference in projects, adding: "With all the creative ideas in our heads, I think not."
He was quick to point out, however, that "the one thing publishers do" is provide development funding for big titles – "That’s no small thing," he added.
The big statement, however, was made when it came to IP, Morris telling attendees: "You don’t need to sell your IP – try saying no to a publisher and see what happens."
"They need content," he reasoned, adding that publishers will eventually change their view on wanting to own a project they publish – but someone needs to challenge them first. The rising opportunities for self-publishing via digital distribution is making publishers aware that they may have to be more flexible over contracts, he added.
"Publishers have a lot of interest in our titles but when you’ve got XBLA and PSN you can be a lot tougher in dealing with them."