Square Enix has revealed a new crowdfunding program in the works that gives the public a voice in which projects are made while also vetting the creators to minimize risk.
The platform is called Collective, and seeks to take advantage of last year’s excitement over crowdfunding and help quiet some of the worries that the new funding mechanism had already run aground.
Since this is a Square Enix initiative, the publisher is also teasing the possibility that some teams could get the chance to work with some old Eidos IP.
Since crowdfunding first made the headlines it has been loved and loathed in nearly equal measure, sometimes by the same people, with the weight of public opinion being shifted toward the negative with every story of a campaign gone wrong.
Collective hopes to fix this by first putting the idea to the community to gauge interest, and if after 28 days it seems there’s reason a game could be successfully crowdfunded, Square Enix will take the project through due diligence to make sure the team actually has the experience and tools needed to make their vision a reality.
Square Enix will also provide an estimate for how much cash they think a project will need to see launch.
Once that’s out of the way, creators can take their game to IndieGoGo – Square Enix’s partner for the initiative – in the hopes of getting the cash they need.
The publisher won’t be turning away projects without explanation; developers will get a full explanation for any pitches that don’t make it through due diligence and provide suggestions for what might be needed to complete the game.
The advantage of this process is that it gives developers some momentum before they launch a crowdfunding campaign, and gives them a chance to reassure an increasingly skeptical public that they can deliver.
If Square Enix thinks an idea fits well with some of its older IP, they might offer the developer a chance to use it in their game.
While the gaming public seems to have tired somewhat of crowdfunding, this might draw some of the skeptics back in, since there’s less risk involved.
On the other hand, some might argue this defeats the purpose of crowdfunding, which many thought of as a way of releasing small studios from their dependence on well-monied corporations.
While some skepticism is certain, it remains to be seen just what Square Enix plans to gain from the service, whether it be a cut of all profits or just the possibility of getting license fees from projects that choose to use IP from the company back-catalog.
Submitting a pitch is free, but developers will need to submit to the terms and conditions, which have not yet been made public, and Square Enix says only that the agreement binds a studio to a policy of transparency and communication with the community.
The publisher has promised to reveal more information at GDC Next, scheduled for November 5-7 at the LA Convention Center.