Gamecock Interview (con't)
FiringSquad: G.O.D. launched with the intentions of giving game developers more creative control over their titles. Will Gamecock follow this same formula and if so how what can you tell us specifically about how they plan to handle these kinds of publishing deals?
Mike Wilson: Absolutely. The basic issue is IP ownership. We think the artists should have it, and that a publisher owning creative control of a game (or any artistic endeavor) is a recipe for disaster. Especially for public companies... they just have too many artificial incentives to make poor creative decisions... quarterly demands, pressure for growth, pressure to own everything.
We just want a healthy artist-publisher relationship where the developers are actually quite happy to be working with us, and respect what we do for them... but I think the secret is acknowledging from the beginning that the developers are the talent here. We defer to their opinions on many things... from which games to make (we want them making the game they want to make), to which platforms, to marketing/pr stuff (since it's their brand/image we're pushing). We happen to think that professional game developers know a hell of a lot about the games market, whereas most publishers look at them as work for hire contractors I think.
Basically, I think what we do as publishers (marketing, pr, sales, distribution deals, etc etc) is really work for trained monkeys (such as us) compared to what the developers do. We are bringing funding, which is 90% of what a great development team actually wants or needs a publisher to do. We are paying for the games and spending big marketing dollars and dealing with the console companies and retailers for them. We provide services to them, not the other way around. It's a philosophical thing that really boils down to checking our ego as publishers at the door. Thus, calling ourselves Gamecock. :)
FiringSquad: You have already announced five games that are coming from Gamecock. How hard was it to get all these developers to sign up with your start up company?
Mike Wilson: Really easy, actually... in fact several of these teams waited a long time for us to finish our funding deal. Wideload in particular could have signed any number of deals back before E3 and chose to wait it out and fund the game on their own in hopes we'd get our deal done, which we did. I mean, we're letting them make the games they want to make, we're branding them over us, paying great royalties if the game is a hit, and we have alot of money to spend. Pretty easy sell. :)
FiringSquad: Gamecock looks like it will have the great sense of humor that G.O.D. did in marketing and promoting its games. Will we see events like the G.O.D. E3 tent to promote the label and its games?
Mike Wilson: Absolutely. It kills me that this industry is so friggin stale and boring. Why? We make GAMES... we have a total license to be wacky and fun. Let the accountants and insurance people of the world be boring... I mean I know that Doug Lowenstein wants us all to grow up, but I tell you that's a HUGE mistake. We need to grow DOWN if anything. We're bringin stupid back, baby.
FiringSquad: The games industry seems to be shifting slowly towards digital downloads as a way to distribute games. How does Gamecock intent to use this trend and do you feel it is good or bad for the industry?
Mike Wilson: That shift has been a long and slow one that folks have been talking about for as long as I've been in the business (remember Quake encryped shareware?) :) Glaciers have melted since we started talking about this. Seriously, the digital downloads market has gotten a great kick in the pants in the past year and I'm all for it... anything that opens up the channels for gamers to get exposed to more games. But 95% of the business is still about shipping boxes to stores, and I doubt that'll change too rapidly... but it wouldn't be a bad thing. I personally would love to not own any more discs for any media... but then I also wear a chicken mask, cape, and boxing gloves in public on a regular basis. Not sure I'm a representative sample.
FiringSquad: The next gen console race is in full bloom now. What is Gamecock's position on the PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii and which do you think will be more popular with the masses?
Mike Wilson: Our position is that we're going to make great original games for whatever platforms make the most sense for the product and the team's expertise. Everyone is thrilled that the Wii livened things up so much... what a ballsy and genius move by Nintendo. But it's certainly a marathon, not a sprint, so only time will tell. It's a fun race to watch, but I certainly wouldn't want to be running in it. :)