I’ve heard stories in every royalty-driven business, but especially in the game industry, about management worries about paying “too big an amount” to royalty recipients. I’ve read stories about how this has alienated talent and destroyed “overnight success” studios. I’ve always found this to be baffling behavior on the part of the alleged management.
I’ve always rejected the lame excuses that pass for justification of changing the deal after the fact or trying to write such complex contract so as to insure that the very people who produce The Success™ don’t get “too much money” out of the deal. (I can’t imagine what “too much money” is myself. Heh.)
Seth’s succinctly makes the point that I’ve always felt emotionally, but could never articulate half so well.
We often hesitate to pay a portion of the upside to someone who is taking a risk, because we’re worried that perhaps, just perhaps, his risk will pay off and he’ll make a fortune…
Seth’s Blog: "But what if it works?"
Thanks explaining it, Seth. We already committed to doing it, but it’s nice to see another genius concur with our own thinking.
For the record, my personal goal is to help every single team member make a fortune. Every time we ship. Every time we help each other reach the end zone, the goal, the finish line.
I can’t promise team members and partners (we don’t have “employees” here) that we’ll make even one fortune, but we are damn sure going to have fun trying!!
I want everybody’s royalty checks to have more zeroes on the end than I can count. I can’t think of a better motivation for them to want to sign on for the next game and do it all again.
I was always amused by the whining found lying about in webernet blog and forum comments that Xbox Live “refused to support microtransactions”. I was amused because we have a plan to work within the system already available without crying for new features to approximate a microtransaction system for XBL titles.
But, alas, if PA is to be believed, and they usually should be, Crimson Alliance seems to have gotten there first. Which is totally cool! It just proves that proves our theory is workable!
We’ve been busy, and haven’t had a chance to play CA yet, but it looks like a fun game and when the schedule lets up a little bit (maybe in October?), we’ll be firing that up with the kith and kin and see how right we still plan to be. Heh.
Seth’s got the most succinct explanation of the reason we aim to hire talent by preference. We will outsource to vendors for some things, but…
Vendors happily sit in the anonymous cubes at Walmart’s headquarters, waiting for the buyer to show up and dicker with them. They willingly fill out the paperwork and spend hours discussing terms and conditions. The vendor is agnostic about what’s being sold, and is focused on volume, or at least consistency.
While the talent is also getting paid (to be in your movie, to do consulting, to coach you), she is not a vendor. She’s not playing by the same rules and is not motivated in the same way.
Seth’s Blog: Talent and vendors
We aim to hire multifaceted creators to join our cross-functional teams. We treat people the way that we expect to be treated, and in turn, we expect them to put heart and soul into their creations the same way that we do.
We don’t just “do business”. First and foremost, we do fun!