Brad Wardell of Stardock has talked a lot on his blog about the development of Sins of a Solar Empire, and how it brought Stardock and Ironclad Games very close together, to the point where they could almost be considered one company. Stardock is technically the publisher but because they also develop games they could provide all kinds of help to Ironclad to get their game ready to go out the door – and the game certainly seems to have benefited, with a Metacritic score of 88.
Now Stardock is teaming up not just with Ironclad but also with Gas Powered Games to produce their new action/strategy/RPG mashup game Demigod.
In a previous video blog of mine I mentioned how Naughty Dog and Insomniac Games teamed up to the benefit of both, and this appears to be More Of The Same, and I couldn’t be happier.
Frankly, I think the two best game publishers on Earth right now are Stardock and Valve. Funny how both are developers as well as publishers. And funny how both use a combination of digital distribution and retail to sell their games.
I agree with you on your elevation of Valve and Stardock to the top publishers. However, the problem here is that they don’t do one of the main functions we frequently rely on a publisher to do, namely funding game development. It is that reliance that makes game development so difficult, but the fact is, games, even cute PC games take millions of dollars in dev-time, content creation etc.
Did Stardock fund Ironclad? Or did Ironclad come to them with a mostly done game? And if so, then as someone who might want to create a startup to make a smallish Steam or Stardock game, the problem is still, “How do I pay for this so that I can get paid for it…”