UK indie dev becomes publisher

UK indie dev becomes publisher
Michael French

By Michael French

July 23rd 2009 at 8:00AM

Icon Games goes solo due to 'inability of traditional publishers to make quick decisions'

Another UK studio unhappy with the increasingly risk-averse nature of big publishers has turned to self-publishing.

Indie firm Icon Games this week announced intentions to self-publish five digital titles for the likes of PSP, DS, iPhone and consoles before the end of they year.

These include Arcade Darts (WiiWare/PSP), Stuntcars (WiiWare/PSP) and Arcade Sports (WiiWare).

"It was always our long term aim to self-publish but were not expecting to do so so soon," Richard Hill-Whittall, the firm's head of development told Develop.

"It was the ever increasing inability of traditional publishers to make decisions in a timely fashion that has given us the final push towards self-publishing. The old business model of developers pitching ideas/demos to publishers has become harder and harder to sustain as
publishers take longer and longer to make decisions about signing games.

"It's not unusual for a game to take six to 12 months to go through publisher submission and contract negotiation, during which the developer must find some way to pay their staff.

"These ever increasing delays have made it harder and harder for professional developers to manage their businesses, to the point where it has now become easier to take on the challenge of self-publishing than to continue with the old business model.

He added: "Obviously there are still great publishers out there and we still have on-going relationships with some of them but more and more they are in the minority and for this reason we now find ourselves unexpectedly bringing forward our plans to self-publish."

Icon's team already boasts a number of staff with prior experience working with publishers like Playlogic, Zoo Games, IN2Games, Ghostlight, Lego Media, THQ, TDK, Majesco, PlayIt, Midway, Midas Interactive, Mforma, Datel and Acclaim.