For those who are unaware, Dunkey is a youtuber with ~7.2 million subscribers as of this post. He is primarily a youtube pundit and posts about various video games and his opinions of them. Most recently, he has announced that he has started an indie publisher named BigMode. According to their website, BigMode can provide support for:
- PR and Community Management
- Porting to other platforms
These are all services that most publishers of all budgetary levels can provide. Most in-development games need help with most of these in order to launch successfully. Each of these things requires a significant amount of resource investment for a development studio to handle themselves. The primary purpose of a publisher is to provide these services for multiple games in exchange for a cut of each of the finished games that get produced.
These services aren’t cheap. Game publishers survive or perish based on their ability to evaluate and choose winning games. Publishers need to pick some winners in order to keep the lights on and continue paying for these services for the next batch of games they choose to publish. A lot of games sound fantastic at the pitch level, but run aground on all of the thousand big and little issues that crop up between pitch and final submission. It remains to be seen whether BigMode has the ability to pick winners consistently or provide the support needed in order to carry the projects they choose over the finish line.
I managed to find Bigmode’s LLC registration in Florida, but I can’t find anybody on LinkedIn who says they work there. Presumably somebody within my LinkedIn network would be working there doing things like community management, marketing, localization, QA, or platform porting - all services that they say they are providing - unless they are planning to outsource everything to third party companies. I can definitely find most other indie game publishers, as well as people with career histories with those indie publishers. It’s also a little strange that BigMode didn’t start by announcing any titles that they’ve already secured the rights to publish.
If Dunkey really wants to do this and the company doesn’t really produce enough revenue to sustain itself, I suppose he can become a modern patron of the arts and pay for his publishing ambitions himself with his other streams of income. I’m glad that more options for publisher services are being offered for indie game devs - I hope that this does turn out well. But I’m skeptical at the moment - there’s only been the announcement so far, and publishing requires a strong team effort. Picking projects to publish is only a small part of a very long and difficult process. Dunkey is similar to Dr. Disrespect in that I don’t really think either will really be greatly affected if their game dev dreams fall apart. I think the worst case scenario regarding BigMode would be promising games going with BigMode as their publisher and falling apart because BigMode isn’t up to the task.
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