We have decided not to rely on commerce anymore for funding our production. Not so much because we dislike commerce but simply because we’re not very good at it and we feel we should devote more of our time to creation and less to trying to sell the products we create. The huge benefit of this approach is that it liberates us from all sorts of concerns that may have been compromising our work for years. I believe this will lead to a significant improvement in the quality of our work.
So instead of borrowing money in the hopes we can pay it back from revenue gathered through sales, we will now collect the money required for production (most of which simply goes to food and rent) before, or while, we are creating. Part of this may be covered by art grants and subsidies. But we still believe in what we called a “punk economy” in our Realtime Art Manifesto.
We like the idea of forming a sort of symbiotic relationship with our audience. If enough of you can contribute a small amount of money every month, then we can produce all the art that we hope brings you (and others) much joy. That you do this while we are creating, and not after the fact, means that our work can be much more pure and sincere. This is very different from making a product that one needs to sell when it’s done, which always influences the decisions made during creation, often in a bad way.
This may seem overly idealistic, but if I look back on our 12 years of game development, I have to admit that sales only supported us in part. In a way it’s more realistic for us to not count on sales at all. We can still sell the products of our work. But we shouldn’t need to for survival. We’ve always found it a bit absurd to sell software since it’s so easy and cheap to just copy it. It feels more honest and fair that people who enjoy our work simply pay for its creation, rather than buying a product (that could just as well be copied for free).