Tim Schafer, Founder of Double Fine Productions, has explained to press how he isn’t certain how the studios publishing business will function now that the development side of the business has been acquired by Microsoft.
Microsoft’s acquisition of Double Fine Productions was announced earlier this year at E3 2019, bringing the number of studios working under the platform holder to 15 in total. Microsoft also announced the acquisition of inXile and Obsidian Entertainment, in addition to the announcement of four other studio acquisitions at E3 2018, Playground Games, Ninja Theory, Compulsion Games, and Undead Labs.
Speaking with Destructoid, Shafer described the confusion of the situation. He explained how he wasn’t sure exactly how the publishing side of Double Fine will function within another publisher if the platform options are limited. Within Microsoft it could be assumed that Double Fine is only able to publish titles for Xbox consoles and PC, but it sounds as if no clear distinction has been made.
Shafer said that Double Fine Presents, the publishing arm of the studio, exists because it’s hard for small games to get published to large numbers of players, or even get noticed without help. Double Fine Presents was designed to provide resources in terms of experience with platform holders, press, and everything else that goes alongside publishing a game that indie developers might not know. He added that it also allowed Double Fine to pick their favorite games and help them out, giving them more exposure.
Schafer ended by saying that in the future, even if the studio isn’t able to publish games for multiple platforms, Double Fine will still help those indie developers with their experience in the industry. Events such as Double Fine Presents’ Day of the Devs will also continue, which is an event that invited around 80 developers to have their games played by the public, elevated under the Double Fine umbrella for free.
One thing Schafer did say is that Double Fine is no longer putting their name on a game, shipping it, and taking a cut of the revenue. Instead, they’ll be providing as much help as possible without a price tag.