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Brown: Team 17's Move To Self-Publish Ensures 'Mistakes Will Be Our Own'

Team 17 co-founder Martyn Brown (Worms, Alien Breed) tells Gamasutra about abandoning third-party publishers and retail, saying "it’s about control... even if that means making a few mistakes along the way."

Simon Parkin, Contributor

September 1, 2010

3 Min Read

UK-based veteran independent game development studio Team 17's co-founder, Martyn Brown has told Gamasutra that the developer’s decision to focus entirely on digital distribution will ensure that any mistakes made will be their own. "Our shift is to independent publishing," he said in a new interview, "and that means a total focus on digital first and foremost. Specifically it’s about control, for us to make all the decisions -- and even if that means making a few mistakes along the way, they are our mistakes, which is critical." Brown’s comments follow the news that the studio is to abandon retail releases and third-party publishers in the future, in favor of digital platforms such as Xbox Live Arcade, the PlayStation Network, Steam and the iPhone/iPad App Store. "We have very good relationships with the first party platforms and it’s helped make this course of action pretty easy," he said. "We’ve been in the business for 20 years, and spent our first six years publishing as well as developing, so it’s almost full circle for us." Brown clarified that the studio isn’t necessarily ruling out packaged goods in the event of the right commercial deal, but that for the most part, Team 17’s future plans will focus on digital releases. Indeed, the company is midway through a prolific publishing period, with Alien Breed Impact set for release on PSN later this week, bringing the total number of the studio’s digital releases to 12 between May and September of this year. When asked if the studio had a preference for a particular distribution channel, Brown was diplomatic. "We’re pretty much platform agnostic. Xbox Live Arcade heralded our first real shift to digital publishing and by and large, our experience has been fantastic." "It's by no means the most straightforward platform to develop for and a lot of studios have struggled to get to grips with it, particularly the certification process, but if you get a strong title on the platform it can be incredibly rewarding. In future, our approach is to deliver our IP across as many platforms as possible and we’re geared up to deliver on most." The Yorkshire-based studio's future plans also include acting as a publisher for independent developers, something Brown is excited by. "We have a lot of experience to offer other studios who perhaps haven’t been able to get in the right places over the years. I can’t name anything specifically, but certainly we’re another realistic option for other studios." He added, perhaps referencing Team17's recent years in the industry: "We completely understand what it’s like to be an indie developer and how tough the market can be -- and we can help with IP management, positioning and getting games onto various platforms." Brown explained why he's joining other UK developers such as Blitz Games in trying to provide additional services for other developers: "Above all, we won’t mess anyone around which I think is a big bugbear with third party publishers. It can take months just to get a 'no' so you get stuck hanging on and that’s no good for anyone. We’ve gained a lot of experience, got a lot of contacts and can help other studios in terms of mentoring too."

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About the Author(s)

Simon Parkin


Simon Parkin is a freelance writer and journalist from England. He primarily writes about video games, the people who make them and the weird stories that happen in and around them for a variety of specialist and mainstream outlets including The Guardian and the New Yorker.

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