videogamedunkey, one of the most popular YouTubers in gaming, has announced its own publisher for indie games.
The company, called Bigmode, was founded by Jason Gastrow (better known as donkey) and his partner Leah.
Gastrow is known for his running gags, deadpan deliveries, and quirky humor, while he is also capable of producing excellent videos that talk about games and the industry.
Gastrow has been outspoken in his love of indie games in particular, and in his announcement video for Bigmode he cites it as the main reason behind the company’s creation.
“I’ve always been looking for the best indie games around and trying to do them justice,” said Gastrow, adding that the Bigmode team has “put a lot of effort into making possible the most suitable contracts for developers.” Gastrow concluded the video of him by encouraging developers to apply via the Bigmode website, regardless of whether their project is a presentation or a finished product.
Some have said they can’t wait to see the games that will be released by Bigmode, trusting in the curation of Gastrow. For some developers, this fact brings some skepticism to the company’s intentions and potential future actions.
Gastrow described Bigmode as “a harmonious continuation of my channel”, paying attention to what exactly that means.
Unless there’s a ton of cash and a real behind-the-scenes experience, it seems like the only appeal here is to be featured on her channel. I’m not surprised to see many insulted developers taking it out on here today
– Andy Robinson (@AndyPlaytonic) September 22, 2022
so if I understand correctly, the main reason to post with him is to be present on his channel? as if you could talk about your sense of professional responsibility but you have just entered the realm of “sometimes I will promote games in which I have a financial stake but trust me”
– Mixolumia 🔶 on Switch now! ✨ (@davemakes) September 22, 2022
Others have wondered if Gastrow has the skills to work in game development. The credentials Gastrow used to promote Bigmode consisted of his time as a critic on YouTube:
“These days I feel like I play almost every game that comes out … I play so many games that my first name is ‘video game’, okay? I understand what kind of ideas always work, which ideas never work, which kind of ideas are fresh or have to come back and what is extremely played “.
The claim has caused frustration among those with experience shipping a game, as it involves more than just looking after the game.
hey man, I respect Dunkey for trying to start a publishing business and wish him and his partner the best, but for fuck’s sake it’s 2022 guys – we have to abandon the naivety that having opinions on games is a qualification to understand anything about development.
– danny o’dwyer (@dannyodwyer) September 22, 2022
If what a publisher has proven is money and a YouTube channel, assume the worst case scenario for your commercial considerations: they could screw everything up and therefore the game may never ship or be not supported properly. So you should offset the risk upfront – ask for more money.
– Rami Ismail (رامي) (@tha_rami) September 22, 2022
Other developers are wishing Gastrow and his team all the best, recognizing that a game’s shipping process can only be truly learned by actually sending a game.
I honestly think Dunkey has a good eye for fun design, and if he wants to throw money at indie developers, why not? sure they might hit some harsh realities of game making, but like … that’s how you learn.
– Noel Berry (@NoelFB) September 22, 2022
Mike Rose, former critic of various sites including Kotaku and Gamasutra and now director of the publisher No More Robots, revealed that he was contacted by three different “big” YouTubers seeking advice on starting their own publishing houses, the meaning we may see more internet personalities launching publishers soon.
Three different big YouTubers (not Dunkey) have asked to call me in the last 18 months, saying they were starting their own publisher and may have some advice
so pretty sure we’re about to see an influx of “I could do it” YouTubers who enjoy posting
– Mike Rose (@RaveofRavendale) September 22, 2022