DOJ Inc., parent company of Hero Games, has announced its acquisition of a majority stake in Indie Press Revolution from Brennan Taylor, one of the company’s founders. Indie Press Revolution (IPR) is a distributor and online retailer for so-called indie publishers of roleplaying games. Brennan, one of IPR’s founders, will retain a minority interest, as will other current investors.
From a business perspective this may make a lot sense. DOJ has already been providing warehousing and shipping services for IPR for almost 2 years. But from a game perspective, this one will probably have some people scratching their heads. Hero Games is not what most people would consider “indie.” On the other hand, perhaps that’s something people should reconsider. I recommend listenting to a very interesting 2007 Theory From the Closet podcast episode in which Clyde Rhoer and Hero Games’ Darren Watts discuss that very subject.
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From a Brennan Taylor perspective it does make sense, he does not want to run the business and never really did (and no one could blame him, he is a designer I would rather see him do what he is good at).
However, IPR was Brennan Taylor. His taste and style was IPR and people who frequented the site knew it. Watching the new arrivals at IPR meant being at the leading edge of the RPG world.
This is something that the makers of “Champions” utterly lack. Forget independent, champions makes games like Palladium and World of Darkness look cool and sophisticated.
It is like if the McDonalds corporation bought out Craft Steak. Of course they could and if they did nothing Craft Steak would do fine, but it could never grow, change and adapt without McDonalds doing some serious learning.
DOJ has their work cut out, considering that they enter the market with a deficit of taste. Will they step up? Will they convert the company? Stay tuned.
Interesting perspective, BG Josh. I believe I heard that that Brennan personally vetted each product to determine whether it fit the IPR concept of indie and met quality standards. Not that that would be inappropriate for a distributor to do, but that the results could be different when new people are doing the filtering.
You are correct. IPR ran on the “boutique” model. He sold carefully selected products at full price. Thus everything hinged on selection.
It is like a designer clothing store being sold to a business man. He is certainly capable of keeping the books but not running the selection.
Does anybody know if this is why the indiepressrevolution site is currently down? Or is that an unrelated (and hopefully temporary) error?
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