Ubisoft launched the Indie Series which is an annual competition for independent game development studios in Canada, offering funding, mentorship, and creative, marketing and financial tools. This includes $50,000 in funding.

From what I see there doesn’t seem to have any strings attached for winning. It says the game will be distributed through the UPlay PC Store but it doesn’t seem like it needs to be exclusively sold there (at least it doesn’t say so and Spearhead who received similar help is also selling Stories : The Path of Destinies on Steam).

There’s however a catch… If you’re a solo dev then you can forget about having a shot at winning as only studios of 2 to 50 persons can participate. I’m not sure what is the logic here and while anyone can enjoy $50,000, you can imagine how much more it could mean to a solo dev.

Would I actually participate if I could even if the date of the competition might not quite match the timeline for the current game I’m working on? Yeah, because delaying it might be worth it if it means having Ubisoft helping to promote it! Should I still submit something despite my “oh so special status”? No. If I’m not sure to get a shot at being admissible then it doesn’t make any sense for me to go into trouble and delay the game.

Now I’m not working alone on this game currently in development. I’ve partnered with my friend Brian ‘Psychochild’ Green who is living in the US. We haven’t formed a distinct legal entity for this game and have no intention of doing so because we can’t really afford the trouble or headaches this might involve. It’s like 2 studios were collaborating to release 1 game. So even if we’re a team of 2 we still don’t fit this criteria for the competition.

Solo indie game devs seem to get the short end of the straw when it comes to programs meant to help developing the video game industry in Canada. In Quebec there’s a tax break for game studios but it’s to provide a relief on employee salaries… Guess what it means when you’re self-employed…

So basically, those who might benefit the most from such help are left behind and big studios like Ubisoft are benefiting greatly from it. I understand that they are creating jobs but it turns out I also created a job in the last year: mine. I fail to see why it wouldn’t be worth it to help me to make sure I keep this job… By not having employees and keeping my business overhead thin, I make sure my business is profitable but sadly it doesn’t seem like it’s the kind of efficient business we want to see around…