The University of Southern California is using its celebrated games program as a platform to launch a new publishing label, one focused on innovation and creativity rather than profits.
USC Games Publishing will launch in the spring, with an initial focus on releasing the best work from its students to console, PC and mobile platforms. According to an article on Wired, the label has a longer term goal of opening up to developers outside of the school, as long as the work adheres to certain ideals
"Curation is one of the most important things that players deserve these days," said Tracy Fullerton, who has been director of USC Games since May 2014. "There's a tremendous amount of content available for people to find, and yet it's very difficult to find. One of the ways that ... this label that we're establishing can participate is by curating important voices, really innovative work, and putting it out there under our publishing label."
Fullerton continued: "We're going to err on the side of the designer. Creative control would remain with the designer."
According to Richard Lemarchand, the former Naughty Dog design lead who left for USC in 2012, the program's students create games of "shippable quality" every year. Fl0w, The Unfinished Swan and The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom are all examples of games that started out as USC projects, all of which received critical acclaim and at least solid commercial performance.
But money won't be the real goal, Fullerton said, comparing USC Games Publishing to the MIT Press in book publishing.
"These are not books that are going to necessarily be on The New York Times best-seller list, but these are books that are important, that need to be out there in the zeitgeist. I feel like we can do something similar here with games.
"We are not expecting to make a profit... We hope that what we reap from this is cultural recognition of this form."