Reaction to these posts have been almost universally positive (even from Zweig), and several big social accounts went out of their way to put eyes on them. With that attention has come the high-running emotions of the community. I put this content out there, so I’m happy to hear what’s on people’s minds, but this experience has reminded me about the importance of our quest for the truth–especially when we’re emotional. One Redditor had an elaborate theory about how Buildbox was almost certainly going to collect their cut from a game’s total revenue–not your “take-home pay”–and after a platform like Steam’s 30% cut, leave developers with nothing, or even negative revenue! When I asked for any indication that this had ever been done or was likely to occur in the future, this individual replied to the effect of (and they’ve edited the initial post, so I’m paraphrasing), “they want 70% of your revenue. Does it matter what the truth is?”
I tried to give a measured response, but yes. The truth is everything. Buildbox has made a change most folks believe will ultimately prove unpopular. That’s not why I felt it was worth writing about. Buildbox can freely make whatever mistakes it wants, but the company published a pricing chart that doesn’t show 70% or the $5 threshold after which it applies at all. There’s a transparency issue.
To me, a transparency issue is an honesty issue. I’m definitely curious why Jonathan Zweig no longer considers Buildbox’s popular software a game engine, if there is a reason not involving price and royalty comparison. I’d like to know where I can find a YouTube creator program comparable to what Buildbox intends to do, which is something he’s brought up several times. I want to know more about the $20 million funding round Buildbox closed in January of this year, only to tell users in May that this was a necessary step if Buildbox was going to stay available to creators long-term. But ultimately, Buildbox has a right to do all of these things. I got involved because I felt creators need more information than they’re getting from Buildbox to make an informed decision. I think a lot of young people on TikTok–seemingly Buildbox’s leading platform for visibility–risk signing up and using Buildbox’s software without ever seeing the specific terms they’re agreeing to.
Complete truth requires transparency. Uncovering it requires objectivity. Those pursuits often require us to put our feelings on hold and shine a light into a dark corner. Sometimes we find the monster we were afraid of, and sometimes we have to admit it was just our imagination. More than ever, in a world where everyone has a camera and a microphone and the integrity of professional-level news gathering is called into question with increasing frequency, the ability to stay objective despite the biases every one of us maintains is of the utmost importance for all of us. This is why I would encourage everyone who hasn’t already to get familiar with common journalistic standards and strive to hold yourself to them even when others do not.