The folks at Florida-based game distributor IndieBox announced today that they're shutting down the company's core business: a $20+/month subscription service that would deliver a monthly custom-designed boxed version of an indie game.
This is potentially a bummer for indie devs who had hopes of one day working with IndieBox to get their own games included in the program. Moreover, it sheds a bit of light on where the market is (or isn't) at right now for physical game box subscription services.
"The subscription model is really tough!" Indiebox's FAQ reads, in answer to the question of why the service is ending. "Not to get 'too business-y', but there is this delicate balance between audience size, perceived product value, and cost of goods for each game we produce. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to make the model work given the amount of effort needed to produce Collector’s Editions each month and the amount of subscribers we had."
Going forward, the company says it will be "changing direction" and will be focusing on growing its business of supporting online game storefronts. The company is no longer accepting new subscribers, and it won't be shipping any more custom boxed editions of games after it gets the last shipment (for Runic's 2012 game Torchlight 2) out the door.
Current subscribers will have their accounts closed, and IndieBox is promising to take care of those with subscriptions that extend past the service's final shipment.