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Could Kickstarter be the new way to fund old and new games?

Posted by: John at 2/10/2012 6:49 AM
Kickstarter and gaming came a long way few days ago when Double Fine went the crowd sourcing route in generating funds for one of their next games. How successful was Double Fine in garnering some capital to create their next game? Try $1 million in a day and counting. That's absolutely incredible..

Double Fine is using this tactic to create a brand new click and point adventure game. It's a genre that hasn't been really popular in the mainstream for a while, but here's the thing. If Double Fine went to a major publisher saying they wanted to do an old school style game, do you think they would be all in? Of course, the publisher would have a lot of reservations handing over money on something like that. Even to a very reputable development company, publishers want as much of a sure thing as possible in this day an age to recoup costs, turn a high profit, and pay shareholders.

So, Double Fine went with a new tactic to generate funds and it's become a smashing success. They initially wanted $400,000 in 30+ days. They shattered that mark in 24 hours.

Double Fine has shown that they have enough fans that believe in their venture to give them a few dollars here and there. This got me thinking on two fronts. Could Kickstarter be the next generation way to fund and purchase games and could Kickstarter also be a conduit in bringing back IPs that are beloved but have long been forgotten by the publishers?

Let's be honest, you're going to have to be a very reputable company to be able to get the funds like Double Fine has to make a new game. No one's going to hand over any money without knowing the company behind it or seeing a very polished demo of the product. That's not to say some new company couldn't go this route to try and get funds for their game. But unless you're a well known individual or development company, success stories like Double Fine's won't come easy. Still, I'd love to see companies old or new churn out new and interesting IPs with Kickstarter. We need more new and fun IPs rather than rehashes and sequels that seem to dominate the market. Kickstarter can be that way to start it all and it would be really great to see an IP hit it big starting out as a Kickstarter project from a larger studio.

Now, how about those IPs that you would love to see another installment of? For example, THQ and Volition has said they just don't see a market for another Freespace game even though fans have been clamoring for it. What if Volition did a Kickstarter project trying to fund a Freespace 3? If they went the independent route, they wouldn't have to need as much money to pay for overhead and release the title on Steam like Double Fine is. Don't you think they'd get enough capital to produce a solid sequel?

Think of all the old IPs that have a huge following, but won't get the funding from publishers because they think the risk is too great. How many great titles from the past would be brought back to life this way? Who knows until someone tries and Double Fine's experiment shows there's a market for crowd sourcing games and this could be a great way for a company to bring back a beloved IP without incurring as great of a risk.

With Kickstarter, we could be seeing the start of a new way for companies to fund gaming development. Yes, there are a lot of independent projects out there now, but bigger and bigger development companies could find this as a method to create new IPs when publishers balk at their suggestion. It could also lead to a resurrection of old IPs as well. I do hope Double Fine succeeds with their project and show to others that this is a viable way to go when developing games. If it does happen, let it be known that Double Fine was the company to be one to pull in larger studios in.