Double Fine Productions, a San Francisco based developer, decided to use Kickstarter to raise money for an old-school adventure game project (headed by old-school adventure game developers Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert of Monkey Island and many other LucasArts adventure games fame). They were shooting for a mere $400,000, and hoped to reach that in 30 days. Instead, they hit that in 8 hours, and the money continued to pour in. With weeks left to go, they’re already over $2 million in pledges and counting, and the money is still rolling in.
This kind of success does not go unnoticed, particularly in the world of iOS development where a few hundred thousand is a very respectable game development budget. “The Kickstarter ecosystem requires that inventors create a good pitch and hone their ideas into a form that potential customers can easily understand, and that can only be a good thing,” said Paul O’Connor, brand director at Appy Entertainment. “Even if your idea doesn’t get traction, your project will be better for going through the process.”
“It’s great for the industry,” said Dave Castelnuovo, co-founder of Bolt Creative. “A lot of these big name developers are between a rock and a hard place. They see all the fun that’s being had in the app space with people creating their dream projects without interference from a publisher.”
Beyond that, The Game Baker’s Emeric Thoa feels Double Fine’s use of Kickstarter will encourage more developers to use it, and more players to get involved.
“Maybe an indie dev will have a better chance to reach $50k now that everyone has heard about Kickstarter,” said Thoa.
“It would be quite a gamble to give up working on AAA titles and start a game for the iPhone,” said Castelnuovo. “I’m sure that we will see more of this as time goes on, but I can’t quite predict if this will change the way games are made for everyone. Big name game designers can probably use Kickstarter to get a couple million to develop a project, which I feel is a fair amount for the types of games they are looking to create. But for inexperienced devs, I have a feeling they probably won’t be able to get nearly as much money, and even if they do, I’m sure you will see many of them fail to finish their ambitious projects with the funds they raised.”
With this in mind, the companies that may succeed the most are the ones that excelled long before Kickstarter existed.
“Double Fine’s Kickstarter success will change the content creation/distribution model only for a minority of developers who are already successful without Kickstarter,” said Ernest Woo, founder and CEO of Woo Games.