The Week That Proved Funding Doesn’t Need To Be Conventional


By: Stephen Crane (Photo: Kickstarter)

This may, perhaps, have been the week that proved the viability of independently funded games, and a market that really cares about the developers and a great concept. For those who don't know there were two amazing examples of unconventional funding this week: Markus Persson, AKA Notch has agreed to fund a Psychonauts sequel for Double Fine, while the same studio also ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a new point and click adventure title.

So how did this all begin? Well first Tim Schafer was recently interviewed for Digital Spy. He mentioned how he would love to make Psychonauts 2, but can't find the funding for it. This prompted Notch to ask exactly how much funding would be needed, and from there an avalanche of awesome occurred. It all went from a potential joke to a serious discussion

Nothing is set in stone, but according to Double Fine "Tim and Markus are talking."

Yesterday Double Fine started a Kickstarter page intending to fund a new adventure game. Recognizing that publishers don't often consider this genre economically feasible, the company turned to the people demanding this sort of game. Tim Schafer asked only for $300,000 for the game and $100,000 to fund the documentary. The idea may have seemed a little risky at the time which is why they set a funding deadline of March 13.

All those fears quickly evaporated. After only eight hours the project was 100% funded. The numbers have continued to rise, however. As of writing this, the project has raised 1.46 million dollars and rising.

The question has been raised "what now?" The best answer given was "The extra money will be put back into the game and documentary. This could result in anything from increased VO and music budgets to additional release platforms for the game."

This really is an interesting example of how putting the cart before the horse isn't always that bad. The traditional idea of funding is generating money to spend on product creation, then recouping the money via game sales. What Kickstarter has allowed Double Fine to do is sell a game before production. They can and most likely will still market the game, but now they already have $1.4 million in sales. They are also making the product almost purely digital so manufacturing of discs won't be an issue.

Can you sell games on little more than a good idea and an impressive resume? 40,000 backers have proved that yes, it is possible.

Do we need mega corporations to fund and publish our games? Notch is ever working to prove that no: success can come independent of big business.

I look forward to seeing what is to come, and perhaps witness a new breed of game creators.

My only demand of Tim Schafer is this: Liquidate the Kickstarter money into cash, then dive into a pool of it Scrooge McDuck style. It's the only dignified thing to do.

You can check out the Kickstarter page here.

About Stephen Crane

Stephen was hooked by the NES at a very young age and never looked back. He games on a daily basis and is currently trying to climb his way up the ranked ladder on League of Legends! Outside of the video game world he actually likes running and owns a rapidly growing collection of toed shoes. Stephen Crane is the owner of Armed Gamer.

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