In less than five years, Kickstarter, one of the best-branded crowd funding platforms on the Internet, has raised tens of millions of dollars for sundry creative projects. Perhaps one of the most notable projects hit in April 2013, when media darling and writer, Rob Thomas, author of Rats Saw God and creator of Veronica Mars, went to Kickstarter to fund his movie based on the canceled series. He raised over $5.7 million; his $2 million goal was attained in about a ten hour span and his project became the third highest fundraiser on Kickstarter. Impressive.
Though $5.7 million for the Veronica Mars project is one of the top-funded campaigns, it is a small budget for a feature film. Another form of entertainment — video games — turns out to be a category that gets recurring attention. Indeed, one of the most consistently robust crowd funding creative project categories is not film, but video games. Take a look at the dollars raised for these top 5 video game projects:
- Ouya is a new video game console from Ouya Inc. It raised $8,596,474 in August 2012 from 63,416 backers. The system runs on a modified version of Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) and allows owners of the console to also serve as developers to create their own games without a license and without voiding the warranty. Though it’s a unique game system that encourages the end user to be a developer and conjure up original games, it will also ship with the streaming service, OnLive. Some backers of the project received the completed consoles in March 2013. The consumer release is slated for the end of June 2013.
- Torment: Tides of Numenera is a video game project from InXile Entertainment. It’s the brainchild of Dungeons and Dragons game wizard, Monte Cook. Torment raised $4,188,927 in April 2013. Over 74,000 backers will have to be patient: the release date for the game is slated for 2015.
- Project Eternity is a video game project from Obsidian Entertainment that raised $3,986,929 in October 2012 from 73,986 backers. By teasing the game as Project X on the Obsidian website, awareness from their fan base grew. Messaging released from the company noted that crowd funding would allow the developer to have a more unfettered rein, permitting the inclusion of more adult and edgy themes within the content of the game. That excited the Obsidian fan base and they ended up proudly supporting the project.
- Double Fine Adventure, now known as Broken Arrow, raised $3,336,371 with 87,142 backers in March 2012. The game is expected to be released in September 2013. Double Fine Adventure is notable for bringing a new array of backers into the Kickstarter platform. Estimates range from 30,000 to over 60,000 new users logged in to Kickstarter in order to fund the Double Fine Adventure campaign. The success of the project worked multi-fold to increase awareness for the Kickstarter platform as well as the video gaming adventure genre.
- Wasteland 2 is another video game project from InXile Entertainment that was funded in April 2012, a year before the company’s project, Torment, was funded. Wasteland 2 raised $2,933,252 from 61,290 backers. Based on the intellectual property, Wasteland, InXile acquired the rights of the original game from Konami. It is slated for an October 2013 release.
By investing in these new titles, gamers feel a sort of pride of ownership, though they own nothing, save the tee shirt or whatever tchotchke the fundraiser provides for the various levels of participation. The rewards range from the obvious to the profound: digital prizes, early delivery of the product or dinner with the creators. So crowd funding not only makes sense for video game developers and producers, it is a direct way to connect gamers with the process of making viable and engaging titles, while mitigating risks for the producers, who historically have had to pay upfront costs for every stage of development. Perhaps Kickstarter campaigns and other crowd funding platforms will allow creative developers to unleash their imaginations even more, worrying less about out-of-pocket risks and more about getting their dreams to come true, with a little aggregated help from their fans. Out-of-the-box thinking is already on display at Kickstarter: Quickly rising on the horizon of another blockbuster campaign is a compelling hybrid online trading card game called Hex: Shards of Fate, from Crytpozoic Entertainment, the creators and publishers of the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game. Hex is a MMORPG with the added punch of having the lure of TCG collectible game play. Check it out to see what could very well be the next massive wave in crowd funding campaigns. Compared to other categories of projects, video games and now online gaming constructs like Hex from Cryptozoic prove that crowd funded campaigns via Kickstarter can get one helluva kickstart. Vroom!
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The Ouya Game Console
The Ouya Kickstarter campaign raised $8,596,474 in August 2012 from 63,416 backers. The consumer release is slated for the end of June 2013.
Torment: Tides of Numenera
Torment: Tides of Numenera raised $4,188,927 in April 2013. Over 74,000 backers will have to be patient: the release date for the game is slated for 2015.
Project Eternity raised $3,986,929 in October 2012 from 73,986 backers. By teasing the game as Project X on the Obsidian website, awareness from their fan base grew, so when the Kickstarter campaign commenced, there were plenty of eager backers.
Double Fine Adventure
Double Fine Adventure is notable for bringing backers into the Kickstarter platform. Estimates range from 30,000 to over 60,000 new users came aboard Kickstarter because of the campaign. Awareness of Kickstarter grew exponentially as media coverage for these high dollar campaigns reached record levels of funding.
Broken Arrow, the new game title for the previously named Double Fine Adventure, raised $3,336,371 with 87,142 backers in March 2012. The game is expected to be released in September 2013.
Wasteland 2 is a video game project from InXile Entertainment that was funded in April 2012, a year before the company’s project, Torment, was funded. Wasteland 2 raised $2,933,252 from 61,290 backers.