Only a few years ago, if a video game developer really wanted to make a game, they had to pitch their game to a publisher, who was mostly concerned with money, and not with quality. Now, all a developer has to do is throw their dream game up on Kickstarter, a fundraising website that has proved hugely successful in helping developers fulfill their dreams and create the games that they’ve always wanted to create.
Examples of some hugely successful Kickstarters in just the past year include the nostalgia-inducing strategy game Planetary Annihilation, Obsidian Entertainment’s old-school RPG Project Eternity, and Tim Schafer’s Double Fine Adventure, a point-and-click adventure game. All of these projects easily eclipsed their fundraising goals, often by millions of dollars.
The emergence of Kickstarter as a vehicle to raise the capital to develop one’s “dream game” should be making a lot of people in the industry very nervous, specifically the publishers who normally would be the only way for developers to get their game out to the masses. Kickstarter has effectively cut out the middleman and made publishers useless to many companies who have enough fan support. Many of the successful video game Kickstarter projects would never have seen the light of day if the decision had been up to a publisher.
The biggest problem with video game projects on Kickstarter is that the whole process is untested; none of these projects have been seen through yet, and it remains to be seen if the developers can meet their deadlines and keep their promises to fans. Once there is a successful project that has met its deadlines and a complete, satisfying product has been released, then it can be said that Kickstarter is truly a legitimate way for a developer to make the game of their dreams.
Ultimately, whether or not Kickstarter will become great new way for developers to make the games they want is up to two groups of people: the fans and the developers themselves. So far, the fans have held up their end of the bargain and then some by donating to these Kickstarter projects. Now, it’s up to the developers to deliver a good product. Personally, I cannot wait.
Originally posted on leviathyn.com