After game projects like Double Fine Adventure and Star Citizen raised millions on Kickstarter, the video game industry became acutely aware of the crowdfunding website’s money-raising powers. Still, most game projects don’t dare ask for more than around $500,000. The collective wisdom seems to suggest that projects shouldn’t ask for too much because Kickstarters that fail to reach their goals get no money at all.
But studio Frontier Developments knows how much money it will take to fully produce its space-sim Elite: Dangerous, and that’s why it set its goal at a staggering $2 million. No Kickstarter campaign has ever met such a lofty minimum goal.
With just hours to go, Frontier Developments sits comfortably at about $2.4 million. That sets the record for the Kickstarter with the highest successfully met goal.
“Astonishingly we crossed the line on my 49th birthday yesterday, which really made my day,” said Frontier Developments founder David Braben. “I was really touched, delighted, excited, relieved by the news. It is really, really great.”
Braben and his team added a few stretch goals, including a Mac version of the game and 10 more ships. Since he wrote the message on his birthday, the Kickstarter surpassed both of those markers.
This is another example of Kickstarter’s value. Nearly 25,000 people are contributing to Elite: Dangerous’s development. It’s a game that would have struggled to find funding in the traditional publisher model, but has already generated enough excitement to justify a $2 million goal to thousands of excited gamers.
A lot of industry people are still waiting for the other shoe to drop on the crowdfunding model. Kickstarter doesn’t guarantee anything to the individuals who donate money, which seems like a recipe for a lot of anger and disappointment. At the same time, the platform racks up success after success on a nearly daily basis.
While many still have doubts about crowdfunding, every one of these news stories solidifies the business model’s long-term viability.