Maroon and Gamer: Kickstart My Game

It’s no surprise that games cost a lot of money to make, and oftentimes they rival films with regards to their budgets. The video game industry, however, has an alternative option, which involves developers who want to make games but publishers never saw it as lucrative in today’s market. So developers who can’t find a publisher to fund their game go to the heart of any entertainment medium, the fans. Kickstarter.com is a website that allows anyone to view a project, see who’s involved and when the final product is to be released. Anyone can donate any amount they see fit to give to the product, and the larger amount you give, the larger the rewards. For example $15 may get you the game when released but $30 will give you the game, concept art and a soundtrack.

This style of funding for video games effectively changes the way games are funded and gives hope to the developers who get turned down by publishers.  Brian Fargo, Interplay founder and Wasteland and Fallout creator, wanted to make a sequel to Wasteland, a role-playing game in an isometric view that harkens back to the ‘90s, and he went to nearly all of the publishers for funding. In an interview with Ripten.com, Fargo discussed his publishing difficulties: “Every single one of those things in that pitch video happened [which is available on the Wasteland 2 Kickstarter website] I would be waiting for people to call me back to give me a response, and they would send me Farmville requests all day long… There was one guy who couldn’t stop texting in the middle of the meeting and I was outraged.”

So far, the Wasteland 2 fan-funded project has about $1.8 million, which exceeds the $900,000 amount they were hoping to make. Fargo said that if Double Fine, which is making a fan-funded game as well, didn’t have as much success as they did he probably wouldn’t have seen Kickstarter as an option at all. Double Fine was looking for funding for a point-and-click adventure game, which also harkens back to the ‘90s style of games, and they exceeded their $400,000 goal and ended their funding with $3.3 million under their belt. Double Fine said that fans “democratize the process by allowing consumers to support the games they want to see developed… It’s the kind of creative luxury that most major, established studios simply can’t afford. At least, not until now.” It’s staggering to think that these big budgets are from the fans and people that want these old-style games not to go the way of the dodo.

I think this new, alternative way of funding really expresses just how passionate gamers are toward gaming and how they want to see more games than just first- and third-person shooters. It also shows publishers and developers that people really do want these games to exist and that there is a market for them.

Comment below or email me at shfawcet@asu.edu with your opinions on Kickstarter and if you ever funded a project through Kickstarter or any other means.