Kickstarter: Something exciting is happening to computer games

I posted awhile ago about the Double Fine kickstarter – a crowdfunded project to support a new point and click style adventure game with some big industry names behind it. As it happens, that particular project broke all Kickstarter records by raising $3mil. (That’s million.) That makes it the largest project in Kickstarter history.

There are currently over 87000 backers for that project alone. Eighty seven thousand.

So does that mean that all the available money for minority interest computer games was funnelled into that one project, starving out lots of other interesting ideas by less well known developers? Actually, no it doesn’t. Kickstarter write about this in a blog post. It turns out that once interested punters have lobbed some spare cash at an interesting looking gaming project, they’re more likely to fling a bit more at other interesting projects on the site (acting quite like actual venture capitalists in that respect, since if you throw cash at a few projects, chances are at least one will be a winner.)

I suspect that being able to get a full copy of the final product for a fairly reasonable outlay is behind the huge popularity, even though plenty of enthusiastic backers are happy to pay more. If they had set the Double Fine rewards at $50 to get the full game, there wouldn’t have been nearly as many takers.

In the month before Double Fine, the Video Games category averaged 629 pledges per week. After Double Fine’s launch, the Video Games category averaged 9,755 pledges per week, excluding pledges to Double Fine itself. The jump is similar in terms of dollars:

  • $1,776,372 was pledged to the Video Games category in Kickstarter’s first two years. In the six weeks after Double Fine, $2,890,704 was pledged ($6,227,075 counting Double Fine).
  • Before Double Fine, one video game project had exceeded $100,000. Now, nine have.
  • Wasteland 2, a million-dollar game project that launched after Double Fine, has received nearly $400,000 in pledges from Double Fine’s first-time backers.

(Wasteland 2, incidentally, currently has attracted about $1.8mil in backing as of the time of this blog post.)

Kickstarter support this by having a social media type setup on their site too, so you can check which projects your Facebook friends have supported (for example.)

And not only does the rising tide of video game support help lots of new game projects, lots of projects in other areas such as comics, film, art, music, etc got a boost from all those new users on the Kickstarter site.

Crowdfunding isn’t the only, or even the best source of funding for all indie games. But it’s interesting to see how willing people are to put money behind blue sky projects. Melmoth compares funding Kickstarter projects to having one night stands (note: this is more of a male perspective Smile ).