Friday, April 20, 2012

Kickstarter Kicks Change In The Throat

I wonder if there will be a day when the gaming industry will not need publishers to be a middle man between developers and gamers. Probably not, but Kickstarter and Rockethub are on the right track in giving more power to gamers and developers alike. At first I considered the popularity of Double Fine Adventure to be a unique occurrence. However, it seems that crowd source funding, or crowdfunding, might be the most lucrative option for developers looking to fund a game that publishing companies turn their nose to. After Double Fine’s Kickstarter project raised over 3 million dollars, a Wasteland 2 Kickstarter was funded with almost $3m. And that’s not to downplay all the other projects that have been funded since Kickstarter began. With bigger budgets attached to crowdfunded games, this could be the beginning of a change in how games are handled from development teams to the consumers who invest in them.

While it is awesome that crowdfunding could actually be relevant, it is also important to keep in mind that most of the games that are funded/successful are what most publishers consider “niche markets.” Bigger publishing companies won’t give money to a dev team to make a Leisure Suit Larry remake or a steampunk styled MMORPG. Big “Triple-A” titles are still going to be released and still make, and cost, a lot of money. What makes this an interesting time is that now, publishing companies like EA and Activision might pay attention to these “niche markets” and realize that there’s more profit for them than they thought.

I don’t care if this crowdfunding thing actually sticks around or not. The fact that it made a really big splash and caused more people besides the fans of classic point-and-click adventure games to speak up about what they want is good for all of us. Change and disruption of the status quo is good for everyone interested in seeing this form of interactive entertainment grow and evolve. I hope this more direct connection between developers and consumers sticks around in some form. For now, we just have to use the wait-and-see attack and witness what comes next.
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