These days, I can't go a day without hearing about someone's Kickstarter project. For those of you who don't know, Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects. Anyone can create a Kickstarter project, describe what they want to create, and ask people to pledge their hard earned cash to their project. In return, there's usually a reward that coincides with how much the pledger is willing to give. For example, if you pledge $15 for a video game project, you'll get a copy of the game when it's done, while someone who pledges $1,500 may have an opportunity to tour the studio and actually have some decision making power. While it is certainly not limited to video games, Kickstarter has grown rapidly in the past month, mostly due to Double Fine's incredibly successful Double Fine Adventure project. They asked for $400,000, and gamers decided to give them over $3 million instead.
Since Double Fine's success, we've seen a constant flow of game projects sprouting up on Kickstarter, and the reason is obvious. When developers get direct access to funding from their customers, they don't need to deal with a publisher demanding certain features, and meeting hard deadlines. On the flip side, now they have us gamers to deal with. Arguably, that could be worse! Gamers have always had a high sense of entitlement, and now that gamers are funding games, that entitlement has skyrocketed.
Whenever something new and unknown comes around, I always have to take a step back and analyze what is really happening. When Double Fine announced their Kickstarter, my gut feeling was not a good one. I feared gamers may be taken advantage of, or mislead into funding something that didn't truley need funding outside of a developer's usual funding methods. I came to the conclusion that since Double Fine is a pretty small studio, and their project isn't exactly mainstream, it was a reasonable use of Kickstarter, but my fear lingers. They've started a precedent, and were ridiculously successful. Other, perhaps less honest, developers have surely seen this, and they want a piece of the pie. Perhaps I'm needlessly spouting conspiracy theories, but I know that whenever large sums of money are involved, someone will abuse the system in selfish ways.
Of course there are benefits for us gamers. We can essentially vote with our pledges. We can all head over to Kickstarter and fund every co-op game we see, and leave those silly single player games high and dry. That would send a message to all developers, that we want co-op. Plus, if we spend enough, developers will give us a say in how the game is developed. We can make sure our favorite co-op features are included (COMBO CO-OP!!!).
For April's Co-Optimus Community Voice, we want to know what you think of Kickstarter as a means to fund games. Are you enjoying the studio tour after donating your kid's entire college fund? Is evil lurking in the shadows? Fire up your blog and tell us what you think. Well written posts will be featured on the front page throughout the month, so make sure you use correct spelling and grammar. Images or videos are always a plus. Don't forget to start your title with "CCV" so we don't miss it.