Kickstarter, Video Games, and Community Funded Projects
I hung out with my brother last night, a rare experience since he moved to Florida not that long ago. My brother is a member of Intuition Games, an independent Flash developer collective. We’re working on a game (called Spirit of the Staircase) together right now (it’s almost finished), and we’ve also begun to work on a second unannounced project.
We plan to use a Flash Game License for Spirit of the Staircase, the game we’ve almost finished. However, we’re not quite sure yet how we want to approach the next project. Obviously our intent is to fund all the hours we’re putting into it somehow, but whether we use a FGL is still up in the air.
I’ve been reading quite a bit lately about Gabe Newell’s community funded projects idea. Newell would like to use Steam (no surprise, since he works for Valve), but a community not based on an established game company seems a better idea, if only to make the legal mumbo jumbo easier. Recently an independent community-funded interface was launched, called Kickstarter, and it looks promising.
On Kickstarter, people with project ideas can put up a project and ask the community to help fund it. It doesn’t have to be just games – there are novels, music, travel projects, and all kinds of other stuff on there. The site is young, but growing, and there are already a number of success stories on there. In return for backing projects, project leaders are able to set up tiered rewards for different levels of backer funding: a copy of a CD for ten bucks, mentioned in the special thanks for 100 bucks, that kind of thing. It’s not investing, so the project manager keeps the rights to any IP s/he creates, which makes it an interesting experiment for a creative business model. The way that Kickstarter greenlights funding for projects is also very interesting, but I’ll let you read that for yourself.
Will it work? I’m not sure. It depends if the community is willing to support independent projects or not. So far, however, the site seems to be doing well, which is great to see.
Anyway, the reason that I bring it up: my brother and I have considered using Kickstarter to fund our next game, after Spirit of the Staircase is released. We haven’t decided yet, but for creative people with good ideas, Kickstarter looks like a cool way to get them off the ground.