Thursday, March 22, 2012


I'm finally starting to realize that Kickstarter is effecting a seismic shift in how games are funded.

The Banner Saga? Funded. Wasteland 2? Funded. Almost any interesting, unique idea? Funded.

This has gone way past awesome at this point.

The conceptual purity of the Kickstarter model is incredible, really. Have an idea, and see if people are willing to donate enough money so that you can realize that idea.

No presentations to accountants, or vice-presidents, or marketing executives, all of whom want to substantially change the vision of your game because of marketing survey X. No loss of control. No loss of a percentage of the profits.

Nothing in-between.

Brian Fargo wanted to make Wasteland 2, but couldn't get a publisher interested. He had design documents out the wazoo, but who wants to publish anything that isn't Call Of Modern Warfare Honor these days?

No one. But that doesn't mean that there aren't plenty of people who will buy it.

Isn't this an inevitable consequence of the stupid AAA strategy that Activision initiated and everyone copied? There's so much brilliance underneath the AAA layer that was being totally ignored by major publishers, and it was going to find a way to bubble up to the surface.

Sure, a project is going to implode at some point. I'll spend $20 backing "Cool Indie Idea: The Game" and wind up getting nothing or a really crappy game. I paid $60 plenty of times for crappy games, though--I don't really see it as much of a risk.

It's funny, but if you want to see the genesis of Kickstarter, just look at Tarn Adams and Dwarf Fortress. People send money in, and he keeps creating the most complex world simulation anyone has ever seen.

Nothing in-between. Same principle.

After Double Fine funded their game in about ten seconds, Brian Fargo funded Wasteland 2 in about the same length of time (now at over $1.4M and counting). Then he did something entirely kick-ass: occurs to me that we can harness the power of Kickstarter in a more meaningful way. Fan funding is bigger than me or Wasteland 2 as I have remarked before. The development community has come together to support us in ways that I didn't think possible and our power as developers will ultimately come from us sticking together. Both gamers and developers have so much more strength than they realize. But in order to help facilitate the power of crowd funding I am going to suggest that all of us that do utilize this form of financing agree to kickback 5% of our profits made from such projects to other Kickstarter developers. I am not suggesting taking a backers money and moving it to another project.. I mean once a game has shipped and created profit that we funnel that back into the community of developers to fund their dreams. I am tentatively calling this "Kick It Forward" and I will be the first to agree to it. In fact, I will have our artists create a badge that goes on all Kickstarter projects that agree to support this initiative. Imagine the potential if another Minecraft comes along via Kickstarter and produces millions of dollars of investment into other developers. This economic payback will continue to grow the movement way beyond the current system. I hope others will join me with this idea and make this a true shakeup.

That's a sensational idea. It takes Kickstarter beyond a paradigm shift and into the area of disruptive technology, so to speak.

I've always seen the major publishers, to a degree, as bullies. Sand kickers, right into our faces.

Sand's going in the other direction now. Feels good.

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