Wow. When I linked to this Kickstarter yesterday I had no idea it would turn out anything like this. In just 8 hours, gamers from around the world pitched in and got the game to its $400.000 target. But they didn’t stop there, donations kept coming and at time of writing the total sits at a whopping $1,262,086 – over three times what was asked. And there’s still 32 days left to go. Double Fine have already said that the extra funds will go towards releasing the game in multiple languages, on multiple platforms, and to generally just making it better than they had hoped would be possible. I wish them all the best of luck, and as a backer I’m especially looking forward to the documentary they’re planning to make about the game as it’s being developed.
If they can pull this off, it could revolutionize the games industry. The way things work today is that major publishers have to be pitched to, and if you convince them that your game has the potential to make back its investment and more, they’ll fund you. The results are predictable: most games today are either sequels, reboots, remakes, re-imaginings or otherwise derivative of successful games that have come before. Crowd-funding has just proven itself to be a valid alternative to the traditional publisher system, provided you’ve got the talent and fan-base to pull it off.
And it might also be the perfect answer to all the piracy concerns plaguing the industry – think about it: people have paid money here for a game that doesn’t even exist yet. Even if no one buys the game other than the backers (and I doubt that, seeing the massive enthusiasm the game has received), they won’t lose any money or jobs over it.
Between this, the runaway success of self-funded games like Minecraft and the rise of digital distribution (Steam, the App Stores, etc…), it seems like there’s never been a greater time to be an indie games developer.