Poseurs for Your Money

Lots of people are rightfully excited at the chance to directly support games they are interested in through sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter.

What happens when big studios move in and run marketing projects that are designed to advertise and have no chance of actually funding games? Does their behaviour poison the water for indies who are trying to justify their budget?

There is no doubt that sites like Kickstarter – not to pick on Kickstarter, it’s just arguably the most prominent of the bunch – have given consumers a direct voice in which games get created and sold. There are so many inspiring success stories about games that would have been considered too niche to see the light of day a few years ago.

At the same time, it isn’t a silver bullet. These sites serve as an early proving ground for ideas and unprepared teams can quickly find their dreams crushed by reality. Many popular projects don’t get enough funding and developers are finding other uses for the attention they receive.

As mentioned in a recent Polygon opinion piece, there is an alarming trend toward larger companies creating crowdfunding campaigns seeking amounts far short of the actual development cost. What that means is even if the campaign is successful, the studio will still need to find outside funds in order to finish the project.

This is where we start to see how Kickstarter is maturing and becoming many things to many people. Some see it as a social discovery platform; a way to discover and contributing to interesting projects. Some indies see it as a revenue source; a way to raise the funds to make their projects see the light of day. Others see it as a place to raise awareness and validate product ideas – a marketing exercise.

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