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Indie Fund-supported Dear Esther recoups investment in six hours

Thechineseroom's Dear Esther, the experimental PC game supported by the Indie Fund, managed to recoup its financial backing ($55,000) and make a profit less than five hours after its release.
Thechineseroom's Dear Esther, the experimental PC game supported by the Indie Fund, managed to recoup its financial backing ($55,000) and make a profit less than five hours after its release. Dear Esther is the second game to release after receiving an investment from the Indie Fund, which acts as a funding source for independent developers and an alternative to the traditional publisher funding model. The first Indie Fund-backed title, Toxic Games' Q.U.B.E., also made enough to become profitable in just four days when it released in December. Indie Fund was founded two years ago by successful independent developers like Braid creator Jonathan Blow, World of Goo makers Ron Carmel and Kyle Gabler, Thatgamecompany (Flower) co-founder and CEO Kellee Santiago, and others. Upcoming games that have also received Indie Fund's support include Steph Thirion's Faraway and Pocketwatch Games' Monaco. Dear Esther was originally a Source Engine mod created as a research project by Thechineseroom's Dan Pinchbeck and a University of Portsmouth team. It released in 2007 and received critical acclaim, but then work began on turning it into a standalone game with the help of Robert Briscoe, who was an environment artist on EA DICE's Mirror's Edge. The game's early success when it released yesterday came as a surprise to the Indie Fund collective, according to a blog post on its site, as it expected the atmospheric first-person exploration game to only have "a niche appeal." It also doubted that Steam would be the right platform for the game initially, and asked Pinchbeck to consider also releasing it to PlayStation Network when he pitched Dear Esther. It became the top-selling game on Steam yesterday, though, and sold more than 16,000 copies in less than 24 hours.

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