Kickstarter for Indie Game Developers (The Game is Changing)

Now that Double Fine has rocked the boat with their fantastic Kickstarter success, what's in store for the small indie developers out there?

If you missed out on the news recently and have been under a rock, you need to go check out Double Fine’s Kickstarter project NOW. After a whopping 8 hours and 11 minutes, Double Fine and 2 Player Productions raised over $400k for a new point and click adventure game and a documentary filming the innards of game development. Under 24 hours, they've already raised over a million dollars. 

Huge congratulations are in order for Double Fine!

Why is this awesome?

This brings a FANTASTIC amount of attention to the indie developer/game scene on Kickstarter! As they say on their project page – Double Fine has had to rely on external sources like publishers, investment firms or loans in the past. And much like a start-up taking VC money, that means you’re required to listen to your investors and change the direction or, worst case scenario, the production is canceled altogether.

Double Fine’s overnight success (literally) gives hope to smaller developers that anyone can make the games they want, promote them the way they want, and that developers can be accountable to themselves in the process. They don’t always have to rely on big publishers or hefty loans to make the creative games they want and know how to make, And it’s all thanks to you, the crowd-funders out there, helping dreams come true.

Why is this worrisome for the indie developers?

Double Fine labels themselves as “the first major studio to fully finance their next game with a Kickstarter campaign.” This is what Spark Plug Games is trying to do over on Kickstarter with Steampunk Bullet Train. And what others have successfully done so far. And there are numerous help articles all over the place on how to get your indie game covered on Kickstarter. But as you can see, those projects have all been under $50k. And they all consist of 20 people or less, normally 3-5, working on any given project.

Double Fine’s entrance to Kickstarter changes everything. For one thing, that’s wonderful news for Kickstarter since they will receive 5% of all of the money Double Fine is making (and Amazon will receive a cool 3-5% too). We will see a lot of bigger projects going forward, I can guarantee you that – Kickstarter will make sure to push these harder. The publicity brought forward by this is a win for both Double Fine and Kickstarter. But what does this mean going forward for indie devs? Will Kickstarter still be a viable platform for indie developers if the bigger studios start showing up more? I can just hear the cogs turning and big studios thinking “we need to get on this Kickstarter thing..” Will Kickstarter go the way of FreeAppADay? (If you don’t know what I mean, check out PocketNext’s great expose)

Even though that’s why Double Fine and indie developers like Spark Plug Games got on there in the first place! It’s hard enough to compete with the big developers already.

So, what might end up happening?

Just watch out in the future for bigger studios that may come on and take advantage of Kickstarter. Things like Double Fine Adventure and our Steampunk Bullet Train are genuine products of love – you can tell for Double Fine that Tim wants to get back to his roots. And no duh the project is a success. People have been following Tim for over over a decade now with his cult hits (my personal favorite being Grim Fandango….)

This may either be a blessing or a boon for the other indie developers out there. If big brand names start getting involved in Kickstarter, it might make things harder for what Kickstarter was originally meant for: kickstarting passion projects for people who otherwise might not get funding.

What do you think?


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