All aboard the gravy train
Of course, there's always the possibility that those triple-A publishers might jump on the crowdfunding gravy train themselves. It's already happened with the movie industry – a pitch to revive cancelled TV series Veronica Mars for a movie recently raised US$5m, while Garden State actor Zach Braff raised US$2m on Kickstarter for his indie film Wish I Was Here. Both projects have faced criticism that established movie stars and film studios are corrupting the grassroots ethos of crowdfunding – but Diskett and Roberts reckon that gaming Kickstarters are safe from the industry's big players.
"I can't see it happening," says Diskett. "Any really big studio or publisher coming in would just be laughed out of Kickstarter. I can see how they managed to do it with movies, 'cause it was done with the famous actor or the face of the series – and people love the character, they love the actor or actress. But there's not a whole heap of love for EA or Activision."
"I don't think what's happening right now is having Activision or EA lose any sleep," says Roberts. "It's just an area of the marketplace that went away for a while and is now coming back. Long term, it's going to be a bit of a market disrupter, because what you're essentially doing is allowing the people who play the games to have a bigger say in what they really want. They feel like they're being heard and that their voice matters more than it would do if they were having the next Call of Duty crammed down their throat."
A bigger choice of games, a voice for gamers, and the return of classics from days of yore? Sounds like a winner to us. Now, if only someone would Kickstarter an HD remake of Archimedes classic Zarch…
Grim Fandango creator Tim Schafer returns to the point and click adventure with this tale of a boy on a spaceship and a girl trying to avoid being eaten by a monster. It raised a record-breaking US$3m on Kickstarter, but buoyed by the unexpected influx of cash, Schafer ended up making a game "so big that it would need even more money." As a result, the first act of the game will be made available on Steam Early Access from January 2014 – which will pay for the completion of the second half, to follow in July.