There can’t be many of you that are yet to hear about the phenomenal response to Double Fine’s Kickstarter project. Tim Schafer’s company asked individuals to chip in various small amounts via the Kickstarter website in order to reach a projected development cost so they could make a new point-and-click adventure game. The project hit its target in just over eight hours and broke a million dollars in less than 24 hours. Crowdfunding, it seems, is going to make that project a reality.
It’s still far too early to tell if this is going to be a one-off event, a phenomenon based on a groundswell of support for a well loved developer with a high profile track record. Some are predicting that it is going to change the way games are funded in the future, cutting out some of the power of big publishers and putting it in the hands of individual studios. We’ll see.
One thing is for sure though, in the UK it’s currently illegal to crowdfund projects. That’s something which UKIE, the entertainment industry trade body, aims to change. They have announced today that they will be publishing a report on the 17th of this month which will highlight the changes to legislation that they think are needed to make this kind of funding possible in the UK. It’s early days, of course, but crowdfunding is not a new thing for the entertainment industry and it has been picking up pace exponentially over the past year or so.
Of course, this is a reaction to Double Fine’s amazing succes but I believe that it’s also one of the best things we can hope for. So far the story has been that an already fairly large, well respected, well known developer which could likely receive funding in myriad of ways, has broken crowdfunding records thanks to an established fanbase. But if it raises awareness of the possibilities of crowdfunding, that success could trickle down to smaller developers who have no hope or prospect of even getting a foot in the door with traditional publishing routes.
The Double Fine Adventure could be about much more than just raising money for a point-and-click game. It might be unlikely that this kind of swell of support ever aligns in such an emphatic way again but the awareness raised might just be enough to bring a flood of small, independent developers into the industry and that would be an amazing legacy.