Tim Schafer Funds New Adventure Game Using Kickstarter

As a fan of both video-games and business, it really inspires me to see a game designer make a really entrepreneurial move and strike out on their own. Tim Schafer of Double-Fine productions decided to bypass typical publishers and investment channels, and instead put the fate of his latest game in the hands of his fans, by using Kickstarter.

If you haven’t heard of it, Kickstarter.com is a channel through which budding entrepreneurs can find investment cash for projects on a mass scale. You post your potential project details on the site with a goal, and if enough funding is pledged you receive the funding, if you’re under your goal none of your investors get charged a cent. To make it more interesting you’re allowed to promise incentives to your investors for each donation bracket.

Schafer’s game was looking for $400,000 in funding and was announced via Twitter. Incentives include copies of the beta/finished game, documentaries, becoming an in-game character, and even going bowling with the games creators. It worked fantastically well.

Within 9 hours the game had breached the $400k mark, and it’s still going strong. 14 hours later it’s at over $500k, and there’s still 33 days left before the project closes. Schafer says any additional funding will go straight into the game, developing it for different languages and platforms. This could mean additional voice acting, higher resolution graphics, or additional functionality.

Tim Schafer's known for his stylized and original adventure games. You may have played Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, Psychonauts, or Brutal Legend. His satyrical and dark style has lead him to be called by non-gamers the "Tim Burton of Video Games." The proposed game has been described as a “downloadable “Point-and-Click” graphic adventure game for the modern age”.

I love the video game industry, and I like to think of myself as a pretty savvy businessman. I released my first product just last month (which happens to be an eCourse based off the indie videogame Minecraft). Just last night I was filling my notebook with ideas, plans, and strategies on how viable Kickstarter was for funding a videogame. I guess Double-Fine just proved that yes, it’s absolutely possible.

There has been a timeless struggle between artists and business people. Business tends to cloud artistic freedom and limit the scope, message, or creativity of the artists involved. The fact that a major name in gaming has ventured out on his own and seen such massive success so quickly is AMAZING. This really paves the way for other games to come. So many great ideas have been shot down due to stingy publishers, but can you imagine other greats funding their own games and delivering games untouched by influence?

What remains to be seen is if this is a phenomenon seen only by the big names in gaming, or if smaller publishers can accomplish the same process. I certainly hope so, because this can take us out of the golden age of gaming and put us into the platinum age.

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