Games are one of the strongest categories on crowdfunding services — Kickstarter project, Star Citizen, was the most highly funded campaign yet. Now a recent survey of European games industry professionals show they will use crowdfunding to raise funding for future creations.
Crowdfunding? Game on
It makes sense. You see, what these services do is offer investors the chance to buy things they like in advance: a book, a movie, an app, a game. That’s because the product being talked about is usually also the main available gift.
Games studios spend millions on their titles, and lose millions, too. Crowdfunding offers them a way to reach their potential audience, talk about the title they have in mind, and then test the market to see which titles are most robust — they don’t have to do anything if the funding fails to meet target. In recognition of the importance of games to its service, Kickstarter recently launched its “Play Now” video game service, selling successfully funded titles via Steam.
These could be some of the reasons 41 percent of European games developers are already planning to use crowdfunding to finance future projects (according to the regular GDC State of the Industry survey by the organisers of Game Developers Conference, Europe).
Around 10 percent of European games developers and 11 percent of North American game developers are already using crowdfunding to finance their current project, up from 4percent last year.
The regulatory environment is part of the problem At present the only EU countries in which a developer can apply for such funding for a game are the Netherlands and UK. However, there is a danger that indie developers will be crowded out by the brand appeal of the big names, warns Gamasutra.
Choose your game
So, what games projects are currently seizing the oxygen on the big crowdfunding websites? It turns out there’s quite a few vying for attention:
Disparity Games (Australia) has launched a Kickstarter campaign for new title, Ninja Pizza Girl, an adventure game featuring a ninja pizza delivery ‘associate’ trying to get to her customers in some kind of dystopian cyberpunk hell.
Also on Kickstarter, Skymap Games is pitching for funds for new platform fighter, Bacon Man. He’s wandering around some weird location fighting off enemies with a variety of pork-tinged weaponry.
Then there’s After Reset, an RPG title set in a post-apocalyptic world. Dubbed by games mag, Joystiq, as “the Fallout 3 we never got” this title’s winning a lot of praise from critics for its visuals, music and compelling story line.
It turns out Indiegogo has a few interesting gaming titles to take a look at, too: there’s the darkly addictive Tormentum – Dark Sorrow and the incredibly promising (because the sport’s so far been overlooked) Lacrosse video game for PlayStation, Xbox and PC.
The big reward-based services aren’t the only game (sorry – Ed) in town — there’s even a couple of games-only crowdfunding sites, so if you’re looking to invest in games development check out:
All the above are worth a look if you want to put some money into the next big game in town. With this side of the sector set to become incredibly volatile, you’re going to be spoilt for choice when it comes to putting your chips on the gaming table.