Nowadays, everything in the news seems to be bad news. War, murder and the recession we all find ourselves in all over the world. It’s no wonder that many companies within the gaming community are asking for their fans to contribute and provide funding for their future endeavours. But is this right of companies to ask for their fans hard earned money? Some people are asking for donations for a second chance, to build from the ground upward and some are looking for new projects. Is it time that we realise that we are going to lose some of our favourite content because of ever-changing financial markets or should we be giving our wages towards making gaming more popular than it already is? Should we be burdened with this?
The first instance I had ever heard of Kickstarter was for Tim Schafer and his company ‘Double Fine’ who were looking to raise $400,000 for a new game, which would be downloadable via Steam and would be a simple point and click game. With the huge fan base which Schafer attracted with brilliant games such as Brutal Legend and Haunted, it was no wonder that the target of $400,000 was reached in no time at all. After the campaign for the game idea was concluded, over $3.8 million had been raised and showed how powerful the community can be when an idea is put forward and there is genuine benefit to the consumer.
Normally, the company which is receiving the donations will specify what each amount of donation means for the person donating. Amounts of around $30 and under usually mean small benefits for the contributor such as wallpapers and T-shirts. Large contributions of around $1000 and upwards are normally a different story though. Businesses normally sponsor money for these amounts and in return receive product promotions and advertisements.
But how much is TOO MUCH? Gaming website Penny Arcade came under fire recently when they were looking for fans for their website to contribute to help rebuild their website to ways in which they thought would seem plausible. Many criticised the website though after donations of $100,000 for a small advertisement spot as well as other perks were listed. Many deemed this to be too much for too little in return. The amount does not reflect how major the website is. Of course Penny Arcade is a well known name in the gaming industry with many recognising the site. However, many gamers outside of the online community and outside of the USA may not know much of the website and the offers of donations which they are offering seem to be unreal.
Another donation driven idea was provided recently by the ex-Inside Xbox crew and the idea was entitled “Project Possum”. I have to admit, I donated money to the idea because during the crew’s time as being the faces of Xbox in the UK, they provided entertainment, crucial information and friendly faces which you could trust their opinion.
Once Inside Xbox was cancelled, three members of the team of four created the Project Possum as many had signed a petition to resume Inside Xbox. When this was not made possible, many donated and the target of $10,000 was nearly reached after one day. The project finished with $34,000 and fans of the cancelled show can alternatively enjoy the content this team provided.
In my opinion, Kickstarter and other donation services for the gaming communities are essential in moving the gaming community forward, whether it is for content or new games. Everyone needs a helping hand now and again and even though sometimes, companies are looking to exploit those for every penny the consumer owns (in regards to DLC etc) many decent companies are there who genuinely need help and use all the money they receive to improve their products and services.
Get used to Kickstarter… I’m sure it will be here for a while!