Infographic: Kickstarter Dominates Indie Innovation
Like YouTube, Facebook, or blogging platforms, it’s almost hard to believe there was an Internet without Kickstarter, which may be the greatest testament to its success. In 2009, the site generated about $23 million for its projects—an impressive figure by all accounts—but in 2012, Kickstarter pulled in roughly 10 times that, leapfrogging the grant budget of the National Endowment for the Arts. You can find all those facts and many more in this masterful infographic created for Fast Company by Catalogtree:
Kickstarters & Publishers: The Rant
Kickstarter succeeds because it is - in a sense - progressive, like the income tax. People with more disposable income can contribute more. The model has a way of monetizing passion, with backer rewards. The publisher model has it’s own ways; DLC, pre-order incentives, and collector’s editions. As such, it is not terribly consistent to scorn one and endorse the other, especially since consumers explicitly know what they’re getting with the latter. Yet the myth of the “complete game” rolls on, despite the fact people seem to be okay with missing out on backer reward tiers they do not qualify for. In terms of public perception, it certainly pays to be the underdog.
Ultimately, consumers will weigh their options and make their choices. Whether or not publishers have anything to learn from Kickstarter depends not on their success in getting funded, but on their critical reception and profits after release. If a crowdfunded game with [feature set X, like an old school RPG or a space sim] sells well - by the publisher’s standards - it might convince them that such genres are more viable than they had assumed. They would also learn that such games can be successfully made on a Kickstarter-sized budget.
Furthermore, without actual financial statements or inside information the likes of which employees of publishers like EA are forbidden to disclose, debating over how well these companies believe they’re doing themselves by their own standards and expectations can only be baseless. That isn’t to say that disinterested outside feedback wouldn’t be valuable, but video game forums are hardly disinterested, and hardly have enough facts to make sound judgments.
Discussions on this subject fall into the bad habit of conceptualizing entities like “publishers” far too simply, into something vaguely akin to a person. Publishers are, especially on the scale we’re talking about, vast endeavors with complexities and details we have limited understanding and typically no firsthand knowledge of. As with any large organization there are also, within it, differences of creative and economic opinion. Yet these arguments forge on with the implicit assumption that the same - yet much better informed - discussions aren’t happening between people who actually work there.
Yes! Star Citizen breaks $5.5m. Half a million more and it sounds like they actually run out of stretch goals.
From their latest update:
$5.5 million! You’ve unlocked the Bengal carrier, added motion capture to Squadron 42 and earned the exclusive Record Breaker skin.
When we set out to crowd-fund Star Citizen we asked for two million dollars, the absolute minimum with which we thought we could build a solid game. And then we planned stretch goals so that we could include everything else we imagined. We expected three million, hoped for four million, dreamed of five million and so on. And the absolute top option, the impossible dream, was six million.
Six million was what it would take us to build the game we were imagining with all the bells and whistles we wanted included. Well, here we are with just over eight hours to go and that impossible goal where everything is unlocked is suddenly in sight. At six million you’ll launch the game with 100 systems, a full orchestral score and a free copy of the first Squadron 42 mission disk, Behind Enemy Lines.
It’s not as sexy as unlocking the carrier, for sure, but would certainly be pretty amazing if we met every one of our goals. So let’s push this campaign all the way to the last minute. We can make this march!
Link to Kickstarter if main site stops working… again
In Star Citizen there is going to be one persistent universe server that everyone exists on. So you will never be separated from your friends, and if you want you’ll be able to join up and adventure together, you can. Due to the fidelity of the dogfighting and physics simulation we can’t however handle thousands of players in the same area of space. Even if you had enough internet bandwidth to handle the data going back and forth and a super computer for the server there’s no PC, even with quad SLI that could render that many spaceships with Star Citizen’s fidelity.
So the “magic” of Star Citizen’s multiplayer design is how we combine a persistent universe with a more traditional (and easier to implement) temporary multiplayer “battle” instance.
The way it works is that the persistent universe server, which we’re calling the Galaxy Server, keeps track of all players’ assets, group relationships and locations inside the Star Citizen universe. As the Galaxy server isn’t handling any realtime action it can handle our complete player base, which right now would be about 45,000 players, but is designed to be able to scale to millions if need be. The other key thing the Galaxy Server does is dynamically place players based on their location, skill level, alignment and player versus player (PvP) preference into battle instances. Think of a “battle” instance like a Battlefield 3 multiplayer session or a World of Tanks Battle with the key difference that the selection of players is done transparently and is “in fiction”.
Read the full update!
Here’s a preview of the Kickstarter exclusive Captain, tenuously named Ivan Starling. You might describe him as a cool guy who doesn’t afraid of anything; an admirable trait that has nonetheless gotten him into a bit of trouble. A run-in with a fleet of Bandlander ships many years back cost him a leg. Now he’s back on his feet (one flesh, one mechanical!) and ready to return to the sky, at your command!
Ivan is a backer reward! Please check out our Kickstarter and help spread the word.
If you donate $250, you can design a Captain! We will take whatever description you give us (napkin scribble, drabble, bullet point list, oil painting, 1K page NaNoWriMo fic, collage, interpretive dance, etc.) and turn it into a Captain with its own unique missions and bonuses.
We’ve rebooted our Kickstarter campaign after the awesome feedback we’ve received from the community. The biggest change is our greatly reduced funding goal (now at $30k). We realized that we could still make a great game if we aimed a bit lower in terms of content. If we go above that funding goal, we will add the originally planned content, but having this phased approach will help us better launch this game.
Also, we’ve added physical rewards like posters, shirts, and art books. There are some limited “early bird” rewards for those of you that donate early :-)
Please help us spread the word for this project! We have a lot of great developers that have recently lost their jobs due to industry layoffs. Most of whom worked on Fallout: New Vegas. Help us keep this team together so we can continue making awesome games for you guys!
- Jason Fader, Creative Director
Hey everyone! We recut our kickstarter video to give it a little more flavor. Please spread the word about Steam Bandits! Kickstarter is the only way this stellar team can continue working together.
Here’s their Kickstarter, send some support their way!