The latest trend in “indie” gaming seems to be Kickstarter funded project, where developers ask gamers and fans to pitch in and help fund the costs of making the game. This is inherently a good thing, since more games will be made, and more importantly: game diversity will increase as a result. But something happened over the past few months that could negate how Kickstarter was supposed to work in the first place: established video game developers have been raising millions for their games. For instance, legendary game developer Tim Schafer raised over $3 million for Double Fine Adventure on Kickstarer. Imagine how many games could have been funded with that money, games made by new and up and coming developers?
“Kickstarter was supposed to foster new developers, artists and filmmakers. And now it’s becoming just another funding scheme for the established guys”I dunno about you, but I’d much rather give my Kickstarter contribution to a young new developer or a bunch of college kids in their garage working on the next great thing, rather than give it to Tim Schaefer. He’s Tim fucking Schafer, he’s a legendary videogame maker who’s now pretending to sit on street corner with a cup and beg his fans for a few bucks. As if he couldn’t go out there and raise some venture capital money for his game. He could. When you run your own established game studio with 65 employees, which Schafer does, then you don’t need Kickstarter to fund you. Of those $3 million Schafer raised, dozens of smaller indie teams could have been funded to create games of all sorts.
The money donated to Schaeffer is money that won’t be donated to those who really need it — the video game developers just starting out, working in their garages, or their mother’s basements. They’re the new and up and coming Tim Schafers. Kickstarter was made for them, not established developers who own their own studios with dozens of employees.
Kickstarter wasn’t supposed to work this way. Kickstarter was supposed to foster new developers, artists and filmmakers. And now it’s becoming just another funding scheme for the established guys. A few years from now, Kickstarter could very well go the way the Sundance film festival went: started for the indie filmmakers, and has since morphed into the same celebrity bullshit that’s available in Hollywood. Where the weather is better.