In times of financial crisis, people who work in creative industries are the first ones to notice that money is short. Public theaters, museums and schools all have to endure financial cuts in most countries that are currently hit by the economic crisis. At the same time, creative people that work, for instance, in the gaming industry have had a harder time selling their ideas to big companies. A few of them successfully turned to Kickstarter to realise their computer game projects against all financial odds. Most of you probably know how Kickstarter works. It is an internet platform that allows people to collect money in order to realise artistic projects. That means that Kickstarter cannot be used to raise money for, let’s say, a scholarship. For example, it is a good way for people to realise projects that involve, for instance, photography, dance or games.
Many creative minds like, for instance, the well known games developer Tim Schafer have tried to find micro-investors via Kickstarter. The German newspaper ZEIT reported about Schafer, who initially only planned to collect 400.000 US-Dollars to launch a game that is supposed to be a reference to the Point and Click games that were very popular during the nineties. Only one day later, he learned that he had been able to convince an incredible amount of Kickstarter followers that agreed to donate more than one million Dollars in total. The German developer was more than surprised about this record sum.
However, there is still a great lack of knowledge as to how Kickstarter actually works. Most critics of Kickstarter assume that donors lose their money if the person applying is not able to collect the sum that is required for the realisation of the project. There is no reason to fear such a thing from happening though. In case a certain project has not been able to convince a required amount of people to donate their money, those who already made donations are entitled to get their money returned.
But how do those who donate profit from helping someone else realising a plan to bring out a computer game? First of all, they are guaranteed to have the good feeling of having helped someone else. But most people, who try to attract donors on Kickstarter, are aware of the fact that it requires a bit more to raise a few thousand Dollars. Schafer offered donors something very special: everyone who decided to donate more than 15 Dollars would eventually be able to download the game without having to pay for it once it is finished.
The interesting part aspect about this project is that it might be the beginning of a trend – democracy in the gaming industry. Consumers of action, shooter or strategy games that games developers actually target can actively influence what games will come out. Developers, on the other hand can test their ideas and see what concepts fascinate their target audiences most and gamers might be able to have an unprecedented influence power on the finished product, during production! Time will show if this is only a short-lived trend or if more future games will pass a democratic test before they get introduced to consumers.