Late last week, Games Industry International published an interview with DoubleFine’s Tim Schafer that discussed the studio’s recent experiences with Kickstarter at length. It’s an interesting look into the crowdfunding process from the perspective of a company that has raised millions using crowdfunding.
Perhaps the most interesting comment from Schafer has to do with the difference between launching a project on Kickstarter versus via an agreement with a publisher…
If you take money from a publisher, it’s a contract you fulfill or they’ll sue you. Here it was just a moral contract with the backers to do right by them, and that felt in some ways a lot stronger. If you found a loophole in a business contract, you could get out of it and not really feel that bad. But here, if the backers were happy, we succeeded. And if they weren’t happy, we didn’t.
Schafer also says that there was a discernible difference in sentiment between backers and non-backers, saying “there’s a bunch of people who hate the idea of what we’re doing and are waiting to pounce on us if we make a single mistake.” That certainly played out in the press, with many a gaming pundit wondering whether crowdfunding came with all the risk and none of the control.
The good news is that apparently presales for Broken Age on Steam were strong, and Double Fine now has enough cash to fund the development of the second act of the game. Double Fine took some heat when they decided to release one half of the Kickstarter-funded game to fund the other, but the strategy seems to have worked out fine.
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