Welcome to our new weekly feature, “Question Of The Week.” As you can tell from that entirely original title we’ll have a different question posed to our staff of writers every week and they chime in with their opinions. No one sees one another’s responses until the story is posted, so each contributors thoughts are their own. Responses are posted in no particular order.
And remember, as with all editorials, the views expressed in this editorial are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Cliqist.com and the rest of the staff.
The question of the week for the week of 3/30/14 is :
What does the world of gaming related crowdfunding look like in 5 years?
Charlotte “Charlie” Humphries
In five years time, gaming related crowd funding is going to be a sleek, sexy beast. No longer will consumers be fearful of scams or bots as the system will continue to improve and refine itself. And that’s just browsing through projects on offer, nothing to say of the new marketing strategies that will come into play; working hard to make sure your hard-earned money will go towards this project rather than that one.
Like with all things, it will take practice and five years is a long time to practice for.
In the recent couple of years, especially 2013, indie games, and more specifically Crowdfunded games have really blown up. Due to the increase in accessibility to game making games and applications such as RPG Maker and Unity, it’s easier to make games from home. If you have an idea for a game, there’s a variety of avenues to pursue to make it happen. But not everyone can afford to make a game that will reach the masses, it’s an expensive process when you consider program licenses, programmers, artists, etc. Which is where the beauty of Crowdfunding comes in. Crowdfunding has risen in popularity for projects that even AAA companies are considering it for potential games.
As for the next five years, I can see it only getting bigger and better. There will be more indie developers pushing for their games and trying to get greenlit on Steam. Crowdfunding is relied on to make so many indie games happen and it just seems like the numbers are going to grow even more.
Mitchell “Moe” Long
Crowdfunded gaming has evolved from a fringe, fairly successful practice to a booming economical endeavor. Take a peek at Kickstarter, and the gaming section is absolutely enormous. What’s more, the types of games and developers are varied. You’ve got 2d sidescrollers, 8-bit adventure games, and then massive RPGs and first person shooters. “Diablo 3’s” developers are currently working on “Deulyst,” which can be found mingling on Kickstarter. So we’re not only seeing an influx of crowdfunded games, we’re witnessing gaming veterans migrate to crowdsourced projects.
Is this the end of the gaming studios as we know it? Certainly not. On the contrary, I think we’ll see more crossover between traditional production methods and indie campaigns; whether it’s seasoned producers and developers working on Kickstarter projects or even studios intervening to fund crowdfunded endeavors. Crowdsourcing doesn’t impede studios, and vice versa. It’s actually a symbiotic relationship.
Five years from now we’ll see increased acceptance and reliance on crowdfunded video games, as well as further development of the studio-crowdsourcing dynamic. What’s fascinating is how crowdfunding has actually seeped into so many other mediums. The recent “Veronica Mars” film was a successful Kickstarter campaign. One of my favorite movie reviewers actually used an Indiegogo project to acquire rent money. I must admit, that’s a pretty neat idea, and one a certain freelance writer may fancy. Expect not only to see the continued proliferation of crowdfunded games, but also as a means to support film, music, and possibly even pay the bills.
Over the past few years, crowdfunding has seen such a boom that it seems like it will never go away. In the future I expect that it is definitely going to become a more accepted part of gaming’s landscape. No longer will developers have to fear their ideas are “too weird” to reach a paying audience. However, it won’t always be the sort of gold rush that it currently feels like. We’ve already started to see many excellent projects that are just barely funded and that is probably going to continue. As consumers realize that they’re putting money toward projects that are years from release, many will stop crowdfunding. With that said, there’s always going to be a core audience of funders. Many of us desire to see niche, unique titles that would never exist if it weren’t for sites like Kickstarter.
In five years time, people will look at this era of crowdfunding as baby steps. Frameworks like Kickstarter and IndieGogo will be far less prevalent, if not disposed of completely. At the moment it’s still scary for consumers to buy sight unseen, but once we’ve all done it a few times, we won’t need the illusory sort of reassurance that crowdfunding via a major service gives us. As consumers, we’ll hopefully be brave enough to make sure our money gets to the right people by giving it to them directly.
Where crowdfunding will be in five years—or perhaps I should say, where I hope it is—is dead, at least in the limited form that we know it now. Rather than backing a project, I think people will ‘back’ a creator. Of course, I do think there are benefits to a video game (or a film, a book, a television series, an hour monologue about carrier pigeons) being available for purchase for a set price in its completed form. However, there are a lot of situations where I’d rather pay someone whose work I value a few dollars a month (and ideally having a bunch of other people join me) to make sure that they can keep making cool stuff for me to enjoy.
Crowdfunded gaming is becoming a bigger and bigger force in the industry, and just in my time with Cliqist, I’ve played some inventive, well-polished games that have really given me a positive outlook on the entire idea of crowdfunding. The patterns we see in the AAA gaming industry these days really are destructive to the medium, and it’s great to see what was already a great indie game developing community receive funding. I believe that in 5 years, crowdfunded gaming will become a more and more powerful force, and that the success of indie developers with wild ideas will bring innovation and creative freedom back into the gaming mainstream, as well as continue succeeding in crowdfunding environments like Kickstarter. If everyone in the world set aside $60 a month to put towards Kickstarter campaigns instead of the newest Gears of Halo Theft Auto 5, the entirety of gaming culture would go through a renaissance of new ideas and innovation.
With the passing of the JOBS act people everywhere will soon be able to become investors in small projects. This means that backers will go from giving their money to developers in exchange for knick-knacks, to becoming investors with equity in the product they’re backing. The days of developers being able to simply ignore the complaints and concerns of backers will be over; for projects that go down the equity funding path that is. Every day people will actually be able to make money backing projects.
The next change we’ll see goes in the opposite direction of the first, it involves more campaigns being run outside of the major crowdfunding sites. There’s already a number of platforms that allow you to run campaigns through your own site without the hassle of Kickstarter/IndieGoGo fees, and more developers will latch on to these. For larger developers with a sufficiently rabid audience this could mean significant cost savings, increased flexibility over their funding, and a closer relationship with their backers. This also means that developers could use crowdfunding to support their creative endeavors, and not just individual projects.
Crowdfunding is going to be here to stay, I have no doubt about that, we’ll just see it change in the coming years. As more projects fail we’ll see certain segments of the gaming world become more cynical about it, while others will enjoy the opportunity to get something back for their investment; other than a desktop wallpaper that is.
Thanks to everyone that participated! Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments.