[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]he perception of crowdfunding is changing. For years, despite successes, it seemed like something that was still a bit of a mystery to many. Folks regularly claimed how “no games” had actually come out of Kickstarter yet, despite that being false. There’s no doubt that we’ve seen a huge influx of high profile game launches over the past two years though thanks to Kickstarter and Indiegogo. It may be because of the proof of success that has drawn the “established” business of gaming to crowdfunding. We saw a ton of crowdfunded titles at E3 2015, and many were also shown and advertised during Gamescom 2015.
Between everyone, it really seems that Sony and Microsoft are continuing this huge push for crowdfunded titles. It’s hard to forget that the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter was revealed during Sony’s E3 press conference, after all. However, Microsoft may have seen what Sony did and attempted to beat them at their own game. Sure, they did not have anything close to Shenmue 3 calibur to reveal during their press event, but there was still a great deal of crowdfunding projects mentioned and displayed on stage. Of course, only the most popular titles were given the majority of attention.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night had a whole segment devoted to it despite the fact there was little gameplay related to reveal aside from a new character. Even so, Koji Igarashi (and his whip) were on stage for a few minutes discussing it all. Really, the big news was that Bloodstained will allow cross-play functionality between Xbox One and Windows 10. This means you can save on one platform and pick up on the other. It’s pretty cool news, but not like the game is exclusive to the Microsoft environment. Thimbleweed Park also got a “new” trailer, though those who simply watched the campaign pitch would recognize a great deal of the video as recycled. Why didn’t more folks chime in about this? It seems that, for many, this was the first they’d heard of Ron Gilbert’s new adventure game.Then there’s We Happy Few which was also viewed with quite a bit of surprise from a large portion of the gaming audience. Apparently this successful Kickstarter also flew under the radar of many. Although some of Microsoft’s hosts revealed the Kickstarter nature of their games, not all did — implying there is still a bit of distrust around the crowdfunding environment. In any case, they actually provided a new trailer to show, although it wasn’t so much gameplay as good, creepy cinematic-style camera pans. Yooka-Laylee even got a bit of attention despite the fact there’s also not much more to show of that game than what came out of the campaign.
The sad thing for obsessive crowdfunding fans (I count myself in this group) is that smaller games were effectively given the boot. Beyond Eyes, a title which received half its funding goal on Indiegogo before being picked up by Team17, was mentioned by name but that’s it. There was a logo, a verbal mention of Beyond Eyes, and nothing else. Not even a screenshot was shown! Given how gorgeous and distinctive it looks, even that would have been enough to drum up attention. Even at E3 the only way you could play it was to go to the publisher’s meeting room. Of course, copious other titles are coming to consoles which were left completely undiscussed. There’s never enough time to showcase every game!
Even so, I’d personally love to see some way for crowdfunding games to get more mainstream attention. The ones that deserve it, in my opinion, are ones which otherwise aren’t getting that huge outcropping of support to begin with. Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo are all increasing their focus on indie games as they prove a huge distinguishing factor. Why not push even further to show that your library of games is the most unique? Crowdfunded projects routinely push genres and concepts in ways never before seen, after all. Here’s hoping more companies will be brave enough to showcase these indies in the future rather than stick with the safest bets.