Cindy Au of Kickstarter says the belief that big-name game makers are swooping in and muscling indies out of the crowdfunding scene is simply incorrect.
It was just over a year ago that the Double Fine Adventure Kickstarter wrapped up, drawing in a little shy of $3 million and turning the business of indie game development funding upside-down. A lot of amazing projects have been funded since then, from a new Torment to a whole new console, but there have been some expressions of concern that the seemingly inexhaustible enthusiasm for crowdfunding will inevitably attract the wrong crowd – that is, big-time developers and publishers who don’t necessarily need the money but decide to make a grab for it anyway.
Case in point: Richard Garriott, he of the space tourism and the magic castle, who is in the midst of Kickstarting – successfully, I might add – his new MMO Shroud of the Avatar. Why does Lord British need your lunch money for the week? I have no idea, but nearly 16,000 people have given it to him and there’s still more than two weeks to go before his Kickstarter ends. And in the eyes of some, that money being given to Garriott is money that isn’t going to someone else who might actually need it.
Kickstarter Community Chief Cindy Au disagrees with that assessment, however. “I get frustrated when people say that these big names using Kickstarter are sucking up all the money in the room and that there’s none left for anyone else. I think that’s a great fallacy, it’s just not true,” she told Joystiq, “Projects are very much community driven. Your community is coming to fund you. Just because they funded someone else at another time doesn’t mean they are going to deny you. This isn’t a single pool of money that once someone has taken it that it’s all gone.”
I would not think to argue with someone who actually knows what she’s talking about, but individual “money pools” are finite: money I give to Lord B. is money I don’t have to give to someone else. On the other hand, it’s my money to give, and I should be able to throw it around as I see fit. The trick for anyone launching a project on Kickstarter, Au said, is to build up a community first and then launch the funding process; the more that potential backers have to see, the more likely they are to throw their support behind a project.