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The Crowdfunding Revolution: Perspectives

April 21, 2011 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 3

Halfway there

One of the other early success stories for the service is Cardinal Quest. The Flash-based dungeon crawler developed by Tametick has the highest level of donations so far, and is currently the only game to have topped the $4,000 plateau, though it's still a ways away from its ultimate goal of $6,000. The two-man development team behind the project is hoping to raise enough money to work on the game full time.

And like Gibson, they believe that the specialization of 8-Bit is a good thing.

"People coming to [8-Bit Funding] are coming specifically for games," developer Ido Yehieli said. "That kind of targeted audience is worth a lot to game makers trying to finance their projects."

Both Yehieli and co-developer Corey Martin work full time jobs in addition to developing Cardinal Quest, and their ultimate goal is to earn enough money to take some time off and complete the game in two months of working full time, as opposed to a year or more just working evenings and weekends.

Once complete, they hope to sell the Flash license and then use that money to fund both a desktop and mobile version of the game.

While he initially began using 8-Bit as little more than an experiment, his early experience has convinced Yehieli that the service has a lot of potential.

"8-Bit Funding came at just the right time and if successful I believe it could change the nature of the game for indie developers worldwide," he said. "I think it is important for us to have our own site that focuses on indie gaming. In more general use sites games tend to be pushed to the side compared to other types of work and their community does not particularly care about indie games."

"Of course being open to non-Americans, unlike Kickstarter, was also a significant draw, as I am located in Europe."

But while a few early games have achieved success on the service, Yehieli doesn't believe that 8-Bit Funding or other similar services are appropriate for every type of game. It's not a coincidence that both Cardinal Quest and Expedition: The New World are both browser games, as opposed to something of a much larger scale. He explained that there are two types of developers that wouldn't necessarily fit the crowd sourced model.

"The first are people without a track record of finished games and without a solid base of players who know what they are capable of and can get the ball rolling," Yehieli said. "I think people might be reluctant to support such developers, fearing the games will never actually get made. The second group is people with very large scope projects who might require a lot more funds than [8-Bit Funding]'s audience is willing to provide. We can see it now in the fact that the projects who requested the highest amounts on [8-Bit Funding] are the ones who are experiencing the least success."

Cardinal Quest

In Conclusion

Crowdfunding is opening up new opportunities for indie developers, giving them access to financial opportunities that previously didn't exist. For small developers it can be the difference between whether or not a game gets made. But clearly these services aren't suitable for everyone.

For expensive, large-scale projects, it can be difficult to raise the amount of money necessary. And, just like everything else, those creators who are already known and have an audience have an advantage over new up and comers. It can also take a lot of self-promotion to successfully get the word out.

But there isn't really a drawback to testing the waters. It's a lot of hard work, but even if your game doesn't end up reaching its funding goal, the experience will likely be an educational one.

"Even though Megan and the Giant failed to raise the funding goal I was looking for, I learned a lot about my own project from the experience," said Wu. "Through having to market it to people before it was done, I had to define clearly what the project is and who it is for. Most of the work I did during the preparation for Kickstarter has been used again in the design and marketing efforts post-Kickstarter."

"Crowdsourcing is a good way to put you in the real world and it forces you to listen."

Article Start Previous Page 3 of 3

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