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MechWarrior Online's unconventional crowdfunding pays off

 MechWarrior Online 's unconventional crowdfunding pays off
October 16, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

Infinite Game Publishing pulled in over $5 million in preorders that will go toward development on MechWarrior Online, thanks to its gamble with an alternative funding model for the free-to-play game.

While the client-based game will be available for free when it launches, for a limited time IGP allowed players to pledge $30-$120 to join its Founder's Program, which entitled them to benefits like early access to MechWarrior Online, special in-game and forum tags, $40-$80 worth of in-game currency, exclusive Founder's BattleMechs, and more.

IGP and MechWarrior Online developer Piranha Online join a growing list of companies who've found success in crowdfunding their projects outside of Kickstarter and managing campaigns by themselves, offering exclusive rewards and early game access to fans who pledge money.

Introversion Software, for example, has made hundreds of thousands of dollars through its Prison Architect crowdfunding campaign in just a few weeks. And Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts' new project, Star Citizen, has already raised nearly $850,000 since last week.

The money IGP has picked up from the Founder's Program preorders will go toward Piranha's efforts developing MechWarrior Online and supporting it post-launch. The independent publisher has two other free-to-play titles it intends to launch open betas for later this year: MechWarrior Tactics and Sins of a Dark Age.

"The success of the Founder's Program reinforces IGP's vision to help independent developers build exceptional games with the right economic model for the global marketplace," says IGP CEO Nick Foster.

Montreal-based IGP notes that it's grown considerably in the last year, expanding to more than 50 workers and now planning to extend beyond Canada.

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