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Star Citizen turns to Kickstarter after crowdfunding site troubles

 Star Citizen  turns to Kickstarter after crowdfunding site troubles
October 18, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts and his studio have launched a Kickstarter campaign for Star Citizen after facing difficulties with running a crowdfunding campaign outside of the platform.

The servers that Roberts' Cloud Imperium set up for its custom crowdfunding site collapsed due to traffic, and made it impossible for would-be pledgers to donate money to the campaign for several days. So the studio has decided to turn to a "stable and scalable crowd funding platform" in Kickstarter.

But just last week, Roberts told Gamasutra that he preferred to avoid the platform: "The problem I have with Kickstarter is that it's better than the publisher setup, but it's still another party. Essentially you bifurcate your audience." He argued that having a single site that fans visit, instead of both a Kickstarter page and the official hub, simplifies developers' relationships with players.

"I'd rather have one site that I can theme, like the idea of [Cloud Imperium subsidiary] Roberts Space Industries," he added. Roberts then admitted, "The downside is that they've had a lot of time to work through the kinks. Our site's gone down quite a few times because there are too many people visiting it."

Kickstarter is seen as the standard for crowdfunding among game developers, but more and more studios are experimenting with running campaigns outside of the platform -- Introversion has already managed to raise over $270,000 through its site, while Infinite Game Publishing attracted $5 million in preorders earlier this year.

Cloud Imperium will continue to raise money for Star Citizen's development through its standalone site as well, and those who previously pledged donations should not be affected. Even though Roberts was vocal about his Kickstarter criticisms, he notes that the crowdfunding platform's team was "quick to offer help and have been great as we put together a solution."

Despite these problems, the campaign has already managed to raise around half of its minimum funding goal of $2 million since announcing the space sim last week. He is also seeking funding for the PC game from private investors.

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