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Tim Schafer on leaving Kickstarter behind and fighting investment fatigue

Tim Schafer on leaving Kickstarter behind and fighting investment fatigue

December 14, 2015 | By Chris Kerr




"It seemed like we had hit a ceiling [on Kickstarter], a lot of games having trouble getting past a certain mark. With the investment portion of Fig, there's a chance to go beyond that."

- Double Fine founder, Tim Schafer.

Double Fine founder Tim Schafer is no stranger to crowdfunding. Schafer's studio is, after all, responsible for sparking the crowdfunding rush with its hugely successful Kickstarter campaigns for both Broken Age and Massive Chalice, which raised over $4.5 million combined. 

Although there were a few hiccups along the way, it'd be fair to say that Double Fine's experience with Kickstarter was nothing short of a resounding success. Why, then, is the studio jumping ship to look for funds for its next project, the long-awaited Psychonauts sequel, on crowdfunding competitor, Fig?

In a recent interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Schafer has suggested it's because he doesn't want to make the same mistake twice. This time around, he wants to use Fig's investment arm to make sure he has enough cash from the get-go, and to give those with faith in the project the chance to share in its financial rewards. 

"It seemed like we had hit a ceiling [on Kickstarter], a lot of games having trouble getting past a certain mark," Schafer said. "With the investment portion of Fig, there's a chance to go beyond that."

"We had a great experience with Kickstarter, but there was this nagging question. I love the mission of Kickstarter in helping creative people get their works made, and that's what backers want."

"But with games, especially games with higher budgets, the question is, 'But what if this is a hit and makes a lot of money?' Is it OK to make a lot of money when you got the initial money for free from someone. And how will they feel if you get rich off a game that wouldn't exist without them?"

According to the Grim Fandango creator, the switch to Fig was also made in an effort to combat what he calls "investment fatigue." 

"There's fatigue for just doing the same thing over and over again, but that's one of the reasons we looked to Fig, because it allows us to add the investment twist to it," continues Schafer.

"With our first campaign, there was a period where we got a lot of hate mail because people thought we were just going to take their money and run and the project was a failure. But all we were doing was making the game even bigger and investing our own money to make that happen.

"I think slowly that kind of misinformation is being diluted with the truth, which is that we've now successfully crowdfunded two projects, shipped them both, the backers have them and they're great games. I feel like people are starting to see we have a lot of credibility with crowdfunded projects."

Read the full interview on GamesIndustry.biz.

Update: It's worth noting that Fig was founded by former Double Fine COO, Justin Bailey, who spoke to us last year about the motivations behind his new crowdfunding venture



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