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Double Fine's Kickstarter makes a million in a day

Thu 16 Feb 2012 9:46am GMT / 4:46am EST / 1:46am PST
Publishing

Update: Funds keep rising, five platforms and voice acting now confirmed

Update

Double Fine's Kickstarter total is now up to $1,846,014, which lead founder Tim Schafer to post an update on new plans for the title.

"We got a little bit more money than we thought we were going to get," said Schafer.

"We're going to be able to add things like platforms and voices and we're going to announce today that the platforms so far are PC, Mac and Linux and mobile it's going to be iOS devices and certain Android phones. "

He also confirmed a closed beta on Steam for backers, and a later DRM free version for those who like their games "loosey goosey."

The project still has around 26 days of funding left.

Original story

It was only yesterday that Double Fine launched a Kickstarter fund for its new point and click adventure with a $400,000 goal. This morning that fund stands at $1,210,995 and rising.

So far 32,466 people have donated to the project, including Notch, Mike Acton of Insomniac, actress Felicia Day and Naughty Dog's Amy Hennig.

Tweeting from DICE, Tim Schafer was understandably pleased with the results.

"Kickstarter records so far: Most funds raised in the first 24 hours. Highest number of backers of all time, and growing! Good morning!"

Meanwhile an update on the Kickstarter page promised the extra money meant more features for the finished game.

"You people are amazing! But it's not over yet. The number keeps going up and now the question is just how much news do we want to make with this? We're getting a lot of attention already and it seems like this little project could have an impact beyond itself"

"All money raised will go to make the game and documentary better. Additional money means it can appear on more platforms, be translated into more languages, have more music and voice, and an original soundtrack for the documentary, and more!"

Here UKIE called for crowdfunding, currently restricted by UK legislation, to become a viable option for British developers.

"Double Fine's Kickstarter project has today shown the huge potential of crowd funding to benefit games and interactive entertainment businesses," said UKIE's Jo Twist.

"We need the UK to be able to take full advantage of crowd funding and UKIE's Crowd Funding Report, due next week, will outline exactly what needs to be done for this to be possible."

Funding for the project doesn't close until March 13, and given the publicity the game has received so far there's expected to be another rush of donations today.

15 Comments

Vincent De Clercq
Level Designer

5 2 0.4
I love this. It shows again that publishers sometimes don't want to take the risk, eventhough there is no risk involved. Next project to be funded this way: Some kind of Wing Commander/X-wing. Publishers don't want to touch the genre either, but I know a lot of people who would go crazy for it.

But we don't need to get overexcited. The only reason they get this amount of money, is because it's Tim Shafer (and Double Fine). He's a living legend and has proven he can make good game. So it's a safe investment. An indie developer without a nice portfolio to proof they are up to the challenge won't get this amount of backers.

Posted:2 years ago

#1

Sanjay Jagmohan
Project Monitor (Functionality Team Lead)

10 0 0.0
I am really chuffed for Double Fine. Heh who knows, the extra money might even change the title's scope!

Posted:2 years ago

#2

Allan Simonson
Co-Founder

12 0 0.0
@Vincent: First, support the indie space-sim that's just been released:
[link url=http://solexodus.com/
]http://solexodus.com/
[/link]

:)

Posted:2 years ago

#3
Hmm, I suppose this really falls back on one of the simplest aspects of any business model; selling loads of small things (or in this case, getting loads of smaller donations) is much more reliable than selling a few large ones.

Posted:2 years ago

#4

Martin Mathers
Copywriter/Journalist

39 0 0.0
"It shows again that publishers sometimes don't want to take the risk, even though there is no risk involved."

I'm not sure I agree with this at all. True, raising $1million in less than 24 hours is a ridiculous success and proves that this kind of approach can work (and may even be a sign of things to come), but that doesn't mean the fact that Double Fine's gone down this road proves that publishers are wrong to turn projects away that they see as risky.

You only have to look at the numbers to see that's the case. For instance, just over 32,000 people have donated - in real terms, given that each one of those people will get the game for free by donating, that's 32,000 sales. If you were to go to a publisher and say 'Hey, I can guarantee that our next game will sell 32k copies!', they probably wouldn't be interested - it's a big number, but it's nowhere near a big ENOUGH number for their budget sheets.

Also, consider how getting a publisher involved would up the costs. You're talking about adding a bunch of people that, in theory, would only be there by obligation (since Double Fine's obviously out to prove that you don't need middle-management and red tape to get a game made), but would still need to be paid in the grand scheme of things. Plus, you have to weigh their efforts against the money made back.

Thing is, as Vincent's rightly gone on to point out, the fact that Double Fine went out and proved that it can be done doesn't mean it CAN be done - they're a fairly well-known developer with a cult following (largely because of Tim Schafer's work way before DF was even a glint in his eye), so they're going to have the support. But it's an isolated incident, at least for now. If any first-time dev or a smaller dev with some games that were okay but nothing special tried it, you can almost guarantee that they'd fall on their arse. And, sadly, I suspect the next dev to try following Double Fine's lead might just find that out the hard way.

...

God, I hate being such a cynic. :D

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Martin Mathers on 10th February 2012 12:50pm

Posted:2 years ago

#5

Philipp Karstaedt
Producer / Product & Project Manager

7 0 0.0
Ron Gilbert's magic, no doubt. Credit to Tim, but... Ron! Ron! Ron!

Posted:2 years ago

#6

Joe Tay
Senior Architect - Infra and Ops

10 8 0.8
Go Tim Schafer!!! You got my $15.....
I was just lamenting the death of good ole adventure games like Full Throttle and Grim Fandango.
And the fact that as games become bigger the genre of games actually shrinked.
If community funded projects will bring back more variety of games to cater for the smaller niche market I would definitely be watching this space.
So for $30 could we ask for Grim Fandango 2?

Posted:2 years ago

#7

John Beech
designer

1 0 0.0
What an amazing story, I hope all goes well.

Posted:2 years ago

#8

Derek Smart
Software Developer/Engineer

29 1 0.0
@Martin

I couldn't have said it better myself. You nailed it.

Posted:2 years ago

#9

Christopher Bowen
Editor in Chief

419 581 1.4
Martin's right. This isn't the first games project that's gone through Kickstarter; in fact, there's another one on their front page (as of yesterday) that was at like 50% and about to close. So basically, as someone on Twitter said yesterday, any Johnny-Come-Lately developer who thinks Kickstarter is a virtual ATM is in for a rude awakening.

EDIT: Don't get me wrong. This is a very good thing, and I'm thankful for anything that blunts the influence of the major publishers and tips the balance of the scales back towards us. But this isn't a revolution yet. Not even close.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Christopher Bowen on 10th February 2012 5:23pm

Posted:2 years ago

#10

Tim Hull
Co-Founder

24 2 0.1
Tim Schafer and his games are fun and so deserves to be backed.

You only have to watch his video clip:

http://kck.st/A9k3jH

to realise it's going to be entertaining, failure or not.

Raising awareness about adventure games and crowdfunding for games simultaneously, proves there is more than one way to skin a cat and only helps to open more doors for more enthusiasts and minds that think alike.

A breath of fresh air from an old fart.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Tim Hull on 11th February 2012 2:33pm

Posted:2 years ago

#11
The best way of funding a game this way is even if the game isn't a financial hit you will still get to play a game that probably wouldn't have seen the light of day otherwise.

Plus if it is a hit then you make a little profit.

Win Win.

Posted:2 years ago

#12

Tim Hull
Co-Founder

24 2 0.1
@John Owens

Couldn't agree more.

Posted:2 years ago

#13

James Prendergast
Research Chemist

735 432 0.6
One thing that i think is missing from the equation of people's analyses above is that crowd sourcing/funding are relatively untapped idea spaces: Ask the general person on the street whether they would be able to fund a game (or project) or contribute to it in any way and they'd probably reply with a resounding "No.".

The reason why things like kickstarter haven't seen so many successes is probably due to their infancy in the general conscious of society.

To give an example of what I'm talking about. Some friends are sitting at home and want to watch the sports match (whatever sport) that isn't on TV. In 1990 they knew that pubs show football games and they go to a pub (any pub) on the off-chance it will be showing the game. In 2012, if they're savvy, they're looking at online streaming, pay-as-you-go channels as well as the pub option (i'm probably missing something here too!). If they're not savvy and/or they aren't aware of the options then they'll just go to the pub as per 20 years ago.

We're in that situation now. I've never crowd-funded a project before this (unless you count Minecraft though i don't really consider that as the same situation). I never heard of kickstarter before this. The pure marketing both kickstarter and Double Fine are getting from this project will increase the awareness of these options. In 1990 if there wasn't the game that you wanted you just had to go without. Now, if there isn't the game you want, see if there's someone who wants to make the game you want and then give them some money with other like-minded people.

It's still very early days but I see no reason to be cynical or despondent about this manner of funding as yet.

Posted:2 years ago

#14

Vlad Zotta
Competitive Intelligence Advisor

13 0 0.0
I don't know if you realize it, but the best thing about it is not the sum of all the donations. It's the genre of the game. A point&click adventure? Who would have thought that a game belonging to a genre considered dead by many would accomplish such a feat? It's no wonder he is TimOfLegend :)

Posted:2 years ago

#15

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