One of the largest gaming media sites in the world, responsible for two major conventions, a slew of games and one of the most influential web comics on the net is asking fans for $250,000 to make the site completely ad-free for a year. Penny Arcade, running for just over eleven years now, has posted a Kickstarter, postulating that the act of removing ads would free up a considerable amount of time for creative pursuits.
Said Kickstarter has drawn mixed reactions from fans and media personalities alike, who wonder just how effective such a ploy can be.
Penny Arcade creators Jerry 'Tycho Brahe' Holkins and Mike 'Jonathan Gabriel' Krahulik believe that should ad revenues instead be replaced by crowd-sourced funds, they in turn could focus more heavily on expanding the business of creating a gamer-centric community and business. The site, which originally started as a simple web comic, has started to work more heavily on producing its own games and content.
The scheme is quite simple; the Kickstarter is asking for a 'humble' $250K to wipe out ads on the front page. From there, multiple tiers of funding levels exist, which will start to eliminate more and more advertisements.
Should they hit their goal of $1 million, all ads will be completely pushed out of the site for one full year. Penny Arcade explains why they chose to go after Kickstarter, saying "We've committed to a pretty shocking reconfiguration of our company, and we're going to need all hands on deck to do so. Their Pledge system streamlines this process considerably. It's also incredibly transparent, with a bright green bar that goes up in real time so you can see what is happening."
Of course, the goal seems lofty. Krahulik, Holkins and the rest of the Penny Arcade team have been active on Twitter, answering questions and making statements about their decisions. A tide of negative criticism has arisen, calling for the removal of the project due to it not meeting Kickstarter's Terms of Service.
Penny Arcade has punched back, saying that they cleared the project through before attempting. As of writing, the Kickstarter has hit just over $88,000 with over 1,250 backers.
Should things not get funded? "Things stay how they are now. That's fine."
Stay tuned for our upcoming interview with the team at Penny Arcade about this project and what it means exactly for the company and gaming media at large.