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Amplitude hits Kickstarter goal

Harmonix reboot reaches $775,000 with hours to spare

Update: The Kickstarter has now closed, and it finished with $844,107 from 14,111 backers.

Harmonix Music Systems' attempt to reboot its PlayStation 2 game Amplitude through Kickstarter has been a success - but only just.

The Amplitude campaign started in earnest earlier this month with a target of $775,000. At the time of its release in 2003, Amplitude was not a spectacular success for Harmonix - it was only its second release - but it is now widely regarded as a classic of its kind.

With that in mind, many assumed that Harmonix would hit its target with relative ease, and yet that hasn't been the case. Amplitude started slowly, which is bad news in the world of crowdfunding, and as recently as Monday this week it had raised less than half of its $775,000 target. Many fans of the original had resigned themselves to its failure.

And yet a huge late surge in interest has pushed Amplitude past its goal with just hours to spare. At the time of writing, the game has received just over $808,000 in donations, and that is likely to increase in the 12 hours that remain.

"You did it," Harmonix stated. "We honestly can't believe it."

The difficulties Harmonix faced speak to a larger trend in crowdfunding. When companies like Double Fine, inXile and Obsidian raised millions it became accepted wisdom that it's better for a developer with a legacy property to set a lower target than the amount they needed to raise, on the assumption that it would ultimately exceed that amount. It isn't clear whether Harmonix made that assumption with Amplitude, but it seems likely that the company was surprised by the campaign's lack of momentum.

Of course, that could be because Amplitude just doesn't have the allure that its reputation would suggest, but Harmonix is not the only veteran developer struggling with crowdfunding. Speaking to GamesIndustry International earlier this month, X-Com designer Julian Gollop admitted that his reputation was barely enough to hit a $180,000 target.

"Crowdfunding is very difficult, and much more difficult now that it was even a year ago. That's the reality," he said.

"Brian Fargo told me this, Chris Roberts told me this. They said, 'it's not going to be as easy as it was,' and that's true."

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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