The Kickstarter Funding and Advertisement Model


In his Media Work, Mark Deuze discusses PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ (PWC) global industry overview:

In its analysis, PWC implicitly refers to the blurring of the boundaries between media producers and consumers… supercharged by the rapid appropriation of new media by people to produce, edit, share, and distribute content themselves, on their own terms (127).

While consumers in many industries might not want to involve themselves in advertising products, there are industries in which this succeeds–such as with video games. Earlier in the semester, I had briefly introduced a crowd-source funding site known as Kickstarter. Through this system, developers can keep 100 percent ownership over their work while consumers provide the funding for the games. In return for donating, contributors are typically given some sort of reward (based on the amount they contribute), ranging from a free copy of the game to a portrait painted by the artists.

Now, Kickstarter itself does not provide any outside source of advertisement for the games. That being the case, developers will often create their own ads (cutting out the middle-man). For some, this might mean a video on their YouTube channel; for others, it might mean a post on Reddit (a site I would refer to as a social media forum). In either case, the result is a democratic process:  fans choose what they want to see made, and developers can experiment with content while avoiding the laborious search for distribution companies to fund their projects (and take a large cut of the profits):

Near the beginning of February, Tim Schafer and his team at Double Fine PRoductions set a fairly lofty goal.

They wanted to raise $400,000 to make an “old school” adventure game, and fund a documentary produced by 2 Player Productions to film the process all along the way. Earlier this week, the doors closed on donations, and the coins were counted behind the curtain. Donations from the Kickstarter were combined with contributions made outside of the campaign directly to Double Fine.

In total, Schafer and his team had raised $3,446,371 (KSL).

Because of the immense support Double Fine received amongst the gamer community (who often took it upon themselves to point people towards the Kickstarter page), the game can be improved.


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