Monday, April 9, 2012

EA’s Madden ’13 Kickstarter Makes 8.5 Million in Five Hours

This is a response to the post to Dinofarm Game's article: EA’s Madden ’13 Kickstarter Makes 8.5 Million in Five Hours.

It's interesting to see other indies struggling with the same problems when trying to crowdfund their game.
They seem to have the same perception of the problem that i have. If there is already a target audience (i.e. you're a gamedev rockstar or have a famous franchise) you're pretty much set. In every other case you need a huge chunk of luck, self promotion and a lot of help from your friends to succeed.
Even then there are still people who do not understand that it costs money (i.e. living expenses) to develop a game. People, what do you even expect?! If you don't want to contribute that's fine, nobody forces you to, but keep your incompetent comments to yourself("I can’t see a point in supporting lazy people with so much money." - quote from Dinofarm games article). You're hurting the project by putting other people off their intent to donate. If this mindset continues to exist it could really damage the potential for indies to go for crowdfunding.
Making games cost money. The time you need to code, create concept art and assets, hire a musician or otherwise help from outside. It's not like we want that money because we're greedy bastards who want to leech on you so we can enjoy a lifestyle better than yours.

In case you live with your mom, here's a simple estimate of monthly living expenses (this applies to germany at least)
300-500Euro - Rent, power and gas
100+ - Food and stuff
200+ - Health insurance

This totals in at least 600-1000 per month depending on your size, appetite, health insurance policy, location you live in etc.

Maybe now you can see why a budget of 10.000 Euro is not much, in fact it is terribly humble. Indie developers do not have a set work schedule. It is not rare to work more than 8 hours a day, because we love what we do, and you cannot just stop working if you're in the zone. But we're not in it for the money. If we were we'd rather be working as system admin or software developer, tech support or something else.

We do this because we love doing this, and we want to provide you with awesome games. Alleging us to be greedy will not only hurt us or our community, but the games you will eventually get from us (or won't get).

Finally, i want to adress the headline, something the Dinofarm guys unfortunately didn't. This is something that crossed my mind a few days back. Publishers without a doubt have taken knowledge of Tim Schafer's and Brain Fargo's success through Kickstarter, so what if they decide "Hey, what they can do, we can, too".
This scares me. Big scale publishers don't need this, well, because they are publishers. They are supposed to fund the development of the game, since they take the biggest piece of the pie. If they offload a portion of the budget onto the customer, not only will they screw us twice, but probably adding ludicrous perks like "Day one DLC for free".
This might be the most likely outcome, but it could benefit us aswell, as a certain factor of risk could be put off by us. "Is it worth making the game/new sequel/new title to an existing franchise?". Probably not on the scale they'd like it to, but still, there are games that could come to life that way, games where major publishers hold the IP and aren't made because they fear the target audience is too small to return the cost.
I doubt that publishers are that sensible though.

Let's just see how it turns out and let's look forward to the next great Kickstarter campaigns \o/

1 comment:

  1. Hey, great article - I wrote the original. For all the hate we got over the article, there were a lot of people (like yourself) who did understand what we meant, which is good. Anyway, since, I've found that there is some evidence to show that these big guys getting involved may have an overall positive effect on the smaller guys; I suppose only time will tell!