Video Game Fundraisers are now raising a lot of money for Games coming directly from fans and supporters. I can see why this can be seen as an alarming Situation to some people considering the large sum of Money. Video Game Fundraisers fund $148 Million Can this be a Problem?
Mark Kearns, 38, a web designer and gamer from Chicago, stumbled upon a new video game called Star Citizen while online in late 2013. The game, which was in development, promised to revive the spaceflight simulation genre with a sprawling universe for players to explore.
Intrigued, Mr. Kearns decided to pledge money to see the game come to fruition. In total, he donated $175, which gained him access to Star Citizen’s alpha version — a playable version of the game in its early stages — plus a virtual ship to use in the game.
Mr. Kearns and others have now vaulted Star Citizen into the record books. Since 2013, the game has quietly amassed more than $148 million in funding — all from regular people who have donated either through the crowdfunding site Kickstarter or through the game’s online donations page. The amount is a record for a crowdfunded video game, and one of the largest for any crowdfunded project. Star Citizen’s developer, Cloud Imperium Games, has not taken any money from traditional financiers.
“My expectation was that we’d raise around $4 million,” said Chris Roberts, 48, the founder of Cloud Imperium Games. “I had investors lined up to help with the rest but Sandy, my wife, told me not to worry about investors — that we’d make it to $20 million. I told her she was crazy, and then it kind of went from there.”
Yet the gigantic sum of money has created issues for Star Citizen, which began with a modest goal of raising $500,000 in 2012. As the dollars have mounted, the ambitions of Cloud Imperium Games have grown, and the game’s official release has repeatedly been pushed back. Some gamers have demanded refunds. One even filed a formal complaint with the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office last year.
“I’m already building the best game I can,” said Mr. Roberts, who acknowledged the bumps. “But imagine — the game I can build with $140 million is going to be very different to the one I could build with $10 million. If I can build a bigger and more robust experience, I will.”
Star Citizen’s tale highlights the promise and perils of crowdfunded video games, which have become increasingly popular in recent years. Creators have flocked to crowdfunding to make niche games for specific audiences of passionate fans and to interact with gamers earlier in development. Crowdfunding has helped spawn a revival of classic role-playing games like Baldur’s Gate and Divinity, which were popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
According to Eedar, a video game market research company owned by the NPD Group, about 30,000 successfully funded video game projects were on Kickstarter as of February, and more than $593 million had been pledged to them.