Video Game Developer Double Fine Raises $1 Million Overnight with Kickstarter

Best known for their hit video game Psychonauts and Brutal Legend starring Jack Black, Double Fine’s founder, Tim Schafer, decided to eschew the convention of pitching an idea to a publisher and decided to use crowdfunding site Kickstarter to pitch directly to fans. Schafer’s intent was to raise $400,000 over 33 days for the development of new crowdfunded and fan-driven, downloadable, point-and-click adventure game code-named “Double Fine Adventure.”

According to an article published on Digital Trends, the first eight overs that the Kickstarter project live it received the full $400,000 and exceeded $1,000,000 within 24 hours. The article adds that this isn’t the first project on the crowdfunding site that has broken one million dollars; but it is certainly the fastest. As of the writing of this article the project has raised at $1.3 million via the investment of 36,481 backers.

The concept of crowdfunding is a powerful mechanism for people on the Internet. Kickstarter provides a venue for people to commit as little as $1 or $5 and a project doesn’t actually take a person’s money unless it succeeds in reaching it’s funding goal. As a result, Kickstarter becomes a sort of funding democratization, allowing individuals and indie projects to advertise themselves to people who would be interesting in seeing them happy to fund them. In order to encourage donations, projects also offer incentives to people who commit larger amounts.

For example, those who donate $15 or more to the Double Fine project on Kickstarter receive, “The finished game in all of its awesome glory on Steam, exclusive access to the PC Beta on Steam, access to the video series, and access the private discussion community.” Donate this amount and you become part of the fan-driven element of the project. Pledge $10,000 and get to have lunch with Tim Schafer and participate in a tour of the Double Fine Studios (only one available and sold out.) Of course there are rewards in between, and even after the top mark.

“Crowd-sourced fundraising sites like Kickstarter have been an incredible boon to the independent development community,” wrote Double Fine on their Kickstarter page describing why they’re using it to crowdfund their project. “They democratize the process by allowing consumers to support the games they want to see developed and give the developers the freedom to experiment, take risks, and design without anyone else compromising their vision.  It’s the kind of creative luxury that most major, established studios simply can’t afford. At least, not until now.”

According to Tim Schafer, Double Fine Adventure will be a classic point-and-click adventure unfolding in real-time with all the fans who donated being part of the development. The process will be documented in video on a month-by-month basis in updates exclusively for Kickstarter backers delivering the most intimate behind-the-scenes that they possibly can. Backers will also have access to a private community where they will be able to converse and argue with the devs about the development of the project itself and sometimes even vote on the direction the game should go.

Finally, Kickstarter backers will be given access to alpha and beta builds of the game to help test it and polish it into its published form.

The project details for Double Fine Adventure state that money beyond the original asked-for $400,000 would make the game available on further platforms such as Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 as well as providing translations for other languages. After raising more-than-triple the original asking fund, the adventure game may yet become something even more than originally intended.

The Kickstarter description closes with: “For anyone interested in the inner workings of the game industry, either professionally or as a fan, this project will be a landmark in exploring the art of development.  For people that just love great games, this is an opportunity to help bring one to fruition.”

If you want to be part of this amazing project alongside more than thirty-six thousand people you still have a little more than a month before the Kickstarter closes and the adventure starts.

About Kyt Dotson

Technology and civilization walk hand in hand and civilization is nothing without the skin of society, brushing up against itself, speaking strange nothings across dimly lit avenues and computer screens. If we're going to understand ourselves in this digital era, it will be through watching the adoption of technology by people to express themselves as people. I am an anthropologist and an author of science fiction and fantasy--and with my technology, I hope to open up new and exciting worlds that will not just enlighten the humanity of my friends and fans but also educate and enhance the expression of their own personhood. Find more of my work on Google+; send tips to @kytsune.