Old School Video Game Gets 21st Century Makeover, Thanks To CrowdFunding

The rebirth of Elite: Dangerous is nearing. As crowdfunding for this video game, first played in the 80’s, reaches $1.25 million, its renaissance is just around the corner. This Kickstarter project is still accepting pledges until midnight GMT/7PM EST of January 4th, Friday. David Braben, one of the original creators of the video game, could not hide his delight over the positive reception of the public.

“It is really great to have exceeded the goal already,” Mr Braben told the BBC. “I was delighted and touched by how many people really want this game to be made, and it was doubly good that it happened on my birthday!”

“It was an ambitious target but that is so that it was set at a realistic level to be able to make the game,” he said adding that watching the total pledges get close to the target made for a “tense time”.

The campaign to fund Elite: Dangerous kicked off on November 5, 2012. Today it has now more than 100,000 comments attracting over 21,000 backers. According to Braben, the game will still have the identical mix of interstellar travel, trading, piracy and spaceships as the original 8-bit game.

A funding platform for creative projects, Kickstarter was launched in 2009 as private for-profit company. It’s website is now the most popular avenue to raise funds for creative projects via crowd funding.

But, Kickstarter is not just about attracting funds to support game development projects. This platform also engages game enthusiasts to provide valuable feedback to the developers. The mantra becomes: games for the people, by the people.

“It’s about getting feedback from players before it’s even finished and getting players really excited about it throughout the process,” said Jim Rossignol, co-founder of indie game studio Big Robot, which used Kickstarter to get funds to finish a game called Sir, You Are Being Hunted.

Crowdfunding is projected to expand into a grander venture this 2013. While many backing are pouring to game developments, there are also other creative fragments that are being supported by Kickstarter and the likes. The JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act, which was signed into law by President Obama last April, will bolster funding deeds for startups.

In a recent blog posted in the website, Kickstarter announced over $100 million pledges were received to fund an independent film. Rottentomatoes.com, a famous website dedicated for movie reviews, noted that 3 out of the 20 best-reviewed films in 2012 are Kickstarter-funded. These include The Waiting Room, Brooklyn Castle and Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry.

VentureBeat reported a newly tossed Kickstarter crowdfunding mission care of GarageGames that advances DIY dream of independent game developers. Another crowdfunding website, Indiegogo has registered 20% increase in raised funds in 2012 compared to 2011. This is even with shorter funding period. They have also found that crowdfunding is taking the altruistic turn as 33% of all dollars contributed were given with no strings attached.

There is no guarantee for success for this financial scheme. But with only 43% success rate, Kickstarter’s 81,000 projects have now amassed pledges that sum up to nearly half a billion dollars, there is an appetite for this class of investment.