So let's move on from that meme, shall we? Great.
Of course, if I'm talking about mini-memes on Ask Massively, that must mean that it's time for this week's installment, yes? Yes. And this week, we're talking about the now almost ubiquitous case of the Kickstarter project. If you've got a question you'd like to see answered in a future installment of Ask Massively, leave it in the comments below or mail it to email@example.com. Questions may be edited slightly for clarity and/or brevity.
Jejeune asked: What's with all the Kickstarters lately?
Kickstarter has a definite appeal for gaming companies, especially MMO companies, because it dispenses with the least pleasant part of developing a game -- namely, the part where you go door-to-door and beg for money with half a game.Looking for some advice on which class is best for soloing in Aion? Not sure who this Raph Koster fellow is? Curious about the release date of NCsoft's newest MMO? You've come to the right place! No one knows MMOs like we do. If there's anything you'd like to know about the MMO genre or the site itself, Ask Massively is here to help every Thursday afternoon. Just ask!
I'm exaggerating a bit for effect, but if you don't have a large publisher that will greenlight anything, there's an element of truth in that. (If you do have all of that, though, congratulations on your ascension to paradise.) A studio needs to come up with an idea for a game, get some funding to start developing the game, and then get more funding by showing off the half-completed game. It's a bit like getting interviewed for all of your future dream jobs at age nine.
With Kickstarter, suddenly you don't need to ask narrow-eyed venture capitalists for money; you're asking the people who have a lot of enthusiasm about your idea. That means that you can appeal directly to a built-in audience and then tout that as a selling point if you need further capital. No more shopping around, no more convincing publishers that there will be an audience for Pathfinder Online -- just a game and a presentation.
Of course, we also haven't had any Kickstarter projects yet that collect a huge amount of money and then fail to deliver the product. Or deliver a product that's far worse than what was promised. Or wind up blowing all of the Kickstarter money on another game and then ask for more cash.
The point I'm getting at here is that there may be a reason that every venture capitalist looks at new studios with a critical eye. Until that happens, though, it's sunny times.