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Double Fine Raises $700,000 In 24 Hours With Crowdfunding 112

Posted by timothy
from the more-money-more-money dept.
redletterdave writes "San Francisco-based game developer Double Fine took to Kickstarter to fund its next game project, and so far, the studio has enjoyed unprecedented success through crowdsourcing. The project, which was announced by the studio's founder Tim Schafer on Wednesday night, has already raised more than $700,000 in less than 24 hours. The funding frenzy has set new Kickstarter records for most funds raised in the first 24 hours, and highest number of backers of all-time, though both of those numbers are still growing. Schafer says he will build a 'classic point-and-click adventure game' in a six-to-eight month time frame, and will document the entire production process for fans to observe and give input on the game's development, which 'will actually affect the direction the game takes.'"
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Double Fine Raises $700,000 In 24 Hours With Crowdfunding

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  • ...so as a German I, naturally, had to support this... But all jokes aside, as a diehard adventure fan I'm really excited about it, especially the documentary part. Let's see what they do with all the excess money.
  • by Xanny (2500844) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @02:53PM (#38985441)

    Oh my god, I can't believe it!

    Excuse the sarcasm, but it has been obvious for a decade that publishers and traditional investment firms into game development have been a defunct and dying breed, it has just taken forever for any real game studios to take the risk to stop getting fucked (losing the copyright to their own media, sharing most of the sales, having no rights to distribution or advertising) to get funding and publicity.

    • by QuasiSteve (2042606) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @03:00PM (#38985589)

      Keep in mind that this is Double Fine.

      Its current backer pledging rate of about $1,000/minute (yes, I'm serious) is not the norm. Check out other game projects at KickStarter. Most don't even make it to their funding goal when their funding goal is $4,000 - let alone the $400,000 that Double Fine had set.

      Double Fine, however, is well-known in the gaming community. As are some of the names that attached themselves to this project. This in term allows them to leverage their existing social networks (followers on twitter, friends at facebook), their industry contacts, and get noticed by other sites (such as Slashdot) more easily.

      Compare this, if you will, to the Humble Bundle. Yes, games within the Humble Bundle generally do quite well. But do they do quite well because of the game, or because of the Humble Bundle association?

      That said, this is still very cool, and I would be very surprised if this project didn't top the #1 slot for most funded, most over-funded (absolute and percentage-wise), fastest to reach funding goal, highest funding rate and more at KickStarter. In fact, I'm sure KickStarter staff did a double-take at suddenly gaining hundreds of new accounts, about 130 per minute in the last hour, backing this project alone.

      • by RyoShin (610051)

        While this won't help the new-to-the-scene indie developer, I have to wonder if this isn't the future for mid-sized developers, maybe even film/show producers.

        Take a company with a cult following or small but highly-respected developer who has trouble getting published because publishers see their games as "risky" since they aren't Cowadooty Clone 5, put their project on Kickstarter and allow the public to "purchase early" in order to fund it. In fact, if the company has multiple potential projects but can

        • by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Thursday February 09, 2012 @03:23PM (#38985995) Homepage

          I have to wonder if this isn't the future for mid-sized developers, maybe even film/show producers.

          The problem is that almost all success stories with new business models so far have been something like this:

          1) Do normal commercial work
          2) Get advertised a ton doing your commercial work
          3) Repeat 1) and 2) for years or decades and accumulate a fan-base
          4) Do a kickstarter/pay-what-you-want/novel-new-business model and get a shitload of free press
          5) Profit

          The problem is that without accumulating the fan-base first, it wouldn't work. Getting the free press also only works as long as your business model is fresh and new. When everybody is doing their projects via Kickstarter, it will be a hell of a lot harder to get noticed.

          That's not to say that this can't work for some cases. If Kickstarter allows a few popular people to do what they want, awesome. But the old industry is still where most of the money is. One million for an adventure game is awesome, but compared to 400 million that Modern Warfare 3 made on launch day, that's still a rather small amount.

          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            Not every game has to be Call of Warfare or Modern Duty, which is sadly all the big studios want to fund. If they can make a profit at $1 million great! Not every game is going to make or needs to make 400 times that.

          • by Endo13 (1000782)

            There's proven ways besides steps 1-3 for getting the necessary fan base. For recent great examples, you need look no further than Mojang or Rovio Mobile.

            • by grumbel (592662)

              The success story of Mojang started by Minecraft being features on the Valve blog if I remember correctly, the game from which Minecraft took most of the ideas, InfiniMiner, wasn't so lucky. AngryBirds just had the luck of being high up in the iTunes Store and in turn creating a media hype which lead to a feedback loop that got it more hype. If it wouldn't have been for classical media hyping that game up to eleven, they would have gotten nowhere near as successful (helps of course that those guys are prett

              • by Endo13 (1000782)

                there are only a very limited number of spots in the spotlight of the media

                Um... duh?

                You can't drive a whole industry like that, those games are the exception.

                There's a lot more to it than that. First, as you pointed out, there's a very limited number of spots in the spotlight. Just like in any industry, there's only room for so many players, because there's only so much demand. Not every game is going to be a huge hit like that, not because they didn't follow your steps 1-3 in your previous post but because there's just not enough demand. The point is that any game from any studio has the potential to reach those heights if it meets the demand better

          • by LordLucless (582312) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @05:25PM (#38988121)

            Compare this to another project also breaking records on Kickstarter at the moment - the Order of the Stick reprint.

            Yes, the guy's been writing it for a while, and yes, he's built up a fan-base, but it's not been his day job, and it's not exactly "commercial" - it's a free webcomic. And yet, when he started the kickstarter to try and fund print runs of his product, he almost equalled this well-known, established, commercial player, that (I assume) has a lot more backing it than one guy drawing stick figures. The OOTS kickstarter has reached around $580,000 last time I looked, and is cruising for the 5th most successful kickstart ever.

            • by grumbel (592662)

              Compare this to another project also breaking records on Kickstarter at the moment - the Order of the Stick reprint.

              I don't doubt that some people can have large successes on Kickstarter. What I have a problem is with people calling that the end of the regular game/publishing industry. A big successful Indie projects make what? One million? Two? Three? Maybe ten if they get really really lucky. A big commercial game cost something like 25 million to build and that's the cheap low end game, the really big ones can cost multiple times that amount.

              There is simply an order of magnitude or two between the money that gets move

      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        Thanks for crushing my dreams, Debbie Downer!

      • by Rhys (96510)

        For 'over-funded by percent' it is going to be hard to beat the order of the stick reprint drive, which is, last I saw, approaching 1000% funded (also currently ongoing).

        • by Ambvai (1106941)

          I can't speak for the other categories, but that iPod Nano watchband in the Design category is over 6000%. I doubt OOtS would break that.

        • oh yeah.. $400,000,000 might be a bit much (and even worse for some projects), you're right - got a little carried away there ;)
          Let's go for 'over-funded by percent for projects with goal higher than $100,000'. Although things get a little arbitrary then :)

      • by brit74 (831798) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @04:28PM (#38987213)
        That said, this is still very cool, and I would be very surprised if this project didn't top the #1 slot for most funded
        I happened to look up the most funded game project on KickStarter the other day. The top funded game (and you can question whether or not it's a "game" since it mostly seems to be about artificially intelligent creatures in a game world) came in around $56,000. So, yeah, Double Fine blew all the game projects out of the water.
        http://www.kickstarter.com/discover/categories/video%20games/most-funded [kickstarter.com]
    • It's hilarious how surprised the devs' comments are. They expected the fundraiser would flop, and then they made their requested amount in less than a day... twice! I bet they are amazed and horrified that there was an actual business model there that everyone missed all this time.
  • by zooblethorpe (686757) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @02:58PM (#38985533)

    Schafer says he will build a 'classic point-and-click adventure game' in a six-to-eight month time frame, and will document the entire production process for fans to observe and give input on the game's development, which 'will actually affect the direction the game takes.'"

    So basically they've made a slow online social interaction game, about making a game.

    Down the rabbit hole we go! Fun!

  • by airfoobar (1853132) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @02:59PM (#38985569)

    Fuck yeah!

    Btw, to those who don't know who Tim Schafer is, he was the Lead Designer on Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle and Grim Fandango. Ron Gilbert, who is also on the team, is the guy who designed Monkey Island. This is the stuff of legends, people. I never thought this could ever happen.. Kickstarter really works!

    • by mustPushCart (1871520) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @03:04PM (#38985651)

      And psychonauts. You know, psychonauts? yea him.

    • Fuck yeah!

      Btw, to those who don't know who Tim Schafer is, he was the Lead Designer on Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle and Grim Fandango. Ron Gilbert, who is also on the team, is the guy who designed Monkey Island. This is the stuff of legends, people. I never thought this could ever happen.. Kickstarter really works!

      Eh... Granted, times may be different, as may be these people, and I'd love to see this work, but I believe gamers said the same thing about John Romero and Tom Hall when Ion Storm came about...

    • you know, from fred ford and paul reiche. the people who made star control 2. (known as ur quan masters now).

      a sequal to it would be great. ...........

      a sequal to star control 2 i mean. NOT to star control 3. i consider it 'another game'.

    • by bmajik (96670)

      And don't forget..

      BRUTAL LEGEND.

      Brutal Legend is one of those games that was always fun, always interesting, always funny. I never wanted it to be over. The setting and the attention and love for the world of music that I grew up with made me so willing to forgive anything about the game that was not awesome. Which is an untestable hypothesis, since everything in the game was extremely awesome.

      I would play in the world of Brutal Legend for many more hours (and dollars) if I could.

      • Haven't played that one. I'm not buying a console, even for a Tim Schafer game.
      • by Mursk (928595)
        You are my new best friend.

        As much as I love Psychonauts, after playing through Brutal Legend twice, I would pass up a Psychonauts sequel in favor of a BL2. The game got a lot of criticism for certain gameplay elements, but those didn't bother me (I thought the combat system was pretty cool), and the world just left me wanting more. Too bad so many people hated it.
    • Those games were cool because of their writing, not their design (I've documented my problems with adventure games elsewhere). Psychonauts, on the other hand, that's a good one.

    • Conspicuously not mentioned in that resume: Brutal Legend.

      So much potential... why did they make it suddenly into a RTS...
  • Ron is with Tim Schafer for this project! Thats the best ting on this story! Like most here I literally grew up with Maniac Mansion and Monkey Island and so I am totally looking forward to this game, whatever it might be! Best thing what they should do with the money is buying the Monkey Island franchise from LA... and maybe get Steve Purcell in the boat too!
  • Someone hasn't read The Mythical Man Month...
  • Make it a text adventure game for $1000, use the rest of the money for beer...
    • Given that Ron Gilbert is one of the pioneers of the point and click adventure game, why would they do that?

      That reminds me, I wonder what ever happened to Gary Winnick and Aric Wilmunder, the other two guys involved in the creation of Maniac Mansion.

  • Publishers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vyse of Arcadia (1220278) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @03:22PM (#38985973)
    Game publishers the world over probably just thought to themselves, "Oh crap." Publishers of any medium are less needed every day, and I think a lot more people just realized it. Why even bother, if you're a big enough name, to try to get funding from a publisher when you can cut out the middle man?
    • by Fned (43219)

      Why even bother, if you're a big enough name, to try to get funding from a publisher when you can cut out the middle man?

      This.

      In the future, a "publisher" will be more like a professional public consultant; people who are good at directing other people's attention to worthy projects.

      Either that or despotic tyrants, with private armies grinding the populace beneath their heels, in a desperate attempt to keep the appearance of control over gate keys that were long ago remanded to the Phantom Zone.

      We are making this choice, right now.

    • I think you give publishers too much credit, most of them probably do not realized how outdated they are becoming.

  • by godrik (1287354) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @03:35PM (#38986195)

    Are there any plan to release the game for free or even under CC licence if some threshold of money is reached? That would be really cool!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If I invest $1,000 in this project what return on the investment can I expect?

    • Re:What is my ROI? (Score:5, Informative)

      by asdf7890 (1518587) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @04:16PM (#38987005)
      It isn't an investment in the shares and/or dividends, you are simply pledging some money up-front in order to support the game being made. What you get, other than the game being made and you getting a copy (probably) cheaper than the price it will be release to the rest of the world at, is clearly documented on the page.
    • Re:What is my ROI? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Half-pint HAL (718102) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @04:58PM (#38987675)

      It's not an investment, it's patronage of the arts. It's a very old way of raising funds, but in the old days, funding arts was an ostentation. "Oh look at me, I funded an opera!" Also, there were such things as "subscriber lists" for books in days gone by. For things that were a bit "niche", a group would have a whipround to fund someone to put it together -- they were the "subscribers" and they'd all get listed inside the book. People did this because the books supported a cause that was close to their heart. Many books of Scottish Gaelic poetry were funded this way. Local history societies would do similar things to fund the publishing of books from their area.

  • by headkase (533448) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @03:42PM (#38986363)
    Kickstarter is the new patronage [wikipedia.org], seriously: what was old is new again. I'd like to be a "patron of the games" please!
  • This is great for Double fine. I don't see why they've gotten such a brisk response. It's worse than a Gamestop preorder. Give over your money now, for maybe a game in a year. Oh you can watch us make it and join our forums. The game target selling price, not mentioned. Topic: adventures game that's it . I don't see any more detail on the website.. Not even a commitment to not use onerous DRM. This isn't some tiny scrappy Indie, it's a house with AAA titles under it's belt. I like adventure game

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Read the kick starter page, you are buying the game a head of time and getting other features.

      They are using steam, so that will be the DRM.

      • by logistic (717955)

        I don't consider forum access and access to the making of to really be a feature. The only thing I left out is beta access, which I guess you could argue is a feature. Clearly that's their pitch and clearly there are people willing to put up money for it. That's cool it's a free country. I'm free to think it's silly.

        This is a downgraded version of preordering the super deluxe version of a game which frequently comes with a poster and a making of the game DVD. The only think missing is collectabl

      • Psychonauts is available DRM-free on GoG so maybe they'll give that a shot.

  • Karma whoring ;-) (Score:4, Informative)

    by Whibla (210729) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @04:06PM (#38986851)

    For those who cannot be bothered to actually rtfa:

    The actual kickstarter page [kickstarter.com]

    I have to say, this strikes me as a damn fine idea. Even if people do not participate in the kickstarter itself the game will still be on sale on Steam once completed, and with a large marketing headstart. win-win.

  • by brit74 (831798) on Thursday February 09, 2012 @05:12PM (#38987899)
    The kickstarter project says their goal was $400,000 ($300,000 for the game and $100,000 for the video documentary). I looked at the kickstarter page and saw a picture of the Double Fine team. There were 47 people in the picture. I have to ask - how do you pay 47 people with a budget of $300,000? I realize they're around $900,000 right now, but that's still only $19,000 per person, which would only get you a few months work. How are these numbers realistic? Or am I looking at it the wrong way -- should I (and everybody else on this thread) look at the kickstarter money not as funding the game's development, but as a way to create the startup funds for the game, afterwhich they'll be looking for lots of investors?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by emudoug42 (977380)
      Keep in mind, this is before the game even goes up for sale, which I'm sure will generate additional revenue. It's already a company, they have other revenue sources through sales of their previous games, etc. This is the initial investment capitol not "ZOMG we need to feed 47 people" capitol.
      • by brit74 (831798)
        before the game even goes up for sale, which I'm sure will generate additional revenue.
        I assume you mean "pre-sales" rather than actual sales? Because they money has to be there for development before the game is released. I'm not sure what the time gap will be between the pre-sales and the release, but it seems like the kickstarter project is a "pre-sale" when you buy-in at the $15 amount.

        It's already a company, they have other revenue sources through sales of their previous games, etc.
        Perhaps. A
    • by Terrasque (796014)

      Over a six-to-eight month period, a small team under Tim Schafer's supervision will develop Double Fine's next game, a classic point-and-click adventure.

      They're funding the game, not the whole company. As least as far as I've understood. The company itself was started ~12 years ago, in 2000.

    • Part of it is that they intend to release in October so it's going to be a short dev cycle. The other critical component is that it's a point and click adventure which means they're looking at less than 10 people working on it full time. $400k would be about right for a 6 month project and 5 people.

      I doubt they ever intended to only make $400k though. It wouldn't be exclusively available to contributors. You can safely assume for every contributor you would probably get 2 buyers. So more like 1.2 mil

  • The game is now well over $1 million raised and show no signs of slowing down. http://venturebeat.com/2012/02/09/double-fine-adventures-tim-schafer-ron-gilbert-kickstarter-record-million/ [venturebeat.com] Schafer wrote an update on the Kickstarter page, saying the extra money will mean they can put the game on more platforms. So in examining the economics, this upfront surge is going to be a multiplier once the game is actually published. Another thing to factor in, of course, is that Kickstarter gets 5% and Amazon payme

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