Not long after the creator of Minecraft offered to fund a sequel to their much-loved Psychonauts , Double Fine looked to a different source to fund a different game. Kickstarter lets anyone donate to a project in return for rewards proportional to their investment, and they don't have to pay anything unless the project gets enough pledges to go ahead. Double Fine set out to raise $400,000 for a point-and-click adventure game, in 34 days . They raised $450,000 in eight hours.
It's a fantastic and exciting accomplishment that reflects how the games industry is shifting towards one where passion, as much as mass market appeal, can make games happen. But, much more importantly, it involves a bunch of nerdy numbers I can make a graph from.
Double Fine give increasingly ridiculous rewards for donations of amounts varying from $15 to $150,000. As you'd expect, the cheapest options were the most popular, but not proportionally so. Which of them actually made Double Fine the most money? I know, because I made a graph.
INTERESTING STUFF! So while the $15 donation was the most popular, it wasn't actually the biggest earner. In fact, the $250 option made more money. The very expensive options did make less money, but if anyone goes for the maximum donation, $150,000, that single transaction will become the biggest moneymaker for the whole project. As it stands, that's the 3,513 people who chose the $30 option, making a total of $105,390 at time of writing.
The difference in rewards between the $15 option and the $30 option are actually very slight - just higher-def documentary, unspecified 'extras' and the equally unknown soundtrack. The popularity of that option was probably motivated more by a desire to be a supporter of the project, rather than someone simply pre-ordering it for the minimum possible amount.
Since they're not listed in full on the Kickstarter site, and it helps to make sense of the data, here's exactly what you get for each reward amount:
PLEDGE $15 OR MORE
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.
PLEDGE $30 OR MORE
HD download of the documentary series with extras, Digital game soundtrack, and all previous reward tiers.
PLEDGE $100 OR MORE
Original "Double Fine Adventure" poster (suitable for framing) exclusive to the campaign, special thanks in the game's credits, and all previous reward tiers. (posters will be shipped for free in the US, and for $10 internationally)
PLEDGE $250 OR MORE
"Double Fine Adventure" Poster autographed by Tim Schafer, Ron Gilbert, and the rest of the design team, and all previous reward tiers.
PLEDGE $1,000 OR MORE
Mini portrait of YOU, painted by the game's artist, and all previous reward tiers.
PLEDGE $5,000 OR MORE
Larger original painting of art used in the final game, and all previous reward tiers.
PLEDGE $10,000 OR MORE
Lunch with Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert, a tour of the Double Fine offices, and all previous reward tiers.
PLEDGE $15,000 OR MORE
Dinner with Tim Schafer and key members of the dev team.
PLEDGE $20,000 OR MORE
Dinner and BOWLING with Tim Schafer and key members of the dev team.
PLEDGE $30,000 OR MORE
Picture of Ron Gilbert smiling.
PLEDGE $35,000 OR MORE
Undoctored picture of Ron Gilbert smiling.
PLEDGE $50,000 OR MORE
Become an actual character in the game.
PLEDGE $150,000 OR MORE
Tim Schafer (that's me) will give last four remaining Triangle Boxed Day of the Tentacles, in original shrink-wrap.” (Limit of 1) (Holy crap, what am I thinking? I only have four of those!)
Double Fine don't show numbers on their site for how many people, if any, have bought the crazy expensive reward options. But I'm guessing we'll hear about it if someone grabs the $150,000 one. Now that the game has easily surpassed its funding target, it'd be an even more lavish gesture to pay that much. Notch'll probably do it.