Double Fine success sparks Kickstarter boom

Double Fine

The tremendous success of Double Fine's adventure game kickstarter campaign has had a dramatic knock on effect. A post on the Kickstarter blog outlines a few stats showing that many other Kickstarter projects, not just games, have benefited from Double Fine's success.

"Before Double Fine, one video game project had exceeded $100,000. Now, nine have," says the blog. Kickstarter has been around for a couple of years, before the Double Fine adventure game $1,776,372 was donated to games. "In the six weeks after Double Fine, $2,890,704 was pledged ($6,227,075 counting Double Fine)."

Of the 60,000 first-time pledgers, 22% went on to back another project. The majority of that money went towards other game Kickstarters like Brian Fargo's Wasteland 2 campaign, but significant donations were made towards film, video and comic projects. A miniature industry has sprung up from the generosity of thousands of new backers brought in by the Double Fine adventure game. It's inspiring, but can it last?

Word of mouth and media coverage have spread Kickstarter's name far and wide, which has certainly helped its cause, and pushed tens of thousands of potential backers through its pages. It looks like the site is seeing big benefits for now. "Each project is not only promoting itself, but the Kickstarter ecosystem as a whole," says the Kickstarter blog.

Kickstarter projects are a dubious deal for backers. You pay for a project that doesn't exist, with no contractual guarantee in place forcing the project leaders to deliver. Typically the reward for putting money into a start-up is returned in the form of a percentage of profits from the sale of the eventual product further down the line, but a donation to Kickstarter isn't an investment, it's a charitable donation.

Of course, the likelihood of seasoned developers like Double Fine defaulting on their promises is minimal, and the genius of Kickstarter is that it allows games to be made that could never happen otherwise. Eventually a project will fail, or produce an end product that leaves backers feeling short changed, but there haven't been any disaster stories yet, so Kickstarter's success looks set to continue. What do you think of Kickstarter, have you backed any projects?

Tom Senior

Part of the UK team, Tom was with PC Gamer at the very beginning of the website's launch—first as a news writer, and then as online editor until his departure in 2020. His specialties are strategy games, action RPGs, hack ‘n slash games, digital card games… basically anything that he can fit on a hard drive. His final boss form is Deckard Cain.