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Chris Taylor: "Kickstarter Is Starting To Wear Itself Out"

Jonathan Lester
Chris Taylor, Gas Powered Games, Kickstarter

Chris Taylor: "Kickstarter Is Starting To Wear Itself Out"

Dungeon Siege creator Chris Taylor believes that the gaming Kickstarter craze is beginning to lose some of its momentum, now that smaller developers have to compete with massive projects from well-known studios.

Having been forced to retire the Kickstarter campaign for Wildman (a proposed prehistoric ARPG/RTS hybrid) due to lack of interest, the Gas Powered Games boss took to the Casual Connect 2013 stage to deliver a downbeat assessment of the crowd-funding service. “Kickstarter is starting to wear itself out," he told the audience, as reported by Venturebeat. "It’s a numbers game. Someone has lightning in a bottle."

Speaking about the industry in general, Taylor suggested that the good old days of publishers taking punts on risky projects is all but over. “This business is really, really tough," he continued. "It’s turning into a lottery business, unless you work 12 hours a day, seven days a week, and study gaming for decades. Now, it’s tough. It’s like going to Hollywood and saying I want to make films. You have to compete with James Cameron.”

“That has locked itself so tight. Consoles are going to just hit the wall. The guys who wrote these big checks — that’s just gone. I have almost been driven out of business. I am still in business. I know everyone in the industry. They didn’t help me. It’s about whether you have a blockbuster that can ship 10 million units.”

There's certainly some evidence of Kickstarter interest slowing down, such as the sluggish uptake for Dave Braben's Elite: Dangerous and MaK. However, considering that Dreamfall Chapters is already well on its way to beating its $850,000 goal in a scant six days, we reckon that the increased competition for attention puts pressure on developers to deliver a fantastic pitch rather than relying on the kindness of strangers. Personally, we're not convinced that Wildman had enough appeal to secure a whopping $1,100,000 sight unseen (perhaps in part because its sweaty neanderthal protagonist was unlikely to resonate with fans of shiny, ornate high fantasy RPGs), despite its ambitious blend of genres.

Are you still as excited about Kickstarter as you were following the Double Fine Adventure and Wasteland 2? Or could crowd-funding be a bit of a bubble?

Add a comment2 comments
Quietus  Feb. 13, 2013 at 11:50

I think the crowd funding idea is great if it's not abused. Games like Minecraft are perfect examples of how an unknown can make a game, and still make it big if the price is right. Minecraft offers you (nearly) a full game, yet still charges less than a number of kickstarters want just to get ideas off the ground. I think it's all about pricing.

davidpanik  Feb. 13, 2013 at 13:48

I'm a big fan of Kickstarter and the idea of crowd-funding in general, but do agree that it's grown in popularity at a rate which might difficult to sustain. The fact there's now at least THREE Android-based gaming consoles using Kickstarter for funding is a worrying indicator that it might killed off by too many people playing "Me too!".

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