Video games on Kickstarter
Video games are among the most popular projects on the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter, but they're not always easy to get funded. Every now and then, though, a video-game Kickstarter campaign succeeds beyond its wildest financial goals.
From role-playing games to adventure games to entire game consoles, here are the ten top-earning titles that gaming fans loved enough to fund.
Oculus Rift — $2,437,429 contributed / $250,000 requested
Asking gamers to crowd-fund a brand-new home console is difficult enough, but it's even tougher when the console in question uses virtual reality, a technology that never really took off. Still, the gamers couldn't wait to get their hands on the Oculus Rift, a set of glasses that display PC games in 1080p high-definition video right in front of a user's eyes. Developer Palmer Luckey asked for $250,000 and ended up with almost 10 times that amount.
Homestuck Adventure Game — $2,485,506 contributed / $700,000 requested
"Homestuck" is a long-running Web comic that runs on the MS Paint Adventures site. Considering that its central plot revolves around a group of teenagers who play an online game, "Homestuck" is a logical choice for a full-length video game. By leveraging its massive fan base, author Andrew Hussie was able to take the spot as the most-funded comic-related project on Kickstarter.
Elite: Dangerous — £1,578,316 ($2,551,663) contributed / £1,250,000 ($2,020,875) requested
The "Elite" series began in 1984 and appealed to hardcore sci-fi gamers who wanted to build their own commercial empire among the stars. Selling complex space simulations to the mainstream is tough; designer David Braben turned to Kickstarter to fund "Elite: Dangerous" instead.
Wasteland 2 — $2,933,252 contributed / $900,000 requested
"Wasteland" was a successful post-apocalyptic PC role-playing game from 1988, but mainstream publishers did not think that anyone was clamoring for a sequel more than two decades after its release. Brian Fargo, who directed the original, knew better. He put "Wasteland 2" up on Kickstarter, and earned more than three times his requested $900,000.
Double Fine Adventure — $3,336,371 contributed / $400,000 requested
Before Double Fine, the company that had published the sleeper hits "Psychonauts" and "Brütal Legend," embraced Kickstarter, most developers considered crowd-funding video games to be a fool's errand. When legendary developer Tim Schaefer asked for fans to open their wallets, they complied to the tune of $3,336,371. Double Fine is currently hard at work transforming these funds into a classic point-and-click adventure game. "Double Fine Adventure" — now called "Broken Age" — helped popularize the concept of established developers turning to fans for funds.
Project Eternity — $3,986,929 contributed / $1,100,000 requested
Traditional PC role-playing games do not command the same kind of attention they did in the late '90s and early 2000s, but it turns out there's still plenty of interest in them. The developers at Obsidian Entertainment, the company behind games like "Neverwinter Nights 2" and "Fallout: New Vegas," reached out to fans directly to make "Project Eternity," a PC role-playing game in the style of classics like "Baldur's Gate and "Icewind Dale," and got more than three times what it asked for.
Mighty No. 9 — $4,031,550 contributed / $900,000 requested
Keiji Inafune, the visionary Japanese developer who created "Mega Man" and led game developer Capcom to international fame and fortune, left the company in 2010. Capcom, the company held onto the "Mega Man" rights. Inafune responded with "Mighty No. 9" — a video game about a plucky blue robot who does battle with the forces of evil by copying enemy powers. Fans apparently missed Mega Man very much, because they shelled out more than four times what Inafune asked for on Kickstarter. (Disclaimer: The reporter backed this game.)
Torment: Tides of Numenera — $4,188,927 contributed / $900,000 requested
Fans remember "Planescape: Torment" as one of the best PC role-playing games of all time, with an unusual setting, strong script and unprecedented levels of character choice. Although developer Brian Fargo could not make a direct sequel, he believed that fans would be willing to fund"Torment: Tides of Numeneera," its spiritual successor. "Torment" will deal with weighty themes about mortality, ethics and one man's place in multiple worlds. (Disclaimer: The reporter backed this game.)
Ouya — $8,596,474 contributed / $950,000 requested
The Ouya is one of the few highly successful Kickstarter video game projects that its developers have already put on the market. Julie Uhrman, a veteran of gaming's business side, wanted $950,000 to bring a cheap Android home console to the market. Fans gave her more than $8.5 million. Getting the console out to those who ordered it was harder than Uhrman anticipated, which resulted in delays and hardware that was outdated by time it hit store shelves.
Star Citizen — $23,688,941 contributed / $500,000 requested
"Star Citizen" succeeded beyond most fans' wildest dreams, especially considering that its initial funding request was so modest. Chris Roberts, the developer behind classic space combat simulators such as "Wing Commander" and "Freelancer," wanted to provide a faithful and comprehensive update of the genre for modern game systems. In "Star Citizen," players will be able to explore the galaxy, setting up trade routes and combating rival forces as they go. With more than $23 million, the game's budget rivals those of many mainstream titles.