Most bank managers in my experience do not know games, and your chances of getting funding from them without a great track record is probably close to zero. But there is another way. Kickstarter.com is the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects and that includes games. It’s a community of people interested enough to invest in worthwhile projects and the people with projects that need capital.
Of course not every project gets funded but the core principle is All or nothing funding. You set an amount that you need to fund your project and a deadline. If you get enough people pledging by the deadline then you receive the money. If enough don’t pledge to give you 100%, then you receive nothing.
It’s not just for game funding but covers many areas: art, comics, dance, fashion, film, book publishing, video, music, photography, technology, etc. Some projects get massively over funded while others don’t make the target. Backers vote with their wallets.
There’s no set amount that you must invest but usually a set of investment levels and corresponding rewards are decided by the project founder. The more investors put in, the better the reward, something like invest $1 and you get a thanks, $5 for a mention, $25 for a box set, $150 for a years free gaming and for $5,000, you’ll get game features named after you, etc. Each level also gets the rewards from the lower levels.
Games, Games, Games
Boardgames, card games and rpgs are amongst the most popular but there are also a few online games. Warbarons for instance is seeking $6,000 by the end of February and already has 24 backers who have pledged $2,113; I’ll be joining their ranks shortly.
Those 24 backers have pledged between $1 and $1000 and there are currently three backers who have each pledged between $150 and $200. Those three will each get a year’s gold membership plus a game item designed for them which they can name. At least one backer has pledged $1,000 which gives them credits as a game designer plus other rewards.
Some game projects have achieved amazing funding. As I was writing this, an established game studio, Double Fine Adventure, had 21,742 backers who have raised $853,014 in just eight hours and there’s still a month left, twice the target of $400,000. This game is a Point and Click Adventure by the designer of Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle and Grim Fandango. One backer who has pledged $10,000 (or more) and gets to lunch at the Double Fine offices and lunch with Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert.
It’s a fascinating way of funding but for anyone considering it, first take a good look at the successful projects, see what they did right and follow suit. There are plenty of unsuccessful ones so it’s not guaranted.