Kickstarter is a powerful resource for raising funds for a project, and recently some mobile developers have started using this platform to get the cash they need to make their games. Interested users donate some money and receive different rewards – almost always related to the project in question – depending on how much they fork over. The twist is this: if the project doesn’t raise the required dollars by the deadline, their money never leaves your pocket.
Let’s take a look at how Kickstarter is being used in the Android world.
How It Works
Kickstarter is not new; it’s been around for a while, you’ve probably already heard of it (particularly if you’re into the indie scene). But just in case, here’s what you can do on the site:
Discover projects: Browse through the fundraising projects people are holding, sorted by categories and even by places.
Get into a project: After you find a project that sounds interesting, you can read what it has to offer, see the rewards you’d receive for donating, and choose the one that best fits your pockets.
Pay only when the project reaches the goal: If the project doesn’t meet its fundraising target by its predetermined deadline, you will never be charged – so there’s no need to worry about getting a refund, as your funds never left your bank balance.
Why You Should Help
Developing for Android still isn’t a priority for many developers, mostly because iOS users are perceived as being more likely to buy apps than Android users. So when donating to an indie game project, in a sense you’re actually pre-ordering the game, while helping the developers make it.
By that logic, if more Android users donate, the chance of an Android version being created is higher – and something you can demand, as you’re helping the project come alive, rather than just passively supporting the developer’s wishes. As your donations have a big impact on the developer, you should have a higher say about decisions like platforms when donating than you do if just buying the final app after it’s released.
Another reason is that you will follow the steps of the creation of the game, so you can comment on updates and on the project itself while it’s in development, sharing your suggestions and opinions. It’s very interesting to have this connection with the developer; you feel part of the creation of the game.
Fara is an action RPG for iPhone and iPod touch. It isn’t for Android but it is promised that will there be a version of it for our little robot. The game itself is inspired by the good old 8-bit games, but with awesome, modern graphics (though it still uses the retro chiptunes we love). The project asked for $5,000, and ended with $5,930 on August 25th. The game should be released in October.
This game, unfortunately, barely met 10% of its fundraising goal. It was proposed by Steve Uy, a very talented comic illustrator; not surprisingly the graphics for this, his first game, were impressive.
I suspect that this project didn’t meet its target for a few reasons: high goal ($15,000 – many Kickstarter games are developed with less than one-third of this amount), and uninteresting rewards. I hope that he can still carry on with the project, even without meeting his target; it looked great to me.
Keep an Eye on These
Browsing the projects is pretty easy, so you’ll probably find something to interest you; here I’ve selected two projects that I’m rooting for:
A very promising game, for PC, but with promised ports of it for iOS and Android. The developers are Brazilian as I am, which is a point of pride for me; here in Brazil very few games are produced by such good developers and artists. The graphics are BEAUTIFUL, and it even has its own language, including a different alphabet. It’s been talked up around the world – but still needs help!
(Editor’s note: the project met its goal this week!)
Notch is a MMO game for PC, but with mobile integration. It’s like a mash-up of SimCity and Fern Gully. With its beautifully inspired steam-punk graphics, the game differentiates itself by adding the ability to create worlds with friends, using your phone and the GPS on it to achieve points and experience as you go through your city. There’s just over a week to the deadline, but it only has about 25%-30% of the funding it requires.
Really, consider it. Helping is awesome, you’ll be funding someone’s dream, and you can even receive a reward (beyond the final game itself). It’s win-win.