Kickstarter has undoubtedly changed the world, enabling regular Joes to fund development and production for creative projects that interest them; while helping the creative types bypass the typical venture capitalists, costly bank loans, or soul-destroying publishing companies.
Today I’d like to highlight 5 of the most successful Kickstarter projects ever.
PrintrBot: Your First 3D Printer – $830,827
3D printing has the potential to change the world, but are still either costly or beyond most people’s abilities. Printrbot took the developed RepRap model, and made it into something anyone could get their hands on for around $600 in kit form.
His dream – a Printrbot in every home and school. It’s expandable too, with an 8 inch cubed model currently on offer, unlike the smaller and fixed build platform of the MakerBot. Shipping soon.
TikTok iPod Nano Watch Straps – $942,578
Though rumors abound of Apple working on a secret wearable computing device, this is one project that actually made it a reality, and a stylish one at that. Though far from being an original concept, the superior design of the TikTok and more expensive metal LunaTik were brought to reality with the help of Kickstarter. It appears a lot of people liked the design, in fact, as it easily surpassed the original funding goal of $15,000.
The company behind this Nano-Watch design had a proven track record, having worked on both the Xbox 360 slim and the Microsoft Courier concept. Now retailing for $49.95; though Kickstarters backers got their hands on them for $25.
The Order of the Stick Reprint Drive – $1,254,120
The Order of the Stick is a geeky webcomic following the adventures of a stereotypical Dungeons and Dragons gaming party since 2003. For RPGers like myself, it’s a hilarious take on the peculiarities and quirks of DnD. The creator began printing paper-based anthologies of the webcomic in 2005, but since then many of them have gone out of print, with new print runs requiring massive amounts of money.
The original goal of $57,750 was the amount needed to put out a fresh print run of the first OOTS book, War and XPs – but with the amount he actually raised, all the old books were able to be put back into circulation and then some. Of course, what then followed is the immense amount of work needed to fulfill all the various rewards offered – fridge magnets, coloring books, patches and signed thingies.
Elevation iPhone dock – $1,464,706
iPhone docks aren’t exactly riveting stuff that gets the creative juices flowing, but I think we have a unilateral agreement that the dock made by Apple (and all the third party ones, in fact) suck pretty bad. You can forget using one if you have a case on your iPhone for a start, and even the Apple one simply doesn’t match the sleek uni-body Aluminum of today’s Macs.
The Elevation dock is how it should have been done. The $75,000 goal was shattered and pre-orders are now being taken – $90 will net you a basic model.
Double Fine Adventure – $3,336,371
Tim Schafer, creator of the point-and-click adventure classics Day of the Tentacle and Secret of Money Island, wanted to create a new point-a-click game but realized that funding would be difficult in this day and age for such a dated genre. So they turned to Kickstarter – with an original goal of $400,000 this project was huge to begin with, but still relatively modest in terms of typical videogame budgets.
In just 8 hours the project had been fully funded. By the end of the first day, they had raised a record-breaking $1 million. It remains the most funded project ever.
Why so popular? The lowest funding level of $15 includes the a full DRM-free copy of the game once released, as well as access to a video series chronicling production.
Is this likely to replace actual publishers for future games? I doubt it. We’ll certainly see a lot more indie games which publishers couldn’t afford to take a chance on, but this seems like a one-off success.
“Crowd-sourced fundraising sites like Kickstarter have been an incredible boon to the independent development community. They democratize the process by allowing consumers to support the games they want to see developed and give the developers the freedom to experiment, take risks, and design without anyone else compromising their vision. It’s the kind of creative luxury that most major, established studios simply can’t afford. At least, not until now.”
Do you think the impact of Kickstarter is overrated? Or do you think it’s been a game changer and will continue to amaze? Let us know in the comments.