The Gadgets And Games Of Kickstarter: September 18th 2012 Edition
Welcome to the inaugural edition of What’s Happening On Kickstarter. Perhaps you haven’t heard, but there is this nifty little website where people can pledge to support projects that they’re interested in. Just little things such as Android game consoles, eInk watches and high-budget video games.
Each Kickstarter is its own drama representing the hopes and dreams of at least one person. Will it succeed? Will it fail? Will it become a media sensation? It’s impossible to know before the money starts flooding in – or doesn’t. So pop some popcorn and grab your mouse. We’ve got some Kickstarters to watch.
This one was just launched by the creators of iControlPad, a nifty game controller for mobile phones. The new version will also include game controls but it goes a step further by introducing a keyboard. Why? The creators say they want the iControlPad 2 to be useful not only for playing games but also everyday tasks on various tablets and open-source PCs like the Raspberry Pi.
They’re asking for a hefty $150,000, but you know what? I think they’ll make it.
The impossibly named iZZi is a concept that isn’t new – strapping some hardware on to your iPhone to turn it into a better camera. But iZZi is taking it to the next level. We’re talking an aluminum case with not one but three different lenses mounted on a rotating carousel. This one is about 30% there and has two weeks to go, so it could turn out either way.
Holy smokes, this project is a lawsuit waiting to happen. It’s an iPhone app that turns your mundane driving experience into an action thrill ride. How? Using your iPhone’s sensors and GPS, of course! It plays exciting music when you accelerate, adds tire squeals when you turn and even introduces sound effects like gunfire and explosions. It’s a silly idea, but technically impressive, and the goal is only $4,000.
As an occasional bicyclist and resident of a bike-loving city (Portland, OR) I can’t help but fall in love with this project. It’s a sensor that is mounted on the rear of your bike and can transmit data via Bluetooth to your smartphone. This will tell you how fast you’re going, how far you’ve gone and much more.
I do think they’ve been optimistic with their goal, however. $100,000 is a lot of money for a niche gadget.
Planetary Annihilation: $2.2 Million
Uber Entertainment’s Planetary Annihilation, which will be closed by the time you read this, is the latest example of how Kickstarter can give a new high-budget video game development a real shot in the arm.
The developers put it up with a whopping goal of $900,000, making it one of the largest Kickstarters ever posted to the gaming section. It has since soared past the goal and reached the vaunted 200% funding level. This is not enough to make it the most funding video game thus far, however. Double Fine’s adventure game still holds that crown with a total of $3,336,371.
Finally, someone discovered what we’re really missing from anti-virus protection – cuteness. Soon you’ll be able to solve all of your PC problems by inserting a lovable USB stick that looks like a ninja, a police officer or a crazed mechanic.
Seriously, Jumpshot is on to something, that something being the fact most anti-virus products are as fun as a kick in the teeth. The obvious goal is to make recovering your PC an easier and more approachable process. The devil will be in the details, but the pair behind Jumpshot seem to have the required expertise.
I gotta admit. This one strikes me as a bit odd. It’s essentially a tiny printer similar to those which are used to print receipts. But you own it. And it can print content off from web pages, like a normal printer. But not as large. It’s also open source, which means you should be able to use it with just about anything – if you’re skilled enough to write the driver yourself.
706 people disagreed with my skepticism and pledged over $88,000 to support the project. They will soon experience the joy of printing out weather reports on very small slips of paper.
Recent Losers & Disasters
Since I haven’t been tracking any projects (this is the first column, remember?) I don’t have any to put here. This will soon be filled with projects we’ve been keeping tabs on that didn’t make their goal. This is also where I’ll highlight Kickstarters that were successful but then failed due to reasons besides funding.
I’m pleased as punched that Planetary Annihilation made not only its goal but also its stretch goals. Now my attention turns mostly to the iControlPad 2, which would be awesome to attach to my Nexus 7 tablet. Go give them some of your money!