For many creative folks out there, Kickstarter has become a viable way to get funding for projects that otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to see the light of day. From comics and music to movies and video games, the site has become a successful platform to turn dreams into reality.
Normally, the people who start these funding campaigns are “up-and-comers” with no ties to major publishers or a recognizable name to get that type of financial backing. So when word broke out over famed game designer Peter Molyneux jumping on the Kickstarter bandwagon, heads tilted (or rolled in the case of the dramatic types). Should someone with his clout be using something like this that is normally reserved for those who have no other options?
Just to be clear, there is no limitation on who can start a Kickstarter campaign. Whether you’re the president or my blue-collar neighbor, you can sign up on the site and get one started. The real work comes in how you promote and sell your idea in order to get people to back it.
The issue people have with someone like Peter Molyneux getting involved is that there is a preconceived notion that they “don’t need it” and how they should be backing their own projects. Who is to say Steven Spielberg couldn’t start a campaign for his next movie project or the Red Hot Chili Peppers doing the same for a new album?
Much like anything that’s wildly popular online, celebrities have already gotten involved on Kickstarter. Actress and comedian Whoopi Goldberg (pictured above) is one particular famous person who has joined other well-known folks in starting their own campaigns including talk show host Ricki Lake and Belle & Sebastian front man Stuart Murdoch. Other game designers who have taken a stab at the platform include Adventures of Monkey Island creator Tim Schafer as well as the team behind the Ouya console.
While we could argue over these people going down this specific avenue, the blame shouldn’t be placed so much on them as it is on the backers. Why get upset over someone opening up their options to help fund their projects if people are willing to do just that? Could Whoopi Goldberg have gotten a movie studio to finance her documentary? Yeah, maybe. She chose to go this route though and it ended up being pretty successful. It’s important to keep in mind also that Kickstarter is more than just fundraising tool. It’s used for marketing your projects as well.
I believe that we as a society have a false viewpoint on folks like Peter Molyneux. He has had a long and successful career in the games industry, however, that does not equate him to being a man of unlimited resources. He is a developer and visionary with a committed drive to see his projects through.
What about Microsoft? Didn’t Molyneux have close ties with them? Yes, he used to anyway when still with Lionhead Studios. Now he is leading his own team with the young and considerably smaller 22Cans. It’s the trade off in having more independence in your work for less financial stability. Now it’s a case of “going back to the drawing board” and trying to pull up whatever resources you can for Mr. Molyneux.
The following video is an excellent interview conducted by Adam Sessler which covers Molyneux’s reasoning behind using Kickstarter and facing the criticism that followed it. His responses may surprise some of you who believe someone of his caliber shouldn’t even be allowed to use the platform.
As the man bluntly states, he is an indie developer which means he requires money in order to be creative, inventive, and, quite simply, to survive. I believe anyone reading this who has ever put serious time and effort into a creative art and would like to sustain off of it can relate with what was said here. It’s not bad or greedy to admit these things. If anything, it shows that you understand the realities of business and what is needed to keep one alive and kicking.
Let us know what your thoughts are on this topic in the comments section below.