There are structural reasons within the games industry for Kickstarter’s popularity, too. As development budgets for games have risen, says Aubrey Hesselgren, a games-industry programmer, big publishers such as Electronic Arts and Activision have become risk-averse. Like Hollywood studios before them, they have taken the safe option of churning out endless sequels to already-popular titles in big-selling genres, such as military-themed shooting games. That leaves a long tail of disgruntled fans who can’t find new games they enjoy. The three biggest Kickstarter games are all from underserved genres.
Meanwhile, developers are unhappy, too. Making games is a hard way to earn a living. Contracts are often short. Long hours are common. Deadlines arrive like a never-ending shower of "Tetris" blocks. Publishers keep most development studios on a tight leash; many developers feel creatively stifled. Stories of burnout and depression abound. "The games industry doesn’t retain developers very well," notes Mr Hesselgren dryly. "But it’s pretty good at training up rebels."
Raising money from fans offers a route to creative control and sane working conditions. "I don’t have any crazy people [from a publisher] in my office telling me what to do," enthuses Brian Fargo, the veteran developer in charge of "Wasteland 2".
The combination of dissatisfied fans and mutinous developers is leavened with a dose of nostalgia for the good old days. "Wasteland 2" is a sequel to a game made in 1988. "Shadowrun Returns" is a computer version of a pen-and-paper role-playing game released in 1989. "Double Fine Adventure" is an adventure game, a relaxed, cerebral genre that has been commercially dead for more than a decade.
As word spreads among fans and developers about the possibilities offered by cutting publishers out of the loop and raising money directly from fans, the number of video-game projects on Kickstarter is mushrooming. Not all are successful, and some observers worry about what might happen when a fan-funded game flops. Still, Mr Fargo hopes that Kickstarter could evolve into a fully-fledged alternative funding source. He has promised to plough 5% of the profits from "Wasteland 2" back into other Kickstarter games, and has encouraged others to do the same.
Posted From :http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-09-07/news/chi-crowdfunding-video-games-money-to-play-with-20120907_1_double-fine-adventure-kickstarter-video-games