Crowd funding not quite right for smaller games

The Internet seemed to explode, and rightly so, when Koji Igarashi announced his newest game project via Kickstarter.

The creative mind behind the “Castlevania” series, Igarashi is the auteur who basically created a punishing style of action platformer games. There are many “-vania” style games which people enjoyed over the years, and Igarashi successfully proved there’s still a market for those kinds of titles.

His latest venture, “Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night,” earned more than $1.2 million within a day of its launch last week, shattering its initial crowd funding goal of $500,000.

Igarashi’s success comes as little surprise, however. Kickstarter is a successful funding mechanism for big-name developers, while smaller artists often have trouble getting support for their projects.

It’s clear to see why: Well-known companies and developers have the name recognition to get projects off the ground.

That’s how more companies and well-known developers are getting the green light for new gaming intellectual properties nowadays. People who want to play a new “Castlevania” are giving money to “Bloodstained.” People who want to play a new “Mega Man” game gave money to “Mighty No. 9,” a game produced by famed “Mega Man” creator Keiji Inafune.

The list goes on. Tim Schafer, the man behind “Grim Fandango,” arguably started the gaming industry push to crowd fund games when his company Double Fine Productions raise more than $3.3 million in 2012 for “Double Fine Adventures.” Obsidian Entertainment, which developed acclaimed games such as “Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II — The Sith Lords” and “Fallout: New Vegas” recently released the role-playing game “Pillars of Eternity” after a successful Kickstarter campaign.

That’s not to say there aren’t original, independent games, such as “Thomas Was Alone,” that have benefited through crowd funding. Yet the numbers don’t lie: More often than not, gaming projects that meet their funding goals through Kickstarter, IndieGoGo and other crowd funding sites stem from ideas by established creators and companies.

That’s tough news, considering less than half of Kickstarter projects get funded, and a majority of video game projects go without support. Kickstarter and crowd funding efforts like it were created to help small-scale artists and unknown companies get their ideas to market. There are several cases, from the Ouya game console to the Oculus Rift virtual reality display, where the small guys succeeded with great ideas.

Those are few and far between, however. Market forces still affect crowd funding mechanisms like Kickstarter. That’s great news for experienced developers looking to fund their dream projects, but it’s not quite the equalizing force many artists had hoped for.

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