Video game maker successfully crowdfunds over $10 million for project

For Roberts, the $10 million investment — which games publishers would likely have passed on — is down to large numbers of gamers who badly want a space-shooter from the guy who made Wing Commander, who trust him to deliver on his promises both in terms of the game itself, and the knick-knacks that come as part of the crowdfunding transaction and who want to feel invested in the game as it comes into being. It’s more than a mere pre-order.

“A lot of people feel frustrated that, in the past, they’ve just been presented with these games. You want another Call of Duty? No problem. But for a lot of core game players, they weren’t getting their voices heard. They weren’t having games made specifically for their tastes. Crowd-funding changes that. You know what? I like an RTS game. I like a point-and click adventure. They’re not getting made elsewhere, but now we can get that made.”

Star Citizen kickstarter video screen capture

Star Citizen kickstarter video screen capture

One of the unexpected side-effects of the $10 million investment is that Roberts is now turning away big-money and institutional investors. He had originally envisioned crowdfunding as a useful mechanism to prove to big investors that Star Citizen represented a worthwhile use of their resources.

“I was going to prove to them that there was a demand for a space sim again,” he said. “The deal I did with them was, as long as I could get at least two [million dollars], they would be in on their side to do the game. Then the campaign went so well, beyond what we expected. Now we’re at the point where I actually think that we can have the entire game crowd-funded.”

He said that crowd-funding investors are primarily concerned with the game being as good as it can be, while traditional investors are motivated by returns. This places a different set of emphases on the way he can approach development.

“I’m actually closing some of the investors that we had pre-committed, mainly just because I feel that when you have the community and most of the funding’s coming from them, our interests are aligned. They care about a great game. I care about a great game. I don’t really care about an exit strategy or giving someone a ten-times ROI [Return on Investment]. I want to make the coolest game I can in this universe that hopefully goes on for many years and I can add lots of cool features and keep expanding it. It’s fun. That’s exactly what the community wants, so our interests are aligned.”

[Source: Colin Campbell @ Polygon Video Game Magazine & Vox Media]

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