When Tim Schafer and his Double Fine team announced that they would use Kickstarter for their next project, they unwittingly open the floodgates of indie games development through crowd sourcing. Double Fine raised an amazing 3 million plus dollars over 33 days without even stating what their new point and click adventure game would be about. So that got us thinking...would a large developer or publisher ever try to raise money for an established IP with a cult following?
The first company that we thought of was Sony Worldwide Studios, which has numerous franchises with established fanbases. Since some of these IPs are not sure fire hits and could expose Sony to a greater risk than say Uncharted or Gran Turismo, Kickstarter would present a way for Sony to gauge gaming fans' interest in one of their less utilized franchises while minimizing its financial risk.
We recently had an opportunity to ask Matt Levitan, SCE Canada’s Director of Public Relations and Marketing, whether Sony would ever consider crowd sourcing one of their cult titles:
"We're fortunate that we have a great bunch of franchises that we can bring back at any given time. Shuhei Yoshida, who is in charge of our worldwide studios, is the guy who is tasked with which ones he wants to bring forth and which ones to pull back on. He's done a fantastic job so far in keeping some of our bigger franchises in the top of minds of consumers and you never know what's up his sleeve and what's coming down the road next. But I don't know, in terms of something the gaming community funded, I'm not sure how that would be looked upon if Sony did it. People would probably look at us and think, 'You're Sony. Don't you have the money to do this yourself?'"
While we can understand the hesitation, Kickstarter would give fans an avenue to show their true interest in an IP sequel. Plus, if priced properly, using Kickstarter is almost no different than utilizing a pre-order program. The real question would be whether a company like Sony could raise enough money to properly fund a game. Large budget games certainly wouldn't work, but perhaps more modest titles would.
Let us know if there are any franchises that you would be willing to fund via Kickstarter.