Game Dev, Crowdsourcing & Crowd Funding


Global Landscape, Global Community, Local Feeling

Some recent events, posts from friends and articles I’ve read got me to thinking (a dangerous habit, I know). It’s almost as though the evolution of game development (PC, Console, Tabletop, etc.) needed to take a step back in some areas in order to move forward. But that step back has opened up newer avenues not previously accessible thanks to social media.

What are you talking about?

Three things immediately pop to mind that might help explain what I’m talking about: Kickstarter, Steam Greenlight, and the Maker subculture.

Console Games

Console Games (Photo credit: James M. Turley)

A few years ago, when I first tried out twitter, I stumbled across an interesting project made popular by Wired Magazine: One Book One Twitter (or alternately 1B1T). Thousands were coming together to choose a book and create a twiter-based book club. We all read Neil Gaiman‘s American Gods and discussed it online in 140 characters or less.

This event of global proportions creating a small community feeling while bolstering creative & intelligent discourse was amazing. Kickstarter, Greenlight and Makers instill a similar feeling as 1B1T albeit not as personal a connection. Lack of time for any more side projects in life has kept me from considering investing any energy in them. But I’ve seen interesting and impressive concepts coming out of these communities that otherwise may never have been.

Those three take a step back to an older approach. Instead of the more common “hit it big, get rich” or “present idea to execs and get lots of funding”, they go to a more community based route for seeking help, advice and funding. The difference is that today your “local” community may have a global span.

The internet has provided a means for a writer in New York to work with a developer is Marseille while being funded by people from Toronto with a social media team working out of Austin using shortened links made possible by Bit.ly which is based out of NY but uses the top level domain country code for Libya (that’s what that .LY means).

See what I mean?

Kickstarter

For me, the beauty of Kickstarter is how it expands your community reach to a global level. Years ago, if you wanted to seek funding from your community that would mean friends, family, local business leaders, taking out loans and hoping people around you believed in your idea. Through Kickstarter, if you have an amazing video game, card game, board game, etc. you aren’t limited to your immediate local community of maybe 20 people who would like the game. Instead you gaming community reach has expanded to the whole of the world. It doesn’t matter if the person who helps to fund your idea is 2 miles away, 200 miles away or 2000 miles away from you… if they believe in your concept they can help to fund it and reap the benefits of being a backer.

Steam Greenlight

Similarly, Steam Greenlight gives developers a way to see if there is indeed a demand for their particular offering. Through Greenlight games can be voted on to determine whether there are people willing to buy, download and/or play your game within the cloud gaming community. This gives you an outlet to take a game concept and actually sell it within your community but expanded to a global level. Instead of turning to your local game store owner (If your community even has a “local” store devoted to video gaming and isn’t a big chain store) you can seek the distribution and sale of your work via the people at Valve/Steam.

Maker Community

Maker subculture and Makers are an interesting lot that I wanted to highlight for a moment. Though not expressly related to the concept of gaming, this subculture is based off a DIY mentality around technology. Taking affordable and available goods and tech, the Maker community builds and expands on technological ideas. Through the usage of the internet, message boards and things like meetup groups, various maker communities can work together, offer work spaces to share, offer advice, collaborate, build, design and create things that otherwise wouldn’t have come based solely on commercial application

Comments, Questions, Etc.

So what do you think about these ideas, concepts, etc.? Any communities, websites or programs you’d like to highlight? Let me hear about them in the comments below or you can email me at CaffeinatedNeutral@gmail.com and join us over on Facebook.

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