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PlayStation & Kickstarter: The Final Solution?

In a recent blog post before E3, I briefly discussed the use of Kickstarter as a platform to get games funded. I have to say, it was either a stroke of luck or intuition where it followed that Yu Suzuki and Sony have opted to use Kickstarter to make Shenmue a reality. I'm a humble fellow, so let's chalk it up to the former and move past it.

This, in my opinion, opens up some interesting doors as far as getting games made. We know now that Sony has made this year's theme at E3 "We hear you...and we're listening". An important distinction because hearing and listening are not one in the same, but people have waited some time for news on The Last Guardian. They delivered with a gameplay trailer and release window. People have been asking for even longer about a Final Fantasy VII remake based on the tech demo shown about a decade ago. At last, we're getting a remake. And lastly, Shenmue III, a game many of us have been waiting to see since Sega Dreamcast, is being funded. Even better, Sony is footing the bill and the game's Kickstarter campaign is being used as "proof of interest". After so many years, it's overwhelming to see so many fellow gamers who also still want to see this franchise brought to an end that involves some closure between Ryo and Lan Di.

Obviously, Kickstarter has proven itself as a powerful funding platform and Sony may have stumbled upon an incredible idea, if used correctly. Naturally, we don't want every developer and their mothers running to Kickstarter to bleed everyone of money. With some structure in place, PlayStation and Kickstarter could actually be a very viable solution for future projects.

So first off, we know that Shenmue III wouldn't be possible without this Kickstarter...however, the crowdfunding is being used first and foremost to gauge interest. Yu Suzuki himself doesn't have the funds at his independent studio to foot the bill for this project, thus Sony is picking up the tab. If you're wondering how much Shenmue III may cost total, just look at what it cost to make it on Dreamcast when game development was relatively cheap. I'll leave you to look that one up. It's staggering when compared to other games made in that era. Anyway, Kickstarter is being used here to ensure that neither Sony nor Suzuki are wasting their time here. There are still an awful lot of gamers interested in seeing Shenmue III, it seems. Thank goodness too because I was sick of seeing Ryo make appearances in other games with no word of what's happening for him outside of racing in that cursed forklift.

Anyway, I think Sony can use this to their advantage in positive ways; seeing as Sony is the king of niche titles, I think it would be amazing if they could fund low-budget niche sequels to some games using Kickstarter so it doesn't set any of the developers back. Games like Disgaea are great games, but Nippon Ichi never really makes use of the new hardware's power. Honestly, I'd be surprised if Disgaea 3 couldn't run on PSOne. My point is, with a bit of a budgetary nudge, who's to say they couldn't really make a top-tier AAA title? They already have incredibly low sales goals and I understand that they have other industries besides gaming they like to tap, but honestly, NIS mention that they are content with sales <200k. That's insanely low, but so are the production qualities. Games like Disgaea aside--and I feel like I mention this game in just about every blog--but why not use crowd-sourced funding toward rebuilding a franchise in preparation for sequels? That is, Sony could revive Dark Chronicle in the form of an HD remaster. Level-5 could crowd-source and use the money earned from the remastered sales and make Dark Cloud 3. If it doesn't make the crowd-sourcing goal, then you can probably conclude that the interest isn't there and Sony need not finance it (but I hope they do). It could inspire some complacency where Sony becomes Microsoft and Nintendo and never really fund projects that they don't perceive as profitable, but that is honestly what sets Sony apart and why I, and many others I'm sure, identify themselves as PlayStation gamers. Given Shenmue's history, this is going to be an incredibly expensive game and it may be for the best that it is approached with crowdfunding. But some other projects that probably aren't AAA sequels to big games? Sony could probably make some pretty decent games at an affordable price.

I also think, in Suzuki's case, they should use it to fund legendary developers who went independent to help them set up shop. Let's look at Hideo Kojima for example: if Kojima's spiritual successor to P.t. was pitched on Kickstarter, you have to wonder if it would beat Shenmue III's record. Of course, it wouldn't be an outright, crowdfunded project, but at the very least, it would help Sony to decide what their fans want and what they should be funding, all while securing exclusives in the process.

To reiterate though, it would be most unfavorable for every company to cash in on this, especially when they really don't need it. It's a strategy I think would work best for the indies and developers who've gone independent (Suzuki, Kojima, Inafune, and heck, even Platinum games entirely). Capcom is relying on remasters now, but if we're being honest, their current situation is one they've managed to bring on themselves with carelessness throughout the seventh console generation. I hope they find a way to bounce back, but no, they wouldn't be prime candidates to be recipients of crowdfunding ventures through Sony or any of the big 3 honestly. Of course, this could just be me being opinionated as always.

I know I have not explored the complete potential of Kickstarter's potential value to gaming, but this, I think, is a great start for them. I find this approach works best for Sony given that they don't exactly stress game sales the same way the others do (only if there's a marketing deal involved or it's a AAA game they need to sell well, really). I love how experimental the House of PlayStation can be and Kickstarter is a welcome strategy for certain types of games, if you ask me.

Thanks for reading and I'd love to know your thoughts. Game on, mates. :0)

NewMonday3024d ago (Edited 3024d ago )

what if EA use Kickstarter to start Jade Empire 2

I would love that

I don't know why people complain when they are buying the game for less than release price.

also KS can make a game bigger than what a publisher my fund, Bloodstaind is becoming much more bigger than any Castelvania game previously.

my dream KS project is a Sakaguchi successor to Chrono Trigger

Brotard3024d ago

Exactly! "If you fund this game you are a mug". Well they are getting it either way, with kickstarter they are getting more for less. Who is the mug now

Nonscpo3023d ago

I don't think it was a bad idea, just that it was poorly announced, and implemented. They should have been clear on details from the get go, they should have made the requested amount 10 million to demonstrate there seriousness, and they should have placed the Shenmue announcement towards the end of the show; it felt awkwardly placed and presented.

BillytheBarbarian3019d ago

If it's a good series being realized I really don't care how it's done. As long as it gets done. I'm donating on a consistant basis to Shenmue 3 because they are offering huge rewards IMO. I'm getting a Ryo Hazuki leather F**King Jacket! Along with three different copies of the game, my name in the credits, and a few other extras. It's insane and no other game has fed it's fans this kind of fan service.

Now we need Valve to look at this and see what they can do for Half-Life 3.

Bioware needs to look at this and give us a true follow up to KOTOR. (I want to take my Exile character and meet with Revan on the outer rim to see where the story went next...and you know Kreia was deep in the force so she'll be back as some sort of after life force figure, Darth Sideous-like. Sorry SWTOR sucked/sucks. I tried to get into it a few times and it's trash.

2k Sports needs to look at this and fund a fully customizeable 2k football title. Just give us 2k8 and empty it out. No Gold, Silver, Bronze crap. Just give us the game and allow us to control the invented or ripped off leagues. Make a 2k share system for people to share customized leagues...number of teams, colors, logos, players, stadium editors, etc...just let the communtiy mod it into something that could actually beat Madden.

I'm done ranting but we need more of this. There is also PWX wrestling shich started out Kickstarter. The controls are tied very close to N64's Aki games. I've been supporting that title for years and they just keep getting it better. Eventually when it's finished I hope to see it available on Xbox Live/PSN/Steam whatever.

Kickstarter is a way to get things that gamers really want and I love it so far.

Condemnedman3018d ago

Next up on E3 Sony show. Holds out bowl "please sir can we have some more"

arbitor3653017d ago

Everyone complaining about this kickstarter are morons. If you donate 29 dollars you get the full game when it comes out. So how the hell are gamers being ripped off?


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jznrpg1d 11h ago (Edited 1d 11h ago )

I want to play Alan Wake but I’m not buying another digital only game this year. I still haven’t bought Baldurs Gate 3 but if do buy a digital only game that will be the one but I’m still holding out as I have tons of games to play and don’t like buying digital only. I hate this practice and don’t want to support it. I understand small indie games sometimes being digital only but those are rare too. But these bigger games can easily get someone to print them 100k or more copies and they will all sell.

gold_drake1d 10h ago

yh im holding off on Alan wake too.

the digital only is stupid as hell. there is no way that the physical media costs them so much.


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anast3h ago

This is going to be one of the best games of the generation. I am almost finished with a druid play through. The game is the real deal.


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