Penny Arcade seeks crowdfunding to go ad free

Wednesday, 11th July 2012 00:44 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Gaming culture webcomic Penny Arcade has launched a Kickstarter with no tangible rewards, instead giving readers the opportunity to pay to keep advertising off the site.

The scheme is intended to be run annually and to replace revenue streams currently provided by advertising.

Over 1,500 backers have already pledged more than $100,000 to the idea, with some hailing it as a good way to contribute despite using ad blocking software. Others have criticised the company for asking for money when it has other sources of income.

Co-founder Mike Krahulik wrote on the main Penny Arcade site that if successful, the Kickstarter will take the company back to its roots.

“It is at its core a return to the concept we had eleven years ago. Back then we considered it begging but today it’s called crowd funding,” he said, referring to years when Penny Arcade could not attract advertisers and survived on donations.

“I don’t want you to get the idea that Penny Arcade is any kind of trouble. Honestly if this Kickstarter doesn’t work nothing here will change. The reality is that we can continue working for advertisers but if we can, we’d rather work for you.”

Speaking to Eurogamer, Krahulik was up front about not precisely needing the money, and the experimental nature of the idea.

“[Business manager Robert Khoo] projected what we would get from advertising in a year and he said ‘this is the low end of what we would need and this is the high end of what we would need.’ That’s what we’re asking for on Kickstarter,” he said.

“There were definitely years where we did a lot more than we’re asking. The project will fail or succeed and that will tell us if it was a good idea or not. Arguing about it right now is kind of silly. Just see if people want to do it or not. That’s the whole reason we did it right? We can talk about it amongst ourselves, or we could just put it up and ask them and see.”

As well its highly influential comic, Penny Arcade runs two major gaming expos, a significant charity, and the PA Report, among other projects.



  1. DSB


    In some ways, Penny Arcade have essentially made themselves the best games journalists out there.

    What’s really there after Old Man Murray? Penny Arcade is the only outlet I can think of that has the same wit, and using it to convey some pretty serious opinions.

    Except for VG247, obviously. <3 you guys.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. absolutezero

    Might like to give them a try.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. TheBlackHole

    How is this being seen as a positive thing for ‘us readers’… Instead of seeing the odd ad and having a free-to-read site, you’re being asked to pay for the site like a defacto subscription.

    Give us a millions dollars and we’ll stop showing ads for a bit. Er… what?

    And the quote: “The reality is that we can continue working for advertisers but if we can, we’d rather work for you.” doesn’t make any sense, because if they work for advertisers then their editorial is compromised, and if they don’t then it’s a bullshit statement.

    Fact is, this way they get a year’s revenue upfront, guaranteed income. And they take that money from their audience.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. DSB

    @3 It’s not a good thing for the readers. It’s a good thing for Penny Arcade. Which some of the readers are going to care about.

    They aren’t going to be “taking” money from anyone. Their audience is giving it to them out of their own free will. They asked, and they’re recieving.

    It’s charity aimed at a site that people enjoy. Not a transaction.

    @2 Not bad! There’s just one paradox. Doing an enthusiast site means you’ll have people with the passion to stick with their convictions, but it doesn’t mean they’ll have talent.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. marijnlems

    Every site should do this. I’d love to be able to pay a small amount for the websites that I’ve enjoyed for free all these years! Seeing as Kickstarter will allow UK projects soon, you should jump on this bandwagon, Patrick – I’d certainly support such an initiative (as I’m doing with the Penny Arcade one… right… now).

    #5 2 years ago

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