Project Zomboid’s Chris Simpson has written a superb guide to alpha funding and sandbox creation, in which he warns that getting funded on Kickstarter is becoming harder over time.
Simpson’s article can be found on Indie Games and it gives first-hand insight into alpha funding and stressed that his game has proven successful without the need for crowd-funding or Steam. He said he’d perhaps like to appear on Steam at some point, but is taking things slow to avoid risks.
“We’re yet to appear on the Steam store or even Early Access, however this is our choice,” he explained. “Our own reluctance to ‘blow our load too early’.
“Despite the ecosystem of Steam seemingly being centred around the the summer / holiday sales, we still value our first appearance on there enough to not want to risk going on before we are ready (first impressions, and that). Which may be in part silly and unnecessary (more on that later) or may turn out to be one of our smarter moves. We’ll see.
“I may not know much about what life is like for an indie dev on Steam, but we’ve been through a fair bit on the outside. And to those starting their journey, this is where you will spend a fair amount of time.”
He then shared his own experience of being an indie and selling a game through alpha funding, then explained why he felt Kickstarter is perhaps a dead end for some studios.
“We’ve all seen it. You can smell it in the air,” he continued. “The Kickstarter bubble is strained to breaking point and looks set to burst, if it has not already.
Thankfully, alpha-funding seems to bypass a lot of the growing cynicism levelled at crowd-funding, since people who purchase actually get something for their money right there and then.
“There is also a proven history of the developer that prospective customers can look into, to make sure the game is in active development, and that the people they are paying are trust-worthy and capable.
“Furthermore it’s a lot more tempting to dive in if all your friends are already playing, regardless of how you may feel about it in principle. I can only imagine the popularity of alpha-funding growing as the popularity of Kickstarter game funding begins to wane.”
We’ve seen a rising number of alpha-funded games reaching prominence, most famously Notch’s Minecraft and recently Introversion’s Prison Architect to name a few.
What do you make of Kickstarter? Is the bubble ready to pop? Is alpha funding more viable? Let us know what you think below.