How To Get the Skinny on New Games (and Score Limited Edition Bonuses) Months Before They Hit the Market

Using KICKSTARTER to find the next big game titles BEFORE they hit the market, and how to score LIMITED EDITION PERKS on the most promising picks.

Finding the Next Big Game Title Months Before It Hits the Market

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First there’s the cutting edge of gaming news–like reading press releases the minute they go live, or browsing through the forums to find that elusive Developer Post–and then there’s the bleeding edge of gaming news. The razor-sharp don’t-touch-it-or-you’ll-lose-a-finger news, where developers go to test out game ideas on the market before they are even finished, and gamers who participate get anything and everything from autographed original development art to a vote on the development direction.

The key to these perks is crowdfunding, in which private individuals can fund projects of any magnitude, from microscopic to gargantuan. What’s the catch? Well, you have to donate to the project to participate in the perks, but the minimum donation is generally just one dollar, with higher levels of donation leading to better loot. And you can read all the bleeding-edge gaming news you can stand for the rock-bottom price of zip, zilch, nada, niente, back-slappin, high-fivin FREE.

Oh the Beautiful, Beautiful Perks!

Using the Priscilla and her Magic Socks project currently on Kickstarter as an example, (since I loved the Big Fish game and want to see more from this guy!), for just $10 a private backer can get their name in the credits of the final game, as well as a free redemption code! Higher levels of participation get you T-shirts, digital art books, art prints, the right to name an in-game toy, the right to design an in-game dog house and toy set, and even inclusion in the list of game producers.

For various online games you can get the right to choose your online user name before the game release, or a Founder Emblem to display proudly by your user name forever. (The recently completed Ouya Kickstarter project was ridiculously successful, funding the development of the new game system hardware at over $8 million.)

Minimizing the Risk of Participation

One of the things I really like about the Kickstarter model is how they limit donor risk, making it easy to participate in the crowdfunding without concern about where your money is going. First, a project has to list the total funding it needs to move forward. If the project does not reach full funding by the end of its funding run, nobody is charged for their donation. In other words, if the project doesn’t get enough money to move forward, your donation never happens.

Second, the project developer signs a “terms of use” agreement that obligates them to do whatever they say they are going to do, assuming their project reaches the target funding level. If they build the game and promise you an art print for your donation, they have to follow through on that promise. In legal terms, their various donation levels become offers, and your donation at that level becomes an acceptance of that offer, granting you a valid contract with the developer.

Third, Kickstarter only takes 5% of the total raised on successful projects, assuring participants that the vast majority of their money is going directly to the developer and specifically to the project they are funding.

A Treasure Hunt for New Titles

I personally love perusing Kickstarter for new game titles. They have a browse feature that allows you to see just their game projects, and within that category just the video game projects, so you can see who is looking at doing what over the upcoming months. While you’re more likely to find smaller developers on the site, it does host some significant projects. (Did I mention the Ouya project that just closed at over $8 million? $8 million!!!) Like any good treasure hunt, if you’re willing to dig through the offerings long enough, you’re sure at some point to strike gold.

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Ask Erin
app developer, author, rancher, gamer, (and occasional lawyer)