As Andy Baio has announced, Kickstarter has launched. It’s a cool little venture. Basically, it lets a creator set a funding goal for a potential project and crowd-sources the investment for it by offering rewards to backers that pledge certain amounts. In a way, it’s kind of like PBS pledge drives, mixed with Dropcash, mixed with Threadless. The concept is rock solid, but fuzzy enough to allow for a lot of creative leeway in how Kickstarter is used. It will be interesting to see what people come up with.
Since I always think about videogames, I thought about how Kickstarter could be a useful tool for the indie videogame community. Say you have a cool game that you made in Unity and you want to get it onto the iPhone, but you don’t have the $200 you need to license Unity’s iPhone support. You can create a project in Kickstarter, announce it, offer free copies of your future game to anyone that pledges $5, offer custom postcards to those that offer $10, or whatever, and wait to see if there’s any interest for it. If there is, you have that initial cash you need to get started; if not, you lose nothing, all your backers lose nothing, and you move on. It didn’t hurt to try.
It’s really early (one day old, really), but if a good enough community forms around it there’s a lot of potential there. I was going to create a project over the weekend and thought that this could be a good way to not only cover hosting costs but to incentivize its actual creation. Seeing that people are interested in your project and seeing them pledge cold, hard cash to get it done would be, I imagine, a strong motivator.
Unfortunately, it uses Amazon Payments and as a non-US citizen it seems as though I’m shit out of luck (unless there’s some hidden Canadian version with Canadian bank support somewhere.) I have to find that motivation the old fashioned way, but if this is something that can work for you I have a bunch of creator invites to give out if you want any.