The Future of Content: Prologue

This may be shaping up to be the Year of the Kickstarter.

The Elevation Dock is about to end its run with over 1.3 million dollars collected, 17.5 times what they initially set as their goal. No other project in Kickstarter history ever even broke a million. The Order of the Stick Reprint Drive demolished the previous record for the most-funded comics Kickstarter in about 48 hours and seems to be on track to at least threaten the record the Elevation Dock broke, if not break a million, by the time it ends.

And then Double Fine Adventure came along.

It’s remarkable enough that Tim Schafer and company set the bar as high as four hundred thousand dollars, a level only a handful of Kickstarters had ever achieved – when OOTS broke the top ten it was at less than $350,000. It’s even more remarkable that they doubled that goal and ran down the pre-2012 record in a day and zoomed past the Elevation Dock soon thereafter, becoming the most funded Kickstarter of all time in less than 48 hours.

Of course, you could say they represent the ultimate fulfillment of Rich Burlew’s advice, which may talk about being able to direct people to the site but can be generalized to “have a pre-existing audience”. But the fact that these projects can have this sort of astonishing success in this close proximity makes me wonder if this is just the beginning, especially if the independent video game community is paying close attention to Double Fine’s success, and especially if the fandoms of OOTS and Double Fine stick around in significant enough numbers to smash the horizons of what could be possible on Kickstarter.

That could allow creators to dream of making whatever they want and know there’s an army of people out their waiting to fund them to whatever extent necessary to get it off the ground, though for the moment it’s advisable to stay below five hundred grand and/unless you have an army of supporters already. (The Elevation Dock suggests it’ll blow away the usual model for venture capitalism as well.) The usual ways for such creative works to get funding, with all the barriers to entry and subsequent meddling that implies, could be rendered completely superfluous.

Now you know the real reason why those “usual ways” were so high on SOPA and PIPA. Their very survival is at stake.

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