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Obsidian's  Project Eternity  is the most-backed video game Kickstarter
Obsidian's Project Eternity is the most-backed video game Kickstarter
October 16, 2012 | By Mike Rose




With less than 24 hours left to go for the Project Eternity Kickstarter, Obsidian Entertainment's RPG is now the most backed video game Kickstarter campaign ever.

Double Fine Adventure previously held the record, having pulled in $3.33 million by the end of its pledge period. Now, Project Eternity has pushed past that total and currently sits at $3.46 million with more than 12 hours to go.

The game's project director Josh Sawyer recently told Gamasutra that the success of Project Eternity shows that making games as broadly-appealing as possible isn't necessarily the ideal strategy anymore.

[UPDATE: The Kickstarter has now finished, with a total of $3.99 million in pledges donated.]


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Comments


Maria Jayne
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Sadly, while this is great news and I have backed the project, I doubt any of the big publishers even care about a crowd funded project that made $3.5 million when that's chump change for the big boys.

Denys Medianyk
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Each has its own niche and its own audience. It is a natural state of affairs.

Benjamin Quintero
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I don't know about that Maria. If you saw $10 (~3 of $30M average budget = 10%) on the floor would you think, "That's chump change I can't be bothered to bend over and pick it up..."

Money is money and publishers are losing out on these deals every time one of them breaks past their goal. It is very interesting to see how Kickstarter is changing the landscape, though it does seem that currently it is mostly traditional games on a shoestring budget that seem to be breaking into the large dollar signs.

Maria Jayne
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@ Benjamin No I don't think that, I seriously doubt I'll ever see that much money in my bank account, but I get the impression how big publishers talk about needing to shift a minimum of 6million units, minimum of half a million subscribers etc that $3.5m is what they spend on doughnuts and beer for meetings. They roll about in so much money, that mere mortals can't even comprehend what it's like to look down our noses at $3.5m.

I'm not saying publishers don't like money, I'm saying they don't like spending money to appeal to a small audience which makes a small amount of money. To date, Obsidian received 68,000 backers, you can't tell me that number at a discount price product is in any way comparative to 3-9 million sales at retail price big publishers expect?

I remember reading how Eidos/Crystal Dynamics were disappointed the latest Tomb Raider only sold 6 millon units a few years ago. The word "only" is what disgusted me most. It's comments like that which reinforce my belief.

Matt Robb
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Publishers are driven by investment. Investors are driven by their ROI (return on investement). If this thing makes any money, then the ROI is going to be huge, since the initial investment basically consists of whatever was spent outside of the Kickstarter money.

If enough of these projects do well, the money men are going to start looking into why. They'd be happy to invest in a larger number of high-return projects than a few large low-return projects.

Kyle Redd
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Maria, you are referring to the 70,000-ish backers of the digitally-distributed Project Eternity as small potatoes compared to multi-million selling $60 retail titles. Not a fair comparison. The big publishers like EA have already shown that they have a great deal of interest in "mid-level" $15 and $20 games (with budgets comparable to, or often much less than Project Eternity), as shown by their very large presence on XBOX Arcade and PSN. Surely they would not be making that investment if they did not consider that sector of gaming to be a vital part of their revenue.

Jeremy Reaban
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And yet, one of the biggest publishers around, EA, took notice of Wasteland 2, snapping it up for their Origin service as well as giving Kickstarted games 90 days free on their service.

They smell money.

And if you've been following PE, Obsidian mentioned that a publisher approached them about using Kickstarter, wanting to simply to take Obsidians profit yet letting KS finance the development. Which of course they refused, since they were planning on Kickstarting themselves.

Jakub Majewski
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Maria - I just did a quick calculation that I think you'll find interesting. Obsidian's kickstarter raised $3.5 million from 70,000 players. If a game sells 70,000 units for $50 each, do you know what that adds up to? Surprisingly enough, it adds up to exactly $3.5 million.

From a publisher's perspective, this is pretty impressive - Obsidian isn't out there begging for money, and giving away copies at half-price just to get some backing. They're getting $50 per unit, which no publisher can even dream of (since they don't get the full retail price - there's all kinds of costs and middlemen to pay off first). Instead, Obsidian got 70,000 people to pay above full price to a pre-order a game that doesn't exist.

Duong Nguyen
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Not really, EA started from these small "chump" change games and built itself up to an empire. The question is if there is still demand for these type of games. Publishers are quite gun shy about investing 30-40 million into what they see as a dead market (ie iso PC RPGs). So if Project Entirety succeeds, publishers will be more willing to fund such games.. It's not how much the game cost but how much it will make. If Project Eternity pulls in 20-30 million in sales, i doubt any publisher will scoff at that considering it cost about 4 million to make..

Tyler Buser
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And its not limited to $3.5 million, that's just upfront monies. When the game actually is released it has potential to well exceed a revenue of $3.5 million from buyers that did not back it.

Michael Rooney
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The optimist in me would like to believe this. The realist in my is more skeptical.

This game is playing primarily to nostalgia. Given that the playerbase that would feel nostalgic about it isn't as large as other markets; not small, but not huge. The nostalgia market is super tricky as well. In some cases it can pay off huge (bringing new audiences old feelings etc) and in some cases it can fail miserably (why play a game that mimics a 10-15 year old game but learns nothing from modern advances).

It's really easy to alienate a nostalgic playerbase and really easy to disenchant an audience that doesn't have a nostalgic investment already.

It will be interesting to watch to say the least.

edit: Maria, yes that is what I meant. Edited all my nastalgia/ics to nostalgia/ics :p

Robert Boyd
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They currently have just under 70k backers.

Assuming the game ends up being decent, getting 100k-500k sales would not be difficult at all, especially with all the publicity they've gotten so far.

Maria Jayne
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I'd be very surprised if Obsidian sold a significant amount of copies at launch, I don't doubt they will sell and especially if all the reviews are positive. I just have no faith in modern gamers getting enthusiastic about an isometric, roleplay focused rpg that doesn't have lot's of voice work or overheats their video card and let's them shoot heads in multiplayer.

P.s. Michael, I think you mean nostalgia.

Matt Robb
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I'm highly likely to get the game on release, I just didn't feel the need to support the Kickstarter. I wouldn't be surprised if there are a great many people out there like myself.

Jesse Tucker
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@Maria, FTL (another kickstarter project) was at the top of the Steam sales charts for a few weeks after it launched, and that game has even less mainstream appeal.

Bart Stewart
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It's worth noting this is nearly $3.5M pledged for a thing that doesn't even exist yet.

That number should be thought of as a guide to the potential revenue for an actual product.

Michael DeFazio
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@Maria

geez many of us are excited about the news nearly $3 million submitted, biggest kickstarter budget for a video game to date ... "why u gotta hit us with all the negativity?"

I don't care what big publishers think, its like a band you know and love getting back together and touring and making good music (do I really care the big labels don't sign em?)

Frankly I'd rather the big publishers not get their hands on this project (it's specifically geared to be a product for a niche audience hence the kickstarter route... if the big guys got involved they'd probably have to do some ridiculous cross promotion with Justin Beiber, Pepsi, and Taco Bell, and have Day One on the Disc DLC, pay for play tacked-on multiplayer, etc. etc.

I'm happy, other old school rpg enthusiasts are happy, the devs are happy, so everyone wins (assuming they deliver on the promises)... it aint all about the money. (not every game need COD or minecraft numbers)

Pieterjan Spoelders
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I totally agree :)

Jeremy Reaban
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Except it's not an old school RPG by any means. 15 years old is not "old school". It's like saying Pearl Jam is classic rock. Sure, in comparison to the stuff today like Nickelback it is, but not really compared to Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd or The Who or even Def Leppard and Motley Crue.

By contrast, a true old school RPG from the designer of Wizardry 8 is not going to be make it's kickstarter (stalled out about 20% of the way there)

Michael DeFazio
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"Except it's not an old school RPG by any means."

Are we really going to argue the semantics of what "old school" means... OK, fine then:

"When Obsidian announced Project Eternity with promises of OLD SCHOOL isometric RPG gameplay in the same vein as Baldur's Gate and Planescape: Torment, the floodgates opened.
-- source
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/120139-Update-Project-E
ternity-Sets-Kickstarter-Record-as-Most-Funded-Videogame

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present the biggest videogame Kickstarter ever: Project Eternity. With less than 24 hours to go, Obsidian's OLD-SCHOOL RPG has surpassed the impressive $3.33 million bar set by Tim Schafer's Double Fine Adventure.
-- source
http://pc.gamespy.com/pc/project-eternity/1226417p1.html

That's it! Obsidian's Project Eternity Kickstarter has finished with $3,986,194 pledged. This means Project Eternity, an OLD-SCHOOL fantasy RPG project from the longtime developer, has earned more contributions than the $3.3 million by Double Fine Adventure, the Kickstarter project that kicked off this whole "year of the game."
-- source
http://www.joystiq.com/2012/10/16/obsidians-project-eternity-kick
starter-concludes-at-3-9-millio/

google "project eternity old school rpg" and you'll get plenty of hits... just because YOU don't think it's "old school enough"... by the way all the artists you mention are not "Classic rock"... Now Chuck Berry, THAT is classic rock.

"By contrast, a true old school RPG from the designer of Wizardry 8 is not going to be make it's kickstarter (stalled out about 20% of the way there)"

Exactly how is "Shaker" going to be more "old school" than project eternity? Brenda and Tom focus more on all this ancillary stuff than give me a clear picture of what they are going to produce and perhaps that is why they don't seem to be getting the requisite attention and funding. (Not that they are too old school)

Alan Rimkeit
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What Michael DeFazio said. I pledged and I love old school games like Planescape: Torment. Bring it Obsidian!!

@Jeremy Reaban - I think you are referring to Super Old School RPG's a la Might and Magic, the original DnD games, and Bard's Tale. :P Brenda Brathwaite is doing that gig with her fellow Super Old School dev's. I await her game as well! :D Game time is like dog time, it passes very quickly. LOL

Pallav Nawani
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I hope that the money is enough for all the content they're planning.

Benjamin Quintero
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I see a lot of overtime in their future...

Tore Slinning
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Without having to make cinematics for EVERYTHING hanging around their neck like a Wheatstone, I'd guess they'll do alright.


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