To say the press and game enthusiasts have been skeptical about Kickstarter's popularity as a funding mechanism would be an understatement.
Hundreds of hand-wringing opinion pieces have been penned about how a handful of big-budget games or a bottomless well of indie games or consumer fatigue foretell the end of Kickstarter as we know it. And don't forget the dozens of similar op-eds cued by a Kickstarter game's delay. Kickstarter is the closest we have to evergreen opinion fodder.
And so I would like to add my own block to the Jenga tower of opinions: Kickstarter has been a boon for video games, and Steam's new list of Kickstarter-sponsored releases is all the proof you need.
In the past couple days, both Steam and Kickstarter have pushed respective game-focused pages onto social media, linking to one another. The number of popular, critically acclaimed and financially successful games supported by Kickstarter on Steam is surprising, even to someone who's tracked these games from their earliest stages. In total, the page has over 100 stand-alone games.
There are the well-known success stories, like Broken Age, Shadowrun Returns and Octodad. But others I had forgotten taken a trip through Kickstarter in their journey to existence, like Chivalry: Medieval Warfare, Mercenary Kings, FTL, Strike Suite Zero, The Banner Saga, Volgarr The Viking and Risk of Rain.
Seeing the titles in aggregate, the power of Kickstarter as a means for supporting independently developed games is astonishing. Even if half these games would have found their way onto PCs without the helping hand of group investment, so many special, unique games wouldn't exist.
Does this mean Kickstarter is consumer-friendly? That warrants a more complicated answer. Not on this list of games are plenty of projects that ceased to exist or arrived to market half-formed. But for game makers — and oddly enough, for those outside of the Kickstarter sphere, who buy their games on Steam — Kickstarter has played an important role in getting more interesting games to market and, perhaps as importantly, rewarding careers to their creators.
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