Gabriel Knight developer wants fans to "subscribe" to her studio to help fund it.
Jane Jensen, the adventure game novelist behind the Gabriel Knight series, is looking to Kickstarter, and an idea she nabbed from organic farmers, to help fund a new gaming studio she hopes to run out of her Pennsylvania home.
Pinkerton Road, the studio created by Jensen and composer Robert Holmes, is asking fans to fund the start-up by paying for annual subscriptions that will grant gamers access to a year's worth of content from the studio.
The idea behind Community Supported Gaming games from Community Supported Agriculture, Jensen says on her Kickstarter page. The farming version of the funding has consumers supporting independent, local fans in exchange for regular orders of fresh produce and a more direct relationship with the people who grow their food. Jensen hopes that gamers will be willing to provide the same sort of financial support to the studios they like for the same sort of relationship and access to games.
"We want our customers to feel like part of our studio family (as many did in the Sierra On-Line days)," Jensen writes on the Kickstarter page. "As a CSG member, you'll get regular video updates on what we're doing, peeks at the newest art, glimpses of our games in development and the inside scoop what it's like to operate a game studio. It's like you'll have a virtual desk right next to ours. Just don't hog the stapler!"
The first season of her initiative will run through June 2013 and provide gamers with access to the development process, a unique look into the making of the games and a little say in what is made first. It will also give gamers all of the studio's output, barring work-for-hire content. Jensen says that if they meet their $300,000 funding all subscribers will be guaranteed at least two games: A kid's e-book/game called Lola and Lucy's Big Adventure and an original adventure game in the vein of Gabriel Knight or Gray Matter. If they hit $600,000 they will make a second adventure game that will hit by the end of the season.
The Community Supported Gaming initiative is just the latest iteration on Kickstarter funding and how it can change not just how publishers pull in money for their games, but how developers interact with their fan base.