Tim Schafer On Kickstarter: ‘It Was A Big Surprise For Everybody, Including Us’

Tim Schafer On Kickstarter: ‘It Was A Big Surprise For Everybody, Including Us’

Tim Schafer and Double Fine’s decision to use Kickstarter for funding for an adventure game really was a watershed moment for crowd-sourcing in general. It propelled Kickstarter towards the mainstream, it was a proof of concept. It surprised everyone, including Tim Schafer and his team.

In an interview with Rock Paper Shotgun, Tim Schafer discussed multiple different topics — among them, the impact Double Fine Adventure (now codenamed ‘Red’) had on the company and Kickstarter as a whole.

“It was a big surprise for everybody, including us,” he explained. “We were just doing a little experiment, and it was just so big! It got everyone’s attention, obviously, but I think everyone was asking, “What does this mean?” I think it just means there’s another great option for people. We’ve had a really standard way of getting a game funded and made for a really long time, and it’s not that beneficial to the little guy, and it’s hard to get profitable when you’re working with those kinds of publishing contracts. Most publishing contracts are not a great deal. And then it’s, woah, there’s this other great way you can actually make money.”

At the time a few people, including myself, had worries about the proverbial big fish in the small pond — would the Double Fine’s success set a precedent and push the folks who genuinely needed crowd funding out of the picture?

“The feedback that’s actually made me the happiest is seeing that – well first I had people tweeting at me saying, “You’re sucking up all the air in the room. You’re taking all the money on Kickstarter.” I was, like, geurgh, I hope that’s not happening. But then when I saw the actual charts, it was more like a rising tide raises all boats. Because you’ve signed into Kickstarter, because you’re there, you’re like, “I’m going to back three more projects!” And most people did. They backed our project, and then looked what else was on there. The overall backing of projects on Kickstarter actually went up, and it showed what a connected community it is.”

For Schafer’s thoughts on concepts like the Humble Indie Bundle and others things, I’d recommend heading to RPS for the full interview.

Interview: Tim Schafer On Kickstarter, And Good Will [RPS]


  • Before Double Fine Adventure I’d pledged a total of $420 towards projects, $325 of which were successful.

    After Double Fine Adventure I’ve pledged … holy moly, $1630 towards projects, $1560 of which have been successful.

    DFA very much brought more money in to the Kickstarter pool, and it also got more developers interested with fantastic projects. The more quality projects the more pledging I do and … well, it’s a vicious cycle.

    Also… never total up your pledge history. It’s scary.

  • I’d heard about KS before DFA.. but it wasn’t DFA that got me pledging.. in fact I hadn’t even heard about DFA until people started to reference it towards the end of the Project Eternity funding, which was the big one that got me hooked. Since then I have backed another 7 successfully funded, 1 unsuccessful and have 5 current backed projects.

    So props to DFA for being the first big one.. but they’re certainly not the only influence. 🙂

  • I’d heard of kickstarter before DFA but hadn’t really looked into it. I didn’t end up pledging to DFA since there wasn’t enough information on what they were planning to do at the time but then wasteland 2 came along and I was rather poorer than I planned.

    Looking back, out of the 7 projects I’ve backed I’ve only really taken a chance on 2, Dead State & Starlight Inception and mostly those were because of good amounts of information.

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