This is exactly what happened to gaming company Double Fine Productions after it ran a campaign on Kickstarter. And yet, they wouldn't have chosen to fund the project any other way.
Double Fine COO Justin Bailey recently spoke in San Francisco about the company's experience during a crowdfunding panel hosted by The Bold Italic. The event drew about 70 attendees.
About two years ago, Double Fine asked for $400,000 on Kickstarter to help fund a new adventure game. The campaign was hugely successful. In less than nine hours after it launched, the project was successfully funded. But it didn't end there. By the time the pledge period was over, the company had raised $3.3 million.
Yes, Double Fine received more than eight times the amount of money it thought it would need, and yet--Bailey later found out--it still wasn't enough. So what went wrong?
Already film production ran about $500,000 because as one of the perks offered to backers, Double Fine pledged to make a documentary out of its game creation process, allowing fans to witness the whole thing--whether or not it succeeded. "Two hundred and fifty thousand of that was postage" Bailey said, because they were going to have to ship the documentary internationally to overseas backers.
Give up and go home?
After fulfilling the perks it promised to backers, paying transaction fees and dealing with other costs, the company had about $2 million left to make the game. Double Fine needed about $5 million more.
However, Bailey and his coworkers weren't deterred. The incredibly positive response to their crowdfunding campaign proved to them that people wanted this game. So they decided to cut the game in half and seek funding for the second part elsewhere.
Bailey acknowledged that the backers played an invaluable role in the whole process. Their enthusiasm for the game was just as important as their money.
"In games what used to happen is you'd design a concept and spend millions of dollars and three or four years, sometimes five years. And then you'd put it out there and you'd find out if it's successful or not," Bailey said. The crowdfunded approach "allows you to test it very early, which is a valuable. And it's even valuable when you fail."
In the end, though, Double Fine didn't fail. To its fans' delight, the company released the first half of its game, Broken Age, earlier this year.