COLUMN: Kickstarter an avenue for creations

The Internet is making it easier for creator, designers and inventors to come in contact with their fans and supporters.

The Internet is making it easier for creator, designers and inventors to come in contact with their fans and supporters.

Artists and inventors can bring their ideas directly to the people who consume them without passing through the corporate middleman for approval. People can even connect directly with people willing to put their money behind a product or project they believe is a good idea want to see come to the market.

Last week I came across a website that allows people to donate their money to inventors, artists and others who have projects they are trying to create and bring to the marketplace. The site, Kickstarter, has been the subject of several articles on Wired and other tech publications.

The website is a platform for people to bring their creations or visions for projects that include music, film, art, technology, design, publishing, games and more. It allows people to donate to projects they would like to see become a reality. These donations, if the project becomes a reality, often come with some perks depending on the donation level. People who back something such as a book may get a special copy.

Unfortunately, according to the Kickstarter website, only residents of the United States are able to start a project on the website. There are a few projects on from Canada. I’m not sure if people used a contact within the states to create their project, but the site says if someone chooses to use this method they must be a legitimate part of the project not just a relative or friend.

One project I was particularly happy to come across was the Shadowrun Returns video game project. The game will take the original role-playing game elements, a mix of cyberpunk and fantasy and create a video game for PCs and tablets. Shadowrun was originally a pen-and-paper roleplaying game that was released by FASA. It changed hands to another corporation later.

The company Harebrained Schemes, http://harebrained-schemes.com, is creating the game. It’s led by Jordan Weisman who originally created the Shadowrun franchise. The project goal was to originally raise $400,000 to create the game. However over the course of the pledge drive it raised more than $1.8 million to create the game. It speaks volumes about the fan base Shadowrun has. I loved the setting that wove magic and technology together and am excited and can’t wait to see the project become available for people.

Shadowrun was a setting where humans, orcs, trolls, dwarves and others lived in a world where magic and technology were interwoven. I always played a decker when I joined into the adventures my brother created. Deckers have a data jack used to directly interface with technology. In the game they were used to hack into or connect to computer networks.

I can’t wait for this game to come out.

There are other exciting things on Kickstarter as well.  However, many projects on the website never meet their fundraising goal. More than 32,000 projects didn’t meet their goals and never became a reality. However, about 25,000 did succeed.

For those that didn’t make it sometimes Kickstarter can become a platform for people or companies to refine a project. If the project fails to meet its funding goal it gives the creators a chance to ask themselves why. It also gives them a chance to ask people why they didn’t like it and perhaps improve their product to one people will back and potentially buy if or when it comes to market.

Although the site is a great platform for people to get their ideas out there the difficulty is that there could be people who take advantage of the platform. People only have the individuals pledge that this money will be used to create the project. I hope it isn’t used for scammers because the usefulness of such a platform is exciting.