Alphafunding – The new trend?
Recently my, and that of many others, eye has fallen on Alphafunding. It’s a funding method that is being used more and more often. We have all (almost all) heard of Kickstarter, 8Bit Funding and such, but that’s kickstarting. Giving developers a kick start to start developing. And even more used then kickstarting, is the old-fashioned selling-after-developing method. But that means that you could run out of money before finishing the game. Now, there is Alphafunding.
Kickstarter, 8Bit and other crowdfunding sites are awesome for funding “ideas”, but what about projects that have already made progress and have fans wanting to play them and support the developers? Alphafunding fills this void, as the basic purpose is we give fans early access to games which are not complete, but will be frequently updated, in return for their purchase. Developers win because the money allows them to make bigger and better things, and the players win because they get to feel good about themselves and help their favorites get the love and polish they need (whilst playing of course!).
–Scott Reismanis, Founder of Desura
Alphafunding basically means paying the developer for a game that is still in development, and in exchange get instant access to the (often buggy) game. All future updates are included when you alphafund a game(most of the time). Minecraft is the best known example of Alphafunding. People pay to play a game still in development, and Mojang gives out a new update every once in a while, adding more features to play with.
Desura, the STEAM for indie games — as it has been called, has recently launched a new project: Alphafunding. Desura users get to support indie developers in the development of the game, get regular blog updates about them and of course: get instant access to them. Desura users all around the globe are wildly enthusiastic about this, here are some comments on Alphafunding on Desura:
“Look at the clock, get the demo, look at the clock again.
Did you see how long you played?”
“Great initiative and good use of Desura. I will surely support some games this way over time.”
“Awesome. LONG LIVE INDIE GAMES!”
I couldn’t agree more. The games currently being alphafunded on Desura, can be viewed here. One of them is Project Zomboid, a review which can be found on IGM. To read about the recent burglary that seriously pushed the development of Project Zomboid back, read this article.
Scott Reismanis, Founder of DesuraNET(IndieDB, ModDB, Desura)
I recently had a chance to interview Scott Reismanis, the founder of Desura, about Alphafunding. In it, we talk about the why and how of Alphafunding. Give it a read, if you like.
DB, IGM: Me, Dale Beerling, IndieGameMag
SR, DNET: Scott Reismanis, founder of DesuraNET
DB, IGM: How well is the alphafunding on Desura going? Is it working out as you expected, or are there any problems?
SR, DNET: There are tons of digital distribution services which just do releases, which is cool but we like to do things a little different, “the indie way” I suppose you could say. If we can help some developers make better games and eliminate the hassle / stress of Paypal and other problems then that is win/win, after all, we want these people focusing their effort on making a great game. Plus, I feel we are all about bringing developers and players closer together, and having developers blog about their progress and then allowing fans the ability to play the alpha and see the progress is pretty cool I reckon.
DB, IGM: It sounds like you’re really focusing on helping the indie developers, but then why are there just a few games in the Alphafunding category at the moment?
SR, DNET:Handpicked because they are all a little different, all awesome, all alphas and well suited. We are going to be quite picky about who we choose for alphafunding, because like crowdfunding, it works best when you have fans and supporters ready and willing to help.
DB, IGM: Oh okay. Do you think that Alphafunding could be a big change in how (indie) games will be published in the future?
SR, DNET:Whilst it isn’t for everyone, I think you’d be crazy as an indie to not consider it. The way I see it is, it takes years to make a game, and then when you release, you get maybe a week of coverage in the form of reviews on other sites. To depend on that week to earn your money is a massive risk and any number of things can go wrong – especially as marketing usually isn’t a strength of developers. Imagine then, that over the 2 years you make your game, every time you post an update you have a chance to reach more fans and more sales? If you’ve got someone wanting to support your project you’d be crazy to ignore them – let them, because when you do eventually release in 6 months, they may have forgotten or missed the release. Besides, look at how damn well it has worked for Minecraft, Overgrowth, NS2 and others.
DB, IGM: I think we’ve covered most aspects to cover, so let’s move on! What else might we expect to see from Desura in the future?
SR, DNET:Essentially anything that is good for developers, good for our users and is different. Steam kicks ass, so we are just continually going to try different stuff. For example, right now Linux is a big focus of ours; as is alphafunding. We’ve got some cool stuff coming soon so I wish I could share more, but you will just have to wait and see.
DB, IGM: Too bad, I can’t wait! Anything else to say before we wrap this up?
SR, DNET: Virtually all of the alphafunded games are $5 to $10, all of them are awesome (guaranteed) so show them your support and purchase. It’s a cool initiative and something we’d like to see happen more and more.
DB, IGM: Okay, thanks for your time!
SR, DNET: Been awesome, thank you!
Thank you for taking your time to read this article, but if you’ve got more time, I’d like to hear your opinion on Alphafunding, so leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.
Read any of my other articles at: https://www.indiegamemag.com/author/grafixgfx/