Interview

Fixing funding frustration: Why TIGA is taking to Kickstarter

Fixing funding frustration: Why TIGA is taking to Kickstarter
TIGA's decision to launch a curated page on Kickstarter may have led some to question just what crowdfunding is for, but for the trade association itself, there is only one concern: making sure UK studios get funded.

According to CEO Dr. Richard Wilson, this isn't a rash move, either.

The association has set out to form strong ties with Kickstarter – unveiled as the body's latest member – in order to ensure that this venture, designed to showcase the best Britain has to offer, has legs.

We caught up with Wilson to get the full story on TIGA's decision to take on crowdfunding.

Pocket Gamer: What's the think behind delivering a curated list on Kickstarter?

Richard Wilson: A lot of our members have told us of their frustration about achieving two key business activities: accessing funding and promoting their games.

We feel that services such as Kickstarter offer a tremendous opportunity for developers to fund their projects with the addition of having input by those that matter the most - the gamers themselves.

The curated list and Kickstarter's membership of TIGA enable us to achieve the following: developers are better able to attract funding via Kickstarter and our curated page enables us to promote them too.

It is a way for TIGA members to foster a community, back each others' projects and show the world and gamers what they have to offer.

Will the games picked be from TIGA members only?

Yes. We have backed projects ourselves in the past, lending our support to the From Bedroom to Billions film, for example. That was a production by a non-member.

However, TIGA ultimately has a duty to promote the games of our members first and foremost and the quality of the projects by our members is extremely high.

How will you determine what projects deserve to make the list? Is it a case of quality, or are you looking to put the spotlight on games at risk of missing their targets?

If a game is at risk of missing its target and yet also appears to fall short in terms of quality and value, then we would not add it to the list.

We want to showcase the best of British talent, primarily among our members, and help developers to achieve their funding.

So the spotlight falls equally on both of those attributes you mention. For example, we feel that Dizzy Returns is a great project which brings back an old British franchise and which looks to move the genre on.

We feel the developers have made an excellent job of being open with gamers but that, at this current moment in time, it is far from reaching its target. We are more than happy to add a game like this to our list.

Equally, we want to help new IP get off the ground and we want to help smaller studios achieve their goals.

It is much harder to attract funding for fresh IP and, if anything, our main focus will lie here, enabling small developers achieve their aim and use that as the catalyst for growth.

Some developers have already suggested that an additional discovery tool such as this goes against the spirit of Kickstarter – that games in your list will see their support artificially inflated, while other titles not on the list will struggle to gain attention as a result. What's your take on that?

It's not too dissimilar to the way the press will tend to give games by recognised names such as Peter Molyneux extra coverage because of their incredible standing in the industry and reviewers will produce top 10 lists of games they wish to flag up to readers.

There will always be arguments that a list risks leaving people out but our aim is to promote TIGA members, to provide a promotional platform and to showcase games that may otherwise not get a look-in too.

Don't some Kickstarter projects have to fail? Isn't it up to consumers to determine what games look promising?

Of course, but again, this brings us back to the issue of promotion.

When you consider the smaller studios, they will find it harder to be heard. You see it on the App Store where there is so much saturation that great games go unnoticed and Angry Birds tops the charts for the umpteenth time in a row.

Consumers ultimately make their decision but by curating a page, we will undoubtedly bring interesting projects to people's attention that may otherwise be overlooked.

You've unveiled Kickstarter as your latest member. On a practical level, what will that mean for Kickstarter, and how will the two of you be working together?

Kickstarter's membership of TIGA demonstrates that our two organisations will be working closely and effectively together. We will provide up to date and regular information to Kickstarter about developments in the video games sector, particularly in the UK.

We are also intending to hold joint events together, which will be of great value to games developers and particularly to TIGA members.

Kickstarter has also kindly given us a direct line into their organisation so that we can make them aware of projects we think they'll want to promote, much like its 'Staff Picks' page.
Thanks to Richard for his time.

Contributing Editor

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.

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