The gaming industry needs Kickstarter
The second reason which doesn’t get a lot of press coverage is it can bridge the localization gap. I remember the Xenoblade Chronicles fan campaign to get that localized, and even now the amount of effort fans are putting into trying to get Nintendo to localize Mother 1 and Mother 3, the other two games in the Earthbound series. Living in Japan I have seen a lot of fun, cool, and creative games that are never going to see the light of day in English. The reason the developers always use is they won’t sell enough games to off-set the cost of localizing. Even an established series in the west like Yakuza always has that swinging blade over its head every new release, especially with Yakuza: Ishin as a PS4 launch title in Japan.
Big Japanese developers will do themselves a disservice by not using Kickstarter to advertise and localize some of their more niche titles to an untapped fan base. If it is only about recouping the costs of localizing then it would cost them nothing to try out Kickstarter. Let us use Yakuza: Ishin as an example, as the series already has a following in North America, which would make it the perfect litmus test. Sega only has to start a Kickstarter and say ‘we need X amount of backers at $60.’ Meet the goal and the game is localized in English, and every backer gets a copy for that $60, which is the standard price of a new game. It is a win-win situation for everyone. The gaming community puts their money where their mouth is by backing the project and if it fails nothing is lost, no money is spent. If the pledge goal is reached then the top-tier companies can localize the game at cost and then make a profit when it reaches the shelves, while expanding their fan base, thus making other games easier to localize and make a profit from. If the goal is not reached then they have proof the series or game won’t work in the west instead of guess work.
The video game industry and Kickstarter were made for each other. Gaming can reach new, exciting heights if companies put faith into it. If Inafune-san believes in it, it should be easier for others on both sides of the world to buy into the concept. Square-Enix, hint hint, this is your golden opportunity to make gamers put-up or shut-up about Final Fantasy VII if cost is the only reason preventing you from remaking the game when so many people say they want it.
Dane Smith is the Japan editor for PlayStation Universe. When not out on the streets of Nagoya wondering why no one is looking for a Yakuza-style showdown, he can be found cracking open the newest RPG to hit the shelves. You can follow him on Twitter or read some of his past musings.
- Page 1
- Page 2