Smartphone project now in full production; Studio says overwhelming response has energised the team

Crowdfunding indies make $20k in five days

A US-based indie studio with just four active employees has raised more than $20,000 in five days through a successful crowdfunding initiative.

Hundreds of people each pledged donations of at least $5 to help fund development of an iOS and Android title called Star Command. One person even gave away $1,000. The investment initiative, known as crowdfunding, takes small-sized grants from numerous people in order to meet a budget target.

Typically there’s no monetary return on investment with crowdfunding, but unique rewards are often promised. Warballoon Games has offered an MP3 of in-game music to all those who pledge $5 or more to Star Command. Those who give away $25 will also receive extra content and free DLC. And those who fund $100 or more will receive a limited t-shirt, poster and map.

The one person who pledged more than $1,000 will feature as an in-game character, Warballon said.

These kinds of unique rewards are not unusual in the hit-and-miss world of crowdfunding. Fellow indie Tametick promised to pay a personal visit to anyone who would fund $1,000 to its previous project called Cardinal Quest.

The game, which eventually raised over $4,000, was released this year.

But it is the accumulation of smaller donations that appear to be the driving force in crowdfunded projects. Warballoon Games made over $14,000 of its budget from some 550 donations of $25.

“To say that we are overwhelmed would be an understatemen,” read a Warballoon Games blog post.

“Our team understands how hard all of you work for your money. Not to use a cliché, but these are tough times, and our team feels that as well. It makes us that much more appreciative of what all of you have done.

“We were committed to the game before we put this kickstarter up, but your enthusiasm really has galvanized us. Basically this game has now become our religion. Before we wanted to make a game that was really awesome and a kick to play. Now we want to do all that but really make a game that changes the way the way mobile games are produced and the expectation level of the consumer and press,” the post read.

“In the next couple weeks we will be showcasing the different t-shirts for you all to vote on and decide which gets shipped. Poster designs will be up for a vote as well. And to our one and only $1,000 backer – oh man, you’re gonna be the commander of the entire Star Command armada. We are going to make. You. Famous.”

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