During the last decade, academic game research has increasingly focused on various aspects of game production, such as industrial structures, production models and working conditions. This dissertation examines the fresh area of independent game production, game crowdfunding, from the starting points of critical research. By asking for production funding directly from backers-fans, game makers have been able to bypass the gatekeepers of the traditional game industry, the game publishers. However, using crowdfunding affects the daily work of game makers, production networks, and sales and reception of games in many ways.
Combining game studies, political economy, cultural studies, and multi-method methodology, this dissertation conceptualizes game crowdfunding as a 'production logic' that affects every aspect of game production. Ignoring traditional game publishers, game makers have to acquire many new skills and do a lot of extra work. Backer fans have many other roles in projects besides funding, and participate in the production process for many other reasons than just getting a game funded. While game crowdfunding has become more standardized and professional, many backers and fans have come to view it as a form of pre-ordering that conflicts with the altruistic ethos associated with crowdfunding.
In the discussion section of the dissertation, the crowdfunding of games is contextualized as part of the 'platformization of cultural production', where the elements of game development and economics are connected to the platform acting as a center and its stakeholder network. The crowdfunding of games is revealed in the research as a contradictory area, which combines precarious working conditions, promises of an emancipatory production model, the commercialization process and new types of user participation opportunities.
Publishers: #TampereUniversity (Tampere University)
#Bloodstained (Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night)