Spiritual successor to side-on Minecraft-alike Terraria Starbound opened its doors to pre-orders not two days ago and it has already raised $200,000 from sales to early adopters. Opting for a tiered pre-order system, much like Prison Architect’s, you are able to buy a copy of the game (and access into its beta) for as little as $15 or, for added trinkets, as much as $2,000.
The $15 offering is your barebones edition, it nets you access to the game’s beta, the soundtrack, and, when it is released, a Steam code for the full game. But is that enough to satisfy you?
The store listings go on: $45 lets you add your name into the game’s NPC name generator; $75 and you can appear in the credits; $500? Design a hat to be included in the game; $1,000?! You can make a new weapon for the player’s arsenal; $2,000? $2.000 sees you immortalised in stone within the game. Yup, a statue of your moneyed visage will appear in the game.
Starbound and, before it, Prison Architect are two notable examples of developers adopting a Kickstarter-esque tiered buy-in system but not using the crowdfunding platform itself. It frees the developers from a set time in which to raise funds and also removes the risk of missing a taget and not receiving any of the money. From their point of view it’s clearly a good system. We’ll likely be seeing more indies adopting this method.