SMH - Shaking my head about the "third" party funding of the Shenmue 3 kickstarter which successfully ended on July 17, 2015. If you haven't heard, Sony is the "third" party. Yes -- I get that Shenmue 3 was a long awaited video game, and yes, I understand the ultimate goal is to get full funding of a video game to make sure the video game actually comes to fruition. What I do not get is a video game that garnered over $6 million dollars while at the same time having the financial backing of a major company like Sony.
Call me naive, but I thought the purpose of a kickstarter was to be the primary funding vehicle to ensure there is enough money to follow through on making a video game or whatever project the funding was being asked for. I was unaware, until I did some research, that Shenmue 3 was guaranteed to be made regardless -- mainly because of the backing of a giant software/hardware company like Sony. It's news to me that a kickstarter can be used to subsidize the funds a company already has earmarked for the game. Since that company is Sony, I'm sure the amount funded for Shenmue 3 is in the millions.
Let's talk numbers. The requested amount for the Shemue 3 kickstarter was $2 million. The kickstarter's goal was reached when over $6 million was raised at its conclusion. It was indicated the game would be produced if only $2 million was raised; however, if $10 million dollars were raised, there would be more of an "open world" for the Shenmue 3 video game. It's my understanding some gamers and backers of the kickstarter wanted to know more specifics about what the funds would be used for; however, this information was not provided. This nondisclosure did not seem to negatively impact the funds raised for Shenmue 3 during the kickstarter. In fact, Shenmue 3 broke records by being the first video game to raise the largest amount of money within 8 1/2 hours of the kickstarter being announced.
So just what was Sony's part in the funding, other than guaranteeing the game would be produced? Well, when the Shenmue 3 video game is completed, it will be playable on its gaming system -- the PlayStation 4 as well as the PC. Sony is also the publisher of the video game. Given its deep pockets, Sony has stated that additional funds will be provided to market the video game for its PlayStation 4 video game system.
Even though it was not specifically stated in the kickstarter that Sony is involved in the funding, the partnership of Ys Net (developer) and Sony was mentioned during an interview with Sony's Adam Boyles. It was also inferred the kickstarter was used as a means to guage the level or range of interest for a Shenmule 3 video game to be produced.
A question that begs to be asked and answered is how much money did Sony provide to ensure Shenmue 3 was made. For now, mum's the word since, to date, Sony has not divulged the amount. I'm sure this amount is and will be sizeable.
My thoughts are with all of the other hardworking developers who may have dreamed of having a kickstarter, or who may have even had one; however, were not given the extra boost of being backed and funded from a multi-billion dollar company like Sony. My advice to these developers is that even if a strong backing from a large company for your video game is not forthcoming, continue making exciting games that will be of interest to gamers on a large scale. In other words, build a better mousetrap, I mean -- build a better video game, and the gamers will fund your project, maybe even to level of success experienced by the developers of the Shenmue 3 video game.
Shenmue 3 is scheduled to be released December 2017.