Talk about good timing.
Call it luck or simply serendipity, but considering that it has nothing to do with the Double Fine Kickstarter, it seems quite fortunate nonetheless that Gambitious has recently been announced. The company which plans to open its digital doors in March offers much of the same services that Kickstarter does, but to a much narrower field: only developers and publishers (and probably only indie ones at that) will be able to access Gambitious to try and accrue funding.
In this posting on GamePolitics one of the people behind the site talks a little about what people can expect:
"When developers register their project at Gambitious, they are in full control," says MD Paul Hanraets. "They indicate how much capital is required to fund their project and determine how much equity they offer in return. Then it's up to them to market their title and convince the investors who visit the platform. Again, anyone can invest; from as little as €20 for each investment unit, to as much as €2,500,000."
One of the key differences here is that equity is actually being offered. If a person becomes a large enough backer then it's entirely possible that they might see a return on their investment, perhaps even a large gain if the game becomes very popular. The idea that an investment can also run into the 2.5 million Euro level (over 3 million USD) is an interesting if implausible one. An investment that large might seem outlandish, but if a large developer takes an interest in an indie project it's a legitimate way for them to get involved (although I would assume that the person running the drive can reject donations if they disagree with the source they are coming from).
I know that yesterday I said that this kind of funding wouldn't work for larger games, but depending on the reactions that this service gets it might not be completely out of the realm of possibility. After all, if gamers are willing to buy a game by the millions, then perhaps they'd like a chance to fund it more directly as well. It's hard to say, but it's an interesting possibility.