Just around Halloween of last year I talked with Chris England, the man behind the spiritual successor to the classic X-Com. He had something of the air of a mugging victim, still shocked and bewildered but able to fill out a police report. It had been just a month since PayPal had burned down his online store. Sure, he’d effectively been selling around their terms of service, sure he’d seen PayPal give the same rough treatment to Minecraft when Notch started raking in obscene amounts of money. But Chris wasn’t doing Minecraft scale business, and it had been worth the risk by his estimation.
Nonetheless, the $4k that got locked up for six months stung, as did the estimated $7k more in missed sales opportunities. He took a step back to reevaluate his options and by November he had moved to the digital distributor Desura. At the very least he had a place to raise money again to pay his virtual team. But he was a bit crestfallen that he’d missed out on the money train, the attention from Reddit in particular. If he’d have been able to keep the interest going and hit just a few more media outlets he really could have had something, but the opportunity passed while he was figuring out how to squeeze any money at all through his Ethernet connection.
He ended our interview wistfully; “I’d love to do some stuff with Kickstarter, but it’s for US citizens or businesses only.”
Since then all hell has broken loose on Kickstarter. The bubble began to form, and if Tim Schafer could take in more than $3.3 million for an adventure game, a genre even more “dead” than the squad-level isometric turn-based tactical strategy game, then Chris had to find a way.