Harmonix: Without Kickstarter, Amplitude 'goes back on the shelf'

Since Harmonix launched its Kickstarter project for a successor to the Amplitude series earlier this month, one of the pervading questions the developer fielded is just why it opted to go the crowdfunding route for the cherished, cult classic game. While Harmonix developed popular games like Dance Central and the upcoming Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved, the developer reiterated that it is an "independently owned and operated studio" in a recent blog, and that some of its projects are so ambitious in scale that it cannot "responsibly make it completely out of pocket." Normally, that means a publisher foots the bill for the game, but that isn't the case for Harmonix.

"We've sought other options out before coming to Kickstarter: there aren't publishing funds waiting in the wings or some third party who's eager to offset our costs – either we fund the game here, or the game goes back on the shelf," Harmonix Director of Publishing and PR John Drake wrote. The Kickstarter project's goal is $775,000, which Drake clarified is "less than half of the project budget for the game," and that even with $800,000 coming from Kickstarter backers, the developer would "be risking more of Harmonix's money than we probably should – all because we want to make this game so badly."

As for the developer's choice to turn to crowdfunding, Kickstarter may not be the appropriate route to fund the game, but not because Harmonix is "too big" for the platform. Rather, it may not be big enough: Looking back to our six-month analysis of the video game crowdfunding space ending November 2013, of the 186 projects that were funded on the platform, just eight earned over $775,000 (4.3 percent). As of this writing, the project is sitting at $254,149 with eight days to go before the campaign closes. Meanwhile, Microsoft's recent announcement that it will begin offering the Xbox One without its Kinect camera elicited some strong reactions from Harmonix, which relied heavily on the device's support.

[Image: Harmonix]