Sony admits backing Shenmue 3, which has $3m pledged on Kickstarter

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I fail to see a problem here. Sony didn’t want to take any chances with a reboot of a series that’s 15 years old. So the devs said “if we can prove to you that we have enough fans, will you join?” and then they made a kickstarter. Fact is, without the Kickstarter, the game wouldn’t have happened. Sure, they could have stated the fact that Sony is “in” when they reach the funding goal on their Kickstarter page. Maybe some people wouldn’t have backed it then. But people who wait for the Kickstarter to succeed (with money from other backers) and then buy the regular product afterwards always exist, so where’s the problem here? What’s wrong with Sony wanting to see some serious proof of their dedicated fans?

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Considering all the high-profile flameouts of games with much larger Kickstarter budgets, I am somewhat surprised that anyone thought they wouldn’t be getting significant funding from elsewhere.

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I agree. If a corporation kicks in a few dollars on a project like this, is it safe to assume the developers are whores who will just abandon their original plans and do as their nerw masters command? Or is it more a matter of your favorite indie band sucks now because they’re on the radio?

The problem is that Kickstarter is not meant to be used as the new pre-order system for AAA title fully backed video games. And that using a funding platform like this in that manner to some extent misrepresents the project and to a lesser extent misuses the funding platform.

If Sony was actually interested in allowing them a chance they have more than enough infrastructure to set up a tenative pre-order system of their own to asses interest.

It was strange for Sony to openly push for an independent development project. But now it makes sense in a cynical way. It’s not that they backed it. That makes sense. It’s just how they played the narrative out. Get ahead of stuff like this. Be transparent and then we don’t have to deal with this. And the game would still get made.


What? Really? What utter nonsense.

A) It was announced during the Sony conference. It was blindingly obvious that it was supported by Sony or there would be Sony backing

B) It had a paltry goal of £2m. IT’S SHENMUE FFS!!! A sequel to famously two of the most expensive games ever made (at least at the time) of course going to cost a lot more than that and need other funding, the second the kickstarter was announced it was clear that it was not going to be funded purely by kickstarter even if it’s done on a modest budget.

C) When it comes to something like this, getting more money isn’t going to harm it, it’s only a good thing,

D) You are buying a product when you fund a good kickstarter like this one, even the $5 one gives you a thing (in that case a vote in what is to be included and a voice saying they want the game). The thing I hate and would understand people being angry at is when a kickstarter funds something and they get absolutely nothing and are doing it just to be nice and you aren’t upfront about other backing then, in that situation yeah you’d have a point.

E) There is literally nothing wrong with someone using kickstarter to display market potential. In fact it’s great because things will get made that people want and if it shows there isn’t market potential then no one in the public loses anything.

F) They never said it was an totally independently funded project, nor was it even intimated it was. The point was it was a creator led game. They never misled anyone.

I’ve not backed it yet but I will. I’ll get Shenmue 3 for $29 and it’ll be a bargain compared to standard retail edition. which will probably RRP for 45 or so.


Of course it was a supporter of Gamergate who exposed this, right? Because they’re all about covering this sort of questionable activity. :wink:


I really don’t know if it’s good or bad, but I’m going to name Sony’s undisclosed backing “backfail”. And…

Don’t you know that backfail is way uncool?

Except it’s exactly a pre-order system.

It’s just not the pre-order system you are used to. It’s a pre-order mixed with market viability and funding system. It’s essentially a technologically advanced and easier version of a form of funding and pre-order system that used to be very common in certain areas. Yes it allows people to raise money via generosity alone but if you think that’s even close to the main use of the platform then you are unfortunately wrong. Kickstarters for games aren’t like public radio and relying on kindness and donations. They are making a product that will get sold.

In the 18thC books by notable authors very commonly written on subscription and they’d raise the subscriptions (pre-orders) and were written if they raised the money they desired first and cancelled or left unfinished if they didn’t raise enough. And there have been other similar things for a long long time.

If you back a kickstarter where they are making a commercial product and don’t get something from it, you are a chump. Kickstarter is about consumers putting their money where their mouth is and you should get a product from that, or at least a sense that you are happy to give money for this thing to be in the world.

Also Shenmue is not going to be a triple A this time round, it’s probably going to be a B game at best and needed to show it was worthy of existing. Triple A games will never fund themselves using kickstarter because it generally needs to be small enough to raise the money it could realistically raise. Or for larger projects have a level of brand/name recognition such so that it can garner attention but not to the extent that the traditional funding types can be confident in it so it has to be self funded or they won’t fund without seeing people putting lots of money up front.

It simply wouldn’t work for a triple A game because the amounts involved are too big so it could never work for new IP, however it’ll never work for established and successful triple A games because it’s too much of a fuss and expensive. A mix of the products being sold at reduced rates, the cost of perks etc and kickstarter’s cut means it genuinely would be a really significant chunk out of the profits a game might make.

It’s generally considered bad form (and against Kickstarter’s rules) for established companies to use it as a store or just to offset risk.

It’s not for no reason there is no mention of Sony’s backing in the Kickstarter itself. Sony didn’t want people to know how financially involved it was until Kickstarter had raised a significant proportion of the development budget, under the aegis of it being an independent production – with all that suggests about creative freedom and closeness to the fanbase. Sony wanted, instead, to cast itself as the magnanimous publisher, with little stake beyond doing good deeds for indiedom.

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I’d be curious to know where this rule is actually stated. I don’t think it actually exists, but feel free to prove me wrong.

Hi, there are some issues that need to be cleared up relating to this.

  • The Kickstarter is run by, the game is being made and published by and Neilo. Sony’s involvement extends to additional funding after the Kickstarter, and logistic support (unknown what extent), as said by Sony’s Gio Corsi
  • Sony are not the only post-Kickstarter investment, other undisclosed funding sources are adding to the budget, as confirmed via the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter FAQ, and via Sony’s John Drake
  • Without the Kickstarter, none of them would be funding the game, and it would not get made as a result
  • Yu Suzuki stated in a recent Famitsu interview the primary funding source will be Kickstarter, so all additional funding sources will be adding less than $2 million
  • Sony is not seeing a penny from the Kickstarter, and are not involved with it at all

Sony were admittedly coy about saying they were providing support, because they didn’t know if the game would get funded. The lack of answers about the details of Sony’s involvement are because they did not expect the game to be funded within 48 hours, as confirmed by Sony’s Adam Boyes.

Again, the Kickstarter is the primary source of funding for the game, which is being developed and published by and Neilo. Hopefully this clears things up.

This is rather against the spirit of Kickstarter (funding projects that otherwise would have no means of raising the money), but at the same time, Kickstarter simply fails to raise the amounts needed for video game development budgets. Everyone’s using outside resources, usually the developers’ own savings, and that almost never gets talked about. With a handful of exceptions, big projects raise enough money to fund small projects, and small projects sometimes raise so little money I’m baffled as to why they even bothered. In this case, was anyone naive enough to think they could make a Shenmue game for $3 million? Previous articles and interviews mentioned outside funding, but emphasized how much cheaper it would be to make the game these days. Maybe, but an Unreal 4-powered, glossy open-world game is still hellishly expensive compared to the sorts of games that actually get made for three million bucks. The first game cost an unprecedented $70M (either in 1999 dollars or 2015 dollars, depending on which story about the budget is accurate). Now that’s not even an unremarkable amount for a AAA budget. $3M is barely going to be a drop in its budget. Clearly Sony is ponying up most of the cost of making it, which raises the question of why they even bothered with the Kickstarter. As a market test it’s not even that valuable - all the $10,000 level pledges (and other, multi-thousand dollar pledges) warp the results - it indicates deep passion, not a broad market for the game. A few super-fans aren’t going to buy the millions of copies they’ll need to sell.

“Kickstarter is not a store” certainly is (or was) a rule. It’s like Google’s ‘Don’t be evil’, though – something they don’t want to talk about much except to not-quite disclaim.

I find that hard to believe. If true, it means they must have over half-a-dozen other funding sources, because realistically there’s no way they’re making this for under $18 million (and probably for quite a bit more than that). Sony may not be providing development cash, but if they’re providing, for example, marketing, the value of that could easily exceed the total budget for the game by many times over.

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“Not a store” in the cited blog post doesn’t seem to say anything about the things that you seem to be characterizing as “not a store,” however. Instead, they seem to be explicitly addressing the scenario where a vendor has a product and is merely using Kickstarter to sell it. Sega does not have a product, and would not have one without the backers. This sounds like “creators and audiences (working) together to make things,” which is what Kickstarter holds in opposition to “a store” in that blog post.

Seems to me that Sega has broken a rule that doesn’t exist.

Fans FINALLY get a voice in whether or not their favorite game gets a chance to return and still people find some way to moan and complain and try to make something out of nothing. Sony announced it the next afternoon, not even 24 hours after. Did a bunch of people pull their pledges? No, it kept going up. This is what the industry should be more like. I’d rather have a direct effect on a game getting made by putting money forward rather than play call of duty for the gazzilioth time. I’m all for this.

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I don’t see an issue here. This is Sony being cautious, they’re going to be footing at least 80% of the production costs for the game. Therefore they wanna gauge if people are interested in buying the game. This way if no displays interest they can say ‘Yu we’re sorry but we would suffer a loss on this’ and not back it.

Shenmue was a Niche title. It was such back then. Outside of diehard Dreamcast/Sega and Diehard gamers, most of the GP havent heard of it. Its a huge risk for a niche title thats 15 years old. This is showing proof of interest. Sure you will hear people say make a sequel. However, most of these people are all talk and no action. Game gets released and all these people are nowhere to be found. This way you are putting your money were youre mouth is.

I don’t get why so many people make a big deal about established people or companies using Kickstarter. You’re not just donating to a project, you’re also receiving something in return. I feel like that always gets lost in these discussions. I put $30 into getting Shenmue 3, I’m going to receive the game for that amount, why do I care if Sony will add more money to the development? Won’t that just make the game better?