In the past 12 months there has been no greater industry-altering force than Kickstarter. From the landmark success of Double Fine's adventure game, to Republique, Wasteland, and Leisure Suit Larry, crowdfunding has emerged as a legitimate way to fund a gaming project.
Today, GamesPlanet is announcing a new crowdfunding service designed around games. Dubbed GamesPlanet Labs, they'll be partnering with existing crowdsourcing site Ulule. The crux of the idea is to give some of the power back to the backers/investors in a crowdsourced project. On a service like Kickstarter, you don't have much recourse if a game you backed is terrible. GPL says they'll only be supporting a limited amount of projects at a time, and that each project is discussed individually with the developer to determine things like feasibility, budget, and schedule.
From there, if a project is backed, a panel is selected from amongst the pool of backers to keep tabs on the project and report back to the community. Projects that receive a higher than 70% approval rating from their backers will be awarded a special seal of approval as a signal to future players that their first batch of customers were satisfied.
The first product that will be released on the service, Magrunner, is even implementing a system whereby it will not be released until the backers approve. About six months into the project they'll release a demo along with a survey. If they receive a rating under 4.0 (out of 5) the game will go back into development until the backers approve.
It will be interesting to see if a service designed around video gaming will be able to usurp the all-consuming brand power of Kickstarter. We look forward to seeing how GamesPlanet does with this venture, because its goals are noble and could help improve the long-term viability of crowdsourcing.