KickStarters @ E3 2014

If you're here, you must know that the E3 Expo is a videogame industry event of world-class proportions. This is the show that launches consoles and the show that announces the next blockbuster game.

There was a time, however, that there were a lot of smaller companies at E3, as well. Sure, there are still some here and there, but back in the day, there was "Kentia Hall," a sprawling shantytown of inexpensive booths for startups and, occasionally, amazing innovations. While these booths might have swag and contests and such, they often were primarily exhibiting with the goal of getting some investor to back them or getting a much larger company to buy their product from them. Ah, the good ol' days of Kentia Hall. The last time I was in Kentia Hall during E3, I was parking there.

Most of our readers have probably also heard of Kickstarter, but Kickstarter seems almost diametrically opposed to E3. E3 is all about mainstream videogame industry and Kentia was about getting backed by a company or selling your product idea to a company, whereas Kickstarter is about selling your products directly to the public, getting a grass-roots movement to support the product and financing development and production from the pockets of the end-users and fans. A great - and popular - idea, but the absolute opposite of the E3/Kentia frame of mind... or is it?

One of the main points of E3 is to generate interest - hype - for videogames... to get gamers excited about an upcoming title, reinforcing favor among existing fans and winning over new ones with carefully crafted trailers, interviews, demos, teasers and announcements. Oh, and swag, of course.

Kickstarter also uses rewards (swag) to get prospective investors/buyers/fans excited about the products and to help get the word out there. Further, when you see a Kickstarter project that fails to secure its funding, it's often because there simply wasn't enough... hype.

Several companies have leveraged the ground-swell crowdfunding power of Kickstarter in conjunction with the hype-generation power of E3 to form a synergy that helps to get enough people excited about these upcoming, innovative products to secure the needed funding to make them a reality. Here are a few...

Control VR: Hands and Arms Motion Capture System

The Control VR Kickstarter campaign started a week before E3 2014 and runs through Saturday, July 5th, 2014. Their targeted goal was $250,000 USD and, as of this writing, they have 1,009 backers pledging a total of $396,264 USD, with 11 days remaining.

KOR-FX Gaming Vest: 4DFX Haptic Feedback System

Designed to provide environmental feedback to help you feel your games, KOR-FX used E3 2014 to generate interest in their product before even launching the KOR-FX Kickstarter campaign. This approach seems to have served them well; they have received $111,623 USD in pledges (much more than their goal of $75k) with only 748 backers so far, with 30 days left to go.

Gamescope - Physical Optical FPS Targeting System

Gamescope, a company based in Atlanta, Georgia, likewise led with E3 exposure, then followed up by introducing the Gamescope Kickstarter campaign.

As of this writing, the Gamescope has just 25 backers for a total of $1,026 USD... but their goal is only $15k, and they have 30 days to go, so it is quite feasible that they could make their goal. I haven't gotten a chance to try out the Gamescope yet, but I have tried other visual targeting systems and found them to be useful, even without the magnification feature that the Gamescope brings to the game.

For more info, you can check out the official Gamescope website.

CMoar: 2D/3D Head-Mounted Entertainment Peripheral

The idea behind CMoar is an interesting one. It takes the immersive experience that can be delivered with a head-mounted display and provides an enabling device that will leverage the power of devices you already own, such as your smart phone, and will turn that into a personal cinematic experience. For more info, check out the official CMoar website. (Kickstarter campaign is simply listed as "coming soon.")

The CMoar includes three different screen bases, to allow for it to be used in three distinct ways: a 2D cinema screen base, a 3D cinema screen base and a Virtual / Augmented reality base. These optics are interchangeable to allow you to use this one device for various immersive entertainment tasks.

Omni: 360 Degree Treadmill

This device made by Virtuix, from Houston, Texas, is designed to allow you to walk or run in any direction without actually going anywhere, which allows you to move around in a virtual world without banging into walls in the real one. The Omni Kickstarter campaign was very, very successful, raising over seven times their funding goal of $150k to raise a total of $1,109,351 USD from 3,249 backers.

For more information, check out our E3 2014 article on the Virtuix Omni and visit the official Virtuix website.

PhoneJoy Play: Versatile Gamepad Accessory

Another successful Kickstarter Campaign, PhoneJoy Play surpassed its $50k goal, reaching $69,859 in funding from 1,108 backers, way back at the beginning of last year and was showing off the PhoneJoy Play at E3 2014 to generate more interest.

This novel gamepad accessory is designed to be used with iOD, Android, Macs, Linux, Windows and OUYA. For the Samsung Galaxy, the device actually opens up and surrounds and holds the Galaxy. For other systems, the PhoneJoy Play collapses back into a gamepad and communicates wirelessly with the devices.