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Gamers donate record amount of money to help create new game

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A video game maker with an Austin office set a record through a fairly new method of fundraising that could be the wave of the future.

Cloud Imperium Games recently raised $6.5 million through its website and Kickstarter in a practice called crowdfunding.  Donors pledged money to help fund the cost of creating the game.  That total is a record for a crowdfunded game.

The game, Star Citizen, is set 900 years in the future. It allows gamers to play as an adventurer, a merchant, a mercenary, or a pirate. Users can fly all over the virtual universe and complete missions.

Game creator Chris Roberts, who is about to open an Austin office, decided that crowdfunding would be a great way to develop the game.

"At the end of the day, the people who are giving you money in crowdfunding are the people who will be buying your game," Roberts said.

FOX 7 spoke with entrepreneur services expert Brian Knight from to find out exactly what is crowdfunding.

"(It's) a donation or perk-based solicitation of funds from the general public," Knight said. "So, in the case of what Chris Roberts did, he went out to the general public and said hey guys I want to make a new video game, but I'd like you to help me fund it. This is a great example of the power of crowdfunding."

Roberts has a history of successful games, but Knight says crowdfunding donors in general should be aware of the risks and possibility of failure.

"In terms of the rights of the donor, they are generally pretty limited. You are taking a risk giving this person your money and they say they're going to do something with it."

For Star Citizen pledges ranged from $5 to $10,000. Along with donating their money, fans are participating in the creation process.

"I think you'll all be very happy with the game you're going to get and also going to have a lot of fun involving you in the experience along the way," Roberts told fans.

Fans that donated at least $30 will get a copy of the game once it's completed which is expected to be in the next two years.

Roberts' Austin office will be up and running soon and he eventually plans to hire a lot more people in the gaming industry here.

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