Not to the wargamers, who had been crowdfunding games through company-sponsored ‘p500’ systems for around 30 years now. “P500” refers to the original back-of-the-napkin math that a wargame needed 500 pre-orders to hit the break-even point to send to the printing press, and be able to fund add’l copies for retail afterwards. Most wargames would actually break even closer to 250–300 copies.
GMT Games, for instance, has anywhere for 40–50 games on p500 at any one time, accumulating pre-orders until there’s enough to send them to press, and they’ve been using that system since the company was founded in the mid-90s. By the time GMT was using the model, it was already over 10 years old.
Kickstarter is a fascinating tool and it’s done a lot great things for the game publishing industry. But let’s not pretend that the model didn’t already exist for a generation. Kickstarter just popularized the system by making it a turnkey tool for publishers that lacked the expertise or motivation to set it up for themselves.