Penny Arcade starts a Kickstarter for no good reason


New member
Jan 5, 2011
I don't see the problem, if they don't get the money then they keep going just as they are now. If there are one million people willing to pay a dollar for ad free then they don't need the support of the ads. Like they've said, this means they spend more time on doing public stuff and less private commission work for the companies supporting them.

Don't like Penny Arcade? Do like Penny Arcade but don't mind it as it is? Then you can completely ignore this and at the very least it won't affect you at all. Do fancy putting in a dollar, or maybe paying a bit more for a bit more? Then that's your money and you can do with it as you please.


New member
Dec 24, 2007
I tend to agree that Penny Arcade is big enough that this is NOT what Kickstarter is for. We've seen high profile companies start to use Kickstarter (both game developers and comic studios) and I think it makes it that much harder foe the struggling "I got an idea" guys that have NO chance without Kickstarter to get any attention.
Apr 28, 2008
Isn't this against Kickstarter's TOS?

I thought the site was for start-up projects to get money to, well, start up. Not for already established things to get more money.


New member
Jun 28, 2012
Eh. If people care that much about ads, they can go ahead and do this. I don't have any problems with it. I'm not going to be donating any money, but if people want to, then who am I to judge?


New member
Jun 30, 2010
LiquidGrape said:
I would call this an abject abuse of what Kickstarter is intended to do, trolling or no. Penny Arcade is already more than established and in no need of alms.

But hey, this is Holkins and Krahulik we're talking about. Arrogance is their game, and I shouldn't really be surprised.
...except they've been saying that they are not in need of alms. They want to be funded by the fans - rather than being beholden to nebulous advertisers. As they employ 14 people, thats a wage of 71428.58 dollars per person, which is higher than the average American wage of around 50,000. However, then you subtract the cost of the PA expos and their various other works and... that's less per person. Seems decent to me.
CriticKitten said:
More seriously, this is a terrible deal. If maintaining their site without ads for ONE YEAR costs them one million dollars (especially when most of their ads appear to be PA-related ads and thus cost them NOTHING), perhaps it's time to start looking into your company finances.

And it's fairly clear that most of the offers are worth practically nothing. You don't even get a physical object until the $125 mark. You can get followed by one of the PA guys for only $300? Wowie! Or I can just talk to celebrities on Twitter for free! Tough call.
And yet nothing is forcing people to donate, and nothing will change if they don't. It doesn't seem like people would donate because they want the rewards, people would donate because they want to support PA.
As to finances, see above. It's not just too blokes in PA, you know.


Warrior without Weapons
Jul 27, 2009
This is so simple I don't understand why it's such a big deal. They are simply asking their fans if they would prefer to support/pay them directly instead of indirectly. Other than misuse of Kickstarter, this should really be a non-issue.

Also, one million dollars is a lot of money, sure, but it's that much for a business. Obviously they make money from other sources too, but if the only thing this money went to is a year's salary for each of the 14 employees at Penny Arcade (and split evenly just to make a point), that would only be about $70,000/year for each person. A solid, but not incredible salary. When you factor in all the other business expenses, that would be considerable less.

maddawg IAJI

I prefer the term "Zomguard"
Feb 12, 2009
Phasmal said:
*looks around to see if anyone else will say it*
Where are the death threats and the rape threats and the people tearing their hair out with rage?

OT- Do people not know what adblock is? And whyyyyyyyyy?
Still, if you're mad enough to throw money at stuff like that, who am I to judge.
You'd honestly be surprised at how far people will go to support something they love. Its also not a matter of simply blocking the advertisements, its a matter of both blocking the advertisements and playing a bigger role in the companies history. Its not a bad idea, not a good one either and it seems over the top.
Sixcess said:
I found this rather telling

Is this indefinite / what happens after a year / are you going to ask again?

This is for a period of 1 year. From January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013. We will run the fundraiser again, around this time next year.

And if you read it closely, ALL of Penny Arcade ad-free will cost $999,999. Seriously - they are asking for a million freaking dollars. For a year. One year. That's insane.

I'm just wondering how deep the Kickstarter trough is. With so many people leaping onto this and chasing the 'nerd dollar' the bubble's got to burst.
Considering Penny Arcade's size, what they all do and how many people they employ, I'm honestly not surprised. Keep in mind that they need to create the webcomics for the site, pay the LRR team, Extra Credits and other groups who make content for them, they gotta pay for PAX, Pay for the servers that are host to over 3.5 million unique visitors every day and then they got to pay for the miscellaneous stuff like the office, health insurance, office supplies, transport fees (Jerry and Mike are pretty popular guys and they are asked to be at quite a few events every year) etc etc etc. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if they were actually cutting back on a few things to make this budget work. Point being, its not that surprising. You're not being asked to bring the company back to its bare bone roots. You're being asked if you want to maintain the site as it currently is.

Chicago Ted

New member
Jan 13, 2009
CriticKitten said:
And people wanted to claim that the brony documentary was a rip off? HA. Gabe and Tycho to the rescue! Bringing real perspective to people all over the internets by showing them just how greedy two people who are already plenty rich can really be!

Ed130 said:
They want to remove the advertising from their site.

Sounds reasonable enough.
Yeah, seems legit enough. All they're asking for is ONE MILLION DOLLARS.

Now I'm not saying that Penny Arcade is run by Dr. Evil....I'm just heavily implying it.

More seriously, this is a terrible deal. If maintaining their site without ads for ONE YEAR costs them one million dollars (especially when most of their ads appear to be PA-related ads and thus cost them NOTHING), perhaps it's time to start looking into your company finances.

And it's fairly clear that most of the offers are worth practically nothing. You don't even get a physical object until the $125 mark. You can get followed by one of the PA guys for only $300? Wowie! Or I can just talk to celebrities on Twitter for free! Tough call.
Well, let's break this down a bit then shall we?

First off, I just went on PA to look at their page. The ONLY ad I saw was one banner at the top for one of their seasons. This really isn't advertising for anything. Checking out two other sites, both for movie reviews, Red Letter Media and That Guy With The Glasses, I found their sides and banners to each have several ads on them, with TGWTG also including ones before the start of videos. Compared to this, again, Penny Arcade has a SINGLE banner one for their own shows, and nothing before the start of their videos. The amount of profit they generate from this is... $0.00

Second off, let's look at some of their costs. For the size of Penny Arcade, I've seen a few figures thrown around in this thread, but the one that caught my eye 14. Now, with 14 on salary, let's say you pay them $50,000.

Cost: $700,000

That's just employee wages here, nothing more. While the figures are speculation, they aren't out of line I believe. Now, let's look at some other costs they have.

PA Scholarship: $10,000
Server Costs: ???
Show Costs:
- Blamimations
- Check Point
- Extra Credits
- Shut Up & Sit Down
- The Adventures of Ledo and Ix
- Mega 64

All those shows (I believe, could be wrong either way by including one that isn't, or not including one that is) are done by people outside of Penny Arcade. That means that they need to pay them something for those shows.

And this is just skimming the surface as for costs they'd likely encounter. These are the things that you can pick up on the surface. There are plenty of other costs that are associated with running a business that I'm sure could also be tacked onto this.

Now what are PA's sources of revenue? Well, you can buy a shirt from them, a game, some merchandise... And that's about it right now. They do run Child's Play but that's a charity so it's not for profit, and they do have PAX, which I'm not sure how much they might generate from that, but aside from that, there really isn't any method of earning money from it.

If you think just because something is well known that it automatically generates money, you are wrong. The way it generates money from a name is by allowing others to use that name to get traffic from them (advertising). A great example of this would be XKCD. No advertising at all, ever, the only thing sold is a few pieces of merchandise on their store page. That's it. The difference between XKCD and PA though is that PA has a staff that it needs to pay, more content, and is far bigger than just a lone guy doing comics. That means that going with a model that is advertising free is much harder.

If I were PA though, I'd also add subscription services to the website to help generate revenue. Say $15 semi-annually, $25 annually, something like that. Least that way they'd be generating a more consistent income from their userbase. They've gone the method of using a Kick Starter though, which may make them more money in the end, but is less consistent in how much they'll earn year to year if they rely on it.

So no, trying to reach $1,000,000 as a goal does not seem that much when you actually consider the costs that PA likely goes through annually. In fact, I would probably think they'd go through more.

Edit: Upon review, I forgot that I only viewed thier page for Extra Credits. I went onto their main page shortly after to find they had one additional spot on the side of their front page. If refreshed a few times, the only paid one that seems to come up is for some Magic The Gathering arcade game, which only seems to appear 1/3 of the time.


Noisy Lurker
Jul 16, 2008
The more I think about it, that $1M goal could easily be the amount they draw from ads currently in a year. I remember hearing that pirate sites like Pirate Bay pull a lot of money from advertisers. Multiple millions actually. PA is by no means TPB in terms of traffic, but they are really up there.


Get out while you still can
Sep 22, 2011
$9,999 for lunch?


That better be the fucking best lunch of all time.


This name was cool in 2008.
Feb 11, 2009
Wait, let me go copy all of my angry tweets. Can't be arsed to rewrite it all or make it any less disjointed.

Penny Arcade are such bitter, cynical twats. They must have earnt a small fortune by now, and now they're holding parts of their website at ransom for people to give them money. Not only that, but they're doing it at on a website for FUNDING PROJECTS. They're taking potential interest away from other projects. And look at the fucking rewards, too; pay them $7,500 and you can go to their offices and do their work for a day. $500 for a retweet and $300 to be followed on twitter by one of them. They're really awful people, and I don't doubt that people will give them the money. They've already donated 165 grand. Their stupid fanbase are going to get suckered into it. Oh, and Ben Kuchera- a member of Penny Arcade- has ranted about the Ouya Kickstarter on Twitter. Apparently 'nothing real is being offered'.
Also, this is a comic they made in May 2011:

They've received a lot of criticism for it, and all I've seen them do is talk like everyone is missing the point and they've geniuses for deciding to kickstart fuck all. The rewards are ludicrous, the amount of money is ridiculous, the 'goal' is stupid and they're all a bunch of cocky, cynical bastards.
May 28, 2009
I found it rather amusing and find that outrage irritating. I was actually disappointed they didn't just entirely use stuff like the "will name your band" thing. Does make for an interesting social experiment though.


Elite Member
Nov 29, 2009
Navvan said:
Not true, while they do have a lot of advertisements for their own products not all of the ads are. Although it is possible to load a page and just so happen to have all the advertisements be Penny Arcade related.

For example there was both an add for HeroEngine and Magic the Gathering Duels of the Planeswalkers when I visited the site.
I went through as much of the site as I could and all I ever saw were adverts for part three of their own game (On the Rain-slick Precipice of Darkness) and a card game based on their Paint the Line storyline.

If other ads are showing up then they are highly infrequent compared to those for their own products. You'd think I would have seen one other advert in eight different sections of the site.