Kickstarter is probably the most well known crowd funding website in existence. Basically, here you can obtain money for any creative projectnote stuff like businesses, charities, etc, are not allowed you have by submitting a description of your project (usually alongside a short video) and promising rewards to people who "pledge" different amounts.
While the site has enjoyed a reasonable success beforehand, Kickstarter has gone through an explosion in popularity after February 2012: not only did an iPhone dock become the first project to raise a million dollars, but legendary game developer Tim Schafer announced he was going to raise money for a new adventure game, and Double Fine was only asking for $400,000 as its goal. Said project ended up raising over 3 million, with 1 million raised in a single day. The Order of the Stick Reprint Drive also joined the +1 million club the same month.
Schaefer's success then caused a large number of game developers to turn to Kickstarter in the following months, and later talents from other fields as well. The website has played a significant role in popularizing the concept of crowd founding as a whole.
Dreadball, a sci-fi sport board game from Mantic Games. Like the Reaper Miniatures one further down this page, they used Kickstarter to fund and release the game and expansions far faster than they would have through traditional means. It also influenced development at points - the community's response to one MVP, Mee-Ken Judwan, led to the creation of the Judwan species as a team for the Season 2 expansion, for example. And much to the backers' delight; the game is far from being merely Blood Bowl In Space.
The Death of "Superman Lives": What Happened?: a documentary made by filmmaker John Schnepp detailing the history of the failed Superman movie, Superman Lives - the infamous film that refused to have Superman fly, have him fight a polar bear and deal with Brainiac and his "gay R2-D2 with attitude" robot sidekick.
Girl Genius: The professors sought funding to print volume 12 of the comic, and ended up with enough to reprint the entire run. It's currently the fourth most funded Kickstarter in the comics category.
The storyboard animatic for a CG feature film adaptation of The Goon.
Harbinger Down, a horror film about a research team of college graduates who stumble upon the wreckage of a Russian ship and discover that the crew were performing experiments on tardigrades which are rapidly mutating, the film is being produced by special effects legends Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff Jr. and there will be absolutely no CGI creature effects.
Pillars of Eternity, pitched by Obsidian Entertainment under the provisional title "Project Eternity", managed to reach it's $1.1 million goal within roughly 27 hours, and ended up making almost 4 times its original goal, beating the Double Fine Adventure as the most supported game Kickstarter on its final day.
Penny Arcade Sells Out: Rather than one specific project, PA is looking to get the fans to pick up the site's operating expenses for a year. If successful, then they can work on projects for the fans instead of for advertisers.
Downloadable Content podcast season 2: "Funded" at $10, reflecting the creators' desire to restart the podcast.
The Ouya: An open, hackable console based off the Android OS which retails for $99. Its controller features two analog sticks, eight buttons, and a touchpad screen.
Reaper Miniatures: Rather than expand their Bones range over several years, they used Kickstarter to try and expand the range a bit faster, with the newer models from the range being the rewards. They originally asked for $30,000 with a rather nice selection of models for a $100 pledge. As of this edit, they have nearly reached the $2.15 million mark and by expanding the $100 level reward with each stretch goal, those backers are now getting somewhere in the ballpark of 200 minis. As Tychoput it; "Itís a good thing that the Bones line being funded consists of plastic minis, because if they fulfilled this order in pewter or white metal it would influence the tilt of the earth, killing billions."
RiffTrax wanted to live-Riff Twilight in August 2013. They asked Kickstarter users for $55,000 so they could get the rights from Lionsgate. They ended up with $264,860. The studio declined, so the guys ended up taking on Starship Troopers instead.
Rocky Horror Saved My Life: A fan documentary about the Rocky Horror Picture Show. It exceeded its goal by about a third.
Theatre Is Evil, an album by Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra. Notable for surpassing its $100,000 goal to the tune of $1.2 million, and the album debuted on the Billboard top 100 Album list at number 10 due to the immense number of Kickstarter pre-orders. (Later provoked a bit of a controversy online when Palmer invited local musicians to play with the tour gratis.)
Wasteland 2, pitched by inXile Entertainment in the aftermath of "Double Fine Adventure"—in short, what Double Fine started, inXile codified. Wasteland 2 was the first big-name Western RPG pitched on the platform, even though it was quickly overtaken by even bigger projects like Pillars of Eternity and inXile's own Torment.
Follow the Leader: While Kickstarter had hosted hundreds of gaming projects before Tim Schafer, Double Fine Adventure caused several high profile developers to join in. It also paved the way for much more expensive projects: before DFA getting over 100k on Kickstarter was a bit of a stretch, now several projects have tried and succeeded getting money around and over the 500k range.
No Export for You: While you can pledge to any project, regardless to your nationality, if you want to create a project, you need to be American resident with an American-issued credit card, possibly for preventing foreign frauds, unless you have an American strawman. Other nations usually host their own crowd-funding separate from Kickstarter to get around this limitation, or they have an American third party sponsor their effort. Kickstarter is slowly reversing this: in late 2012 they started supporting UK based projects, in 2013 they opened up to Canada and Australia and sometime in 2014 they will open up to the Netherlands.