The France-based VideoLAN, creators of the popular video player VLC, has launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to raise money to build a native app for Windows 8 and Windows RT. This is a rather unique approach for a well-known software developer to take.
Currently, VLC runs in the desktop mode of Windows 8, but the team is hoping to create a new version that will use the “Metro” style of Microsoft’s new OS. A second release will also add support for Microsoft’s Surface tablets. VLC media player for Windows is currently installed on about 100,000,000 devices worldwide.
The proposed VLC for Windows 8 will have support for DVDs and VCDs out-of-the box as well as unencrypted Blu-Rays. All the features known from the current releases will be retained e.g., a full fledged equalizer, video filters and support for subtitles.
As with all their apps, the Windows 8 app will be free, so VideoLAN relies on donations rather than revenue to develop their products. Slashgear notes:
Once the campaign hits the £40,000 goal (around $64,100), VideoLAN expects to finish the port within three months of the campaign ending. However, there are some caveats to the project. First, an ARM-based version of VLC won’t be made available for Windows RT right away, but support will eventually arrive in a future update.
Currently, the campaign has raised £17,934 of their £40,000 goal, but have only 17 days to go (until December 29). The money will be returned to donors if they do not reach their goal.
Is this an opportunity for Microsoft? They really need apps for their app store, so if they chipped in (on the final day, of course), they would be sure of a really great app for Windows 8.
What do you think about crowdfunding as a part of software development?