The Kickstarter Dilemma

By Alec Meer on April 23rd, 2012 at 4:30 pm.

Sing for your manhour-based supper

Be it Kickstarter, be it IndieGoGo, be it whatever new flavour of eBusking comes to pass, crowdsourced funding of indie games’ development is a remarkable and wonderful addition to this ever-changing industry. It will lead to great things, I am quite sure. But it does present a number of issues for the media – or at least for this particular site, whose loose remit is ‘post about what we’re personally interested in.’ Lately, that comes with an additional responsibility.

1) If we post about a Kickstarter project, we’re essentially implying our readers should donate to it. Everyone makes their own spending decision based on their own feelings and research of course – but it can still be the case that for many of our revered readership, the deal wasn’t even on the table until it appeared here.

2) Without having played the game(s) in question, and most likely without seeing anything meangingful of it for many months to come, we can’t attest to that project’s quality, to the likelihood of the results being as described, or of it even coming to pass at all. This is why ‘celebrity’ KS projects tend to get covered more frequently here – the odds of a big name pulling off what they promise would seem to be much higher than an apparent unknown living up to their claims.

3) We receive several emails about new KS projects each and every day. That’s on top of all the mails about other indie projects, and mainstream press releases, and updates to MMOs and F2p games and and and. We can barely read about them all, let alone post about them all – and, even more crucially, let alone post about them from an suitably educated position that ensures we’re doing our duty to you guys.

4) If we do post about one, that might well be instead of posting about another KS project – or an already existent indie game that you could pay for (or not) and play right now, rather than months or years down the line.

5) Occasionally an indie or KS-funded game leverages its community to mass-mail us in the hope of posting about it. As well as being a practical complication to doing our jobs (imagine if your inbox suddenly filled with essentially the same message, dozens or hundreds of times over), it presents a huge moral dilemma. Some might argue that it’s passion at play and deserves coverage as a result. I’d argue that’s mob rule – so if we post about it, we’re posting about it for the wrong reasons, because we’ve been battered into submission rather than because we’re enthusiastic about it. If a big publisher did similar, and if we posted as a result, it would be a scandal.

6)This sounds horrifically arrogant, but the extent of RPS’ reach means that we can potentially alter the fortunes of KS projects we do post about. That’s a frightening responsibility as much as it is an exciting one.

The golden ideal, of course, is getting to play some aspect of Kickstarted games before we decide whether to post. Trouble is Kickstarter basically exists to fund games that don’t. Though even that’s changing – we’re seeing more and more projects that are already significantly into development but opt to switch to crowdsourced funding, and that presents a whole new dilemma. Support projects that already have money, or those that don’t.

So, while we do have plenty of our own ideas about how to approach the crowdsourced revolution, I’d like to open it up to the floor. What are your requirements for placing your faith in a KS project? How do you feel about our covering stuff of lesser or non-existent heritage? Should an ambitious but unproven KS game from an ambitious but unproven dev be posted about at, potentially, the expense of an indie game that’s already on sale (edit – I mean this in mean in terms of the quantity of games we can physically, as mere mortals, hear about, research, in ideal circumstances play and then post about in a given day/week/month/lifetime)? How much information should we track down on a KS project before we cover it?

Again, our decisions will be ultimately our own and, as with the Kickstarter stuff itself, mob rule won’t force our hand, but I am very interested in what those outside the gaming press feel are the essential factors and best practices in this brave new world of paying for a game before it exists.

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229 Comments »

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  1. Jason Lefkowitz says:

    Should an ambitious KS game be posted about at the expense of an indie game that’s already on sale?

    Dear God, no. Anyone can set out to do anything; ambition is cheap. Execution is priceless. I would much rather hear about something that someone has actually accomplished than about castles in the sky.

    How much information should we track down on a KS project before we cover it?

    Since Kickstarter doesn’t investigate the veracity of project creators’ claims of competence and doesn’t verify that project creators are who they say they are, I would say that at a minimum I would expect RPS to vet the project journalistically before covering it. In other words, confirm that the person/people behind the project really are who they claim to be, and that the information they’ve put forward to demonstrate their competence is authentic — that they really did work on previous titles they claim to, they really did create other objects/artifacts they present as prior works or proofs-of-concept, they really do hold any degrees, certifications, or prior employment experience they put next to their name, etc.

    This would be valuable regardless of how high- or low-profile the project creator is; if there’s a Kickstarter set up in the name of Will Wright, for instance, it would be a valuable service to confirm that the Will Wright is actually the person behind it.

    • Guvornator says:

      Yes. This +1. Unless you fellows think there is a good chance of that ambition making it to the game intact.

    • Lord Byte says:

      This is pretty much the bare minimum! It’s good that RPS and PAR are wondering about the caveat of kickstarters, more sites should do this before actual decent projects get ruined because too many people get burned on loads of horse manure.
      Probably because a lot haven’t really been in the post-half-life modding revolution (where a new mod was posted about every 5 minutes, while 99,9% never even made it to a working alpha (I’ve burned many hours working on assets or code that never really got anywhere because the “projectleaders” had more ideas than competence).

    • Advanced Assault Hippo says:

      Agreed, pretty much.

      An RPS journalist is going to have to do a fair bit of research on each individual KS project in my opinion, before even contemplating writing an article. To ensure you don’t fill the wrong coffers through a huge misjudgement on your part.

      At the moment, Kickstarter is woefully young and immature. There needs to be more transparency to proceedings before I even consider giving one penny to any of them.

    • Simon Hawthorne says:

      Wow. I had heard (from where? who knows?!) that Kickstarter actually DID look into projects before putting them on their website. I thought that was really good of them at the time, but must involve a lot of work. This needs to be more widely known.

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      Crimsoneer says:

      I don’t think RPS should be “vetting” anybody. You CAN’T vet KS projects. There is no actual way of checking anything – people seem to forget that, but it’s true.

      • Jason Lefkowitz says:

        You CAN’T vet KS projects

        But you can vet the people behind them, and the statements about them those people make, was my point.

        Will this result in the ability to unerringly predict which Kickstarters will succeed and which will fail? Nope. But it would almost certainly improve your accuracy at such predictions.

    • pertusaria says:

      I agree with this. Some kind of demo or proof of concept would also be nice, and I personally would need that before I paid money, but I wouldn’t want to make it a hard and fast rule for the whole site (since it hasn’t been one so far, and I haven’t had a problem with that).

      I’m too poor / cautious to have committed money to any of the Kickstarters so far, and there are too many games I haven’t played (e.g. while Banner Saga sounds lovely, I should probably play King of Dragon Pass before I get excited). However, I have spent money on the advice of this site before. If I’m ever unhappy with the result, I reckon it’s my fault for getting carried away. With regard to unfinished projects, the site’s always been careful to stress that you can’t guarantee completion, or completion to any standard.

      Kickstarter is in its infancy. I think it’s great that you’re trying to work out what to do about it rather than just muddling along, but I also think it’ll get a lot easier to do in the next few months. People will start learning what an achievable dream looks like in this field, just like studios and venture capital had to do (in cases where they didn’t just play it incredibly safe).

      Cheers RPS!

  2. Alexander Norris says:

    If it looks promising* and you have reasonable expectations that the money will actually go to funding the game and that the game will be released, you should post about it!

    * particularly good or particularly clever or liable to change gaming for the better or just plain interesting.

    Also,

    Should an ambitious KS game be posted about at the expense of an indie game that’s already on sale?

    Isn’t this a false dilemma?

    • El_Spartin says:

      It would be if they were running out of stories to run, what that is essentially saying is “There is one spot open on day X to have a story, and we think A KS-Game or an indie game that already exists should fill it, which one should it be?”

    • RagingLion says:

      I agree. There should be the potential for someone unheard of to get coverage if it is particularly clever or novel a concept and interests the Hivemind. For someone unheard of preferably they will already have ample material available to judge their in-progress work ala FTL. Hopefully people will get used to Kickstarter soon and the system will self-regulate anyway so that all those with more to prove will realise this and only go to Kickstarter once they have something of real substance to show.

      Having just one weekly post that updates on all current interesting Kickstarter projects as RPS has already done once might be a good idea to avoid lots of unneccessary posts with only the really interesting or deserving ones being giving their own posts.

    • mercenary-games says:

      We propose a different route for Kickstarter projects.

      They need to be debated, not adored.

      So far, the current media stream just shows adoration for the amount of fuel gathered for any project.

      There’s too much pies-in-the-sky attitudes.

      Debate needs to be sparked. Criticism needs to fly.

      And you can’t debate a project if they are going to be ignored.

  3. mrsamsa says:

    I hadn’t really been on board for kickstarter until I saw Grim Dawn. I knew about the game, and was excited for it before the KS, but I still think they did KS right, for me to want to support it. They showed they have a lot developed, that they self-funded it, and that the KS funds would make the game better, faster, and stronger.

  4. suibhne says:

    Not comprehensive, I know, but I’d suggest two criteria: KS projects that are newsworthy because of who’s involved (Double Fine, Tim Fargo, ex-Iron Lore, etc.), and KS projects that are newsworthy because of what they’re trying to do (much harder to pin this down).

    You’re a news/commentary/analysis site – mostly not an advocacy site. Be led by newsworthiness, not whether a specific project just looks interesting.

    • yougurt87 says:

      Although I agree with both of your criteria, I think in particular the ambitious one should be met with skepticism, and they should only report on projects that actually seem viable. ex: Your World

      There are so many things wrong with this, that scream don’t donate to this. The lack of professionalism, lack of any proof of concept, and last I checked he only has one single person working for him (according to Ellwood.) However, what he promises is very ambitious. The dilemma here becomes that they shouldn’t write about it, because like Alec said, even a negative review will affect that kickstarter. Just because I might find it a waste of money, doesn’t mean everyone will.

  5. Armagetiton says:

    In response to not being able to post about them all, why not make say a monthly post featuring ALL of the interesting kickstarter projects? Just make one post, and list them all there.

    • Brun says:

      I like this approach. You can make it weekly if you’re finding volume is high enough to include 5-7 Kickstarter announcements per week. Otherwise make it biweekly or monthly.

      If you guys find a Kickstarter that’s truly unique, revolutionary, or otherwise special, you can give it its own article. But really, cases like that should be awesome games that just happen to be funded by Kickstarter (in which case you’d be posting them regardless of funding source), not Kickstarter games that you think are awesome.

      I’m sure the Kickstarter stuff is a great way to fill up the site on slow news days, but I’d rather there be fewer articles about it.

    • Ninja Foodstuff says:

      How would this be better than just having a link to http://www.kickstarter.com/discover/categories/games

      • Hoaxfish says:

        While I agree you can get a lot from the “discover” thing on Kickstarter itself, it’s kinda “blunt” in terms of navigation with just a list of everything going (even if you just go to “Video Game” subsection it still includes iOS only games).

        Also, I’m not sure there is a “all” section, since I can only see staff picks, popular this week, recently successful, and most funded (I generally use popular this week).

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          phlebas says:

          The “popular this week” section is the “all” section. Click through and you can see all projects in the category ordered from most to least popular. Would you prefer them ordered by start date/finish date/target amount? Bad luck.

      • Brun says:

        Because this passes it through the filter of Castle Shotgun and its residents, whose esteemed gaming palettes are the stuff of legend.

      • Burning Man says:

        Also no we are not lazy in investigating these games ourselves STOP IMPLYING IT

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Yep, I support this approach… all-in-one. Maybe a split in coverage between “new” kickstarters (i.e. these are new, we haven’t mentioned them before, initial video/pitch), and kickstarter “updates” (we have mentioned these before, here are their new changes like additional backer goals, bulletpoints of changes since last covered, etc).

    • xsikal says:

      I’d suggest making it weekly instead of monthly, but otherwise, I agree…

      I’d like to see a single post each week summarizing the new kickstarters for that week which RPS finds interesting, as well as any updates to existing kickstarters which seem worthy of mention.

      This would both keep the newsfeed from being overrun by kickstarter coverage and provide a standard for where and when that coverage could be found.

    • Jim Dandy says:

      I was thinking along these lines too. A brief monthly round-up of the interesting projects in the arena with no critical content and implied caveats. You could even use kickstarter-logic to determine the stories you cover critically or with more detail; ie poll the readers on the monthly round-up then cover the winners, which is pleasingly recursive.

    • rlr149 says:

      this.

    • LintMan says:

      I don’t like the weekly/monthly “roundup” idea very much. Multiple projects limped into one article means far less time looking into and discussing each one. This seems like the worst of both worlds: the implicit endorsement by RPS remains, but now with more shallow coverage/scrutiny. Yay?

      My take: RPS should cover “newsworthy” KS projects. What’s “newsworthy”? Well, use the mostly same criteria as for othe rnews posts. Would a new retro-legendary game announced by Tim Schafer or Brian Fargo be news? Yes, very likely. Would a cool gameplay trailer/demo of a game in development by a small indie startup like the FTL guys be news? Yes likely. Would some unknown guys with a cool big ideas but nothing to show for it yet be news? No, not really.

      The other thing RPS maybe should do with KS stories is be up front in saying if any of them have donated, Or maybe try to explicitly emphasize that the article is NOT an endorsement.

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      Arvind says:

      This is the best idea, especially with the sheer number of the kickstarter projects popping up. Maybe make it bi-weekly, since most of them have a time limit of 30-ish days.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I would say make it weekly instead of monthly. Something like Cardboard children, mod news, or sunday papers. Maybe even get someone else to do it. It would be neat if there was an ongoing thread, so you could vicariously see how kickstarters are doing.

      • Shortwave says:

        I also agree that a MONTHLY round up of kick-starters done without bias, up to user digression is very likely the best way you guys could go about it. Honestly, I get annoyed when I see a lot of kick-starter articles but sure, I’m still willing to take a glance but usually I feel like this is just a new trend which seems to reflect the world of per-purchasing. Which I’ve now learned is usually quite regrettable and will only break my moral on it if it’s been done by a company which I feel has been honest and met up to their expectations in past game, just as a kickstarter NEEDS to show me that they can be trusted and actually know what they are doing without giving out false promises or pipe dreams. But I find kickstarters even worse since there’s usually no proof of concept or created by someone I’ve never even heard of. I actually don’t think it’s ethical to even ask for a penny unless you at least have something worth showing, pre-alpha raw as hell, I don’t care honestly BUT something more than a ramble and a plee needs to be accomplished. There also needs to be some form of actual legal guarantee that if the project fails I’ll be getting my money BACK without a single bit of hassle. (Honestly not sure if this is a standard but…It must be??) But I dunno, I might be a bit extreme but I just hate paying for something that doesn’t even exist yet. : / I’m willing to look, and to change my opinion. Much like theres never been a single MMO I’ve ever liked, yet’ I HAVE tried every single one ever released for at least an hour.. Ha.

  6. timmyvos says:

    In my opinion Kickstarter could be a great way for the indie community to flourish, but nevertheless I have not backed a single project. It’s too likely that the goals aren’t met, the quality is lower than expected, that the funding isn’t enough and it gets cancelled before the release or that it’s some kind of scam and they make off with my money. Maybe if they release some actual footage or gameplay I might think about buying it, but only when I can start to play it immediately.

    • mercenary-games says:

      Kickstarter projects do prove themselves with prototypes, this link goes to ours.

      We do respect this caution, and we back it up by providing potential patrons with something they can already see.

      • Shortwave says:

        I hate to say this, I didn’t want to but it’s bugging me.
        Is it really necessary to continue linking your project like this?
        I’m sorry but I noticed you do this in a few comments and it’s very unprofessional.
        And the condition of your website is not helping at all, it’s a huge mess. No offense.
        Simplicity is your friend. Get to the point, show us what you have and stand back.
        It’s just overwhelming and a total eye sore.

        I really hope I’m not coming off as rude and being uncalled for.
        I just think you’re going about this the wrong way right now.
        It’s generally seen as very annoying to simply inject your links like that online.
        When anyone does it, in any situation where it’s not requested.
        But honestly, good luck with your project. It does seem interesting.
        I will check back on it and see how it’s progressing.
        And sorry if I come off as a jerk, not my intention.
        Good luck guys.

  7. bobbobob says:

    I prefer to read RPS’s comments, features and opinions on things they already know about, rather than just guesses and concept art. Some of the big kickstarters are ‘news’ and should be covered as such, but it’d swamp the site with pipe-dreams if you covered every fan project, community remake and kickstarter there was.

    How about some kind of round up, like the Bargain Bucket?

  8. SAeN says:

    I refuse to back a kickstarter unless they can clearly demonstrate what they are trying to make. And they must explain how the sum of money they claim to need was decided upon, and how it will be used. I’d have enough faith to back a project given that information.

  9. BrightCandle says:

    Kickstarter makes the relationship between investor and company quite muddy. Right now they are offering the product + other bits as part of the offering, but realistically investors should be profit sharing when it comes to games. When its a production run of some t-shirt its a bit different, but developing the game and funding it is the design process not production of an actual product and thus the investor is taking on more risk.

    I would rather you cover real games that we can play imminently than Kickstarter projects. I think we will all get tired of hearing about projects we can preorder so far ahead its not even an egg yet with all the promise in the world but 0 delivery. Its easy to talk about a good game, much harder to develop one.

    • bottleHeD says:

      Return-on-investments is explicitly prohibited under KickStarter’s rules – http://www.kickstarter.com/help/guidelines

    • Hoaxfish says:

      There is at least one alternate to kickstarter which does support the investor-return idea… apart from it being based in Norway I can’t remember the details, or find the article I initially read about it in.

    • soco says:

      @BrightCandle: “Kickstarter makes the relationship between investor and company quite muddy. Right now they are offering the product + other bits as part of the offering, but realistically investors should be profit sharing when it comes to games. ”

      This is why they chose the term “Backer” and not “Investor”. Kickstarter is not investing, it is an extended pre-order. There is no expectation for profit sharing, and would be illegal to approach it in that manner in some countries.

      Their model is set up so that it is effectively an online store for things that won’t exist unless a bunch of people pre-order them.

    • InternetBatman says:

      You’re not investing when you donate to a kickstarter. You’re making a sight unseen purchase.

    • Jason Lefkowitz says:

      You will notice if you browse through the site enough that Kickstarter scrupulously avoids using the words investor or investment. (They prefer words like backer and pledge.) Companies that offer investment opportunities are subject to all sorts of regulations that Kickstarter would prefer not to have to deal with, so they take great care to present themselves as offering something that (whatever it may be) is not an “investment.”

      Similarly, they explicitly prohibit offering “Financial incentives (ownership, share of profits, repayment/loans, etc)” in exchange for pledges — if you could sell equity in a corporation in exchange for Kickstarter pledges, that would make those pledges dangerously investment-like.

    • Soon says:

      I suppose anybody who seriously wants to invest could get in touch and make a proposal external to Kickstarter. I imagine mixing both forms of funding would put a lot of people off, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it exploited this way.

  10. Meat Circus says:

    I think the RPS Hive Mind should satisfy itself that the project in question stands a reasonable chance of delivering, before drawing attention to it.

    Beyond that? Stick to the interesting new concepts, and old ideas being given new life,

  11. SpinalJack says:

    Because there are only so many hours in a day and also stories need to fit the standard of the RPS website. They have to pick the stories to run.

    • Torn says:

      I think RPS should report on interesting kickstarters, but only ones that would stand a chance of doing well without RPS linking to them. Maybe let momentum build for a while first.

      There are huge numbers of kickstarter projects that are doomed never to go anywhere. I’ve personally seen projects asking for huge amounts of money, promising the earth, and then when you dig deeper it’s one self-professed “ideas person” who has no coding experience. Yeah.

      I thought this article “dragged kickstarting and screaming” was almost spot on (apart from the Wasteland 2 project which I’m sure will succeed, but the author’s reasoning is sound): http://odiousrepeater.wordpress.com/2012/04/20/dragged-kickstarting-and-screaming/

      It’s probably good to come up with some requirements for RPS coverage:

      * If they have a workable game or something significant to show already (like the Faster Than Light project)

      * If they are an already-established company with enough people to pull it off, or a team of industry vets that know what they’re doing (Double Fine, InExile, etc)

      * If their plan (the nitty-gritty) is sufficiently detailed and shows an understanding of the processes and costs involved, where the money will go, which features are core and which are ‘nice to have’ that may be added if funding reaches another milestone.

      * Listing fancy ideas as ‘features’ with nothing to back them up should set off alarm bells. Again, leniency to all of the above if they are people with proven track records of delivering / knowing how to staff-up video game projects.

      As to ‘when will the first kickstarter videogames project fail?’ question people are starting to wake up to – I think it has already happened. There are a number of video game projects who have got their funding in 2009-2011 yet have still not launched or produced anything worthwhile.

      Personal opinion while I have the soapbox: the following fairly high-profile projects just scream ‘dodgy’ to me and I wouldn’t want to risk putting money on them:

      * The Lingering Dead
      * Echoes of Eternia
      * Your World

      • gulag says:

        I’m glad someone got in here early and laid the above thoughts out so clearly. I couldn’t agree more. RPS would be losing out if it didn’t cover the KS explosion/bubble, but not every KS funded game is worthy of coverage before it has ticked some or all of the boxes above.

      • Belsameth says:

        This, basically…

      • Arjent says:

        Totally agree here. That is the journalistic responsibility; investigate these products/producers before telling us about how great they are. Obviously we know you’ll be wrong sometimes, but a Kickstarter roundup with a little sifting and culling would be great. They should definitely be able to provide you a demo/video of gameplay before it’s reasonable to talk about it in an article.

      • Angron41 says:

        I completely agree, I would just add that I would like RPS to make sure and have an interview of some kind (even over email) with the creators before posting in order to verify their credentials (as others have said earlier) and in general get a feeling for the project and its future. I just also want to say I appreciate RPS asking its readers to chip in on important stuff like this.

      • mercenary-games says:

        We also agree.

        “Prototypes, or GTFO.” should be what’s demanded of Kickstarters.

        It’s hard to see powerpoint decks and personality displays all the time.

      • Salix says:

        I think if someone already has the reputation then a prototype is not necessarily needed, but otherwise I completely agree with those points.

      • JFS says:

        Prototypes, or at least screenshots/videos. Or, in the odd case, report it if it’s done by a known and reputable company/name. Basically, what Torn said.

        • opmnxb says:

          I would say make it weekly instead of monthly. Something like Cardboard children, mod news, or sunday papers. Maybe even get someone else to do it. It would be neat if there was an ongoing thread, so you could vicariously see how kickstarters are doing.
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        • Optimaximal says:

          Wow, that’s some subtle spam!

        • muskieratboi says:

          Obligatory XKCD post: http://xkcd.com/810/

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          emertonom says:

          It’s not as subtle as you might think–it’s a trick spambots have been using lately which takes advantage of the structure of threaded comment pages like this. It scans past the first top-level comment or two, and finds a response to a subsequent top-level comment. It takes the text of that comment, appends the spam text and link, and posts it as a reply to a *previous top-level comment*. The result is that in your reading order, the spam comment tends to show up before the real comment, but the real comment was actually posted earlier. The natural text makes it harder to spot as spam just by content, and the contextual semi-relevance makes it more likely that users will read the comment. The tendency of users to quote one another (legitimately) also makes it somewhat challenging to write an automated filter.

          It’s not AI, but it is devious. Spambot arms race!

    • Zeewolf says:

      I don’t quite get why it’s a dilemma to begin with. Thing is RPS posts about things they’re interested in. If they’re normal core gamer types, which they seem to be, then there will automatically be a bunch of Kickstarters they’ll be interested in over the course of a typical month. So the obvious solution is to post about Kickstarters that seem interesting and not post about Kickstarters that don’t. Sometimes the obvious solution is actually also the best one.

      I’d also like to point out that RPS posts about rumours of unannounced games, they post about game announcements, cinematic trailers and a bunch of other things where they have absolutely no idea of the quality of the finished product (if there is any). And that’s a good thing. I come here partly to read news, and that is news. Just like a new Kickstarter by Jane Jensen or Shadowrun or the Tex Murphy guys is news. I’d feel that RPS weren’t doing their jobs if they neglected to tell me about these things – and no, I know it’s not up to me to say what their jobs is, but as a reader I come here with the expectation that if there is anything interesting happening in the world of PC games, RPS will try to tell me about it.

      • Czechton says:

        These are very much my thoughts as well. If the writers are interested in the Kickstarter then they can write an article about why they are interested just like they do for any other snippet of news or small indie project they pick up on. If this seems like too loose of a definition then the writers could perhaps just post about Kickstarters that they themselves have actually donated to and essentially just explain why they have done so.

        As one of the other commenters said, a round up could be done every week or two. I suppose this would end up being much like Mod News.

      • Deston says:

        Very well put Zeewolf – this is exactly my take too.

        @ Alec / RPS – clearly one of the big reasons this site works so well is exactly because you post highly enjoyable articles on what interests you, and broadly that tends to align with what a lot of your readership is interested in. It’s why we are here.

        I can understand why you have some concern over covering these potentially vaporous Kickstarter projects, but if you spot one that stands out from the crowd or is something you think is worth a mention or a discussion, you should go ahead and post it and make no apologies to anyone for doing so. Whether readers choose to read, ignore, or base major life decisions on it is really down to them and them alone.

        I’ve never viewed RPS as a consumerist site here to inform and protect our wallets – though granted there may be elements of it with stuff like Lewie’s excellent bargain bins and Steam sale coverage. But it’s not about “product reviews” or how / where our money can best be spent. First and foremost, it’s always been about games, gaming, gamers and the industry as a whole…

        Please don’t change that.

        • Ragnar says:

          I agree with the above. Post about projects that are interesting to RPS.

          Just like with a game review, it’s ultimately up to me to read through everything and make a decision of what is and is not worth my money.

  12. Premium User Badge

    Luringen says:

    I don’t back anything without knowing they can pull it off. I want proof, either it’s tech videos proving they have some foundations of the game ready, or a demo.

  13. Premium User Badge

    TheCze says:

    I think the best thing would be a regular feature on new and interesting kickstarter projects

  14. JohnB says:

    I vote no Kickstarter projects. BrightCandle is right, and I would rather see games that someone was so motivated to make that they did it without begging for money first. That’s passion. I stopped being interested in Kickstarter projects after the Star Command guys showed how they mismanaged their funds and ended up with nothing. If someone wants to make a game, they’ll do it. I want to give money as a reward for a good job, not for a poster and a bunch of concept art.

  15. Lewie Procter says:

    I have no idea why anyone who is serious about making a game, and wants funding via crowdsourcing, wouldn’t knock together a playable prototype before asking for money.

    Even if it is totally rough, and has programmer art, I’d be much more willing to fork over cash to something I can already try an early version of.

    • Premium User Badge

      RobF says:

      Yes. Boggles the mind that isn’t a default setting for people.

    • Brise Bonbons says:

      Exactly so. It seems like making an early build available has been key to the success of many projects, Minecraft being the prime example. If you’re asking for people to put money up on faith, the least you can do is put some of your time on the line to knock out a proof of concept.

      Having a reputation in the industry is great and all, but it shouldn’t be a free pass for developers to ask for our help entirely risk-free. Nor should we be in a position where we only fund “sure fire” projects run by authoritative creators of old, or the Kickstarting system risks becoming just as stale and conservative as the corporate publishers.

      “Kickstarter: For the times you want regurgitated games of an older, more refined vintage”. < I don't want to live in that world.

    • Lemming says:

      Alot of them have more than just programmer art. I’ve seen plenty with videos of alpha footage, and that should be the minimum for getting coverage, IMO. Nice simple line.

    • mercenary-games says:

      We at Mercenary Games demand a new form of Kickstarting.

      “Prototypes, or GTFO.”

      We don’t try to sell personality, and we dare to prove ourselves.

      We don’t criticize the veterans for simply putting a pitch, they deserve it.

      But, if a new developer goes out there, and tries to roll with pure personality points, plus powerpoint decks.

      We call BULLSHIT.

      We prove this with our own project. We have very rough prototypes out, and we need criticism and debate. We don’t ask for handouts, but we do ask for a smarter audience with a critical eye.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I agree with you on principal, but I think that’s much harder for larger projects. Larger ones require larger teams to merely get the alpha right, and that requires a lot of operating cash. I’m pretty sure Tim Schaefer went the kickstarter route because Doublefine didn’t have that kind of cash.

      It’s a tricky balance, and I’m not quite sure what the right answer is. Out of the three games I’ve funded (Doublefine, Wasteland, Shadowrun), I’m only sure about Doublefine’s ability to make a good game.

      Also, I think programmer art normally looks like crap and it makes it less likely they’ll get funding. It gives a bad first impression and I get the feeling that a lot of Kickstarter is about first impressions.

      • Brise Bonbons says:

        That is a valid issue, but I think established companies should take on some risk as balance to that taken by the backers.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’ll probably back Shadowrun, since it seems like they could still use a bit more money, I like the IP, and they seem to have an interesting spin on what is otherwise a pretty straightforward genre. I didn’t for Wasteland 2, because I felt like they had enough cash to work with by the end, and my limited funds were best spent on other kickstarters, or games that are playable and deserve support (Crusader Kings 2 being at the top of my list, but a donation to Dwarf Fortress or a pre-order of Xenonauts would work too).

        I think there’s an important point in that fact. There are a lot of subtle forces at play here, and few black and white absolutes. A great concept with an unknown team that’s trying to flesh out a mostly-complete product, could fairly be held to different standards than an “allstar” team asking for large amounts of money to simply begin work…

      • Skabooga says:

        Indeed, I too backed Double Fine’s prototype-less Kickstarter, but it is a very short list of companies/individuals for which I would do that. Even for developers with an established history of making games, making games in genres I enjoy, not having anything to see or play has stayed my hand from donating.

    • D3xter says:

      Maybe because imagination can sometimes be stronger than reality? Maybe Double Fine/Wasteland 2 would have gotten a lot less money if they had shown exactly what they are planning, for instance if Wasteland 2 turns out to be powered by a 3D engine it might have turned off all the people that wanted pixel graphics/drawn backgrounds and the other way around.

      As it stood, everyone could imagine their “perfect game” into it, wether it be more like Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle or Grim Fandango. Double Fine also wanted to make a “tablet adventure” basically with the $400.000 with only 3-4 people on the project max., so showing a “prototype” of that might not have been very helpful indeed.

      As such, you are REPORTING on the KickStarter and I am to decide if I put my money into it or not, trust me I wouldn’t base my decision if to invest into or buy something on one site alone, you don’t have that kind of power. If anything you can only highlight something I might find interesting :P

  16. SpinalJack says:

    A playable demo and a concept that I’m interested in like FTL.
    I wouldn’t put money down otherwise.

  17. Grimgrin says:

    If I see RPS post a Kickstarter project this is what I do: I read about the project, I look to see how much money I would have to put down to get a copy of the game, and final I help it with money or I don’t. If your worried that what RPS post or doesn’t post is a problem, do a big list post of all the game kickstarters going on now, make a weekly thing. Yes, sooner or later one of this KS thing will fall though and it will be on the head(s) of the person/people that started it, not on RPS, and frankly if your not prepared for that when you donate your money your being foolish.

    In summary: RPS making people aware of KS stuff is a good thing, but responsible for the project lies the people that started it, and the responsible of donators money lies with the donators.

  18. Cooper says:

    It seems like th sort of thing that would do well for an irregular feature.

    Make a note of interesting KS projects. Contact those behind them. If they get back to you with anything interesting (especially if it’s with an alpha version or something like that) then you have added veracity / content for the RPS site.

    Produce a ’roundup’ of interesting KS projects. RPS then acts as a filter for its readers without any specific project being highlighted as ‘this is THE one you gotta support’.

    Sufficiently interesting KS projects can always then get theirt own news posts.

    • Dizzard says:

      I don’t think kickstarter is just going to go away though, that’s the problem. So I don’t think ignoring them completely is going to be very fruitful. These “kickstarter funder mobs” could start appearing more frequently over time.

      It could potentially turn into a situation where a growing part of the games industry is being largely ignored by your site. Which would be disheartening to see.

      I’d agree with what others have said to have one giant post every now and then (3-4 weeks?) where you lump all the projects that show promise and then let your intelligent readers sift through them and make their own minds up.

      Really though I think all of this will be a whole lot clearer a few years down the line when we know what has happened with the current kickstarter projects.

  19. Casshern says:

    Mhh, I’ve red all RPS’s kickstarter stories and I haven’t backed any of them.

    Even though I like ex: Tim Shafer and the games he made in the past, I won’t fund him money because you’re basically giving them money for a few years. It’s not even an investment because you won’t get more money in return after the years have passed. You’re just giving money in advance that you could have used for other things.

    I’d rather help people out in need, or buy myself stuff that I can use now.

  20. etho says:

    My vote would be for something like a weekly column that could point to the smaller, but still sort of interesting projects that might not demand a full article. But still with the option of posting full stories about higher profile projects. That way you can still give exposure to some of the projects that might not interest everybody but keep the site from being flooded with kickstarter stories.

  21. Premium User Badge

    BlackestTea says:

    First: I think it’s great you guys think about your responsibilities in this regard to such a great extend in the first place. Many sites don’t and either completely ignore kickstarter or are flooded with news from there – neither of which I find very desireable. Kickstarter is a really exciting thing and should be posted about. However, I agree with the above notion that generally, it is important that kickstarter projects should not receive coverage at the expense of exciting existing things (there are exceptions to this, of course, the Double Fine and Wasteland were top-line news that needed to be covered, for example, but this concerns smaller projects). Further, I think you can make a distinction between posting about a kickstarter project and implying that people should fund it. All you need to say is “this looks exciting for these reasons, this is the likelihood it will come to pass, these are potential pitfalls – go and have a look if it interests you”.
    That aside, I think that smaller kickstarters should definitely be posted about, there are super interesting projects out there and people get confused by the mass of stuff, so some guidance as to what is actually noteworthy and interesting would be appreciated.
    There should definitely be some sort of hierarchy involved, though. Projects that are already in development and can show in-game material, alpha versions etc. are definitely preferable (given that they actually seem to need the money). Projects that are not as far should present a clear vision of what the final product is to look like and how they want to get there. Also, projects that have some sort of prior/additional funding (such as by the devs themselves) are definitely preferable.
    However, I guess this is all very commonsensical. In the end, this site lives from RPS posting stuff the authors are excited about and that should also be the rule with kickstarter and similar projects. I am sure this can be done in a fair manner, without compromising the integrity of the site (an example of this done well, in my opinion would be .

    You’re a news/commentary/analysis site – mostly not an advocacy site. Be led by newsworthiness, not whether a specific project appears compelling

    I disagree with this, therefore. Newsworthiness is part of what makes a project compelling, but this site isn’t just about news.

  22. ffs_jay says:

    I think if you’re pushing the promise of something interesting over something that’s actually out there, things have gone terribly wrong somewhere. Besides that, I feel the average indie dev is far more in need of coverage than anyone already known and respected enough to qualify for a kickstarter post on here.

    I have no problem with any amount of kickstarter posts, as long as they aren’t eclipsing anything else, especially the little stuff. Some of my best gaming memories of late have been with those little things I’d never had heard of if it hadn’t been for places like RPS.

    Full disclosure – I am kind of an upstart indie dev wannabe who’s currently a fairly unknown quantity, so of course this is a pretty skewed perspective.

  23. Premium User Badge

    X_kot says:

    If an RPS editor is sufficiently interested in the concept and thinks the project has a good chance of completing, I am perfectly content with reading KS posts. This is a game blog based on your experience and opinions, and I appreciate hearing your thoughts on upcoming games.

  24. Ninja Foodstuff says:

    To be honest, I’d be happy for you just to use your best judgement. In the same way that I don’t come here to find out what the art director of Peggle had for breakfast this morning, I’d rather you decide if something is interesting and then write about it if so.

  25. TheWhippetLord says:

    I think that you should be very wary of kickstarter news coverage unless there’s something otherwise interesting about the game (Schafer, Fargo or Avellone count as interesting for this purpose.) Otherwise maybe corall KS news into a roundup once a week (it couldn’t really be less frequent due to the limited duration of KS projects,) with a list of vaguely interesting KS games under a big sod-off disclaimer saying that you don’t endorse them, haven’t really looked etc. You could then see if the commenters go wild about anything in particular and follow up. Would that work, or would it still take too much time (I am unfamiliar with the workflow of you fancy creative types,) or maybe it’d come across as too half-arsed for RPS?

  26. noclip says:

    In your mind, write the post you would write about the game as if there were no Kickstarter project (“new indie game from unknown developer promises X”… usually not worth covering; “indie game Y nearing completion and taking pre-orders”… might be worth covering). If the result is worth publishing, post it. That having been said I personally would also err on the side of covering smaller projects over larger ones.

  27. Premium User Badge

    jezcentral says:

    The KS situation is too important/interesting to ignore at the moment, so I would like RPS to cover it. However, I would be more interested in projects headed by people who have done it before, so you know the project has pedigree and a better chance of being finished.

    If there are others that RPS find particularly interesting, though, I’m sure I will, too.

    What I’m not interested in is a big list of new projects that I would have to research individually to see if any are worthwhile.

  28. bill says:

    I vote that you don’t simply post about the existence of things unless you have something valuable or interesting to contribute. not only kickstarter.

    I realise web blogging is all about posting as many posts as possible, as quickly as possible, with as little content as posible, but wading through a dozen “i heard there is an interesting game but i haven’t played it yet” and a dozen “game x has a patch” posts to find a post that actually has something to say is kind of tiresome.

    If the writers haven’t even bothered trying the game/demo or contacting and interviewing the makers, then they clearly aren’t that interested in the game themselves… so why should we be?

    Personally I think the interesting point of kickstarter is that it helps new guys get off the ground – its use by rich guys to make more profit for themselves based on their fans isn’t that interesting to me.
    But I can go to kickstarter and see what new ideas are there… why would I need RPS to duplicate that?

    But if an amazing sounding idea pops up then by all means post about it… but please at least make it an interview or something.

  29. Guvornator says:

    “If we post about a Kickstarter project, we’re essentially implying our readers should donate to it.”

    So only post about things you are excited about. The readership here seems pretty mature, certainly enough to make it’s own decisions. One of these, incidentally, was to read RPS in the first place. Long story short, I trust your collective judgement enough to at least read about something you are excited about. That’s right, you fuckers brainwashed me ;-)

    • Premium User Badge

      Henke says:

      Seconded. Relax RPS, we’re not gonna throw money at whatever you happen to post about. I read RPS pretty much every day and haven’t donated to a single kickstarter yet. I wanna see something actually come out of this model before I feel comfortable investing in something.

  30. pakoito says:

    What RPS really needs is a subforum for “look at my game” “come test my game” posts and requests and a huge link to it on the top of the screen. If they bother spending some minutes writing you they may spend them posting in the forum too. If one post has lots of views or answers maybe they may be worth a look. Your own community can be a filter too.

    • noclip says:

      The problem with that is the amount of noise. Look at something like the TIGSource forums — there are simply too many I-copied-this-game-from-my-childhood games to be able to tell if there are any diamonds in the rough.

      • pakoito says:

        We are the ones filtering the noise, rather than them on their mailbox. That’s the point.

  31. Soon says:

    Gallantry of the project leads. With facial hair rating as a tie-breaker.

  32. Stormtamer says:

    From the one’s ive backed, im going on either strength of the name, or the names behind it.

    Two i did recently were Starlight Inception, and The E-Paper Pebble watch (know its not gaming, but it still kinda fits my Gamer criteria too)

    The Starlight Inception one, has one of the guys from Lucasarts behind it. I used to play nothing but Lucasarts games, and someone from there trying to create a new game, about a game type i like makes it even better.

    The watch one, id never heard of the people before, but they had already created a Blackberry version of the same thing, and other than being on a phone platform ive never used, i would trust them to make something good and deliver on it.
    Same would be similar for games. Maybe a good indie dev made a game ive never heard of for PSN or XBLA, id trust they would make it for PC based on them getting it through the approval of Sony or Microsoft, and reviews of the Playstation or Xbox version, so i would feel better backing it.

    With my faith though, comes the downsides, which is what i can see as a problem for you RPS guys.

    The Starlight Inception project is from a company that have only made educational games, that kinda just look like Second Life, and like alot of projects, even in the mainstream, you can have an awesome idea, but it not turn out the way people like.

    The watch has something similar. While i think they can do it, theyve gone from make around 800 watches for their goal, to 40,000+. This could have an impact on games too, because if it gets too popular, the company might raise lots of money, but still only deliver a game worth the initial funding, and while theyve met their goal, the hype the product or game created by being so popular didnt.

    For you guys on the site, im with ‘bobbobob’. Do a round up every week of the ones ending within that week, and let the readers decide, and if your really interested in a project personally, just stick it at the top of the round-up.
    That way you can still kinda push the one you want, while still not directly promoting it.

  33. ilaros_belt says:

    The problems you’ve presented with reporting on Kickstarter are, IMHO, kind of overblown. RPS, like it or not, is a legitimate editorial outlet, and as such your readers (myself included) rely on you to vet and curate TONS of games for us. We read reviews with your opinions and suggestions for games every day, and make decisions based on that info.

    That you can either positively or negatively effect the industry via the promotion of Kickstarter projects is totally secondary to your responsibility to report, just like it is with most news entities.

    The whole idea of Kickstarter is to get people excited about ideas, and involve the public in their fulfillment. If you see and idea that you think is worthwhile, then report on it, you’re just playing a role in that infrastructure, and that’s not a bad thing.

    RPS is probably my favorite gaming blog, but to be honest, this kind of “what should we do” article is a little immature for the image you guys cultivate. If you want to play with the big dogs (which I totally think you can and already do to a huge extent), you’ve got to own your decisions and show some cojones.

    • mendel says:

      The “big dogs” give you questionnaires to fill out for market research. I’m happy I’m getting honest questions here.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I completely disagree. These discussions are critical to the health of news site. Without them you get disasters like the Gawker redesign.

    • Skabooga says:

      I do agree with the idea that RPS are already vetting and deciding the fortunes of a number of games.

      6)This sounds horrifically arrogant, but the extent of RPS’ reach means that we can potentially alter the fortunes of KS projects we do post about. That’s a frightening responsibility as much as it is an exciting one.

      In much the same way, the games RPS decides to show trailers for, the games given positive reviews, hell, even the games RPS chooses to review at all can drastically alter the fortunes of the studio behind it. Without RPS, I wouldn’t have even heard of the game ‘Lone Survivor’ or ‘To the Moon’. Even games you give negative reviews to, developers would rather have that than no review at all, what with the “no such thing as bad publicity” dynamic.

      So in the end, many of the same principles guiding your judgement of what to review or preview can certainly apply to which Kickstarters you cover. It is this judgement which makes RPS the high-quality publication that it is.

  34. crazydane says:

    I think it might be good if you guys did a monthly round up of kickstarter projects or something like that. In my opinion it’s fine for you to talk about what you’re personally interested in so long as you put some kind of proviso at the beginning saying that these are your opinions. Also say that the projects might not actually come through, you aren’t saying that people should invest, but rather they might just find them interesting to hear about.

  35. lifeasclarity says:

    I’ve been curious about the of a weekly/monthly Kickstarter round-up, similar to the Bargain Bin. I’ve seen games the Hivemind found terrible listed on the Bargain Bin before, if memory serves. Just a thought.

  36. Eddy9000 says:

    I think kickstarter is a big phenomenon, and stories about kickstarter have been interesting to read about as part of the way our gaming culture and production of games is changing.

    Regarding articles on individual games kickstarter projects, it is kind of hitting the point for me where I load up RPS and feel disappointed that there’s another article on another game being kickstarted, it feels like I’ve reached my saturation point for articles about kickstarting games honestly. But then hearing about games that I’m personally interested in, like the double fine one is, well, interesting.

    I wouldn’t normally be as bold as to offer suggestions, not being a journalist or connected to the games industry in anyway, but as you invited them I would suggest thinking about the agenda of RPS, or if you don’t like agenda the elements that make it different from other blogs, and report on games being kickstarted that are consistent with this. Personally I come to RPS becasue I like the critical approach to gaming, the positioning of games within wider culture and the attention given to games that challenge or play with traditional notions of gaming. If RPS focused their kickstarter related articles on games that met these areas then I’d be happy with that. (Actually this is just a really long-winded way of saying ‘post about what you’re interested about’ like the guy before me did)

    I also support the idea above for having a forum where developers can post news about their various kickstarter projects and link to them.

  37. Max.I.Candy says:

    can crowdsourced funded indies be called ‘crowd-fundies’ from now on?

    as for the questions about it all, my (not very helpful) input is that i trust your opinions as they’re usually the same as mine anyway.

  38. Baresark says:

    I have been saying for a little while now that what needs to happen is there needs to a column just for this. That way there is one or two people handling this and it doesn’t fall on a choice between everyone on what to cover. Especially since it has exploded so much. Total Biscuit has even started a video blog that is just about Kickstarter. This is just common sense to me.

    • Baresark says:

      Haha, also: You guys aren’t the only people out there covering this kind of thing. But what is constantly covered by the other websites such as the Escapist and PC Gamer is the big names which cost big money. I am part of a group of indie developers, so my opinion may be biased, but covering the ones that look promising and fall into the 5-10k range would be nice. I seem to recall FTL getting a lot of attention here, that was great because I knew about the game but I didn’t know there was a Kickstarter for it till it was almost over.

  39. S Jay says:

    Keep as it is, it is good.

  40. jalf says:

    Treat it like any other project, I’d say. You write about Tim Schafers games because he’s got a proven track record. You don’t write about some guy no one’s ever heard of who’s decided that he’s going to make a game.

    You might write about the same guy’s game once it’s 70% complete, because by then it’s looking serious enough to spend time on.

    Apply the same to Kickstarter. Would you have written about this game if it hadn’t been on Kickstarter? If so, write about it. If not, spend your time elsewhere.

    Of course, right now there’s a bit of a “wow” factor to kickstarter projects. It’s kind of a new thing to apply KS to games, so hey, it gets (and deserves) more coverage. But once the novelty has worn off, I don’t see why a project should get special treatment (favorable or not) just for being on Kickstarter.

    • Torgen says:

      That’s a good metric.

    • sneetch says:

      I’d go for that, jalf, it makes sense.

      The presence or lack of presence on kickstarter should be irrelevant, it’s the game that’s interesting. If the game sounds exciting to you then cover it the same way you would any other game.

      If you want, you can stick a big “we take no responsibility and make no guarantees about this game” notice at the end of the articles but I take that as a given.

  41. Torgen says:

    PLEASE, Hivemind, feel free to add various degrees of disclaimer to any and all Kickstarter and other stories where people want money, if it’s something that stands out, but you don’t want to endorse it or imply that you do.

  42. Moraven says:

    Reminds me of Penny Arcade making a change on what advertisements appear on their website. I forget the game but they got a lot of flak for advertising (indirectly, via banner ads) a game that was received rather poor in general.

    From then on they planned to only have ads for games they actually played and enjoyed. This was due to similar reasons described about reporting on KS projects. Their readers who saw the ads believed since they were advertising the game it must be decent and worth checking out.

  43. fyro11 says:

    If a crowd-sourced project hypothetically needs RPS to go from ZERO to hero, it’s too risky to feature IMO.

  44. Dinger says:

    Developing a game is a difficult, risky business. Many ambitious projects started by the big gaming publishers get canned before they ever get sold. Indie projects have likely an even higher turnover. Of the KS projects RPS has covered so far, I’m willing to bet that more than one will never be in a state that it should be sold to the public.

    There are plenty of KS games to cover, but, frankly KS is not a good funding platform for a team that hasn’t proven itself capable of bringing a game to market. I would consider it irresponsible for RPS to cover projects run by teams with little or no experience without pointing out that to readers. I’m sure some of the RPS writers already regret one or two KS stories.

    Last year, a story ran in slashdot about a KS flashlight project, and no doubt, that generated a lot of sales. Of course, the team thought they’d have a product out in a few months, and I’ve seen some animosity around. This is from a KS team that asked for money with a working prototype, but just didn’t have the experience to handle the mass production on time.

    Now go figure about a small, indie studio with a “great idea” and the need for money.
    In short, ideas are cheap. Good implementation is worth its weight in gold.

    And that’s the problem: you can’t satisfy the spam-mob. If you dedicated a whole wing of Castle RPS to a risk-assessment team that evaluated each project and gave it a score that reflected its likelihood of ever seeing the light of day, you’d be spammed for judging a project “high risk”. Yet we know some of those projects will make it, and some that claim to have AAA credentials and use fake screenshots won’t.

    If you’re going to cover a KS story, commit to covering it all the way until release, or until the developers admit defeat, are sued, or what have you. I

    • Baresark says:

      I have an idea. How about you take a look at projects and if you find it interesting, you write about it. That means if you don’t find it fishy either, obviously.

      People are crazy. What is this thing about only people with a proven record. It’s hard to shake things up if you only want people who have made certain games doing it. In the end, RPS doesn’t choose anything for people, they make their own decisions. I also do not think RPS is out to act like our parents and tell us what we are and are not allowed to buy. I have backed a bunch of projects, big and small. I, like anyone else who does it, understand that it’s a risk.

    • Baresark says:

      Sorry, that wasn’t supposed to be to your post, I quite frankly don’t know what happened. I was trying to post at the end of the comments.

  45. lithander says:

    I’ve backed 4 projects so far.

    * Double Fine Adventure. I love Double Fine’s previous work and would probably buy this anyway. Also, the behind-the-scenes episode promise to be fun. Lastly: the project got so much attention that I thought it being impressively successful would influences how publishers think about niche games.

    * Banner Saga. The devs have industry experience and a working prototype of allready impressive quality so I believe in the success of the project. The idea/graphics are so unique and appealing that I really want to be able to play it. I’d rather risk a couple of $$ then missing out on a great game. (When I backed it was far from meating the funding goal)

    * Shadowrun Returns. Good IP, promising idea, probably something I’d buy anyway.

    * Wasteland 2. Experienced developers and ambitious goals. I moan about declining complexity in games (especially the trend of replacing tactical combat with action combat) so this oldschool approach to RPG is something I wanted to support.

    That said: Kickstarter might provide the funding but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to make a great game. Devs still need to know what they are doing. If I were a backer of this project I’d feel like my money was wasted.

  46. DrGonzo says:

    I think you are overthinking it way too much here. If it looks good, or looks like it will be good then post about it. That’s the only rule I think that matters and that you should stick to.

    We can make up our own minds and you are not responsible for what happens with the kickstarter.

  47. asshibbitty says:

    I posted earlier about a regular feature like that but now I don’t like that idea anymore. It’s IMO too formulaic for RPS. Just post what you like and maybe add a nice “For Kickstarter Developrs” link on top. Make it show a goatse MAke it explain your policy on random pie in the sky crap.

  48. Demiath says:

    As a fan of particular gaming niches which don’t get a whole lot of substantial coverage on RPS, I think an overarching mission statement á la “this is the stuff the RPS writers personally tend to get enthusiastic about and are therefore likely to post about” is far more interesting for me as a reader than being presented with some kind of abstract journalistic approach to Kickstarter projects specifically (the latter being far more of an “inside baseball” kind of internal process than the former). What RPS can be expected to cover and not should be reasonably clear, regardless of where in the production pipeline a particular game is.

  49. Jimbo says:

    I don’t take your pointing out the existence of something to be a de facto endorsement of it, so I guess carry on informing your readers if you think it’s something a sufficient number of them would be interested in. They / we are smart enough to look into it and decide for ourselves whether it’s something we want to support or not.

    For instance, I chose not to support Banner Saga (I didn’t understand what they were offering) or Tactical Hardcore Shooter Project Delta (because I don’t trust unnamed private investors to make good on their promises), but I’m glad I was informed of their existence so that I could then look into them for myself. If RPS hadn’t posted about them I never would have heard of them at all.

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    Bluerps says:

    I think, what your are doing right now is fine – post about Kickstarters that have a high probability of actually producing a finished game (because it has persons behind it who know what they are doing, or because it was nearing completion when the money ran out, or for similar reasons), and ignore the rest.

    If the question is, if a finished game should be ignored in favor of a Kickstarter, then I think that in most cases, the finished game should get preference. Though there might be exceptions. If a Kickstarter is particularly interesting, and the finished game is not, I’d like to read about the Kickstarter instead.