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 »

  1. Gabbo says:

    I don’t really care whether you cover Kickstarter projects or not, just as I know you can’t and don’t cover every other PC related game/news in the entirety of the industry. If you do cover them, outside of Schaferian situations where a rather well established name is trying their hand at the model for a pet project, I’d hope you cover them because one of, if not all of the Hivemind (maybe even Kieron) are intrigued by the game’s concept, not because it had backers mass email you about it (barring some cross over between those two things that surely occurs from time to time).

  2. Funso Banjo says:

    I realize you don’t care what other sites do, but on (site removed, despite being a larger site, I don’t want us to be accused of using comments on another video game review site to attract visitors, we’ve been accused of it before) we strictly never post KickStarter news, because each of your stated issues is most certainly correct.

    It’s the only safe route for a website with the responsibilities and readership one such as yours has. Anything more is a hit to your reputation, whether perceptible or not.

  3. Maldomel says:

    I don’t think you should talk about kickstarter projects anymore.

    The games are not done, and there is all kind of stuff out there waiting to be funded, so yes it is a bit frightening to know that essentially your project could get a boost because it has been mentioned here.
    As you said, it is only bothering you when you check for emails, and you cannot play the projects, so there is no way to know if the devs will deliver, and if they will deliver something good.

    Remember when this kickstarting thing came up? With Tim Schafer. He is well known in the industry, and has a legendary status with gamers. Of course you couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to talk about what he was doing with his new project, and how he planned on achieving it. But he is the exception, like those remakes of old games or those guys gamers already know about. They are exceptions. You know they will deliver, and we can be sure it will be good (it better be!). The rest of the projects are…less reliable, because they no big names to back up their game, or no experience. So you really don’t know if donating money will be useful.

    Also, kickstarter and crowd funding in general are getting pretty big, not only with games, but in all domains. It is a new mean of getting things done without the help of studios or producers, and it’s really great to see you guys covering it and keeping up with what will probably renew the industry’s face in many ways. So I guess it is hard not to talk about it.

    But you shouldn’t talk about individual projects, because apart from the “big” ones, you’ll have to rely on your individual preferences, and as you said, posting about a project is essentially implying that people should donate. Considering we don’t exactly know if the results will be there, if they will match our expectations, I think it’s for the best if you manage to talk about kickstarter and crowd funding, but not about the actual projects.

    Only my opinion though, if I happened to be a developer, I would totally say that you need to talk about projects (specially mine). But I’m not.

    • mercenary-games says:

      It seems the topic is more about “supporting projects” compared to “debating projects”.

      Debating a project, and having an honest , yet critical, discussion about it seems more appropriate.

      • Maldomel says:

        But if you debate a project here, that still means it’s posted. So while people aren’t throwing money at their screens every time a new game is mentioned, it still means the RPS writer who talks about it is interested by the idea, and that he will speak positively about it (I mean, if he’s not interested, or if the project isn’t quite in good shape to have a talk over it, why would one post about it?).

        Debating is fine by me, and the fine folks of RPS are always putting critics (good or bad) when they talk about something.
        But it also means drawing attention, and maybe money. I wouldn’t want to see this site labelled as biased, even when it wouldn’t be like that.

        • mercenary-games says:

          Agreed.

          Bias can be seen through implied support.

          We don’t want “support”, primarily. We want critical eyes.

          Bury us, flame us, adore us, or ignore us.

          Though, we refuse to be ignored :)

          The discussion about Kickstarter needs to move from “implied support” to “crowd based criticism.” There isn’t enough posts about criticizing any of the projects on KS.

          We desperately seek the criticism.

    • mendel says:

      I like my games journalists to have and express individual preferences. I wouldn’t read RPS otherwise.

      Game journalists do early reports on traditionally published games as well, with little more than a press release and some screenshots to go on – and some of these games have been cancelled or didn’t turn out as great as we hoped. Why should the fact that some of these games are now crowd-funded and not traditionally funded keep RPS from reporting on them?

      • Maldomel says:

        I thought about that too, and I guess that’s a complicated issue. The main thing that motive my first post, is that money is involved, and that RPS can pretty much make or crush or leave in the dark most projects.
        Now I know that they won’t “crush stuff” or “praise without objectivity”. And I like when they about games, be it the most obscure indie one, or the AAA licence.

        I just…I wouldn’t want some people to think RPS is making an actual difference when donating is involved, or that they get buried in endless coverage of pre alpha unknown projects because they have to.

        Actually, you guys are making me doubt. How dare you!

        • mercenary-games says:

          I don’t like the word “donate” being associated with our project. It’s an unfair characterization.

          Kickstarter pledges can be cancelled at any time during the project timeline.

          “Investment” isn’t also the proper word.

          Gamers have to realize; they have more power in their hands now.

          • dogsolitude_uk says:

            Thanks for clarifying that: I was actually a bit hazy about the mechanics.

          • mendel says:

            Once the project deadline arrives, pledges are cashed in and can’t be cancelled any longer – or did I get that wrong? Usually the game isn’t done by then, or Kickstarter would just be a weird way of taking preorders.

            It’s not investment in the sense that people who speculate/gamble the stock markets are not investors either – and that in the end, you won’t own a share in the project, but you might own a copy of a game (or not) that’s fun to play (or not).

          • mercenary-games says:

            Once the project deadline arrives, pledges are cashed in and can’t be cancelled any longer – or did I get that wrong? Usually the game isn’t done by then, or Kickstarter would just be a weird way of taking preorders.

            Precisely. Once the funding drive is completed, all or nothing. And funds are delivered to the project creators. But, during the drive itself, a patron is free to pull their pledge.

            This opens avenues for crowd funded debates. News about a projects progress.

            It’s not investment in the sense that people who speculate/gamble the stock markets are not investors either – and that in the end, you won’t own a share in the project, but you might own a copy of a game (or not) that’s fun to play (or not).

            It is an investment. A gamer can pitch into a project and drive the criticism needed to shape that world.

          • mendel says:

            So, is “investment” the proper word, or isn’t it? I’m confused now.

          • mercenary-games says:

            So, is “investment” the proper word, or isn’t it? I’m confused now.

            I would argue “yes”. It is a player investing in a game world that they want developed, not just a monetary investment.

  4. mendel says:

    I love RPS because their approach to games journalism is somewhat less cookie-cutter than other sites out there. With that in mind, surely there must be a way to frame Kickstarter reporting so that the audience isn’t misled?

    I for one would love a weekly report from the “horse races” – have a post with several games you found interesting, the reason why, and the implicit assumption that people who want to bet on them should spread their risk around and not bet money they can’t afford to lose. If at some point in the future we can look back on these posts and see that at least some of them reached the finish line even if the majority might not have, you can be happy about those which you called that might never have had the funds to get there if you hadn’t.

    Journalistic honesty means you give us the information you have been able to find out about the game and its creaters: the horse’s pedigree and current form, so to speak: which parts of the game (as far as they exist) have you looked at? Which of the people do you know, and what games do they have under their belt? Maybe it’s just a game idea that intrigues you, even though you don’t know the team (beautiful horse with no pedigree whatsoever). If you give us enough information to start with, there’ll be readers who will be able to add perspective to it in the comments (or so I hope) – that’s just another form of crowd-sourcing wisdom.

    In general, it looks as if the trend to publisher-less publishing is on the upswing these days: it’s firmly entrenched in books and music, and it is getting there in games (where it’s always been, remember Shareware?) and even filmmaking as well. It’s a trend I would love to see you support – it means projects can go “indie” that used to require a publishing contract to get started.

    Also, it’s not all on Kickstarter, don’t forget IndieGogo (and possibly other places?).

    So in short, yes, please do.

    • Skabooga says:

      I thought you would be continuing with your horse metaphor, so I at first read one of your sentences as: “Which parts of the horse have you looked at?”

      Heh heh.

  5. MasterGeorg says:

    Isn’t there a great irony though in the fact that everyone here has said the same thing; “I won’t back a project unless I know exactly what it is, it’s been developed already to some degree, stuff has been shown off even if it’s rough, you should only advertise Kickstarters that went this extra mile, etc.”…

    But then, we all turn around and throw all our coin on top of, say, Tim Schaefer’s million dollar baby that is currently nothing more than an idea, but offer nothing and give no press to Kickstarters such as Blasted Fortress (by some new start called Dapper Swine), which not only shows off the game but has closed beta access you can sign up for to actually play it before it’s done?

    Just saying, it’s terribly hypocritical of us to say “Yeah, let’s reward Kickstarters who have actually done some work already”, and then do the exact opposite by ignoring them and giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to allow “just an idea” Kickstarters to succeed at monstrous 500% rates. Do we really care about the effort, and helping small developers who put it forth (like aforementioned Blasted Fortress), or are we just whores to big names no matter what (oh Tim Schaefer, take all my money!) At some point we’ve got to put that money where our mouth is.

    Also, the idea that the only Kickstarters you should report on are ones that are already popular seems terribly flawed from a journalistic perspective. Shouldn’t you be finding new things that your readers haven’t already read about on a dozen other sites? It’s bad enough that I can’t go to a single indie games site without them giving up-to-the-second reports on the last time Notch blew his nose, I want to hear about the small stuff that I don’t already know about.

    • mercenary-games says:

      We agree.

      A more appropriate situation for “unknown developers” : test their concept.

      If that particular developer has prototypes of their current work, it should be available for criticism and debate.

      Keep in mind; Kickstarter pledges can be cancelled by the patron at any time.

    • Llamageddon says:

      I agree with MarterGeorg, there should be more recognition for unknowns that have put in the groundwork. I often read RPS just to hear about potential rising stars that are otherwise unknown to me and the majority of the internet.

      • mercenary-games says:

        It’s hard enough for our crew to reach a huge audience, we do have to depend on communities talking and debating about our project.

    • Brise Bonbons says:

      More good posts here. Personally I chose not to fund the Doublefine Adventure, Wasteland 2, and Banner Saga for the reason mentioned here; they already have plenty of money.

      I feel it’s better for diversity and consumer choice to get more projects funded to 150% or 200%, rather than a few “sure bets” funded massively beyond what they were asking for.

      On the other hand, there are certain projects which I believe are doing things the right way, but are simply not producing games in genres or styles i want to play. Vigrior being a great example, where I earnestly hope it does well, but am not interested enough in the genre to even have any thoughts or opinions.

      At some point, the choice to give our money to someone or something is going to be a deeply emotional one, especially in this context where the projects are often wrapped up in nostalgia, the personality of admired giants in the field, or our tribal devotion to this or that obscure game genre.

    • Shortwave says:

      I just feel the need to note that not all of us have turned around and thrown coin out. It just seemed a bit generalized when it’s not just one sided as such.

  6. Adynod says:

    I’d rather RPS posted about existing projects over Kickstarter’s until they’re through. Then post about the ones the staff feel are interesting.

    People are aware now and will hear about interesting projects by other means. We’re free to follow you guys on Twitter for example so you could keep mentions of interesting projects in progress to a personal tweet and away from anxiety of an official RPS endorsement.

    I reached my limit of kickstarting anything with Double Fine, Banner Saga and Idle Thumbs and that’s me done until I see how they turn out. I don’t read those post’s any more no matter who/what the project is.

  7. faelnor says:

    Cover all kickstarters and ask your readers not to pledge any money to them.

  8. TheWhippetLord says:

    Start a kickstarter to raise the money to hire someone to cover kickstarters.

  9. Syra says:

    Stop posting about kickstarters. All of them. People have been made aware now of the existence of kickstarter and can go have a look at it if they wish to do so. Posting about kickstarter projects is basically advertising and it’s becoming silly that everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. All the mainstream press are harping on about the big ones anyway, I think maybe RPS has the journalistic integrity to responsibly nip it in the bud before every day there is a post summarising kickstarter/crowdsourcing/paythisguymoney posts.

    Ofcourse when a kickstarter game is made it becomes just ‘a game’ that is released, and that’s when you should post all about it. If it’s good.

    • mendel says:

      Posting about games that aren’t out yet can always be considered advertising – and it also is if they are. It’s free publicity. If you want games journalism to stop advertising altogether, you want to read about games that aren’t on the market any more.

      • mercenary-games says:

        How can one advertise an unfinished process?

        The proper context would be to debate projects instead.

        • mendel says:

          Let me clarify my point.

          Even “debating” an unfinished project generates sales down the road that the project wouldn’t have had otherwise. The difference between advertsing and journalism is that one is funded and written by the maker and the other is written by an independent individual. The difference is not the effect on sales.

          So it’s a fallacy to say, “this drives money to the publisher, it must be advertising”.

          • mercenary-games says:

            So it’s a fallacy to say, “this drives money to the publisher, it must be advertising”.

            Agreed.

            We do want to shift the focus to debating about Kickstarters and crowd funded projects, and not merely supporting them.

            I do hope debate is respected enough to be published. I grew up with british-parliamentary debating, and I love the process it has in creating and fusing ideas.

            as well as demolishing stupid ones.

            We’re hoping the british gamers will take on this kind of critical eye, and not just soak up the usual media bullshit.

      • Brise Bonbons says:

        Personally I don’t want to trawl the KS frontpage every week filtering new projects. And RPS is really my only source of game news, so I depend on this site to hear about good stuff.

        As has already been stated, treat it like any other project getting early coverage. Hell, a little indie game with a great concept or in an obscure genre deserves the attention more than another press release from Bioware/Relic/Blizzard, whether using Kickstarter, buy-in alpha access, or appearing free in a browser.

        I feel like the goal should be to uncover the gems which are easy to miss, which by necessity means consciously giving less time to projects large enough to generate their own critical mass of information.

        In a world where a mainstream media easily spends tens and hundreds of millions to drown us in ads, “balanced coverage” requires almost ignoring such titles in favor of the tiny, obscure, and challenging.

    • mercenary-games says:

      People have to realize that crowd funding and game development are completely different beasts from finished products.

      Gamers have always been wanting a bigger say in the kinds of products being developed. Similarly, game media sites want a wider avenue of game development discussion.

      Completely ignoring kickstarter projects means sacrificing these two opportunities.

  10. avp77 says:

    I usually buy games when they’re in the $5-10 range, so I really have zero interest in paying money into a Kickstarter with the prospect of possibly seeing something developed in a few years. There’s one or two projects that I do hope to see do well, though (like Jane Jensen).

    I suppose theoretically there might be a game idea so awesome that I would have to put money in to support it, but someone with the competence to create that is probably already earning a more legit salary using their skills. I don’t really buy into the myth that there’s a whole unappreciated underground of idle video game people that would deliver masterpieces if only they had a source of funding.

  11. ecbremner says:

    I know that one game that has tried to do many of the things you complain about (urge its supporters to email you and all) Is Nekro. And I think this project is a perfect example of why we need more coverage of good KS projects. It would be criminal for this project to go unfunded and I doubt there are many folks who funded the other KS campaigns who wouldn’t be very interested in it… If they knew about it. Total Biscuit’s coverage of the game brought it from 25%-50% funded in a few days. But then it stalled out again. More coverage is never a bad thing. Use your journalistic gut. If your gut tells you. “this is a serious attempt at a quality game” and then looking at the backing shows that many many people agree with that and wanted to fund it. Then clearly its worth writing about.

  12. Dizzard says:

    Another idea I wanted to share……if you didn’t want to go for an irregular column detailing interesting kickstarter projects you could make it so that only projects that can get over a certain amount of interest (on their own) will be covered.

    So coverage is based on the number of funders rather than money raised. I don’t care what anybody says, huge amounts of people don’t fund something for absolutely no reason.

    So you say a project needs to get X amount of total funders (on the kickstarter page, not those making themselves known through email/twitter) by yourselves before we’ll consider covering it.

  13. Chimpyang says:

    Personally I think kickstarter is a less than perfect model for games developers, something based on Slightly Mad Studio’s WMD portal (info about the WMD portal can be found : http://www.wmdportal.com/about/)

    I think its just a better way to attract funding – it is still crowdsourcing – but crowdsourcing an investment rather than the promise of extra goodies or just meeting the developer. Not that I signed up to pCars as a particular investor – but if the game does OK, i get the game for free at my membership level – and some more money back as an investment on my initial outlay – even if it bombs – I’ve only bought a beautiful looking game…

    What you get back are playable builds, and the ability to feed back to the devs on the forums about bug, what works, what still needs work.

  14. dogsolitude_uk says:

    Personally I don’t see RPS posting about a Kickstarter as a recommendation to ‘invest’ any more that I’d see an article in the FT about a companies share price as a recommendation to buy those shares. It’s news.

    Likewise I don’t see your coverage of games as being adverts for games either. Again, it’s more sort of ‘news’.

    The way I see it is that RPS writers blog and writes about stuff, and I can read it if I want to, and agree/disagree with it as I see fit. I might drop a comment if I feel I have something to say on a matter. Like I’m doing now. Really, I don’t treat this place any differently to any other news outlet or bloggy thing, be it The Economist, New Scientist, Guido Fawkes or whoever.

    I see Kickstarters as an opportunity to help the dev community, but I’m only going to ‘invest’ my quidz if it’s something that I’m likely to be interested in. Whereas a positive report here may paint a glowy picture, I usually find it’s best to try and mentally strip out adjectives and gush and sift through for the facts of the matter before parting with any cash, and so I’m afraid I’m a bit bl00dy minded in that respect: I’m not going to blindly punt money at someone even if you manage to get Charlie Brooker, Stephen Hawking, Jesus and Warren Buffett telling me it’s a Good Thing…

    I’d suggest perhaps that you define a few ‘rules of engagement’ for wannabe kickstarters and stick it in the ‘hey, developers!’ page if you want to cut down on the Spam though. That would drive me nuts.

  15. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    If RPS happens to be so full on actually upcoming games, I might vote against kickstarters. However, among the many projects on kickstarter (and similar services) there are sure some which are worthy of backing. The problem is finding out which ones are worth backing.

    I would honestly be interested to see the opinions of RPS on some kickstarter projects.. maybe you could do it in a similar way you did the many unknown MMO blog post (remember that one?) or perhaps clearly emphasising it’s more like a review rather than an endorsement and certainly not about what the final product will be like (or whether the project will manage to succeed at all, even).

    More importantly, I stand behind those who spoke up about the necessity of thorough investigation of a project. This can of course be time-consuming, so if you do decided to do this I assume you’re not likely to feature too many but that’s okay. Also, if you do this at all, it should be not too frequently lest it take away too much time. A kickstarter is after all but a kickstarter.

    And as an aside, I could almost wish the Yogscast game will fail gloriously. That might be a lesson learnt for the makers, the yogscast and their fans.

    • mercenary-games says:

      Yogcast needs to get real.

      They aren’t going to complete that project on such a spartan budget.

      They need to man up and demand 1M$, and more dev time.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I think the “forgotten” MMO articles were nice, but they’re free of the time-limits inherent in kickstarter (i.e. they turn up, update, and then end within a month usually)…. basically I think it’d require a lot more work, to sort them out, and make it count before they specific ones are gone.

      As to Yogsventure, I think the team making it sound capable, and they seem to have made some progress given in the time… I think they may simply “fail” to live up to what their fans think they’re getting (given that their fanbase is split between threats to “unsubscribe” any time a non-minecraft video is posted, and just following them for their personalities).

      • mercenary-games says:

        If they fail, they lose everyone, if not a significant population of their fans.

        They really need to get real and find a better plan, with more money and time.

  16. Joshua Northey says:

    My $.02.

    I come here to read about games I might buy in the next few weeks months, (or possibly even today). These are decidedly not KS projects. Now I am not necessarily your target audience, or representative, but I don’t really care about something that is 12 or 24 or 48 months away. That is so far away from what matters to me, from information I can use. It does nothing for me.

    As for vetting KS projects, I really doubt you can adequately do that. Certainly the people with some experience producing games is a good sign, but even then they maybe fled away from studios and to KS because they don’t like working within budgets and don’t like meeting deadlines. So they fleeing the studios and start a KS, and then have no project management skills and have used all the money and the game is only 30% done. Look at something like Kerberos. Made Sword of the Stars, got major publisher to back a sequel, had some great looking engine screenshots a year from release, and then they push the release date, and then even after that the game is only 50% complete. No project management skills. but you can only tell after the fact. I am sure if you had vetted the project 6 months from release no red flags would have been raised because Cirulis would have just given you a plausible sounding line of BS.

    What are your requirements for placing your faith in a KS project?
    I would give money to something with a specific project budget, staff assigned, that was already in alpha or post alpha stage, and I would have to be crazy about the project. Basically I would want to see dozens of pages of paperwork outlining contracts between the projected project manager and projected staff, internal budgets, the whole shebang. They want me to invest treat me like an investor. Every KS I have seen so far is as you mentioned in you own piece “busking”. I have no time for buskers. You cannot put 40 man hours into putting together a proper project management plan and associated contract how on earth you going to sink 2,000, or 10,000 hours into the making of a decent game? You leanr a lot more about someone’s ability to get a project done by how they do on the boring crap no one is interested in than you will looking at all the pretty promises and pieces of functional code, because coders like to code. But it takes doing a lot of stuff that isn’t fun to get a project done, frankly a lot of stuff a studio does for these people in “normal” games. Sure if it is something tiny like Terraria or Braid, flying by the seat of your pants can work, but a lot of these KS are decidedly un-tiny.

    • mercenary-games says:

      Should take “faith” out of the equation.

      Again, Kickstarter pledges can be cancelled at any time during the funding process.

      We ask future patrons to demand prototypes.

      It’s really hard to disassociate our project with the rest of the “power point presentations”. The best we can do is show our naked build, live, and hope for our patrons constructive criticism.

      We don’t want the impression that we are begging for handouts, and peoples “good feelings”. We wanna show them that this is for real.

  17. jonfitt says:

    My ideal criteria for one of you to post about a KS project would be that it excites one of you personally for whatever reason. I believe that arbitrary distinction is what’s needed.
    .
    The content I value most of RPS is that where there is some passion behind it. I rarely click on “ManShoot12 releases screenshots” posts and am more likely to click on “I saw this game and it’s brilliant” posts. If someone pitches a multiplayer-Thief-inspired-persistent-world game and the idea that it could exist excites you. Post it.

  18. Reapy says:

    I think you guys know what is interesting and I generally trust the judgment of RPS in terms of showing me interesting ideas.

    That said, while I do believe in prerelease support with my $$ to get indie game alphas (starfarer, minecraft, and mount & blade are the only ones so far), I’m not a huge fan of the ‘pay me before I make it’ model of kickstarter. I guess I just prefer to see solid execution and be shown that imho the developer knows exactly where they are taking their game and how to get there.

    A Kickstarter that is just a guy in a chair talking, not really enough for me. Though someone with a prototype up and running that now needs some $$ to either support himself to continue writing it full time, or $$ for art and sound and has a clever idea with industry experience…. well, that guy can be worth investing in.

    So really RPS, just make sure you cover that guy, where the porject looks interesting, realistic, and looks as though it is for real and not a scam. Cause honestly all the gaming press have that power to drive people, and by extension cash, in whatever direction they want.

    I bought solium inferium due to those play by plays way back. I played it like 10 minutes, and never touched it again. I just didnt have people to play with or anything, nor the time/drive to figure it out, but I still caved under the premise of the game being so clever and watching other people have fun playing it.

  19. Metonymy says:

    Wow, you’re JUST now figuring out that the press is a vehicle for creating truth, and not at all one for reporting it?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncertainty_principle

    And you wonder why the bad guys seek to control money and the press?

    Make an attempt to create a weekly or bi-weekly kickerstarter “list” with nothing but links and accurate names. Write paragraphs or articles if a project interests you personally.

  20. wodin says:

    Seems odd…not sure what the difference is between you posting about a kickstarter or posting about a game under development you can pre order….

    I think if you get alot of emails about one particular kickstarter project you should look into it at least and then decide whether to write about it. If it has alot of fans then likely it’s doing something right.

    This is the first article I’ve read here that left me scratching my head…it’s point being? Don’t email us about KS projects? Why not just say that. Instead of writing an article that really can apply to all games whether kickstarter or not.

  21. Kamen Rider says:

    Pretty sure an RPS article has never convinced me to buy anything, ever. Not trying to be rude, just saying. I really love you guys for bringing such rich, diverse, and detailed information to me in a wonderful package, but I’ve never said to myself “Wow, RPS posted an article about ZZZ? I think I’ll go buy it!”

    Same with Kickstarter posts. I’m thankful you guys post Kickstarter links and post ones you feel relevant cause I can’t be arsed to browse through Kickstarters total list for things that tickle my fancy. You guys have posted Kickstarter links that I’ve donated to, I’ve donated to Kickstarter links before you’ve posted about them, and I’ve decided not to donate to Kickstarter links even though you’ve posted about them.

    Never once has the fact that RPS posted about something, and that alone, convinced me to spend my money in any certain way.

    Once again, I’m not trying to be rude, I’m just saying that’s not something you need to worry about.

  22. Urthman says:

    I’d be interested in hearing about any Kickstarter project that at least one of the RPS hivemind…

    1. Has some reason to think that the team asking for money can deliver a game if they get funded.

    2. Wants to play that game.

  23. Waltorious says:

    My opinion is that whether or not a project is a Kickstarter should be irrelevant. Before Kickstarter came around, RPS would post about a mix of different games, some completed and for sale, and others that were under development. This means that certain games would get highlighted over others, based simply on what the RPS authors found interesting. The concerns listed in this post still applied. It was still relevant to ask whether to post about a promising indie game in development that might not see the light of day, or about an established game that’s finished and on sale.

    To me, the only difference with Kickstarter projects is that they are not yet funded, whereas many traditional “in development” projects do have some type of budget. To me, this means that a Kickstarter project needs to look especially interesting in order to catch my attention, because I know the chance of the project not coming to pass is higher. But as long as that is taken into account, I see no more problem highlighting a Kickstarter project than I would any other promising game under development.

    In summary, I think that the RPS staff should continue to post about whatever games they find interesting, whether or not they are Kickstarter projects, although perhaps being a bit more selective with the Kickstarter projects given the higher chance of failure.

  24. Yar says:

    RPS spends too much time apologizing for how hard it is to be an indie gaming site. If people are spamming RPS trying to get their pet project mentioned, they are douchewallets. Publish more about wot you like, and less about how hard it is for you to be fair to everyone.

    • mercenary-games says:

      Proposed solution:

      RPS creates a separate forum for Kickstarters, allows their community to debate a project if its relevant enough.

      So instead of having to handle project linkage spam, they can have their community discuss and debate about a project instead.

      • Lambchops says:

        Good plan. Highlight the one’s they want to talk about because of personal interest (as the RPS guy’s usually say “it’s our site and we can do what we want with it”) and have a space where the one’s who are not mentioned can promote their games and maybe get a bit of useful feedback from people who may be interested. If that number of people is large then it might just draw some main page attention later.

        Seems sensible.

  25. jellydonut says:

    Put them in weekly posts, similar to the Sunday Times and those board game things I never read. and/or make a section for them *in* Sunday Times.

    Of course, maintain an editorial policy. It’s easy for a dyed-in-the-wool PC gamer to tell the fluff and crap from a project that has at least some merit.

    I would say posting the ones helmed by veteran developers is a must.

  26. mercenary-games says:

    http://fleetcomm.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/an-open-letter-to-rock-paper-shotgun/

    An open letter to your community and your writers. It touches this article, and we hope it expands the discussion.

    Also, thank you to everyone for posting your concerns. It seems there isn’t a lot of clarity about the nature of Kickstarter projects, we’d like to address those from our own studios perspective.

    We welcome you all to debate and discuss our view, we’d like to wade through all the misinformation and “celebrity fanboyism”. We’re a small studio with objective goals.

    It’s hard for us to communicate to media outlets because of the “adoration” for novelty, and the spectacle of veteran game devs. We do believe it clouds the rest of the Kickstarter projects, we aren’t all the same. Collectively, we all have unique objectives that we need to fuel our projects.

    We think it’s time that Kickstarter projects got real.

    • Lambchops says:

      Hey Mercenary,Games.

      You asked for critical feedback so i’m going to offer a bit (it’s not game related as RTS’s are not really my cup of milk).

      You may well disagree with what I say, believing it’s part of “marketing” and you’ve suggested you’re more about “development.” Clearly you’ve got that covered in terms of prototypes and that’s fantastic. But a Kickstarter isn’t just about showing the product working. It’s a pitch and there are a few other elements to a pitch than having an idea/early working version. The other things that are important are passion, personality, presentation (and tied in with presentation, confidence).

      It’s clear you’ve got personality. It’s clear you’ve got passion. Unfortunately the presentation just seems a bit rambling. You’ve got lots of cool stuff there and you’re too eager to show it all off in one fell swoop going “look at what we can do!” it’s overwhelming, at times information overload jumping between talking about the game, then the team, then the game again. Near the start you’ve got two 5 minute videos which show . . . .stuff happening . . . no idea what. Then you’ve got an interview which I assume actually explains a lot which is 45 minutes long. I’ll be brutally honest here, virtually nobody is going to watch that. You’d have to already be hooked into the project to even contemplate it.

      Then when you introduce the team as a crew you show off your personality again, but it’s just a bit too much (seems to be a few in jokes) and gets in the way of the pitch.

      What I’m suggesting is, tone it down. Keep the Kickstarter page slick and sleek. This isn’t marketing it’s just simple presentation skills. Keep it to the basics, get people hooked and direct them to the game’s website if they want more information; that’s the place for the witty bios, lists of ships which feature in the game and 45 minute interviews.

      In my mind the Kickstarter page should run along the lines of (this is just a suggestion, there’s lots of ways to go about it);

      1) Swanky logo
      2) This is what the game is in a few short sharp sentences. The overall vision etc.Fuck stuff like how the name is pronounced. Make it short sharp bullet points.

      Space based RPS.
      Design Your Fleet.
      Create Manouvers
      Execute Your strategy

      (with a little bit more explanation of the key features but not much)

      3) Show video. Trailer style. Demonstrate the aforementioned bullet points with brief shots and explain with either voice or text (text is probably better so you can keep your new fangled dubstep!). No longer than 3 minutes, people have short attention spans and it’s enough time to make people think I fancy playing that.

      4) Then BAM! Hit them with your prototype. They can see what it’s like. Emphasise it’s early doors and that they can give feedback on your website/forums etc (people like to be included).

      5) Like what you see, then back us. We really need your help andfeedback entreaty. You can help this awesome thing become a reality etc.

      6) Who you are (the interested people are still with you the one’s who aren’t well you don’t need them to read this stuff anyway so there’s no point mentioning it until now.

      7) Frequently asked questions. Boring shit but details some people might like to know. Explaining rewards, plans, timescales etc. That sort of stuff is better as an appendix rather than clogging up the main pitch.

      Obviously you don’t want to do this rote or it’ll read like a dull press release. Inject your own style/humour into it (something I know I’d be crap at if I was pitching and would probably get help with) but the basic layout should probably not stray too far away from what I’ve suggested.

      So yeah, for what it’s worth that’s my feedback. Hope you don’t see it as having ago but I’ve seen quite a few Kickstarter pitches where presentation has been lacking and I guess it’s you that got on the end of me deciding to bang on about it. I just think a lot of devs underestimate the importance of presenting their pitch in a quick, clear succinct way that will actually draw in people to pledge or try things out (though I’d argue if they’ve got nothing to try out they are already off on the wrong foot – unless they are a current studio with a proven track record – in my mind even celebrity pitchers aren’t excused from showing something if they are coming out of the woodwork after a long hiatus).

      Anyway best of luck with the Kickstarter and your game, hope they go well.

      • mercenary-games says:

        All noted.

        We are recalibrating the pitch in the next week, as well as a new prototype delivered.

        That pitch was mostly thrown in there by all our members, we wanted to show our entire design document from the ground up.

        It does seem “noisy” and maybe unclear to some folks. and also noted, that the pitch is hard to digest. Agreed on that.

        So yes, calibrations necessary.

        • mendel says:

          Read “How To Explain Your Game To An Asshole” by Tom Francis. The rest of your presentation should explain how you plan to spend the money you’re asking for, and what your budget and business plan is.

          And please stop screaming that pledges can be cancelled AT ANY TIME, it may be true in the literal sense, but after the deadline, when the pledge has become a payment, nobody can take their money back. It’s also not something I would want to encourage if I was a developer.

      • mercenary-games says:

        We updated our video, just for you Lambchops.

  27. Lambchops says:

    I’m sure you’ll find your feet with what do to do about Kickstarters. As it is I think things are going in the right direction. Reservations with projects are mentioned and you seem to be leaving well alone some of the potentially iffier projects, a certain space game from a developer that failed to deliver their last project springs to mind (if that sounds bitter it isn’t if anything I’m far more interested in the content of their Kickstarter pitch than their previous effort but I’ll buy it if released, no way i’m putting down money up front for a team that didn’t deliver their last project, whatever those reasons may be).

    I think most people are sensible enough to make up their own mind. Keep highlighting the projects that look interesting, whomever they may be from, that look like they have a chance of successful delivery (whether with prototypes like FTL or a proven track record like Double Fine).

  28. fish99 says:

    If all a project has to show is some concept art, I think you should steer clear of covering it, unless it has some respected people behind it.

    As anyone who’ve ever been to Gamedev.net knows there’s thousands of people out there who think they’ve got a great idea for a game and 99% of them never produce anything, usually because they have no concept of what’s involved, or they don’t have the ability or motivation. It’s kinda scary that these same people can produce a render or concept art, put up a kickstarter project and maybe get a lot of money now.

    I don’t think I’ll be kickstarting anything while it remains so unaccountable and open to abuse. Maybe I’ll back Grim Dawn, but they’ve got a track record and some actual gameplay to show. I would also back Stalker 2 if needed.

    I think RPS is right to question whether it should be covering a lot of kickstarters, there’s a risk you’ll get part of the blame if things go wrong. Same thing with Totalbiscuit and his new kicksmarter video series. It’s your credibility on the line.

  29. Grey_Ghost says:

    A weekly post about the projects that the RPS staff find intriguing seems perfectly fine to me. I’ve only backed one project so far, and you weren’t even my original source on it’s existence.

    I love reading RPS articles, and you do have some influence over some of my gaming habits. That being said, I don’t go around buying every game you exude excitement for, nor will I be compelled to back every Kickstarter game you mention. Though I’m sure to find interesting the ones you find interesting. 8P

  30. Jon Tetrino says:

    Personally, the two things that sell any crowd-funded project to me are the following: What is being shown, and the passion involved.

    It’s not that I MUST see a game is already in Alpha before I apply my (very limited if I’m honest) funds to it, though. If I see there is a writeup or well-made video explaining the concepts and ideas behind the project then I will throw a few bucks in assuming that the passion is there.

    How to gage passion isn’t easy.

    For me, the passion of the project creators is what ultimately makes or breaks it. If the writing of the project reads like a press release or the video displaying it has a long monotone drawl then I won’t give it much of a thought. The personal touch helps.

  31. Norramp says:

    I agree that RPS should post about the stuff that they’re interested in. That’s part of what makes RPS what it is.

    If you want to post about things that are popular, you could always throw in a few celebrity gossip articles every once in a while.

  32. montyfull says:

    I wouldn’t mind a weekly roundup of interesting kickstarter projects, very much like the bargain bucket. I look forward to them and do my game shopping all in one go! :)

    As for what I look for in a Kickstarter project… Established name, but not always. Well thought out explanations, development plan, and a small level of development already done. Screenshots, videos, interviews, etc. I’m looking for responsible people who are more likely to return on my investment. oh, and I only fund a game kickstarter if I get the game out of it! So, if that level is $15, $30 or $45… if I think its worth it and I get the game, I’ll go for it.

  33. lordcooper says:

    I would love it if RPS did a weekly feature on the 3/5/>9000 most interesting/promising kickstarters (by your individual standards) . It’d be awesome to read through and help provide some more content for Sundays.

  34. svendelmaus says:

    This made me realise that I’ve not given RPS any money, even though I value what they do. Fixed.

  35. Tams80 says:

    Well here’s my opinion for what it’s worth.

    1) I don’t think you’re implying readers should buy it.

    2) I think you should only cover projects that have something to show for it (concept art, ideally some gameplay videos, screenshots, music, etc.), unless it is project you really have a passion for. This should be whether said projects are by a celebrity or not (though celebrity projects are more likely to have something to show).

    3) Encourage your readers to apply the above suggestions before they send an email.

    4) Already available games and games that are definitely going to be released (not promises) should always take presidence. If it comes down to one KS/other service or another, post about the one that is most likely to come to fruition. Again, if you really have a passion for a project then that is understandable.

    5) Don’t post about the game being suggested for at least a week after the email surge.

    6) If the above are followed, then hopefully the best and most likely to come to fruition (as you don’t want readers to be ripped off/scammed) will be the successes.

    I know you already follow most of those suggestions to some degree, which is great.

  36. oneeyedziggy says:

    I only contribute either to projects that have a serious proof of concept running that shows the dev can follow through on their claims (it’s not so much that these projects already have funding and are less deserving, many of these are funded through the dev incurring massive debt, and they’re looking to us just to keep ahead of payments) or that have a reputation and history for making good games (this could mean a double fine situation, or it could mean that, while obscure, they have a back catalog of other games they’ve followed through to completion in their spare time and would like to go full time, but have rent to pay and possibly a family to feed.)
    As for your posting and where your time should go, as a well connected member of the gaming community, if you would message a friend to tell them about it, or mention it in the break room, it’s worth a blurb on the site, even if some of them are relegated to a rumors and hearsay breakout section or a group post like the Sunday papers. Wot I love about the gaming community as a whole is most of the press tend to treat the audience like friends. Several of the podcasts I listen to contribute to this feeling of just being “one of the guys.” You’re silly, fun, and often juvenile or “inappropriate”, and I love this. Especially when contrasted against news in general which is kept very sterile and remote even when it’s not politically charged. I don’t feel like you’re talking down to me, or talking “at” me. I feel like you’re just hanging out telling me wot you think, so keep it up!

  37. LIVE6744 says:

    I have never understood why this site is perfectly ok posting about the “BIG” names in the indie scene, and esp their kickstarters and they deny the true small time ‘indie’ studios for trying to start up there game or company using kickstarter. Case in point, Nekro.

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/343838885/nekro

    Its a great looking game for how early it is but has gotten absolutely no coverage, its rather surprising esp because the large names that have done a kickstarter havnt even shown a game at all or even any design plans.

    • Lemming says:

      I second Nekro. It’s got proof of concept RIGHT THERE and it’s only got 10 days left to get about $50k. It needs a PR boost.

    • Angel Dust says:

      Wow, that looks brilliant! $15 pledged!

      Edit: it is strange that none of the RPS chaps have deemed it worthy enough to cover. I mean, that rather vague tactical shooter one got two posts.

    • TheWhippetLord says:

      I believe that Nekro may be a culprit in the ‘email bombardment ‘ marketing that was critiscised in the OP.

  38. mercenary-games says:

    Wanna see something fishy about Tempus Chronicles?

    Go to their page, tally up all their regular backer counts (the ones less than 1000$).

    Total comes to 6370$. Now subtract that from their current pledge count, you get 50270$. The current majority of their pledges comes from really high rollers. Currently, they have a backer count of 245.

    Compare that to our project, we have a fairly even distribution of people. We don’t have mystery high rollers, at 285 backers. We do have some people who have yet to select a reward.

    It’s time for kickstarter projects to start getting real.

  39. hellboy says:

    I come to this site because I trust you guys exercise good judgement when posting about games here. Keep on exersicing that good judgement and I don’t see there will be any problems.

    I also promise to use mine before funding a Kickstarted project.

  40. GTRichey says:

    Post ones that find interesting disregarding the Kickstarter nature. Ask whether the game is interesting enough to post about (or even if there is enough information about the game) without it being a Kickstarter project. This seems to be the most sensible thing to do.

  41. Baresark says:

    Ha, the ego on these guys. I know the pen is mightier than the sword, but you aren’t ensuring a project gets paid for or not. For instance, no matter who was making Banner Saga, it didn’t look that good to me, though I know a lot of people backed it completely, which is fine. I did Double Fine because I love point and click adventure games, I did Shadowrun because I played through the SNES Shadowrun about 60 times and I loved it. I did FTL because I like games that are essentially random.

    Just talk about games you find interesting and leave the support up to us, we are big boys.

  42. princec says:

    No more Kickstarter posts in general please, unless you’re personally interested. Let them advertise their vapourware the same way the rest of us have to.

  43. Acosta says:

    I would never take RPS coverage as some “we’re essentially implying our readers should donate to it”, and I’m surprised you bring that out (you know your community better than me though).

    I really enjoy RPS on a daily basis, and I have trusted you since the PC Gamer days, but if you cover a KS project I won’t rush to support it just because it has appeared at RPS, and I am not going to come back as an internet angry man if some project you covered fails, that’s not your responsibility.

    Follow your guts, select the projects you are interested, and I trust you will prepare a solid interview so we can know more about that project and its chances to be something worthy. This is what I would like to see, nothing more, nothing less.

  44. muskieratboi says:

    As a few other have noted, have a weekly “Kicking it” column with updates on major gaming KSes, and any interesting new ones you guys like. I trust RPS to look into the people involved in the projects and vet them beforehand.

    • Homercleese says:

      I DO trust RPS to vet projects but why should they? We’re all supposed to be responsible, discerning, human-like bio-vats. Why can’t they just paste a link and leave it up to us to decide if it’s actually feasible?

  45. Homercleese says:

    Perhaps just amalgamate whatever collection of projects you feel to be interesting into a regular ‘links’ post with minimal discussion of the projects themselves. Less of an RPS endorsement, more of a ‘I saw this in my internet rummaging and it looks a bit nifty’. Because the fact is, whether you post about them or not, for however long this trend lasts you will inevitably be spending some of your time exploring them and why shouldn’t that be worthy of a mention?

  46. rustybroomhandle says:

    Likely has been said already, but RPS’ ability to influence the Kickstarter economy is no greater than its ability to influence purchases of already-released games.

    But since I also would like to see some coverage go to less known/ non-celeb Kickstarters, I think a weekly round up would be the way to go.

    What’s new
    What finished/got funded
    What finished/did not get funded
    Noteworthy projects (good and bad)
    Commentary on pitches
    Summary of ongoing updates

    Sounds like a lot, but I bet it’d end up being no bigger than the average Bargain Bucket or Sunday Papers – except with some editorialising required.

  47. Lemming says:

    Personally I’ve funded:

    Nekro
    Wasteland 2
    Grim Dawn
    The Solar System: Explore your Backyard (via indiegogo)

    Only Wasteland 2 didn’t have stuff up and running already, but Brian Fargo is a known name, he’s earned his stripes.

    I didn’t fund Double-Fine because KS was new to me then and I watched it unfold instead. I’ll happily buy their game when it comes out though. I’ll buy FTL as well, they were already funded when I found their Kickstarter. Shadowrun sounds cool and I wish them well, but not enough to fund it as I’m sure their die-hard fans will be enough.

    Almost everything else so far has been white-noise. I’ve looked at a few, and generally if it looks unremarkable or I can’t understand what the hell is going on, then I’ll pass.

  48. Solar says:

    Sorry but late to the party. Information is information, it might be wrong, it might be misleading but it’s what you do with it when you have it that counts. Unfortunately the power of words means that your sensibilities are easily swayed and led by the sources of information that you trust.

    When pledging to kickstarter/pledge site you are essentially backing or investing in an idea, trusting the words displayed in the project and hoping to support encourage and ‘kick’ the project lead into helping them give something back to you and/or the world, with an understanding it might not happen.

    When RPS report on a kickstarter or similar project it may seem they are giving information about an idea they back or at least believe has merit enough to be reported on as news.

    The RPS readership deal with the information like any other news source, however they may trust that such news is backing when it might be merit or something else entirely. Of course it is actually just information, but the point is RPS does have some sway with the readers that trust them.

    It costs nothing to read an article or kickstarter pledge. But a fool and their money are easily parted, especially when they trust something.

    Because of this I suggest that RPS makes their stance very clear about reporting a on pledge site. If only to maintain the trust of their readership.

    Example stances could include:

    1. Only reporting in a supportive way on a pledge that has at least reached its projected funding target (and so has less pressure on the reader to feel as though they should back it if the pledging deadline has still not been met)

    2. If genuinely supportive, then the journalists have seen a playable code of noteworthy merit.

    3. New projects/pledges should be presented in a neutral/factual way letting the readership comment either way. (Such as the Jane Jenson interview referring to her kickstarter studio. I note the questions that discuss the breakdown of funding for the project and why the pledge amount was set as it was. Also the facts of her project at the end and where to get associated goodies).

    4. Having a neutrality statement when commenting on projects that request money from the general public without any assured return. Positive statements for suggested projects may be close to promoting gambling/investment and legal proceedings could ensue.

    There is no news that shouldn’t appear on RPS, but the way it is presented is important. When reporting on a game in development, money has been put down by the producer/publisher/developer. There is still no guarantee that it will happen, the studio may fold or the money dry up before completion. However the general public is not involved in this financial expense. The public can preorder a game but if there is no release then there is generally nothing lost to the consumer (unless you put down a non-refundable deposit or the deposit holder goes bust, as almost happened with GAME).

    Therefore I think readers should also take some responsibility (edit: which I can see many do ;) and think of kickstarters as preorder deposit that you might never get back, or an investment in a pie factory you really like, or a big raise on a poker hand you are convinced will win. That gives RPS some more leeway in reporting such projects and less chance to lose your trust.

  49. 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.

  50. 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.

  51. mercenary-games says:

    The discussion needs to split the two categories :

    “advertising and support” for finished products.

    debate and criticism for Kickstarter projects.

  52. 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

  53. 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.

  54. 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.

  55. Belsameth says:

    This, basically…

  56. 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.

  57. 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.

  58. 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.

  59. 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.

  60. 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.

  61. Torn says:

    Well the Takedown guys were industry vets, so at least likely worth considering reporting on. However I personally think their whole campaign approach seems dodgy.

    They won’t even have a finished product after climbing down from a $2million ask (or however high) to their $200k target. It’ll be an alpha after which they’re going to try and find VC capital, or – here’s betting – another huge kickstarter round to finish the game.

  62. 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.

  63. 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.

  64. 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.

  65. 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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  66. Optimaximal says:

    Wow, that’s some subtle spam!

  67. muskieratboi says:

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

  68. 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!

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