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  1. #1
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    Weird Worlds, Kickstarter, Bundles

    This annoyed me a bit today. I backed the Weird Worlds 3 Kickstarter for $10 for the game. A few weeks ago, it came out on early access, and nicely all backers were given an early access key. I haven't tried the game yet, I'm waiting until it comes out.

    Today, it's in a bundle with 9 other games for $4. It's not even out yet! I mean I know early adopters will always pay more, but I just find this sort of thing quite frustrating, from the perspective of someone who doesn't want to play games until they're actually done. And yes, I know the solution to that is not to get early access stuff or back things on Kickstarter, but this isn't one of those games that over-funded by loads, and it didn't hit any stretch goals, so it actually felt worthwhile...

  2. #2
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    That's the main problem with Kickstarted games, the whole transaction is a sort of grey area without firm enough rules on what the expectations of the backers should be. When you back a Kickstarter you should really be telling yourself that your acting as a patron, part charitable support and part self-interest to see something you want get made. Expecting to get a good deal out of it, especially if you don't want to play alpha releases (I'm with you on that) is going to lead to disappointment.

    I also think this has become further clouded by the mis-use of Kickstarter as a marketing/sales tool. The games that started the Kickstarter bandwagon rolling literally would not have got made if people hadn't backed them but now I'm not so sure, especially when it's a sequel to a reasonably well regarded game.

    Having said all that I still think it's a dick move on the part of the developers. They may not be obliged to give backers and special treatment but you'd think they'd want to show a bit of gratitude to the people who are potentially their biggest fans.

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    Indeed, I don't see the point in buying a game on Kickstarter if I'll be able to get it for the same price or cheaper on or before release. Unless my contribution is needed to get it over the line, then my money doesn't really "support" the game in a noticeable way so it seems sensible to view it as a purchase, and a bad deal for me.

    The first "early access" type game I bought was Mount & Blade, in which the price started low and gradually increased closer to release. This seemed like a rather good way of doing things.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  4. #4
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jesus_Phish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deano2099 View Post
    This annoyed me a bit today. I backed the Weird Worlds 3 Kickstarter for $10 for the game. A few weeks ago, it came out on early access, and nicely all backers were given an early access key. I haven't tried the game yet, I'm waiting until it comes out.

    Today, it's in a bundle with 9 other games for $4. It's not even out yet! I mean I know early adopters will always pay more, but I just find this sort of thing quite frustrating, from the perspective of someone who doesn't want to play games until they're actually done. And yes, I know the solution to that is not to get early access stuff or back things on Kickstarter, but this isn't one of those games that over-funded by loads, and it didn't hit any stretch goals, so it actually felt worthwhile...
    Nekro just went into Early Access, the game was Kickstarted maybe close to two years ago. This is the first time backers are getting to play it. That irks me a bit too.

    After seeing how badly most of this kickstarter, early access stuff has gone my faith and belief and hope in it is gone. I liked the idea. It sounded great. But it's barely worked in the majority of cases. Wasteland 2 and Broken Age still aren't complete and they've been bringing in extra money from Early Access.

    I stopped looking at kickstarter games a while ago. I don't see a reason at all now for them. At first it was a fun experiment. The experiment is over, the results are bad.
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    The usefulness of Kickstarter for devs has definitely waned simply to saturation, which is why I think it's being used more as a marketing/suplemental funds route. It's been a great vehicle for getting small games from niche genres like TBS funded though.

    Wasteland is simply in development and any impatience is simply due to not fully appreciating how long game development takes. Broken Age is it's own special sort of fuck-up.

    I've backed several games, including Wasteland and Broken Age and I'm pretty happy. While none of the games released so far have been The Best Game Ever they have enjoyable enough for me not to regret backing them, though I haven't played Broken Age yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jesus_Phish View Post
    Wasteland 2 and Broken Age still aren't complete and they've been bringing in extra money from Early Access.
    Thing about both those is that they were a lot cheaper for backers than they were for early access, and even sales haven't made that price less than the entry level backer tier. Wasteland 2 because the early access price is artificially high, and Broken Age because the buy-in was artificially low.

    I think maybe my problem isn't with Kickstarter, but with sales on early access games. I wish Steam would just adopt an "Early Access games are not eligible to participate in sales" approach. And not give out keys to developers to give to bundle buyers until the game actually launches either. It would at least given an incentive for developers to get out of early access, because at the moment, there doesn't seem to be anything to stop you staying in Early Access indefinitely (then using that as an excuse for a broken/unfinished game). Some simple restrictions like that shouldn't be a big deal if you're using Early Access in the way it was designed.

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    An unreleased game being bundled for a knock-down price seems pretty ridiculous. If you plan on making the majority of your sales before a game is officially released, why not just declare it an ongoing project and label the first version '1.0'?

    That sort of stuff annoys me a lot more than any of Kickstarter's failures, where at least crowd funding serves a purpose, whether or not the game ends up being released.

    edit: this

    Quote Originally Posted by deano2099 View Post
    at the moment, there doesn't seem to be anything to stop you staying in Early Access indefinitely (then using that as an excuse for a broken/unfinished game)
    Last edited by Rizlar; 08-05-2014 at 01:25 PM.

  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jesus_Phish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by baboonanza View Post
    The usefulness of Kickstarter for devs has definitely waned simply to saturation, which is why I think it's being used more as a marketing/suplemental funds route. It's been a great vehicle for getting small games from niche genres like TBS funded though.

    Wasteland is simply in development and any impatience is simply due to not fully appreciating how long game development takes. Broken Age is it's own special sort of fuck-up.

    I've backed several games, including Wasteland and Broken Age and I'm pretty happy. While none of the games released so far have been The Best Game Ever they have enjoyable enough for me not to regret backing them, though I haven't played Broken Age yet.
    I don't expect games I back to be the best game ever, it's more just how the process has gone along. I've backed several games myself and of all of them I think only 2/3 have been fully released.

    Wasteland 2 was set for release on October 2013. That is the date that the professionals behind the game who have made several other games said it would be out on. Now the game is sitting in Early Access and being sold so that they can continue to either fund it or start making money off it. My point is not that I'm being impatient, it's that I've lost my goodwill and faith towards the idea of kickstarting video games, when the bigger guys like Brian Fargo and Tim Schafer can't get it right and can't get it right by a long shot.

    As I said, I liked the idea. I liked giving the developer 100% of the sale price towards the game. But after seeing so many delays, after seeing Early Access, after seeing that backers really get no benefit I'm done kickstarting games. I'll just wait for them to get released now.
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  9. #9
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    Hi,

    I just launched a kickstarter yesterday, Keith the Magnificent. Its a small indie game and the lowest pledge is the price of the game when it is released (4). What's the point in asking your backers to pay above RRP, if you back you should get extra than what you would get when the game is released as a bonus for backing the game, therefore on my Kickstarter everything above the basic pledge you get the game + extra rewards.

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    On the kickstarter to early access train, I would say Divinity: Original Sin has done it well. Its been late with some of the dates, but they have been upfront on them. And more importantly the game is very close to what they said it was going to be but they are a decent size company with a track record of releasing game, buggy but playable. Kickstarter is a gamble and you are not buying the game, but helping making the idea into a game. Its not a preorder, I know some use it like that, but its ending up like that. I think early access on steam, is very similar to paypal on the site after the kickstarter for alpha access but it should be the same price as the tiers, like Planetary Annihilation, they were fair to the backers first and they should be praised for it, as much as other are vilified.


    I don't mind a sale on early access, I have picked up some fun early access games on sale, such as Blade Symphony, that I would not of got otherwise, early access games are a punt and some need a sale or an incentive to jump in. It can be bad for people that got in earlier, but they got in earlier, and they paid a price they were willing to pay.

    As someone that preordered Botanicula, it was a kick in the teeth when it launched in a bundle, mainly because they would have known about the bundle when they launched the preorder as would of Weird Worlds, its not that long on the early access, it would have been before or just after launching on early access that he threw it into a bundle, and I don't think thats fair.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jesus_Phish View Post
    As I said, I liked the idea. I liked giving the developer 100% of the sale price towards the game. But after seeing so many delays, after seeing Early Access, after seeing that backers really get no benefit I'm done kickstarting games. I'll just wait for them to get released now.
    It's not like it is dead or going away or anything.

    It was obvious from the very start it would bubble and then either burst or deflate. Seems like it at the deflate stage, after which it will continue on a more reasonable level.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiril View Post
    As someone that preordered Botanicula, it was a kick in the teeth when it launched in a bundle, mainly because they would have known about the bundle when they launched the preorder as would of Weird Worlds, its not that long on the early access, it would have been before or just after launching on early access that he threw it into a bundle, and I don't think thats fair.
    Fair? You pre-ordered the game and you expected to get a cheaper option? That's not how pre-order works. If you pre-order you are either a dedicated supportive fan of the studio or someone with more cash than reason. Or both.
    Last edited by mouton; 08-05-2014 at 01:49 PM.

  12. #12
    Lesser Hivemind Node RobF's Avatar
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    The question I'd ask is would you be more annoyed if Digital Eel couldn't afford to carry on and finish the game because they had no money to live on and so packed up? Because from what I gather, they're not in a bundle for the sake of being in a bundle but they're in a bundle to keep some money flowing in.

    Launching in early access -now- as opposed to a few months back (like a few days before Project Zomboid arrived in there) puts you at a weird disadvantage. But... they also clearly expected to be having the game in there and on the market a lot earlier than they have and their plans for cash were built around that. As everything with games, this can have a habit of time slipping away fairly easy. Maybe it's something as simple as a bug in a library that you need to wait to get fixed or just one part of the game turns out to be way harder and more awkward than you thought (happens from indie to AAA) or something else but it happens easily.

    If they'd have launched on EA when they wanted to, they'd have been guaranteed some front page placement by appearing in the new releases and a bit of fanfare. As it is, there's none of that now. That RPS didn't cover the launch until a while later... it sorta fell out and kinda worse, it fell out onto a broken Steam. So no automatic front paging for early access now so no "bang, we're here" and Steam falling over daily -and- caught between old Steam and upcoming new Steam. That's the sort of stuff you can't plan against because who knew any of that would happen?

    So what to do, right? They've kept the KS funds to one side to pay for the art and stuff like they promised so they're doing their part. Do they to back to KS? Run a Steam Sale? Keep everything as is and hope they don't run out of food? Or just fuck it, stick it in a smaller bundle that'll net them a good few grand over the course of a few weeks, pick up a few people who wouldn't have bought the game prior at any price and hopefully get a few players from that too? The bundle makes the most sense if you want to spend your time making the game not taking a month or two off to run a crowd funding campaign and don't want to be rooting around for scraps in the cupboard.
    Last edited by RobF; 08-05-2014 at 01:55 PM.
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  13. #13
    Lesser Hivemind Node RobF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiril View Post
    As someone that preordered Botanicula, it was a kick in the teeth when it launched in a bundle, mainly because they would have known about the bundle when they launched the preorder as would of Weird Worlds, its not that long on the early access, it would have been before or just after launching on early access that he threw it into a bundle, and I don't think thats fair.
    just to clear up, the lead time on bundles can be days now. You can have agreed, everything signed and your Steam keys uploaded in a day really if you need to. It's really not like a year or two ago where people would idle by. And most offers won't come until they see your game on Steam anyway because all they think they're selling is Steam keys not games.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jesus_Phish View Post
    Wasteland 2 was set for release on October 2013. That is the date that the professionals behind the game who have made several other games said it would be out on. Now the game is sitting in Early Access and being sold so that they can continue to either fund it or start making money off it. My point is not that I'm being impatient, it's that I've lost my goodwill and faith towards the idea of kickstarting video games, when the bigger guys like Brian Fargo and Tim Schafer can't get it right and can't get it right by a long shot.
    Thing is, you have to set your Kickstarter delivery date when you set up the project. This is before you know how much money you are going to make. Stretch goals are always going to increase development time, you can't just hire more and more people and get the thing out on the same schedule. Wasteland 2 was a $1 million 18-month project. That when it became a $3 million project, it also became a 30-month one isn't that surprising.

    I backed it for $15 and I'm fine with that one as it looks like it'll be $25-30 on launch. If there's an Early Access sale where it drops below that I'll be miffed. Also, with this and Broken Age, I at least have faith they will at some point be 'finished' as they're both narrative based. I can see Weird Worlds ending up in Towns-hell, where they keep adding bits and pieces but never launch the damn thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by amund View Post
    I just launched a kickstarter yesterday, Keith the Magnificent. Its a small indie game and the lowest pledge is the price of the game when it is released (4). What's the point in asking your backers to pay above RRP, if you back you should get extra than what you would get when the game is released as a bonus for backing the game, therefore on my Kickstarter everything above the basic pledge you get the game + extra rewards.
    Counter-point: if the base level is just what it costs when released, and I get nothing extra, what's the point in backing? (assuming you eventually reach the goal and guarantee the game is actually happening of course).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiril View Post
    I think early access on steam, is very similar to paypal on the site after the kickstarter for alpha access but it should be the same price as the tiers, like Planetary Annihilation, they were fair to the backers first and they should be praised for it, as much as other are vilified.
    But wasn't it on sale over Christmas?

    Quote Originally Posted by mouton View Post
    Fair? You pre-ordered the game and you expected to get a cheaper option? That's not how pre-order works. If you pre-order you are either a dedicated supportive fan of the studio or someone with more cash than reason. Or both.
    The thing about dedicated supportive fans of the studio - you only get them as a studio if you look after them. Which includes not making them feel like they've been ripped off.

    Quote Originally Posted by RobF View Post
    The question I'd ask is would you be more annoyed if Digital Eel couldn't afford to carry on and finish the game because they had no money to live on and so packed up? Because from what I gather, they're not in a bundle for the sake of being in a bundle but they're in a bundle to keep some money flowing in.
    Okay you got me, that all seems quite reasonable, must have missed all that, let me just check the last backer update...

    It has been quite a month! As I'm sure you have noticed, we have now shipped an "early access", work in progress version of the game not just to you guys but to the world at large! The response so far has been great, and the feedback we continue to receive from all of you is awesome - it has helped us track down numerous bugs and improve many aspects of the game that might not have received as much attention otherwise. There have already been four updates to the game since the first release to our Kickstarter backers, within just a couple of weeks! We look forward to continued involvement from this community as we develop the game further. Thank you so much!
    Doesn't read like a company having problems does it? What you've said might be entirely true, but it's not what the company have communicated to their backers.

  16. #16
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deano2099 View Post
    The thing about dedicated supportive fans of the studio - you only get them as a studio if you look after them. Which includes not making them feel like they've been ripped off.
    And you can only go so far with that. The customer is not always right.

    I have seen a growing sentiment that people seem to view KS (and Early Access) as things they are not

    Kickstarter, from the perspective of the customer, is a pre-order. Nothing more, nothing less. Just like you can pre-order a game and be given a turd (Aliens: Colonial Marines comes to mind) you can kickstart a game and be given a barely functional alpha. Just like with a pre-order, you are most likely going to pay more than most gamers as there will be sales within a few weeks of release, if not sooner. I'll admit that I was caught up in the kickstarter craziness at the start, but my current approach is: Do they seem likely to deliver what they promise, and if so, is the price reasonable? If so, I back. If not, I probably don't.

    Early Access is just buying a game. You buy it if it looks like something you want in its current form, you skip it otherwise. UT3 (and, to a lesser extent, 2k3/2k4 and Half-Life 2) is a great example. The core game was "so-so", but people bought it because of what it could be through modding. They bought it hoping it would be something more. And it never really was because modding effectively died out around that time.

    Weird Worlds 3 had a kickstarter (that I apparently didn't notice :p), and then it hit early access. Very shortly after that, it was in a bundle. That is not at all different from MANY other titles. Is it a smart move? Probably not, but time will tell.

    Seriously, this sentiment of "the price should not go below what the backers paid" is pretty much just playing into the hands of that Castle Doctrine guy who refuses to ever have a sale. And that game is dead as hell just a few months after release.
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    Lesser Hivemind Node RobF's Avatar
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    It depends on what you'd call problems. If the problem is you can still carry on and finish the game but you might run out of food doing it but fuck it, you've been doing this for years so you're not going to let people down then that's maybe not the sort of thing you'd mention. Why mention that? If it's just that a few grand could help out right now, that's still a problem but not really one worth mentioning. Maybe your car just went off the road and you've got enough money to live on but not enough money to repair it, right?

    Honestly, I don't know the what, how or why that they need to get a few grand in he bank as soon as possible beyond that they're in a bundle because they need some cash coming in but I know from experience how many different ways these things can go wrong and how many different ways might not effect your companies standing but effect your actual real life and how you have to live instead.

    DE have been in the game and on the fringes long enough that I trust them to finish this even if it cripples them and even if it meant they couldn't make another game again after it. I'd just sooner if there were a way to do this without that happening, they chose that instead. Because I dunno, KS backers still get what they were promised, everyone who bought the game still gets what they're promised but the people making it get to be less miserable for a bit. That seems fair to me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by deano2099 View Post
    The thing about dedicated supportive fans of the studio - you only get them as a studio if you look after them. Which includes not making them feel like they've been ripped off.
    Why would anyone feel ripped off after pre-ordering and seeing a price drop? Pre-orders are not a "sale". By agreeing to a pre-order, you agree to the highest (or next-to-higest) price of the game possible. Of course it will later drop, is anyone expecting anything else?

    The only way to feel "ripped off" after seeing a lower price after a pre-order is to grossly misunderstand what pre-orders are.

    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post
    Kickstarter, from the perspective of the customer, is a pre-order. Nothing more, nothing less.
    It really isn't . Kickstarter is throwing money at an idea that just might realize if you are lucky and/or if the money-targets are reasonably competent - if anyone expects anything else, they are deluded. Pre-orders are made for a product that is going to come out anyway, in the forseable future.

    Kickstarters make some sense as they can sometimes create something out of nothing. Pre-orders are essentially pointless, unlesss someone doesn't care, has a lot of spare cash or loves the developer very much.
    Last edited by mouton; 08-05-2014 at 02:36 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post
    And you can only go so far with that. The customer is not always right.
    Totally, but Botanicula clearly was a case where they were. Pre-selling a game, then making it Pay What You Want on launch day is really not okay.
    Kickstarter, from the perspective of the customer, is a pre-order.
    I'd say it depends. If the game is already funded, then that's entirely true. But if you're backing something in order to get it funded, I'd say that's different.

    Seriously, this sentiment of "the price should not go below what the backers paid" is pretty much just playing into the hands of that Castle Doctrine guy who refuses to ever have a sale. And that game is dead as hell just a few months after release.
    It's less that, it's more that you should have a degree of respect for the people that backed the project. It doesn't have to be through price, maybe just have a bit of backer-exclusive content, or put the effort into at least keeping them informed why you're having to have a sale. I also think there's a big difference between saying "games shouldn't be on sale before they're released" and "games should never have a sale".

    It will be interesting to see how Steam handles the first big Early Access failure, because they are selling a product, with advertised features that are in development. There's some sort of promise there, what happens when a developer goes bankrupt? As retailer, it's Steam's responsibility. I also imagine the contracts for Steam early access are a lot more stringent than Kickstarter. Short of bankruptcy, I have a feeling Steam wouldn't even let you fail to deliver the final product. I wonder if there's some sort of timescale to it also...

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    I was really surprised to see this in a bundle at this point - putting games into bundles 'early' is usually something you do to get through Greenlight - but as this is already on Steam (Early Access) and I can find no trace of it on Greenlight (odd in itself) that doesn't apply here?

    People do need to realise that Kickstarter is not just a pre-order/privilege system - you are FUNDING THE GAME - you may NEVER SEE A GAME and there's no guarantee you'll get an earlier/cheaper first-shot at that game.

    I do agree that some developers are burning their future funding bridges tho - Kickstarter offered an unique opportunity to get some money for your game before it was done - Early Access does the same - but those who abuse it will spoil it not only for themselves but for other developers in the future.

    That said tho - my golden rule of gaming applies here

    "Play what you're given - not what you think you're going to get"

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