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  1. #1
    Network Hub Duckee's Avatar
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    A Worried Mind: Kickstarter and its Pitfalls

    Hello,

    This is a shameless promo of my own article that I wrote as a guest for the website theGamerverse.com.

    I am posting it here not only because I want you to read it, but I think that there are certain issues with Kickstarter that maybe have not been covered adequately. I hope it is interesting.

    http://thegamerverse.com/a-worried-m...-its-pitfalls/

    Oh and be gentle. It is my first gaming related article.
    Last edited by Duckee; 04-04-2012 at 02:14 AM.

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Regarding the cut - I'd imagine they'd factor that into the request.

    As for accountability - most people are actually aware of this issue, but there's a mentality that indie games can't do anything wrong and any failure or subversion is happily ignored. Look at Takedown - RPS' latest report on it managed to gloss over the paint-over concept art which was done on copyrighted images without permission, just noting it towards the end of the article more as an afterthought. People also came out trying to justify their paint-over concept art. Hell the dev tried to do that at first too, questioning whether or not it was actually illegal. For me at least that sets off warning bells, particularly when they claim to be "industry professionals".

    There are lots of Kickstarter projects which are thin on premise and content and are unlikely to attain the funding required. They won't get reported. The big name projects like Double Fine's new title or the new Wasteland game get reported because they have big names behind them and are highly unlikely to fail. They're a fairly "low risk investment". For most other titles without a big name people generally expect more.

    What worries me is that lots of people will toss cash at projects just because they say "We're going to make a tactical shooter except it won't suck" without showing any evidence that they can achieve that. I understand that people want to support the concept but it seems silly to me to throw money at it when there's no evidence that they'll achieve it. But it's their cash, and if they lose out, they made a bad choice. The same could be said of all of us who bought Minecraft during alpha and weren't happy with the finished state. The difference is that at least you got something with Minecraft, with Kickstarter you might get absolutely nothing.


    EDIT: And yeah I'm aware that this is less "investment" and more "patronage" but I wanted to use a more common term to illustrate my point in whether someone would contribute or not. For example I don't donate because I don't like the risk of ending up with something I didn't want or ending up with nothing at all.
    Last edited by soldant; 03-04-2012 at 02:03 PM. Reason: Clarification.

  3. #3
    I initially shared your concerns with the recent wave of projects from unknown people with little more than a desire to make a game and hoping nostalgia will net them a large chunk of cash, no strings attached. However "internet street smarts" seem surprisingly prevalent among gamers who have left a host of me-too projects unfunded.

    Certainly the patron model has it's dangers for creative freedom, but it's not as if publishers don't exert their influence on game development. Whereas publishers can threaten to withhold further funding, the kickstarter patrons have no influence once the project starts beyond what the devloper wishes to give them.

    Finally in regards to your distaste over the fees, I assume you haven't had the dubious pleasure of establishing funding for a company, there are fees everywhere. Publishers take a considerable proportion of any revenues, bank loans charge interest, even selling shares involves your financial brokers taking a cut. The 5% fee from kickstarter + 3-5% from amazon is actually very reasonable when compared with the other options.

  4. #4
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    Now, imagine that people who have donated small amounts of money wants feature A, whereas someone who has donated $10.000 wants feature B and there has to be a choice between the two.
    It's crowd funding, not crowd development. While a few developers like Brian Fargo have explicitly promised to listen to the community, that's hardly necessary. It's not part of the deal.

  5. #5
    Network Hub Duckee's Avatar
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    Regarding the fees. I more or less want to point out that not all of the money goes towards development. As far as I have seen it is not highlighted on any of the project homepages, but hidden within the Kickstarter FAQs.

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Rii's Avatar
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    I'm not sure how something can be hidden away in a FAQ.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rii View Post
    I'm not sure how something can be hidden away in a FAQ.
    FAQ:

    Really, is this a FAQ?
    Indeed.
    It is.

    Is it of any use to me
    Sincerely, I doubt it

    Any secret hidden in this FAQ?

    Good gracious, no!
    Of course not!
    Oh, what a thing to suggest.
    Nothing hidden here at all.


    (This is entirely non-serious)
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  8. #8
    Network Hub Duckee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rii View Post
    I'm not sure how something can be hidden away in a FAQ.
    I see what you mean. I retract my stupid comment. I just thought it would be worthwhile to highlight.

  9. #9
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    Hell the dev tried to do that at first too, questioning whether or not it was actually illegal. For me at least that sets off warning bells, particularly when they claim to be "industry professionals".


  10. #10
    Network Hub Duckee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by woser View Post
    Hell the dev tried to do that at first too, questioning whether or not it was actually illegal. For me at least that sets off warning bells, particularly when they claim to be "industry professionals".

    Tried to what at first?

    EDIT:
    NVM. Fooled by a bloody spambot yet again! They will be the bane of this forum.
    Last edited by Duckee; 03-04-2012 at 04:28 PM. Reason: spambot reply

  11. #11
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    He's a spambot.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Smashbox's Avatar
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    I no longer trust that any of you are human, FYI.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smashbox View Post
    I no longer trust that any of you are human, FYI.
    I automatically assume that anyone with a link in their sig is a bot. Spammer.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  14. #14
    Network Hub buemba's Avatar
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    The accountability issue is the only one I feel could be problematic, though even that has more to do with a misunderstanding of what Kickstarter is more than anything else. Yes, a project you helped fund could deliver a bad product (As this one apparently did) or, worse still, could end up not delivering a product at all, but when you back it you're not pre-ordering anything or becoming an investor, you're donating money to help someone try to accomplish a goal. It's why not all backer tiers have rewards (Usually the lowest one) and why Kickstarter is not for you if you're not prepared for that possibility (Since most if not all successful products get commercial releases eventually you can just wait to get it then).

    Since backers aren't investors the second point in the article isn't an issue at all. And I don't see how anyone could have a problem with the fees Kickstarter and Amazon charge, that would be like saying credit card companies, eBay and Steam shouldn't get a cut when people use their services.
    Last edited by buemba; 03-04-2012 at 06:39 PM.

  15. #15
    Lesser Hivemind Node Keep's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smashbox View Post
    I no longer trust that any of you are human, FYI.
    Of course you would say that...you spambot!


    On topic: People are going to get burned on Kickstarter sooner or later. Maybe with the best intentions from the devs, but at some point a funded project is going to die on the table.

    And that will change things biggo.

    Buhhhhttt Kickstarter is still a wonderful thing. It's opening up whole new realms of hitherto impossible fantasies.

    And it's completely changing the game, not for fans, not for developers, but above all for publishers. They're not necessary anymore. So how are they going to justify themselves when pitched against the likes of Kickstarter?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keep View Post
    So how are they going to justify themselves when pitched against the likes of Kickstarter?
    Retail distribution of PC games will be dead in a few years, so scratch that off the list. First they shrank the boxes, then they switched to DVD cases, then the digital stores got really good.

    There's marketing, which isn't trivial to do on your own. Publishers have media connections and clout. They let less entrepreneurial developers focus on development rather than every possible aspect of running a business and selling a product.

    And then there are AAA budgets. It'd be extremely difficult to make the next Mass Effect with just crowd funding. Maybe not impossible, though.

  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pkdawson View Post
    And then there are AAA budgets. It'd be extremely difficult to make the next Mass Effect with just crowd funding. Maybe not impossible, though.
    Only if you have vastly lowered expectations. Which people won't have for a major studio. Already people pick out things where the devs didn't go far enough, like in Skyrim where people expected a lot of characters to be entirely unique with massive backstories and so on. The more content people expect, the larger the budget required is likely to be, particularly today when voice acting and facial animation is prevalent.

    I can sit there and read a block of text just as well as the next guy, but only if it's well written. I can sit through Planescape: Torment for example, but 80% of the "dialogue" in Morrowind I skim through, because it's not particularly interesting, it reads like a ridiculous monologue, and a tiny part of it is directly relevant to what I want to do.

  18. #18
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    I wasn't suggesting that you could squeeze AAA production values out of a $3m budget, but rather that you could possibly find a nontraditional, distributed way to raise $30m.

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