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24-11-2012, 02:57 PM #1
Rab Florence talking out of his arse re: Industry vets killing Kickstarter
Choice quotes from his tumblr rant, emphasis mine:
They will kill it.
Be in no doubt. These established industry veterans, who could achieve their goals through traditional paths, will kill Kickstarter with their greed.
Do you believe for even one second that Molyneux couldn’t find that financial backing elsewhere? I don’t.
these capitalist animals, Molyneux and Braben to name but two (...) have both used the same marketing trick too. Braben goes back to the space games we always wanted him to return to. Molyneux returns to the god games. They’re both saying “HEY GUYS, WE’RE GIVING YOU WHAT YOU WANTED! NOW LET’S DO THIS THING TOGETHER!” It’s a trick. Or maybe Molyneux would call it “an experiment”. What happened to good old fashioned investment, guys? You know, where we gave you some money and shared in the risk and maybe actually fucking GAINED from it somewhere down the line? What happened to THAT experiment?
HEY YOU LOVE ME PAY FOR ME TO RECORD MY ALBUM!
HEY YOU LOVED ME YEARS AGO PAY FOR ME TO RE-DO MY OLD IDEAS!
HEY I’M KINDA SORTA FAMOUS PAY FOR ME TO DO SOME SHIT MAYBE I DUNNO WHATEVER!
What publisher would fund a CryEngine 3 space sim? A genre that's been dead for at least a decade? Chris Roberts already secured a CE3 license, which is fucking expensive, and has a stunning prototype. Is that a marketing trick? Is that worse than the I-have-no-idea-what-I'm-doing 8-bit kickstarters that look worse than actual 8-bit games?
Who would fund Wasteland 2? That one was shopped around for ages. InXile bought the license from Konami in 2003 (Konami licensed it for use with Yu-Gi-Oh). It's convenient to ignore Brian Fargo's words on this subject. Wasteland 2 had no fucking chance of being made unless it got the Fallout 3 treatment.
Same goes for Project Eternity. Publishers approached Obsidian to use Kickstarter on their behalf. From Urquhart's mouth: “I said to them ‘So, you want us to do a Kickstarter for, using our name, we then get the Kickstarter money to make the game, you then publish the game, but we then don’t get to keep the brand we make and we only get a portion of the profits.’ They said, ‘Yes’.” Not to mention that Obsidian is in a horrible financial situation.
The last god game we got was From Dust, which was more of a puzzle game than a traditional god game. That one was planned since 1999 and entered active development in 2006. It's a proof of concept for Ubisoft Montpellier's new engine. Also worth noting that I Am Alive, another rather risky Ubisoft project, was stuck in development hell since 2003. Ubi does take some risks with games like these - but then it nukes Heroes 6 from the orbit instead of making it the hit it could have and should have been. Read this shit.
The Hall/Brathwaite kickstarter was a shitty cynical project banking on nostalgia and it failed spectacularly.
And on the subject of "but these guys are rich, surely they can fund the games themselves" - that's bullshit. Look at Curt Schilling - he's fucking broke now. 22 Cans does fund a number of its projects with whatever funds Molyneux and the others have. To invest their personal fortunes would be irresponsible. Using it to cover certain costs - sure. But outside investment is needed. That's business 101.
Don't you think these big projects make Kickstarter more visible? Don't you think people attracted by them will fund other, Rab Florence approved projects?
By the way, since when is patronage bad? I also enjoy the closer interaction with the studios and devs.
Last edited by SirKicksalot; 24-11-2012 at 03:05 PM.
24-11-2012, 03:15 PM #2
I hate the idea that Kickstarter is somehow exclusively for "indie" (no name) devs to get some backing. Let's not forget the very thing that started this whole thing off was the Double Fine adventure and it's not like Tim Schafer is a nobody.
I don't know where Rab Florence was going with this piece other than perhaps drumming up more drama. I for one am very happy to give people money for a game that won't otherwise get made. Will it be good or bad, I won't know until I've played it, but I'm happy to be part of the experiment. I'm also getting a bucket load of games in the near future for which I've paid on average about $15 for. That's two drinks, or a drink and a small dinner. I can live without a drink and a small dinner for the chance to see Brian Fargo go back to his roots.
24-11-2012, 03:30 PM #3
In a way, I can't help but agree. Obviously opinions are going to differ on this, and I am really happy to see these games being made. Obsidian has had publisher problems in the past (It is known), as well as Double Fine, but Peter Molyneux? I think that Kickstarter is being used as a risk-free publisher, and that kind of (ab)use will ultimately kill it.
24-11-2012, 03:32 PM #4
24-11-2012, 03:58 PM #5
There's one thing I don't...
Okay, let's assume he COULD manage to find external funding.
1)That's what he found when Lionhead partenered with Microsoft. Yeah, that ended up very nicely for him in the long run, I could very well understand if he wants to steer clear of that as much as possible.
2)When you accept external funding, whether it's part of the contract or not, you are very very likely to be influenced to a certain degree by the investor to change the game, make it more marketable, just make changes, obvious or subtle, to try and assure the game will sell well.
If you go with crowdfunding, you can still do whatever you want, and what input you get from the crowdfunders you can be quite sure that it's not meant to make the game a big seller, it's not an attempt at "recovering the invested money", but rather personal wishes, ideas they truly think would be cool, etc, etc, plus he can simply say "no" to any he doesn't like or feels wouldn't fit his vision for the game without risking any lifelines.
So I honestly don't see what the issue is here.
24-11-2012, 04:24 PM #6
You know Schilling's idea of broke is probably a little different to yours, right? From xMultipleMillions down to a lot less xMultipleMillions. I don't know where you live but round here that's still considered fairly rich.
I'm not 100% in agreement with Rab but it is worth questioning the idea that's developed post Double Fine that funding games is a binary choice between publishers and crowd funding. We should really kind of kill that stone dead because that's sort of dangerous rich-get-richer thinking. We shouldn't blindly follow that we should pay for people to run a studio to make a game, this is 2012 and maybe that game could be made in a leaner fashion, why should we be asked to entirely remove all financial risk from people we've already made rich once and so on?
And y'know, if after 30 years in the business the best you've got is a million dollar greatest hits after decades of nothing of note, we should question their ability to deliver the dream they're selling, we should question these people because they're asking for large distributed sums of money to indulge themselves with.
Taking large amounts of money, even a dollar at a time from lots of people, should raise important questions. I wouldn't be in quite the hurry to rubbish Rabs points because this is a future you're shaping and if you want that future to meet the ideal, keep on questioning and never make excuses for someone.
24-11-2012, 04:26 PM #7
Also since when is asking people to invest their own money irresponsible? How did we get here?
24-11-2012, 04:27 PM #8
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Actually I do kind of think he has a point.
"happy to give people money for a game that won't otherwise get made" is the first reaction but it's really hard to distinguish between a game which "wouldn't otherwise get made" and the makers getting all the upside of outside investment - ie. cash - but none of the downsides - ie. sharing profits with investors and being liable to investors if you screw up.
My inner cynic suggests to me that larger kickstarters are really just exploiting emotions for cheap no risk cash rather than having to cut a commercial backer into their profits.
24-11-2012, 04:33 PM #9
From the Blog's "About" page...
This Fucking Amusement Arcade is a video game blog by veteran games writer and photographer Rab Florence.
Rab lives in Glasgow, Scotland.
He has been playing videogames for 30 years.
(Somebody Please Shut Down) This Fucking Amusement Arcade is a blackly comic web series about video games and video gamers and age and love and sex and death and food and ghosts.
It launches in December.
This blog is the fictional personal blog featured in the show.
24-11-2012, 04:38 PM #10
We're talking about an online service funding projects years in advance. Some granny isn't going to come along and say "my grandson might like that in 3 years time, click-donate." The success of gaming Kickstarter projects is determined by gamers with tastes reflected more closely by the Steam charts than a high street retailer. And yes, a lot of Steam users buy fucking EVERYTHING IN THE WHOLE WORLD (seriously guys, slow down), but asking for a donation years in advance requires commitment, trust, and a prior attachment to a person or series.
Where am I going with this? Well, it seems to me that taking advantage of the Kickstarter community would be really hard. Should we really assume they're sheeple like we do everyone else?
Last edited by Drake Sigar; 24-11-2012 at 04:41 PM.
24-11-2012, 04:48 PM #11
It's not really hard. You ask for money, you say a name that triggers the nostalgia-o-tron and people throw money at the screen to make their dream come true.
That's really how easy it is. The only question from the askee for large scale nostalgia projects right now is "is there enough people whose moneyslinging synapses will be fired to raise the money being asked for".
It's not implying people are sheeple or anything like that, it's a perfectly natural human reaction. It's a thing we do. We do act on impulse, we do act because we enjoyed something many years ago.
24-11-2012, 04:52 PM #12
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I agree that they're misusing it but they're not alone in doing that and it really is up to Kickstarter to set the rules on who can and can't use it.
I don't agree that it will 'kill' it - it will die (as a massively popular way to fund games - if not entirely), over time, like anything else, due to familiarity and a few projects going belly-up.
and legal action perhaps too. Kickstarter have been dragged into their first legal action - a 3D printer was funded on the service and the makers are being sued over Patents. Because Kickstarter was involved in their funding (and profited from it) they're involved in the suit...
Braben has shown contempt for people with his Kickstarter tho - I'm rather hoping it will fail and people will learn - but that seems unlikely.
24-11-2012, 05:02 PM #13
So the blog is fake? lol
24-11-2012, 05:03 PM #14
24-11-2012, 05:06 PM #15
I don't think it'll kill it but it's already doing a fairly good job of warping perceptions of what constitutes successful. There is, provably, a larger money pool brought into Kickstarter and that's being distributed around a lot. Which is nice, obviously! But we humans have a weird way with things and now 5k is considered a petty amount when for a lot of people, it's life changing*.
I can't find the link to Chris' blog right now but Project Zomboid kicked off with 3k in alpha funded pledges and that made the games creation, the development of the game viable. A Kickstarter for 5k now, like with Spud's Quest or something, struggles because the view of successful, the view of -able- to be successful warps. (Obviously there's also an interest thing here and I'm not just discounting that off hand, it's a major part and also why using real-world-examples sometimes falls over). And it's the kind of thing that warps without anyone really noticing because everything all seems so normal and reasonable. Because the idea that development has to be money rich becomes a norm.
Which is another reason to pause and ask questions repeatedly rather than just swimming along with the tide. We're not, now, killing Kickstarter but maybe we might massively reduce the benefits for smaller teams with smaller funding goals in the longer term. We might not! But better to question just in case because then we'd be resigning ourselves to high profile only and that seems counter productive.
Here's Cliff on stuff btw. http://positech.co.uk/cliffsblog/201...ng-inequality/
Anyway, just in case there's any doubt here, Rab definitely means what he's saying here. He's not pissing around. Yes, he's being provocative with language and stuff and yes, the blog is a mixture of serious and hyper-real but he's definitely sincere with this.
*It's part the reason I made a point of mentioning where I spent my sales money this week on Twitter, I don't want the smaller devs to be cut out of everything here - creating the late 1990's but with crowd funding replacing publisher money isn't something I'd like to see. I imagine that golden era wanking aside, it's likely something most people don't really want to see either.
Last edited by RobF; 24-11-2012 at 05:17 PM.
24-11-2012, 05:15 PM #16
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The amusing bit about Kickstarter is that it only really works for (creative - like games) projects which are already well underway and just need a final push.
Anyone attempting to 'Kickstart' a game - when all they have is an idea and some pictures - will fail horribly, horribly. They have to deliver what they promised before they realised it wasn't possible - they have to do it because they took people's money. They probably even asked for input (fatal) and listened to uninformed demands based on nostaligia and fairydust.
IF they fail - where next!?
It should be called "a push over the finish line" really - perhaps "Vogeltron" :)...
24-11-2012, 05:18 PM #17
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Whether the opinion is fake or not, it seems quite a few people share it.
It doesn't really explain what people like this think specifically is going to kill the Kickstarter gravy train. Too many projects? Failed projects? Something else? I don't really see how industry veterans are killing Kickstarter. They are the ones most likely to actually know what the hell they are doing, and end up with something to deliver at the end.
It's not greedy to try a Kickstarter campaign, it's smart business. You're getting investment without having to give up any equity or control, and all you have to do for it is some basic communication along the line, which is already a good idea because it generates publicity for your product.
Does anyone seriously believe the current publisher model with development studios working essentially hand-to-mouth at the whim of the publisher produces better games than Kickstarter could?
24-11-2012, 05:23 PM #18
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The main problem I have with it is all of the known devs like Obsidian and Molyneux seem to be using it exclusively to recreate the same crap they were doing ten years ago. At this rate they could tagline the site "the mid-life crisis support group for game developers".
24-11-2012, 05:30 PM #19
24-11-2012, 05:36 PM #20- If the sound of Samuel Barber's "Adagio For Strings" makes you think of Kharak burning instead of the Vietnamese jungle, most of your youth happened during the 90s. -