What Does Kickstarter Mean in 2015?

Once a week most weeks, the RPS hivemind gathers to discuss An Issue. Sometimes it’s controversial news, sometimes it’s a particular game, sometimes it’s a perennial talking point. This week is one of the latter: what do we all think about Kickstarter now that its mega-money heyday, at least for games, seems to have passed? Is it a well we’ll keep going back to? What expectations and entitlements do we have from developers’ crowdfunding promises? Are people buying dreams, or investing in chances? And what about that there Star Citizen, eh?

Alec: Hello everyone. Today we’re going to talk about CROWDFUNDING, because it is the year 2012. But actually we are at the point where we can have a great deal of hindsight about Kickstarted games, rather than guessing about how it’s going to pan out or simply moaning about old men making too much money.

How’s everyone feeling about Kickstarter generally nowadays?

Adam: I have enjoyed quite a few games that went through the crowdfunding process and therefore it is a good thing for me. Don’t know whether they would have been made via alternative means – the sacrifice of shares to the living Stock Exchange that lives within Donald Trump’s hairpiece and that sort of thing – but they came to me via Kickstarter or Indiegogo, and they pleased me. Maybe if it hadn’t been for crowdfunding they would never have existed and maybe if they had still existed, they would have been compromised in some way – hell, maybe they would have been bigger and better. I don’t know.

But, yeah, there have been crowdfunding successes and I’m happy that those games exist.

Alec: Do you mean games you yourself have backed, or just ones which have arrived and you know that was their origin? I guess it’s a very different thing, because you’re not at all invested in their existence until they’re basically on your hard drive.

Adam: Good point. These games I’m thinking of are ones that I didn’t back – I’ve only backed three games and one of them didn’t make it. So, you see, the beauty of all this is, no risk for Adam, and plenty of rewards. I’m happy to let other people do the backing on the whole because I am both poor and completely turned off by physical rewards. Of the tat variety. Or the dinner with devs variety.

Alec: Has anyone felt let down by a game they backed? Or other things, I guess. I ordered some super-strong USB cable that was supposed to act like a phone-holder in the car, and after months in shipping it snapped first time I used it. Bastards.

John: I backed Dead Synchronicity, on the basis of its superb demo, and then didn’t really enjoy the final game. I feel okay with that.

Alice: I haven’t even got around to installing Wasteland 2 because it turns out I’m not as excited by the idea as I once was. That’s fine, though. I paid for an idea and the idea took form and happened and… I mean, we’re all broady okay with all this because none of us have been really burned by a game – ones that never happened at all, or turned out truly dire. We’re probably relatively conservative when it comes to paying for ideas. I’ll happily buy a small game on Itch just because I dig the idea or look of it or what the dev’s done before, and yeah, mostly I’m pretty happy with how it goes, even if a few turn out duffers. Happy to spend small amounts of money to support people with cool ideas in the hope they’ll turn out well. If not, oh well – I knew that might happen.

Alec: This is the key question, really: have we moved on from feeling there’s any obligation for theoretical promises of quality or excellency to be met and into, hey, I dig the cut of that guy’s jib, let’s chuck ‘em some cash?

John: I’d hope that most people would have had the sense to know no such obligations ever existed. Clearly loud and tedious people will continue to bark about how they “invested” or whatever bullshit when the game turns out not to have enough asplosions for them. But most sensible people knew it was about angel investment at best, and just putting some money in a bowl more realistically. Those who see it as pre-ordering are more persistent, but again, only the terminally thick wouldn’t make that decision without knowing pre-ordering something before it exists is not a guarantee of quality, nor indeed of future existence.

Pip: My feelings about Kickstarter and other crowdfunding are that it’s supposed to be about backing ideas you want to see in the world and supporting the people doing them. You have to be okay with it not happening or for it not to happen quite the way that was planned. It’s not a pre-order system where you get to have the developer bend to your will.

That said, the devs want the money and they want to be (or are) confident in their game – that it will happen and that it will happen the way they’re saying – because that confidence and appearance of competence is one way to attract backers. At that point you can see why it starts looking closer and closer to a pre-order system.

There’s also the fact that Kickstarter says in its terms and conditions things like:

“When a project is successfully funded, the creator must complete the project and fulfill each reward. Once a creator has done so, they’ve satisfied their obligation to their backers.”

It sets out the contractual nature of what’s happening when you back a successfully funded project – that there’s a real obligation on the part of the creator to actually deliver on this. But it is also keen to stress Kickstarter itself is not part of that contract. Further down you find this:

“The creator is solely responsible for fulfilling the promises made in their project. If they’re unable to satisfy the terms of this agreement, they may be subject to legal action by backers.”

But these are IDEAS! and HOPES! rather than exercises in reminding you of the risks and so you get presented with the best case scenario and the risks and the potential for things going wrong is kept out of the limelight. I see it because I like sitting down and reading through terms and conditions (I’m not kidding) but I can also see that it can be easy to miss or gloss over.

Alec: What about – inevitably – Star Citizen? That really seemed to be a case of people getting entirely starry-eyed about The Dream Game. Did they all think they were just investors?

Alice: It’s a big, exciting idea – the kind of game people have dreamed off for decades. Big dreams are attractive, and Cloud Imperium Games (and their drone studios) seem to be doing their best to make it real. A few delays and technical setbacks show even they know it’s a difficult dream to realise. It won’t be everything everyone dreamed of, but I think it’ll be an interesting thing either way. It’s certainly a first or two – all that crowdfunded cash, and all that ambition.

Adam: I played one of the first versions of the combat module and it was so bad, just appallingly constructed, that I decided not to go back until I’d heard good things. And however many months later, I hear about new things rather than old things getting put right. Now, it might be the case that the combat is great now but that’s not what I hear from the press releases and the rest of the noise – I just hear about new and bigger.

The process seems weird to me but that’s one of the other aspects of the crowdfunding scene – the transparency of development means that people who’ve never worked on a game and might have no idea what’s happening at the foundational levels – people like me – suddenly think they’re seeing the big picture and can work out where all the pieces should be, and when they should be fixed in place. I’m not sure how helpful that transparency is a lot of the time, for either the backers and passers by or the developers. It’s a small window into a complicated process at best.

John: Yes, I do wish this idea that crowdfunding means transparent development would go away. Updates to keep backers aware that the game IS developing are good. But this idea that you need to smear the insides of the sausage all over our faces really has had its time. Just bloody focus on making the game.

Alice: That’s part of what many people pay for, though – to feel like they’re part of it, not just putting in money. Developers talk about “our journey” and “our adventure” and how happy they are to bring people along with them. It’s part of the dream crowdfunding tends to sell.

John: I guess that’s a delusion I’d rather no longer be spread.

Adam: It can be done well, I think. But damned if I know exactly where I’d draw the line between ‘sharing’ and ‘smearing’ (that’s the sausage John was talking about getting shared and smeared there). I enjoy hearing people discuss inspirations and maybe showing off some neat concept art, but I don’t think the actual process of creation is all that compelling or legible to an outsider. I mean, the 22 Cans livestream cams probably give a better idea of what development looks like than a thousand backer updates. Just people, with messy desks, coding and animating and occasionally goofing around.

Alice: Especially as crowdfunding loses its novel shine, the projects looking for big amounts of money are looking to do more and be more than just “we’ll make this game.” It’s an uncomfortable position. I think the focus on the new with Star Citizen comes from a similar place; their crowdfunding has continued long after their Kickstarter, but to keep more people coming in or to push pledges up they need to keep making it more exciting. Polishing an old idea doesn’t have the same appeal as a new idea.

Adam: Definitely. To be clear, I wasn’t suggesting that Star Citizen hasn’t come along since my early look-in. That was as much a criticism of how I see the process, and what I expect from the process, as anything else. And I guess it all comes back to expectations – expectations of what the thing will be, expectations of how far money will go (and, boy, that’s a big one – how often people break down the price of development and don’t take wages into account) and expectations of how development works, looks and behaves.

Pip: That plays into something I’ve been thinking about crowdfunding and risk assessment. Basically people are not very good at assessing risk and tend to catastrophise some events while assuming others – perhaps more familiar stuff where they feel they are better able to assess the pros and cons – are far safer than they are. Maybe think about how uneasy people can be about getting on a plane versus general happiness to get into a car. Cars should be terrifying!

I think that people are comfy with the basic concepts being touted in campaigns and think they know game dev processes, and they’re also probably people who approach gaming as a positive experience – basically I suspect all of that means they don’t perceive the risk of failure as being particularly high and the devs have no incentive to say otherwise. It’s only when it falls apart that there are problems and you start wondering what Kickstarter meant when it said there was the potential for legal action.

Alec: I suspect I’m probably done with backing, with the possible exception of boardgames and a Gollop X-COM if it ever happens, and the reason for that is mostly Star Citizen’s rival, Elite: Dangerous. The alphas were wonderful, some of my most memorable space-game experiences ever, but the released game felt so hollow once the initial glory of being in space faded, like a paradigm of fantasy never being able to meet reality. To get invested feels inherently doomed, there’s no way any game can live up to the marketed promise and my own expectations, whereas an out of nowhere surprise (to me) like FTL or Hand of Fate is glorious. And I’ve got a million games to play already, so investing in something which is years off just seems silly. But will anyone else go back to the well?

Alice: Sure, I’ll back things again. The novelty of ’90s genre revivals has worn off, but if something small and interesting catches my eye and won’t be made otherwise, I’ll give it a few squid and see what happens. I’m probably done with backing big fancy high-budget games (gosh, crowdfunding budgets that seem high are really so low compared to ‘regular’ studio games), but I know there are enough group of folks who will still back the next Shadowrun or the next Wasteland 2 for it to get made without me. Getting no enjoyment from OUR JOURNEY, I can wait until it’s out to see how it actually is.

Adam: I’d go back for a few smaller developers that I like and that have a proven track record now. If someone makes a game and then says they’re going to build something similar and need the cash, I’m happy to pay for more of the same. Perhaps less so for something really out there, which is a shame for those out there folks who really need the Adam Bump. But Failbetter (Sunless Sea) would be one I’d go for, as I nearly did for the related A House of Many Doors. Inkle (80 Days) too.

Pip: I back things on whims, and only to the extent that I can afford to not ever see a return on that money. I assume I’ll continue to do so.

John: I’ll keep throwing money at little games I’d like to see exist rather than not exist, and also be incapable of not giving money to someone promising me a new Ultima: Underworld game or something like that.

Alice: In conclusion, stop by Itch.io more often to drop a few dollars on games which sound kinda interesting.

Adam: Yeah, do that. Do that whatever you’re current quandary is.

Alec: Isn’t it fascinating though that, when it comes to less conventionally commercial games, people would rather be sold a dream than reality? You’d get more backers for a weird or cute kickstarter than you would chucking a few dollars at something existent on Itch.io, right?

Adam: People want to believe in the space around a thing as well as, if not more than, the thing itself. I certainly do. When I was a kid, I remember playing all of the classic point and click adventures, and when I look back at them now, they’re so much smaller than I remember. Just a few locations. When I was so small and stupid (and lacking in an internet connection for instant walkthroughs) that I couldn’t complete them, I thought those locations were part of an entire world.

A promise of a game can be that whole world – the reality will be a few locations, some puzzles. A voice actor. And that goes for all games, in varying ways – Enemy Unknown’s cornfields were part of an entire rural landscape that was just around the next corner, Civ’s newspaper headlines about Romans inventing gunpowder were the tip of infinite alternate histories. A good game creates these illusions at its edges and a good Kickstarter pitch often does the same. Doesn’t mean it’ll be able to pull that off when the chips are down though.

Alec: How concerned should we be about outright failures to launch, like Clang and that Yogscast thing? They seem like examples of dreams falling apart entirely, possibly having taken advantage of people’s naivety (i.e. their belief that anything can be made, and that it only requires so much money) in the first place.

John: I think it has to be case-by-case. Sometimes it’s done in good faith, and it all goes horribly wrong, and that’s a gamble you take when you give money away for free to an idea. Other times it’s in not such good faith, and on those occasions I think people should be clear in their condemnation.

Alec: How can we know? There’s always an excuse…

John: By continuing with our habit of not being idiots.

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88 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Thirith says:

    Alice: That’s part of what many people pay for, though – to feel like they’re part of it, not just putting in money. Developers talk about “our journey” and “our adventure” and how happy they are to bring people along with them…
    John: I guess that’s a delusion I’d rather no longer be spread.

    Isn’t that an extremely individual thing, though? I would absolutely say that I feel more personally engaged in the Kickstarter projects I’ve supported, by and large. With something like Broken Age, I would say I got more out of the journey (which I felt I was successfully made a part of thanks to the documentary) than I did out of the game (though I enjoyed it reasonably well). Am I somehow wrong for feeling this?

    • Premium User Badge

      Thirith says:

      Other case in point: when the Guardian did their Telluride review of Charlie Kaufman’s Anomalisa, I was doubly pleased: 1) because I’m happy that Kaufman’s new film sounds great and 2) because, albeit in a very small way, I acted as a patron to the project. I don’t determine it, and my contribution is tiny, but it’s still there and feels real to me.

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        Aerothorn says:

        I feel the exact same way about Double Fine Adventure. Probably the best $15 I’ve ever spent and I’m not even in love with the final game.

        Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I think John is saying that the “delusion” is people’s belief that they are entitled to total transparency about development. He surely can’t be saying people desiring or enjoying that is delusional, because that doesn’t even make sense.

        • draglikepull says:

          I do think it depends to some degree if thorough transparency is part of the pitch. A huge part of the appeal of the Kickstarter for the game that became Broken Age, at least to me, was the promise of “We’re going to film the development of this game from the ground up and see how we do it.” That sounded interesting to me. And it was! The expectation of transparency was fair in that case.

          I’ve backed other games where I just get an e-mailed development update every month or two on the progress, and that’s fine too. I just want to know that they’re still diligently working away on the game, I don’t need to know the nitty gritty unless that’s part of the pitch.

    • Beanbee says:

      Remember, John gave a pundit level interview of Peter Molyneux recently which may well have been justified but was in a similar tone.

      To give an example of how I’ve been deluded, Introversion’s story of Prison Architect being made has felt like a journey. I felt like a part of it. It was not a kickstarter, but it is a crowdfunded game. A successful one I’d argue.

    • Frank says:

      Yeah, I agree. If the developers have carved out a plan for communicating with backers and if some backers are genuinely interested, engagement is possible.

      Personally, I got a lot out of watching the DFA videos (though I still haven’t finished) and hanging around the Banner Saga forums while the battle mechanics were in beta.

  2. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    The state of Washington won a lawsuit earlier this year (on behalf of the backers in the state) against the creators of a kickstarter project who didn’t fulfill their promised rewards: link to polygon.com

    • Hedgeclipper says:

      Yeah I really wish various games journalists would consult some laywers before: “But most sensible people knew it was about angel investment at best, and just putting some money in a bowl more realistically.” Because there’s a proper definition for Angel investment vs making donations vs offering goods and services and there’s a whole bunch of laws about raising money from the public.

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      Aerothorn says:

      I was really confused reading the story and finding out what new thing happened, until I figured out that Polygon was inexplicably reporting a thing that happened 1.5 months ago as if it had just happened.

  3. TechnicalBen says:

    Why was that Yogcast thing even ever a thing? I mean, it was not a thing, I find it hard to define what it even was. But what possessed them to think… “we are going to make a game, of some sort, with no direction or ideas, that’s like other games, we think?”

    At least, that was how they came across in their kickstarter and videos IMO. :/

    • Baines says:

      If you mean on the story front, that Yogcast thing was a few things. On the less controversial side, there was the claim from the jilted devs that the Yogcast crew may have simply pocketed a substantial chunk of the money. On the more controversial side, it was an ethics-in-games-journalism story, at a time when simply mentioning the idea of ethics caused massive derailing firestorms.

      On the actual game side, it was a pipe dream sold by people who could easily sell even pipe dreams to their audience.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      There was a real team with a real design. And a real prototype. At some point before the Kickstarter, the Yogscast guys and the people who were actually making the game had a meeting. And someone in the meeting convinced everyone that it was a good idea to use the Yogscast brand on the previously-unrelated game (there was a reason for this but I forget why). And then the Kickstarter happened.

      And then almost immediately things went horribly wrong. The main thing is that one of the developers decided that he was going to take the money he had been paid and run away and not do what he was paid to do. This led to the guy in charge of the devs being demoted and spending being frozen (the backers were NOT told this part until over a year later). Some of the team continued to do the work the were hired to do, and demo videos were made, but eventually the money ran out and the guys who took over confessed what had happened.

      Ultimately it was three things that killed the project:

      1) The first guy in charge was mostly competent except for being too trusting and assuming his friend would do the job if he was paid to do it.

      2) The guy who ran away is simply a thief who never cared about the game or his supposed friends or what might happen to the project if he took the money and ran. (He left to be at another studio in which case he could and should have given the money back even though he never signed anything that said he needed to. I don’t know if he was ever sued but he absolutely should have been.)

      3) The guy(s) who took over the project had zero experience making games and essentially had already written the project off as a failure before they took charge (literally weeks after work had started). Their main job in their minds was to mitigate the potential damage to the Yogscast reputation, and not even to make a game, even though some money was left and a cut-down version could have been made. The main thing I’m mad at them for is not coming clean about what happened much sooner, and that was 100% their decision.

      The Yogscast were about as involved with Yogventures as the Beatles were with the Yellow Submarine movie. In reality, it was a promotional gimmick and there wasn’t any direct involvement with making the thing. This might have been fine or at least adequate if it wasn’t for multiple mistakes (and one case of blatant thievery) and the people in charge refusing to admit those mistakes until long afterwards.

      Yogventures could have been an okay game. I wasn’t expecting a Minecraft-killer when I backed it (it was actually supposed to be a relatively traditional but cartoony RPG with destructible environments, not a building game, and they could have explained that better at the start), but it was a shame it imploded so dramatically and took some otherwise-competent peoples’ careers with it.

      • Frank says:

        Oh, that’s disappointing. I really, really dislike the Yogscast people and wanted it to be their fault.

        • Wings says:

          It should be noted that the Yogs folks took over hiring and payment. The guy who ran was the primary coder. They never hired a new primary coder and the project ran long and ran out of funds.

  4. pund says:

    I’m backing Divinity: Original Sin 2
    Because I’m hugely into computer RPGs and these people (larian studios) tend to deliver.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    To date I have backed 82 Kickstarters. Of those that have been released, the vast majority have been successes; I think there is only a single “finished kickstarter” that I am really unhappy with, and that isn’t a video game. The ones that didn’t make it cost me no money; and of those 82 I think, so far, only one has ended in abject failure, and that cost me all of $10.

    I think crowdfunding is the best thing to happen to creative endeavors in decades, warts and all, and a huge chunk of my 2014/2015 gaming time has been spent playing kickstarted games, most of whom wouldn’t exist otherwise.

    • Scurra says:

      This. I have backed more than a hundred things on Kickstarter (in almost all of their project categories) and have only regretted a couple – and no, Godus was not one of them.
      But I do feel that the system is starting to be gamed by folk who are potentially squeezing out projects that KS was founded to support in the first place. (I mean, why would inXile need to go to KS for anything now that they’ve proved their case?)

  6. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    Alec – would you consider writing a post about your burnout with Elite: Dangerous? I always wondered what happened to your love for it, and while I understand if you want to avoid writing overtly negative posts about a given game, I think there’s an interesting story there. Maybe as a Supporter Post?

    • drinniol says:

      The story is they cashed in on the anti-SC hype and released an unfinished game.

      • Dr Wookie says:

        I don’t think it’s as simple as that. Instead I think of two major factors that make some people feel this way.

        1) While Elite is an excellent flying-a-spaceship simulator, it is a re-imagining of a 30 year old game in a staggeringly vast setting. We can do everything that we could in the original, and more besides, with updated graphics and oh so fantastic audio. However, gameplay tastes change, and the modern audience engages with games in different ways. For example, people expect to be rewarded for their time investment according to how difficult or long the process was, and many people seem uninterested unless they can get maximum money per hour.

        2) Elite is very unfinished just like Star Citizen. The awe of being in space leads to dreaming of whatever else is possible out there. Frontier have a 10 year plan for content, and have been adding to the game since release, but the first release was very bare bones. While Star Citizen is building modules and hoping to tie everything together at the end, Elite started with the universe and is gradually filling it in. If money were no object, I am sure that Elite would still be in development for at least another year.

  7. JFS says:

    I helped bring FTL and Pillars of Eternity to life and I’m glad about that. There were a few games that I backed and never got around to playing, and three were I still wait and am unsure if they ever will get finished (Hyper Light Drifter, Radio the Universe and Net Gain). Also Liege, I just noticed, yeah, so four. Most everything else got finished, most of the games turned out at least okay, and I didn’t overpay on any of them. I did, however, lose interest in a few games during the time where they were developed.

    All in all, the Kickstarter game wave feels like a success for me, but yeah, I don’t see myself going back anytime soon. When I crunch the numbers, I invested $362 in Kickstarter videogames in 2012 and 2013. That’s quite a sum, and stands in contrast to the abovementioned feeling of success. I don’t know. What else would I have done with this money? Probably spent it on food and booze, so not much harm done. But even if I only count Pillars of Eternity and FTL as true highlights, plus a few minor niceties such as Tiny Barbarian DX, Banner Saga or Wasteland 2, it still averages out somewhat, especially when you consider many new games are like $70 in continental Europe nowadays. In hindsight, though, I should never have invested more than 20 bucks or so into any given game. The risk of the games never making it or not turning out well is just too high.

    • KillahMate says:

      Don’t know about that other stuff, but AFAIK Hyper Light Drifter is coming along just fine. I haven’t yet seen anything from that game that would be cause for concern.

  8. Jenks says:

    I’ve backed 40 projects on Kickstarter (including failed campaigns), 34 of which are games. I’ve been “burned” by one (Unwritten Passage). I didn’t even request a refund. I’m still a huge fan of crowdfunding.

    If you are the sort of person that is going to melt down and spend hours ranting on the internet about getting justice for $15 lost, I don’t think you are the sort of person that should be crowdfunding. Wait until the games are out.

    Also, I miss Kickstarter Katchup.

  9. kud13 says:

    I’ve backed something like 15-20 games, few of which failed.
    Most of these have been released. To date I played 2 of them: Pillarss of Eternity and Shadowrun Returns + Dragonfall DC I’ve enjoyed both. I simply don’t have the TIME to play the rest.
    I am open to backing more games, and I do occasionally stroll through the Games section to see what catches my fancy. The reason I haven’t done it in a while is, once again, general lack of TIME.

    I still feel that KS is a great way for people to voice with their wallet their preference/desire for certain things in gaming–such as no DRM, Linux support, a particular genre, etc. It’s crucial to understand that when you pledge, you are being a patron in the Medieval sense of the word–you encourage the gaame creators to create their vision, hoping to enjoy the results, but with no guarantees.

    As for “being part of the process”: I occasionally read dev updates with interest. I don’t participate in alphas or betas, since I trust the devs to do things right.

  10. Kefren says:

    I think what puts me off is that the people can change what they promise (e.g. Elite Dangerous and offline mode – I’d have been gutted if I’d backed them, played it a bit to see how it was getting on, then had them cancel offline mode and not refund me because I’d tried it out in the interim…) If it was the case that promises made have to happen or you automatically get your money back I’d be happy to back a lot more stuff.

    • Dr Wookie says:

      Here we are again :). If you actually look at the kickstarter page, you’ll see that offline mode was never promised, just something that they would look into. I know a substantial number of people were looking forward to offline in particular, but other people were outraged at the principle of the thing.

      Frontier have said that they would make the universe available for private servers if they ever stopped working on the game, but since it accounted for 84% of their revenue in the last financial report, I doubt that will be any time soon.

      • malkav11 says:

        “However it will be possible to have a single player game without connecting to the galaxy server. You won’t get the features of the evolving galaxy (although we will investigate minimising those differences) and you probably won’t be able to sync between server and non-server (again we’ll investigate).”

        That’s a quite explicit promise to have offline singleplayer taken from the Kickstarter page. Certainly it wasn’t the original pitch, but then a lot of people specifically wanted an offline singleplayer Elite and so they promised one. And didn’t deliver.

  11. Sardonic says:

    Wait, hold the phone, there was an aquanox kickstarter? And you guys didn’t tell us? arrrggh.

  12. Rikard Peterson says:

    So… any thoughts on Fig? (The new crowdfunding platform created by Brian Fargo, Aaron Isaksen, Alex Rigopulos, Tim Schafer and Feargus Urquhart.)

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      Ninja Dodo says:

      I wonder if having only one or two projects active is a downside… means people are not spending time browsing the site stumbling on projects by chance, only arriving from the outside through direct referrals. Looking at the pilot project it seems the investment side went well but the regular crowdfunding is only just going to make it.

      Also, I know this is dumb, but part of me feels weird backing an IGF-winning game, like they don’t really need it, even though I know that’s not how game budgets work and apparently the version they have is still missing a lot of art and such.

  13. Premium User Badge

    teije says:

    I’ve backed quite a few and only one (M.O.R.E.) looks like it will turn out badly. My focus originally was on the “classic” RPG revival, which I was happy with – although I find them all too long for me and haven’t finished a single one yet (where are the short RPGs!).

    Now I find I’m interested more in the smaller ones with an interesting, yet focused vision and concrete plans on how to implement it. That Which Sleeps and A House of Many Doors being a couple recent ones that which I was happy to back. And the less lofty stretch goals the better – I’d rather the dev focus on making the core game as solid as it can possibly be with the extra money.

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    Andy_Panthro says:

    Is John really unaware of Underworld: Ascendant? It’s basically a new Ultima Underworld, and by some of the original developers: link to underworldascendant.com

    I backed so many Kickstarter campaigns, and not all of them have been finished yet. Some may never be finished, or will finish in an unsatisfactory form, but I’ve had enough good experiences to balance things out. I’ll back stuff again, I’m sure. First I need to finish more of this first wave though.

    I was disappointed to learn that Confederate Express seems to be dead in the water though. They had such a wonderful trailer, and it seemed like they’d got quite a bit done. For whatever reasons, that money is now lost and I have to forget about it.

    • AngoraFish says:

      lol. Dude, Confederate Express was an enormous scam. It was “dead in the water” before the Kickstarter was even finished. Failure to mention Confederate Express in the discussion above was a fairly odd omission.

    • DelrueOfDetroit says:

      John has written articles on Ascendant, so I am going to go with no.

  15. namad says:

    legally in the kickstarter terms you’re legally obligated to give out your rewards. the makers of those failed games are literally liable to class action suit. the money wasn’t given away free, these weren’t donations.

    kickstarter was designed for people to make movies or maybe computer games but the reward tiers were supposed to be things like tshirts or mugs or autographs… things that could be delivered even if the product never finished. turning it into a pre-order system flew in the face of the terms and conditions of kickstarter. RPS has never picked up on this, it appears they never even referenced the terms of service on the site, past or present.

    • Josh W says:

      Yeah, if the reward tiers did not include a finished copy of the game described in the rest of the pitch, they would be fine.

      They would even be safe if they said “you’ll get this reward if we are able to finish the game”, or about people getting the latest version of the game, and mentioning in the risks section at the bottom that they might not be able to complete it.

      As it is, it is a pre-order of a non-existent game, because they pay the money for among other things, the listed rewards, which almost always include the game itself.

      This particular use of kickstarter is not all that the website can do, but it is how game developers use it. I don’t see why we can’t embrace that idea, and say “yes it is a pre-order, a really really ridiculously early one, and so it has the same risks as pre-ordering, but amplified”.

  16. Nootrac4571 says:

    Kickstarter’s great when it’s used by small studios who have no industry connections, and no other way of financing themselves.

    I’m dead against big name developers using Kickstarter to generate cash from their existing fanbases just so they don’t have to give any of their profits to a publisher though. Even worse, those who use their Kickstarter purely as a way of demonstrating to a publisher that their game is commercially viable. Screw those guys. You know what would be classy, Koji Ishigari? If once you signed your big game publishing deal which secures a proper big game budget, you refunded all your fans who donated. Demonstration successful! You don’t need those handouts from fans any more, you have a publisher now. That’s the whole point, right?

    [disclaimer: I love Castlevania, SotN especially, but didn’t back Bloodstained; had it been financed in any other way I’d be totally psyched about it.]

    That’s not what Kickstarter was designed to do: Every time some industry giant nets millions for their new game it poisons the well for the myriad bedroom studios which could have used a tiny fraction of that amount to realise their dream game. I’ve seen articles where people genuinely advise to never back a game with a budget less than $100,000, because that low a budget is ‘naive’. That’s thanks to Koji Igarishi, and Chris Roberts, and David Braben, and Tim Shafer, and Yu Suzuki, and Peter Molyneux, and all the other established developers who’ve elbowed their way in to a revenue source that was never designed for them. The beauty of Kickstarter is that it gives an avenue to people who wouldn’t otherwise have a chance of being able to make a game, not that it allows successful creators to allow themselves more financial freedom.

    [disclaimer 2: Uh, I did back Chaos Reborn, which I guess makes me a hypocrite. I don’t really have an answer for that, except that I am weak and I really wanted Chaos Reborn to happen.]

    • malkav11 says:

      It doesn’t really matter what Kickstarter was “designed” to do. It is the big, visible platform for its particular style of crowdfunding. And that is an approach to funding that is just as valuable for successfully known quantities as for tiny bedroom operations, if not more so. The notion that there isn’t room for both and the big guys are somehow “poisoning the well” for the little guys is utter nonsense. If anything, it’s a rising tide that lifts all boats. I know I for one would never have even heard of Kickstarter if it weren’t for Double Fine Adventure, and I certainly wouldn’t have backed the dozens of smaller Kickstarters I have if I weren’t also there for developers like Double Fine, Obsidian and inXile.

      It’s true that I’m probably not going to continue to back smaller projects at the rate I did back in 2012 – I simply find I’m not often getting around to the games before they’re significantly cheaper than my Kickstarter outlay, and almost nothing I’ve ever backed has been a close finish – they’re nearly always either blowouts or fail to fund by thousands of dollars – so I don’t feel like my $5-20 is really making any difference in their continued existence. But I’ll continue to support developers who’ve proven themselves to me, large or small, and every now and then there’s still an idea that’s too cool not to fund, like Elegy for a Dead World, or That Which Sleeps.

      Also, I’m still routinely sucked into KS for tabletop gaming projects, whether boardgames from small presses (and/or individuals) or indie roleplaying games, and you better believe those aren’t big business operations.

      • Nootrac4571 says:

        But it’s not a rising tide, is it? It’s a cresting wave in which the smaller boats are casually swallowed. The article above is a great example: The conversation we all seem to be having is no longer about the interesting smaller games which Kickstarter exists to facilitate, but about the successes and failures of a handful of high profile, massive-budget vanity projects. The fates of all the tiny bedroom developer games are at the mercy of how the big-name developers influence public opinion: When Chris Roberts earns a bajillion dollars, it raises the bar regarding the public perception of a reasonable budget, and also impacts the spending habits of the Kickstarter community at large: Can you really argue that nobody held off from backing something smaller because they spent their money on Star Citizen instead?
        Conversely, how about when someone like Peter Molyneux exploits the system with no intention of ever fulfilling his pledges? How many people didn’t back something they were interested in on Kickstarter in the weeks following such a high profile example of how it can be abused? How many outsider developers were denied their shot at making something wonderful because of firmly established developers using their fanbases to muscle their way in?

        • Kitsunin says:

          Is it actually burying them, though, or would nobody hear of them in the first place, and all it’s doing is increasing the level of attention given Kickstarter at large?

          If I recall correctly, those with small projects have said that the amount of funding they receive increases considerably when these big, high profile projects arise. With that in mind, its hard to think they’re really being “buried” any more than they were before.

          • malkav11 says:

            Exactly. Low profile stuff was never high profile. But increasing the number of eyes on the site means a better chance of attracting some attention anyway. The higher profile projects certainly aren’t responsible for people not understanding how Kickstarter or the industry at large work, although in the sense that they are expanding the audience they do expose the little guys to more of those sorts of people along with other, better informed backers. And while sure, there have been a couple of high profile failures of one sort or another, they’re substantially less common than small projects flaming out in some fashion or another. If anything, the “big guys” enhance the reputation of Kickstarter, because they are generally professionals who have an established track record in producing what they’ve pitched. Molyneux’s an especially bad example because, frankly, the man’s legendary for not delivering on his promises and while I feel for people who wasted their money on Godus, it wasn’t exactly a shock that it didn’t turn out.

            Also, in general, most people who are willing to invest in crowdfunding at all have enough disposable income that backing one project doesn’t wipe them out for the foreseeable future, because Kickstarter is not the way you stretch limited entertainment dollars, between the risk and the sometimes extremely lengthy waits for rewards. So while I can’t say for sure no one has ever poured all their disposable income into Star Citizen in lieu of spreading it more widely (people are sometimes crazy), it’s not likely to be common enough to produce a net negative effect on smaller projects, and it certainly hasn’t been how I operate or anyone else I’ve ever known to use Kickstarter.

      • InternetBatman says:

        Sure big kickstarters may crowd out some little games, but there were a couple posts from kickstarters around the time of DFA that convincingly argued that this is not the case. The regular pool of backers is much smaller than the fad driven backers that come to the site when there is a kickstarter that makes headlines. The increased traffic (frequently coming to spend money) seems to benefit the little ones more than eat away at them. Also, you can only back games once, (normally), but many people are serial update checkers. This can again bring needed eyeballs to other projects.

    • Nereus says:

      I think that’s rubbish. I believe they used analytics to determine that when a big name kickstarter launches it splashes over into other projects because it draws attention to the site. Will there be people that chose to back Star Citizen over Small Indie Team’s lovechild? Sure. But they are uncommon, because the two markets don’t have a lot of overlap. People that want small budget labours of love often aren’t that fond of the multimillion dollar medium to large team productions. Conversely, many of the people paying for the large AAA or at least A games are the kind who don’t see much value in a quirky idea that lasts for 2-5 hours at the cost of $5. I’d wager the market for Sunless Sea is CONSIDERABLY different to the market for Torment: Tides of Numenara for example. That said, there does exist overlap between the two and for every user that is having a tough decision between star citizen and indie game, there are people who back star citizen and actually notice indie game. Indie game doesn’t have the press attention of star citizen you see, so it was never going to see the same kind of visitation.

      And even if that changes, I will still back large projects. I have Yooka-Laylee, Bards Tale IV and Divinity Original Sin 2 on my backer list out of 5 total backed games. Why? Publishers are poisonous to creativity because creativity doesn’t sell to the masses. “We’ll fund you, but you have to have multiplayer in there and it has to function like X and Y” – 2K games to Yager, makers of Spec Ops. Obsidian created Fallout New Vegas, largely the better of the two 3D fallout games, and got paid a lump sum. They didn’t get bonuses for success, they missed out on the contractual bonus payment by 1 metacritic point. A point that may have even been gained if Bethesda has given them complete creative control. Obsidian very nearly went bankrupt recently, so did Larian Studios. The notion that they’re not struggling the same way that small indie teams of less than 10 people are is nonsense and while publishers may be willing to pay for their games the games are invariably worse off for it because they have to follow design blueprints according to what the publisher knows will sell.

      • malkav11 says:

        Proud backer of both Torment and Sunless Sea at $100+ levels here. …not that that’s the point of your post, really.

        I think it’s also worth noting that Larian, for one, has said that a lot of what they’ve been doing with Original Sin is stuff they wanted to do all along in their Divinity games (like have really reactive, tactical turn-based combat) but couldn’t talk publishers into letting them do. Mostly they’ve still managed to make good games despite those restraints (Beyond Divinity being a notable, and very publisher-influenced, exception), but it’s not hard to see how liberating crowdfunding has been for them.

      • Josh W says:

        I suppose that makes sense, but there’s an emotional element that is harder to quantify; your experience of larger kickstarted projects, or hearing about them, can shift your opinion of the site as a whole. There’s more hype and more disillusionment from the big projects.

        I’m leaning that towards a win at the moment; the “Pillars of Eternity”s tend to win out over the “Godus”s for me, and I’d say that big developers can do some good by switching to kickstarter, buut, I think there’s more on the big developers than just the goodwill and reputation of their project, there’s the general goodwill that the service relies on to survive, and that will probably need people to develop some norms of good behaviour.

    • Pockets says:

      The $100k thing is overly simplistic, but there’s a good point that smaller funding amounts that aren’t for a specific thing (“I need money to contract a composer”, etc.) need a lot more information about where either the rest of the money is coming from or how they are able to do without, or there’s a big risk of things moving very slowly because everyone has to get a day job half way through.

  17. kwyjibo says:

    Star Citizen, crowdfunding? Really? Star Citizen is a space-hat store.

    They’re crowdfunding in the same way League of Legends are crowdfunding.

    • Baines says:

      Star Citizen was a Kickstarter project before it became a space-hat store. Mind, it was part space-hat store even then (as higher tiers were still for in-game ships and such), and was “crowd-funding” from its own website at the same time it was running its Kickstarter campaign.

  18. PegasusOrgans says:

    Crowdfunding, like any other transaction, is entirely on the person giving the money to assess properly and ensure that what they are paying for is legit.

    Sure, there are times when the pitch it slick, and shows no sign of being a scam or a pipe dream (like Confederate Express) but the majority show the talent level and likelyhood of completion. Now, as to whether the game lives up to some fantasy idea in your head… Why are crowdfunded games the only ones put in the spotlight this way?? How often have triple a mainstream games with crazy good reviews failed to live up? Yet no ones says “Is mainstream gaming a rip off or just not worth it?”

    Anyone that has ever… EVER complained that their fav genre is being ignored has an obligation to help crowdfund games. Crowdfunding usually focuses on those very genres that have been ignored in favour of shooters and sports games. For the most part, they ARE games that wouldn’t get made otherwise and if everyone just waited for them to go on sale on Steam, guess what? THEY NEVER WOULD BECAUSE THEY WOULDN’T EXIST. Sure, it is a better attitude than “I’ll just steal it” but barely so. If you don’t ante up for the genre you want to see, then you are part of the reason no one makes those type of games anymore.

    I have backed 90 games successfully on Kickstarter (about 8 on IdieGoGo and 20 via paypal) and of those, only 10 have failed to be released/or seem to have failed (the rest ake regular updates or are out) and of those, most have given refunds. Is it worth it then, having lost money (10 bucks each) on two failed games? Hell yes!

    • Baines says:

      Anyone that has ever… EVER complained that their fav genre is being ignored has an obligation to help crowdfund games.

      I don’t know. That feels an awful lot like when publishers hold the fate of franchises hostage, where they won’t release a new game unless some other semi-related game sells well enough. Like Capcom with Darkstalkers, where the chance of getting a new Darkstalkers game depended on how well the 27000-th port of the old Darkstalkers game sold.

      It also leads to situations like Star Citizen. The $10 pledge reward was “Every pledger reinforces that Space Sims are not dead and nor are PC Gamers!” Star Citizen ultimately turned into an ever-growing behemoth that I’d honestly have felt a bit dirty to have helped fund at this point.

      Or Planetary Annihilation, which sold itself partly on the idea of getting another game like Total Annihilation. Or Godus, which sold itself on being a modern Populus by Molyneux.

      And it leads to sketchy situations where publishers show interest if a game gets enough Kickstarter support. The Shen Mue Kickstarter being something like that. And the situations where even that might be false, like the Red Ash Kickstarter that managed to magically get publisher backing despite proceeding at a pace that was obviously going to miss its goal (a failure that was in part due to increasing bad feelings over how Mighty No 9 had been handled.)

    • Frank says:

      Yeah, the thing about that is — my favorite games are not my favorites because of their genre. For example, Beyond Good & Evil is not interchangeable with other action-adventure zelda-lites. If Michel Ancel were crowdfunding a game, I’d be all over that, but my excitement does not extend to, say, an Oceanhorn sequel.

  19. malkav11 says:

    I am a huge fan. I’ve backed well over 200 projects at this point, both videogame and tabletop (and a few miscellaneous other things). At this point I’ve had maybe four or five out of that list straight up fail post-launch: Haunts: Danse Macabre ($5 investment), Unwritten Passage ($20? I think?), The Doom That Came to Atlantic City (the infamous boardgame KS that I got anyway because Cryptozoic is awesome), and an update of the apparently classic Avalon Hill card game of infantry combat, Up Front!

    Of those, the videogames straight up ran out of money and couldn’t afford to keep paying dev staff, and the boardgames had serious and potentially fraudulent shenanigans going on. The story with Doom has been quite talked about, but the deal with Up Front is that the people doing that hadn’t paid someone (an artist, I think) for a prior project, albeit under a theoretically different corporation or somesuch, and he wound up suing them and being awarded pretty much their entire cash on hand in damages. It seemed like Up Front was pretty close to being able to go into production (they had posted a bunch of art for the various faction cards, etc), but obviously that’s unlikely to happen now. There was one post that they were working on some alternative, but I can’t say I expect it.

    Other than that, everything has either delivered or seems to be well underway (and most of the latter are videogames, given the prolonged timeframe of game development much of the time). Of the things that have delivered, I’ve had one bust: Starlight Inception, which just wasn’t all that functional or fun, but then I backed that like, a few weeks after I discovered Kickstarter when I was still in the “must resurrect all genres!” phase (and discounted Elite and Star Citizen because of the online stuff). Other than that, everything I’ve actually gotten around to playing has been a minimum of decent (the original Shadowrun Returns, FTL, Zombicide, etc), ranging up to incredible (Hex TCG, Divinity: Original Sin, Stasis, BattleCON, Argent: The Consortium). And so many people going back to genres I love, like RPGs and turn-based tactics.

    Mind you, there’s been plenty of questionable to entirely rubbish projects out there, but I dunno, to me they don’t seem that hard to identify.

  20. Xzi says:

    I got Divinity: Original Sin 2 for $26. That’s all I need to know about how awesome Kickstarter is, even in 2015. I really hope it continues to be a large part of gaming projects.

  21. Nereus says:

    I love kickstarter. Anything that reduces the reliance on publishers for studios to make what they want to make is fantastic.

    I don’t want a heartfelt tale about cruelty at the hands of say, the allies in WWII (in stark contrast to what we hear about in history classes) to be tainted by becoming a chest high wall cover shooter with an emphasis on multiplayer and DLC because the publisher wants something it can sell to people who enjoy shallow experiences to kill time with.

    Plus, a discounted copy of the finished product makes it superior to a pre-order system when the studio is established and almost certain to produce a product, for better or worse. In cases of smaller teams, I’m less likely to back with $25+ basic tiers, but if they price low I will happily give them a shot.

  22. racccoon says:

    What Does Kickstarter Mean in 2015?

    An Absolute waste your money. fairly simple really.

    Once bitten twice shy…is the correct wording.

  23. Premium User Badge

    Ninja Dodo says:

    I’ve backed 35 or so projects across Kickstarter and Indiegogo. A couple didn’t get funded, but of the ones that did I’ve been happy with nearly all of them. There’s a few projects that I simply haven’t had time to play after they were released, though everything suggests they turned out great, and there’s one (Chivalry: Medieval Warfare) that I feel like I could’ve just bought on Steam as it was basically already finished when it kickstarted, and I haven’t even gotten around to play it much…

    And I maybe shouldn’t have backed Planetary Annihilation as it’s not really my genre, but I liked the style and was curious to see how an RTS is made.

    The only time I’ve asked for a refund was on Kingdom Deliverance because I was extremely disappointed with their pro-gamergate stance. It made me sad because I still like the look of the game.

    As to John’s talk of delusions, I’m definitely very much in the camp of the more behind the scenes material the better. My favourite Kickstarter is still Double Fine Adventure for that reason. It’s fun to see how other people make things. And while I am unsure of how it will turn out I am quite enjoying watching Star Citizen unfold as well.

    I’ve kind of stopped backing things now because I barely have time to play what I have, but sometimes if something really special comes along I still make an exception.

    Favourites so far: Double Fine Adventure, Indie Game The Movie, Idle Thumbs Video Game Podcast, Project Rain World

  24. Synac says:

    Just to point out, I believe the community surrounding SC asked for all the extra in depth details about the making of the game. CIG thought they were doing enough but it wasn’t enough for the backers, hence the smearing of sausages now.

  25. tomimt says:

    Most of the games I’ve backed have turned out to be at least mostly okay. Not perhaps ground breaking or classics, but enjoyable for what they are. Couple have turned out better than I expected, one big game that shall remain unnamed, ended up being pretty boring, while technically well made, so I never bothered to finish it, despite it has gotten rave reviews. And only one title I can say I truly loathed, but I’m not disappointed I backed it, as it was done by one of my favourite devs. I wouldn’t put more money on their next project though.

    At this moment there’s only one project that still hasn’t been finished while it was funded a bit after Broken Age was, which makes me feel that there’s a good change the game won’t make it, despite the devs try to show a cheery face. And only one project I’ve backed that is fully dead and I’ve waved that 13 bucks good bye.

    What I’ve noticed, while I’m myself a very cautious backer, some people seem to be sort of addicted to the whole KS thing. While I iften do browse what projects are there, I rarely end up backing them, but at the same time I’ve noticed a lot of familiar names on the mix of commenters of those projects. People who have backed hundereds of projects and seem to have endless supply of optimisim for the games.

  26. Premium User Badge

    Lars Westergren says:

    I’ve backed close to 200 projects, and I’m very happy with the results. A few honest failures, some mediocre products, but lots of great stuff. Without it I would probably have given up on games by now.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Friend speaks my mind. Kickstarter games have taken far more of time than the games from major publishers. A lot of times the low money will hurt the quality of the game, but just as often it results in increased focus (sometimes both at the same time). I have been highly impressed with most of the games I’ve backed.

    • KillahMate says:

      Absolutely. I think people *strongly underestimate* how much new blood and new ideas – and *hope* – Kickstarter brought into the industry. The world of gaming would be significantly poorer without it.

  27. Geebs says:

    My only Kickstarter regret is that I feel like I contributed to the Limit Theory dev burning himself out. That was a well-run kickstarter with a huge amount of transparency, which I believe made the whole thing harder for him.

    Otherwise, I’m kind of conflicted: in his attempts to appear authoritatively grumpy, John is talking a load of rather obnoxiously poorly-informed rubbish, but the people who feel justified in stalking devs because of a piddling amount of cash invested are massive jerks. I guess the TLDR is – I’m glad to have helped in the development of some games that might otherwise never have come out, but people suck.

  28. twaitsfan says:

    John sounds like a jolly fun chap to be around.

  29. InternetBatman says:

    One thing I’m surprised no one has mentioned yet is that the overall quality of kickstarter pitches fell significantly in the last two years. Basically, there were a lot of good devs with good ideas that just needed money to make them. Now most of those devs are making games, and its increasingly rare that I see a pitch that blows me off my feet.

    That said, support all the kickstarters you can if they’re worthwhile. Gaming as a whole needs an alternative funding method, and kickstarter has a huge fucking list of successes. More stories are told, and told in different ways because of kickstarter.

    • Pockets says:

      One possible cause of that idea that the pitch standard peaked a couple of years back is that there were a lot of people desperate to get out of the big studio system doing them, who are now working at indie studios they launched with the successful kickstarters. So now a larger proportion of kickstarter pitches seem to be from people coming in from other fields and so they aren’t used to making vertical slices and other such things.

      I’m not sure if that’s statistically true, but it’s a hunch.

  30. Lachlan1 says:

    “John: I’d hope that most people would have had the sense to know no such obligations ever existed. Clearly loud and tedious people will continue to bark about how they “invested” or whatever bullshit when the game turns out not to have enough asplosions for them. But most sensible people knew it was about angel investment at best, and just putting some money in a bowl more realistically. Those who see it as pre-ordering are more persistent, but again, only the terminally thick wouldn’t make that decision without knowing pre-ordering something before it exists is not a guarantee of quality, nor indeed of future existence.”

    Guess John might be “terminally thick”, to quote him, then:
    link to rockpapershotgun.com

  31. KastaRules says:

    I am done for good with the KickStarter/Pre-Order/Pre-Purchase nonsense.

  32. EhexT says:

    I see RPS is still spreading the ridiculous lie that Kickstarter projects have no obligation to provide a finished product, despite the fact that this has ALWAYS been in Kickstarters Terms of Use. They even rewrote them to make it even more explicit.

    • phlebas says:

      Did you read the article? The T’s and C’s are explicitly quoted:

      “When a project is successfully funded, the creator must complete the project and fulfill each reward. Once a creator has done so, they’ve satisfied their obligation to their backers.”

      BUT

      “The creator is solely responsible for fulfilling the promises made in their project. If they’re unable to satisfy the terms of this agreement, they may be subject to legal action by backers.”

  33. Premium User Badge

    cpt_freakout says:

    Good stuff as always, RPS! I think the question of what KS means in 2015 is basically that it has been normalized into the PC gaming landscape in a way that Itch, to use Alice’s example, hasn’t. What KS means in 2015 is that it helped shape an audience that is right at the intersection between ‘mainstream’ and ‘indie’; it’s not really in the indie camp anymore, but it’s also not fully visible or as recognizable as the name of a major publisher might be.

    I say this because I feel like a part of that audience, if only because I don’t browse Itch but have bought pretty much no major publisher games in quite a while. Kickstarter has been a part of that development in ‘taste’, if you want to call it something, a taste that prefers the more imaginative side of gaming but hasn’t quite embraced the experimental, I guess.

    Games continue to be successfully funded through it, so while the initial fever might have run its course, it’s not like KS is dead for videogames, on the contrary, I think it’s become a pretty established platform for those developers that might precisely match an audience like the one I feel I’m a part of: too leftfield for the publisher business but not quite radical.

  34. Cederic says:

    I’m not a fan of kickstarter or indiegogo. I may yet at some point support an artist via patreon, but what I am happy to do is buy the games after they’re made.

    I have many kickstarted games, but I bought them once they were complete. In that context, they’re just commercial software that I treat the same as any other – is it any good, is it worth my money, is it worth my time.

    I am a big fan of crowdfunding, but I put my money into ventures that give me a share in their success. The sell out of Oculus Rift would’ve been a perfect outcome for the people that crowdfunded it had their funding given them shares in the company. It didn’t.

    I’ll continue to put my funds into business investments, where I get to back great ideas, draw sizeable tax advantages from them (see EIS and SEIS in the UK) and have the chance of long term return on my investment.

    Games? Sure, if they offer the same term. Otherwise I’ll wait until they hit steam or humble or gog.

  35. 2Ben says:

    Come on, nobody here will admit of being a big fat Star Citizen whale? I can’t believe I’m alone. I’m in for… Well let’s say Grand Admiral isn’t very far away, and I love every step of the way. The delusion maybe, the adventure, the drama (LTI FTW!), the black/grey market, the updates, the community in general.
    It’s like sex with years long foreplay :)

    • KastaRules says:

      Nah, it’s like paying a hooker -big time- just for the foreplay and nothing else.

      • 2Ben says:

        I’ll take good, long foreplay over rushed sex any time :)

        • KastaRules says:

          If the never ending -virtual- foreplay with very little chance for afterward -virtual- sex makes you happy, I say suit yourself sir.

          There must be many like you since the formula seems to be successful.

          • 2Ben says:

            Indeed it is. Bah, I’ll have virtual sex with virtual hookers in my luxury virtual 890 Jump (luxury yacht, $600), well protected by my virtual Idris-P (frigate, $1200), while my virtual Orion brings me mining money (miner, $325) and my virtual Reclaimer shreds derelict ships (industrial scavenger, $350), etc etc. I won’t make the full list, I’d still be there tomorrow.
            Well, people spend more on bloody stamps or old coins than I did in virtual ships. Who cares of the bottle, as long as you get drunk?

    • Dr Wookie says:

      I only backed star citizen to basic alpha level, but I dropped over $2000 on Elite! I haven’t regretted it for a second, as I REALLY wanted a new elite, and was basically giving a thank you for times past. I have a great time with elite right now, being a fan of the old gameplay, but also welcome all the new stuff being packed in.

      • 2Ben says:

        Actually I was wondering if the all-seasons-pass was worth it or not, for E:D? It’s only available for a few hours left. Obviously you think it is worth it, but I hear a lot of different voices, and I don’t have time top make my own opinion… well of course that kinda means I shouldn’t take it anyway, but, well… ;)

        • Dr Wookie says:

          Sorry I didn’t see this until it was too late, but I would have said the same as I did to people asking about whether they should buy the alpha or beta pass before the game came out. If you have to ask, you’re probably not excited enough to justify it :).

          The lifetime pass is an odd one, because it went from 35 pounds to 120 pounds (or something). That’s a LOT of money for preorders, given that you don’t know what’s coming, or whether the pass will cover more than 1 or 2 seasons.

    • jrodman says:

      Sort of related, I wanted to be a Bard’s Tale 4 whale, and was looking at tiers between 500 and 900. Unfortunatel,y after the 10th or so design choice reveal that sounded like a game I wouldn’t actually enjoy playing I gave up, and ended up tossing 20 bucks into the pot for no reward, just to help fund the 1-3 remaster.

  36. Arithon says:

    I donated to three Kickstarters in 2012.
    Godus, Carmageddon and Elite: Dangerous.
    Godus was the one that I’ve had the least out of.
    Carmageddon was everything I wanted it to be and Nobby & the gang have done a bang-up job!
    Elite has give me over a year’s play for my £45, so it was by far the best investment, which is why I jumped at the lifetime pass.
    I didn’t hear about Star Citizen until after the Kickstarter had ended, so I’m waiting for the game to release before spending any money.
    Would I invest in another game Kickstarter in future? Yes. My thoughts are that you treat any investment as an automatic loss and just take what you get on it’s own merits, rather than buy into any hype-train chugging round the internet.

  37. jrodman says:

    I’ve found myself less and less interested in kickstarters over time. I now expect to find out some real clear information about what sort of a game they intend to create, and the makers are typically unable to do so, or describe a game concept that fails to attract my attention. The most common failures to interest are promising the moon and my lack of belief that it could ever work, or attempting to trade on nostalgia of a specific type of games, but reading the plans makes it clear they don’t actually intend to make a game like that at all.

  38. Audiocide says:

    John: “loud and tedious people… continue to bark… whatever bullshit… only the terminally thick…”

    Is this dude, like, permanently this bitter?