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Thread: Kickstart My Heart - Editorial

  1. #1
    RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff InstaTrent's Avatar
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    Kickstart My Heart - Editorial

    In the world of crowd-funding, what exactly is owed to backers when a campaign is successful? An initial pitch may create expectations, but is it also a promise?

    EDITORIAL
    "To tell you the truth, I like drinking tea and eating fresh vegetables, but that doesn't fit with my super-cool attitude. I guess I have to accept this about myself."

  2. #2
    BEARSONA Administrator Paws's Avatar
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    Kickstarting a project is not an investment, a pre-order, a share, a donation, or any other synonym. It is throwing money at the void; there is a very big risk you will get absolutely nothing in return. If it's not money you can't comfortably part with and get nothing in return, don't use Kickstarter.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Paws View Post
    Kickstarting a project is not an investment, a pre-order, a share, a donation, or any other synonym. It is throwing money at the void; there is a very big risk you will get absolutely nothing in return. If it's not money you can't comfortably part with and get nothing in return, don't use Kickstarter.
    All true. That said I think any developer that is funded via Kickstarter fully deserves to get hit with a class action lawsuit if they fail to at least deliver the game / any rewards promised. Not necessarily if the game is released and just mediocre, mind you, but definitely in the case of a project seemingly being abandoned.

    To date I've backed about 25 Kickstarter games that met their funding goal (mostly RPGs and a few adventure or strategy games). So far only three have been released (SRR, Banner Saga, and Battle World: Kronos). It's all about managing expectations; I'm hoping for some masterpieces, but prepared for a few disappointments. I don't regret backing anything yet but I usually backed at the min. level to get a digital copy of the game or in a few cases a physical copy and digital copy. Besides I have little interest in swag or paying extra for beta access. It really boggles my mind how some people can drop hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a single Kickstarter game... Unless those people are all extremely wealthy and it's a drop in the bucket to them, that seems like an insanely large leap of faith to take.
    Last edited by daveyd; 02-04-2014 at 11:43 AM.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Paws View Post
    Kickstarting a project is not an investment, a pre-order, a share, a donation, or any other synonym. It is throwing money at the void; there is a very big risk you will get absolutely nothing in return. If it's not money you can't comfortably part with and get nothing in return, don't use Kickstarter.
    I completely agree with most of this as far as being an outside interest goes, who is dismayed by people using it as a glorified pre-order service rather than looking at it as what it really is- which is mostly like a donation (which I agree though, should often be treated as throwing it in the void, or burning it up).

    I look at this somewhat similarly to how I look at my taxes. The moment I have any of MY money involved, I have a vested interest in how that money is being used whether I expect anything in return or not. Just as I feel justified in being angry about how the government wastes the money they take out of my paychecks, I feel that that the backers are fully justified in taking issue with projects they backed when the people they gave the money to make significant changes in time-frame, scope, or what the project will be. While the backers are not the same as stockholders as they will not make any money back on the investment, they did give their money for a specific proposal, and it really isn't right for the developer to make significant changes to that proposal.

    If I were to donate to a charity to save some specific endangered species, and they instead use that money to try to clone Dodo birds or Mammoths from existing DNA samples, while that might technically be similar to what I donated to, its not what I gave my money for and I would be right to not only question how that charity used my money, and it would really make me question whether I ever wanted to do any business with them again. There needs to be some amount of accountability when you are using Other People's Money.

    On the flip side, I'm a software engineer, and while I don't work in the games industry, I have a pretty good understanding about the lifecycle of software projects go. Things don't always work out the way you initially plan them. Changes need to be made along the way, sometimes small, sometimes significant. Usually that happens behind closed doors with private investors or whatnot, and the public just isn't invited to be a part of the process. This is where KS has blown open the process to the public, and because most people don't understand the software lifecycle, they don't expect that the final product will likely be significantly different from what they saw on the kickstarter page. Unfortunately, even long time game devs like the guys at Doublefine really screwed the pooch when it came to being as accurate as they could as early as they could. I could defend them by saying that pretty much all projects go over-time and over-budget, and their massively over-funded project probably really threw the initial plans with not a whole lot of time to really figure out how to handle it. But on the other hand, these are experienced guys who really should have known better.

    So in the end, I do view it as a donation. The companies don't technically owe the backers anything, but I do believe there is some level of accountability that they fulfill the project on time and on budget and as reasonably close to the proposal as possible, at the potential of not only making themselved look bad (and causing future kickstarter backers to be skeptical) as well as making kickstarter itself look bad. I fully support the concept of kickstarter, but in general I will just wait for the final product and see reviews and a deep discount sale before I use my own money (too bad I can't do that with my taxes).

  5. #5
    Member flamethrower's Avatar
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    You have to be an accredited investor (meaning: have a lot of money or income or something) in order to invest in "unapproved" investments. There are sites out there that will let you do it (if you are an accredited investor). The investments are much larger and the risks are much greater, but so too are the rewards, as you become part-owner of the new company. If it does well, you profit. Unlike Kickstarter, where if the project does well, you get the thing you paid for and the project creators keep all profits.

    For Kickstarter to offer "real" investing would not be legal (at least in the sense of United States law). Before they can offer this to you they need to make sure you are an accredited investor.

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