Sunday, April 29, 2012

Concerns with Kickstarter Game Projects

Over the past few months there have been more and more studios turning to Kickstarter (KS) for funding. With more and more studios signing up to use KS as a funding avenue, the more and more I see problems that will plague the KS and the game development community.

As seen with the recent Double Fine success, there have been a lot of studios jumping on ship to get their fair share of the crowd sourced funding. With this new rush to KS, I for see the following possible issues:

  1. A traditional studio that has a publishing deal uses KS for some extra developer money
  2. A KS project is not delivered as it was promised, thus tarnishing the name of KS
  3. KS is viewed as the primary funding with a large asking price
Traditionally, KS has been used for the indie movement. Whether it be for someone's invention, to throwing a party, to making a game on a shoestring budget, KS has mainly served as a way to get past the traditional publisher model. But what is to stop a developer who has a publishing deal from launching a project. Yes it may not get funded but the catch is that it could take away the media presence and support that an indie title could need. 

Now the true definition of an indie development studio has been changing lately, but I view this term as a small to medium size team that has not struck it big, has not had/have a publisher deal, and that is commercial product oriented. 

Crowd sourcing is built on the principle that the developer promises to release something with the money that is earned. What if the developer makes a really crappy title, pockets the money, and then walks away. Now you may be thinking, "But Nic, that would tarnish their name and reputation within the community. No one would do that". Welcome to the real world. People are almost always willing to do very little for a lot of money. If something like this happens it has the potential of slowing down the KS by quite a bit. Small unknown teams would be even less likely to get funding.

Something that I am seeing more and more, and something that I even did, was start a KS project but have a large price attached to it. The community will only support a large priced title if the developer is recognized or the project had a previous following. For a new developer with a new project, you can not go into a project asking for 30k if it looks like a 3k project. History shows that it doesn't work. Reevaluate and restart.

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