Kickstarter

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FreeLancer
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Re: Kickstarter

Post by FreeLancer » Thu Jul 11, 2013 4:40 pm

There are a lot of good things that developers can do by skipping publishers and using crowd funding, but there is also a downside to not having a publisher. I know there are some evil publishers out there, but not all of them are. Most of what publishers do is keep the development team on budget, on time, and focused on realistic goals.

Take for example Tim Schafer and Double Fine, one of the more successful Kickstarter campaigns. They asked for $400,000 and received over $3.3 million, nearly 9 times what they originally asked for. Now, halfway through the development of their game they find themselves out of money. I believe something like this would have been a lot less likely were they working with a publisher because there would have been a lot more oversight. Also publisher would also be able to invest more money into the project, but since they do not have one they find themselves with not very many options for how they move forward.

I know this is one extreme example and that there have been many games have been successfully completed using crowd funding. Luckily, Double Fine has come up with a possible solution for this, but it goes to show that even when funding big names, like Tim Schafer, it is still a crapshoot. Some devs just dream too big and need a publisher there to step in and say "no" even if it makes them the bad guy.

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Lonestar51
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Re: Kickstarter

Post by Lonestar51 » Thu Mar 13, 2014 8:58 pm

As in the greenlight-thread kickstarter was mentioned in a quite negative way, I would like to... well, to compensate for the bashing by people who never were on kickstarter, I will add a bashing by someone who pledged a bit.

Currently I have about 40 projects in my backer history, but some of them are music or art, and of the games I did back some failed to reach the hurdle and I was not charged (and the game was either dead or financed in a publisher deal - either way the game does not concern me very much any more...) This leaves an estimated 20 games for which I payed.

So why did I back? Basically, because I wanted a lot more variety in the games which are on offer. Because some types of games are no longer developed, or only by one or two indies, and adding one more indie who makes this sort of game may make a whole lot of a difference. Which meant, that ultimately I chose more the risky projects than the average. Also I took a decision not to take industry experience into account, but specifically to look for a person/team which seems very dedicated to their dream, giving me the hope they will make the effort to get it right, rather than finishing just a bland copy of whatever and call it quits.

And where did it go wrong? First of all, I consider the "stretch goals" a disease. "If we reach X$ more than ..., feature Y gets added." Which means that any game which is sufficiently overfunded becomes a horrible mess of unrelated features, spreading the core team thin. And adding team members to a developer who is a newbie himself may not always work out as intended.
Then there is the pressure by the backers to realease something. If it is 6 months late, people understand. But say you have run into a wall and cannot finish, some backer will want their money back. In some way it is understandably. But it results in games which are "finished" when the money runs out, rather than when they are fun. Or canceled as failure instead of released in a horrible state. None of the games I backed and which have reached the "released" milestone are much fun.
Note that one of the projects which did fail with much publicity was one of the few I backed with an industry veteran in charge.
The pressure is made worse by the fact that many teams seem to miscalculate the costs. If they need X to finish, they need a lot more money because of backer goodies which are often more expensive than planned, because of kickstarter fees, of bounced payments, ... This is before the usual development issues turn up and start to cost money.
But finally, most of all, because kickstarter is about the description, the interesting text, the pretty picture, and of course the effective pitch video. There are a lot of "parts" which make a game fun or not fun which cannot be described easily in a pitch. With a comic this is easy: Show pages 1 to 5 and promise you add 50 or 100 of the same quality. With a game, you would need a demo - but most projects go to kickstarter before the real development starts - before the team gets assembled because there is not yet enough funding. Which means it often open to interpretation what the result will be. This is good in some way, it gives the possibility for innovative projects to get funding through a pitch "Just like X but with modern graphics". However, the opposite seems more common, the promise of innovations for a game which is ultimatly a bland copy of an already bland AAA game.

Keep in mind, that I am very happy with many games I bought through a more traditional "alpha funding" process. There I buy when something can be played, usually a demo is available and if so I check if the demo is fun. However, as I wrote on kickstarter this is usually not the case. (The few games which go with demo to kickstarter seem a lot better than the average, for some reason.)

Edit: Ugh, what a wall of text ;-)

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jack1974
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Re: Kickstarter

Post by jack1974 » Thu Mar 13, 2014 10:23 pm

I only want to say that I don't "hate" KS and crowdfunding, only that personally AS PLAYER I would never consider it. As developer sure, I can see why could be useful. Also, is very different if comes from an unknown dev, or from someone who has released already many games, at least you know that he/she can deliver stuff :)

Fearsome
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Re: Kickstarter

Post by Fearsome » Sat Mar 22, 2014 4:25 am

One word I can pitch in on this, is with KS you get paid more for your games.
Especially if you have a half a dozen games in the works, and are having to code them all by yourself.
It's not uncommon to see folks use KS as a springboard for signal boosting. The very act of getting on KS gets a lot of new traffic for many indies.

I myself have backed about 30 games on KS, and I have enjoyed the hell out of the 13 I have gotten back already. I am invited to the beta for about 8 more right now, but I've yet to have a dud game. If they promise the skies, then they're probably waaaay off base. (And are fairly easy to spot.) I mostly back projects that tickle my fancy or are quirky and odd.
(Sunless Seas? Yes Please! Neo-Victorian Skirmish Squad? Sounds fun! Druidic Tales or whatever the scam team is calling itself now, Hahahaha nope.)

There was one that was being touted as the next WoW and Skyrim combined... made by- you guessed it, a bunch of MODDERS.
Modding does not equal real game coding. And not a one of them saw a problem with having 12 artists, animators and musicians... and one poor bastard slated to do the actual coding.

I threw 1$ at them just to watch it all melt down, and it did, it was honestly worth the 1usd for watching the implosion up close and personal.

Anywho, you actually have really nifty games, and if you did kickstarter, you might be able to afford more assistance, and have less overhead overall, since any copies you sell after the game is released are completely freed from paying off the previous games and are just extra pad money for upcoming years.
Just- saying. XD

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jack1974
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Re: Kickstarter

Post by jack1974 » Sat Mar 22, 2014 7:30 am

The only advantage if KS is that you get a good publicity, and can help you get on Steam even before the game is finished.
Anyway, until is available here in Italy I can't do much anyway :lol:

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Solvus
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Re: Kickstarter

Post by Solvus » Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:36 pm

What about Patreon? I wouldn't mind adding you to the list of the other Patreons I pay for monthly. I'd love to help out more and this can be another way to do it.
I just discovered this recently and I'm not sure about if UK compatible or US only but worth a shot?
http://www.patreon.com/

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jack1974
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Re: Kickstarter

Post by jack1974 » Thu Aug 21, 2014 7:03 am

I checked it, yes I can use that from my country. I am not sure if I can actually use it for the games (because of laws here), but I could use for other things. For example I've always wanted to try doing a webcomic, and could do one with characters/stories of my games :) will think about it, thanks!

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Solvus
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Re: Kickstarter

Post by Solvus » Sun Jul 31, 2016 9:56 pm

I'm so glad you are finally doing Patreon! :D I'm Phung on there!

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jack1974
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Re: Kickstarter

Post by jack1974 » Mon Aug 01, 2016 6:11 am

Thanks! :)

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Pace675
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Re: Kickstarter

Post by Pace675 » Mon Aug 01, 2016 1:25 pm

You'll never guess my nick on Patreon! Never!XD

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