Sunday, October 27, 2013

What I think is wrong with Kickstarter

With the announcement from Double Fine that they're almost out of their kickstarter money and not even half through the game, people have started to question kickstarter and the idea of crowdfunding. Adam Sessler has some great words to say, so does Greg Miller's roommate Colin.

I did support the Double Fine adventure game, aka Broken Age. I am a sucker for good ol' Point-n-Click games and though the idea sounded awesome since 'Day of the Tentacle' is one of my favorite games. But when Double Fine started a new kickstarter for Massive Chalice, I was very sceptical thinking, 'shouldn't you prove that your first kickstarter is successful before asking for more money to a new project?'. And that's the thing, most of these projects from established developers plays on the fact that peoples are nostalgic for a product. Seeing Brian Fargo trying to sell his idea of Wasteland 2 to a kid in the role as a publisher is pretty funny, and the reaction from the kid when Brian mentions games he worked on and the kid has never heard of any of them, but isn't that the thing? Big part of the people that play games today haven't heard of these games! (I didn't know about Wasteland). With that, I'm not saying that old franchises should be buried and forgotten. But they shouldn't be update to todays games by just turning them into FPSes. I think, like Adam Sessler says, Kickstarter could work as a way for helping unkown people create vertical slices and prototypes for trying to sell their idea the regular way. Even if I do believe people that haven't contributed to the Broken Age kickstarter will buy the game.

I have some ideas that I think should be overlooked on the kickstarter model. 

Don't allow overfunding:
Its great to have ambitions and goals, but if you ask for X amount of dollars from an investor, they won't throw more money at you, they expect that you've made a budget to reach the goal. Some projects do show their overfunding budget, but I think kickstarter should allow these by the same idea that original goals work, If you have a overfunding goal at $750,000 after your original $500k, you would only get it when you reach that goal. 

I think it should work as follows:

  • When you back a project, you say "I'm ready to back this project with $40". Until the project is fully backed, this is the amount of money you will back the project with.
  • When the project is fully backed, any more backers willing to chip in dollars will lower your backing amount by a percentage dependent on your initial backing amount. This means the project will still have their funding and you can back with less money!

No overpriced backer 'rewards':
It's everyones choice to back how much they want, but in the regular world, if you make a big investment into a project or product, you can and should expect some of the profits. If you back a project with a lot and then the project ends up earning a lot of money that you wont see at all! As I understands it, Kickstarter won't allow backers to get financial profit projects they support.

I, for one, will be very hesitant to back kickstarter projects in the future. But as I said, it can and should be a great platform for new developers to get a vertical pitch to show for publishers.

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