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Businesses The Almighty Buck Games

How Long Before the Kickstarter Bubble Bursts? 192

An opinion piece at Gamasutra takes a look at the recent success of Kickstarter campaigns for video game projectsDouble Fine's adventure game and a sequel to Wasteland each raised around $3 million. Hundreds of other projects have sprung up, hoping to replicate that success — but will it last? From the article: "I am convinced that Tim Schafer and his team at Double Fine know how to deliver a game (mostly) on time and (mostly) on budget. Brian Fargo too. Is that true for all 314 of the current Kickstarter projects? What about the projects which get started but never finished? If publishers like LucasArts can cancel games that are almost finished or like Codemasters can pay for a game it never saw, what certainty do pledgers have that the game that they have paid for will ever see the light of day? We are still in the early days of our Kickstarter relationship, the early days of falling in love. Everything our partner does is wonderful. We gloss over the risks, we ignore the downsides, because the glory of falling in love is everything. I think we have about six months left of that period. Towards the end of this year, some Kickstarter projects are going to start slipping. Some will see their teams collapse amidst bicker recriminations. Some pledgers are going to start getting very angry."
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How Long Before the Kickstarter Bubble Bursts?

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  • by am 2k ( 217885 ) on Monday May 07, 2012 @07:08PM (#39921569) Homepage

    Kickstarter would never lie to us.

    No, they don't. See Who is responsible for fulfilling the promises of a project? [kickstarter.com] on their FAQ. Spoiler: They don't claim to verify anything other than that the project idea itself is ok for Kickstarter.

  • by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Monday May 07, 2012 @07:24PM (#39921757)

    The Order of The Stick reprint drive.
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/599092525/the-order-of-the-stick-reprint-drive/posts [kickstarter.com]

    This may also be the first instance of the project developer (Rich Burlew) being so completely involved with the supporters as the project exceeded the initial goal.

    Flip through the updates notifications to see what he added as enticements to get to each new level. And what his progress has been on delivering on those commitments.

    100% transparency and thousands of fans eagerly awaiting delivery.

  • by Seven_Six_Two ( 1045228 ) on Monday May 07, 2012 @07:43PM (#39921947)
    that I know of. It's called Diaspora. It's a piece of social networking software with distributed servers, and the goal is for people to be able to share without having all of their data owned perpetually by some corporation. Their site has been running the software for a while now, and I was running a node too. It's open-sourced, so those people and companies who invested are free to continue the project if they wish. I suppose that's a bit different than just funding a game, because with Diaspora, the benefits are for everyone, and don't depend on some unknown release date. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/196017994/diaspora-the-personally-controlled-do-it-all-distr [kickstarter.com]
  • No profits (Score:4, Informative)

    by publiclurker ( 952615 ) on Monday May 07, 2012 @07:54PM (#39922037)
    All you can get out of your "investment" is what they claim they will give you. If you only give them a token amount because you just think it's nice idea, you'll only get a thank you card, or perhaps a mention on their website. For greater amounts of money, you can get an actual thing, being a copy of the game, the bracket they are planning on making, etc. For even more money, all you get is more of the same, or perhaps a new choice of colors, feedback on creating a game level, etc.
  • by TheGavster ( 774657 ) on Monday May 07, 2012 @08:21PM (#39922309) Homepage

    I would say that OOTS is a very good example of a Kickstarter project demonstrating transparency in the face of a lot of challenges. Rich has a vast number of obligations from the drive and will probably spend the better part of a year paying them off, but keeps the backers up to date with regular announcements. I would forward something like the Fifty Dollar Follow Focus (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2120229387/50-dollar-follow-focus) as an example of something that went through the whole process smoothly: People pledged, the goal was met, equipment was purchased, and the product was made and sent out.

  • by IICV ( 652597 ) on Monday May 07, 2012 @09:07PM (#39922725)

    right now kickstarter is in the idealistic phase. you give money to people you don't know with great expectations. it doesn't take many silver tongued con artists to put a dent in those expectations. then the cynicism kicks in (no pun intended)

    Look, I may not know these people personally - but I think Brian Fargo's [wikipedia.org] resume speaks for itself, as does Jordan Weisman's [wikipedia.org]. I may not know who Matthew Davis or Justin Ma are, but I can see (and so did the IGF) that they have a really great start [ftlgame.com] on a game. If any of them don't deliver, it's going to be because something happened and they couldn't, not because they scammed thousands of people.

    The only people who'll get bit by Kickstarter are the ones who don't do enough due dilligence on the projects they're backing; a Kickstarter with no prototype, no vision and no developer pedigree just isn't going to go anywhere.

    That's what ended up nearly happening with Nekro and the Hardcore Tactical Whatever by the way - they almost failed, because they lacked at least one of the three and the other two weren't present enough to make up for it. Nekro has a great vision, but they don't have much of a prototype and its developers just don't have the pedigree; if it wasn't for TotalBiscuit, the project probably wouldn't have happened. The Hardcore Tactical Whatever had no vision and no prototype, even though it had some of the developers of Rainbow 6 behind it.

    Double Fine Adventure, Wasteland 2 and Shadowrun Returns, on the other hand, all have great developer pedigrees and awesome visions; it's okay that they don't have prototypes, because we all know that Tim Schafer, Brian Fargo and Jordan Weisman can come up with great games - and if they don't, it'll be because development is a bitch (and at least on Double Fine's part, it'll all be on film!)

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson