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The Almighty Buck Games

The Dangers of Beating Your Kickstarter Goal 168

jfruh writes "In March of 2012 legendary game designers Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert ran a Kickstarter to design a new adventure game, asked for $400,000, and came away with more than $3.3 million. Their promised delivery date was October 2012. Now it's July 2013, and the project still needs cash, which they plan to raise by selling an 'early release' version on Steam in January 2014. One possible lesson: radically overshooting your crowdfunding goal can cause you to wildly expand your ambitions, leading to a project that can't be tamed."
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The Dangers of Beating Your Kickstarter Goal

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  • Ah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dyingtolive ( 1393037 ) <brad.arnett@[ ]f ... g ['not' in gap]> on Monday July 08, 2013 @06:49PM (#44220373)
    Surely you mean "The Dangers of Overextending the Scope of Your Project Beyond What Resource Allocations Allows".

    I guess that's not scary enough though.
  • by Hentes ( 2461350 ) on Monday July 08, 2013 @06:53PM (#44220411)

    Only buy a finished product unless you have money to burn.

  • Bad Planning (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 08, 2013 @06:55PM (#44220423)

    'It's a bad plan that can't be changed' – Publilius Syrus c.100 BC

    Release the core game as it was intended on time and add the extras (in game, ports to other platforms, whatever...) later.

    This needs to be planned for Kickstarters from, well, before the start. Because you might get more money than anticipated, but not more time.

  • by cheesybagel ( 670288 ) on Monday July 08, 2013 @07:06PM (#44220501)

    Which is why you should stick to well defined objectives. Do the planned release. If you got more money than you expected then you release an expansion pack later for free.

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sir_Sri ( 199544 ) on Monday July 08, 2013 @07:11PM (#44220561)

    The original project maybe not. The stretch goals probably.

    With stretch goals you either need more time or more staff than you had originally planned on. If your stretch goal is 10% more than your base game and involves some trivial art feature that's easy to just hire an artist or overtime and existing one for.

    When you get 8x as much money as you were planning on, you stick in goals that you don't think you'll meet, or don't have serious cost estimations for. And that's where you get into trouble. People aren't serious about getting down to work when they know there is way more money than you expected available to pay them, hiring on significantly more staff than you were expecting, with the required office space and infrastructure and training that goes with that takes time, a lot of it, and then with the way kickstarter funding is counted by tax agencies you may be screwed on any money you didn't spend that calendar year and be looking at a huge tax bill. Etc.

    Oh, and as with all creative enterprises, just because I made a great movie/game/story last time doesn't mean I will do so next time, or maybe my great idea will turn out to be... not so great on implementation and now I have to do something else. Changing gears costs money too.

  • Re:Ah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Flozzin ( 626330 ) on Monday July 08, 2013 @07:12PM (#44220563)
    You would have thought though, that before they wildly expanded in order to spend 8 times what you wanted in funding, you would deliver on your core game.
  • Re:Ah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Monday July 08, 2013 @07:18PM (#44220605) Journal
    I think it was Nicholas Meyer (of Star Trek II fame) who said "art thrives on limitations" and time and again we have seen that, you get a big budget and you go overboard and end up with a mess. Maybe in the future others will learn and set some sort of upper limit on their kickstarter?
  • by jordanjay29 ( 1298951 ) on Monday July 08, 2013 @08:43PM (#44221073)
    Reality check: not every project that succeeds on Kickstarter delivers a final product.
  • by Minupla ( 62455 ) <> on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @12:31AM (#44222217) Homepage Journal

    The issue comes from backers believing they're preordering a product.

    This is not what is going on here. What is going on is more akin to the Medieval practice of being a patron to an artist.

    We hand our collective money to an artist who says "I want to make something like this... And the more you provide me in funding the bigger and more grand a statue I can make."

    We as a group come together and pool our money and hand it to the artist saying "We like your vision. Here is a bucket of gold coins, go forth and create awesomeness".

    This makes more sense when you consider that the high end rewards are usually something like "A copy of the widget, plus lunch with the widget visionary"

    Noone pays 1000$ for a game. People pay 1000$ for artistic vision and being a part of seeing the vision realized.


  • by dingen ( 958134 ) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @05:15AM (#44223289)

    People keep saying this, but would you really have been happy if they had stuck to the 400k project and kept the rest of the money on their bank account?

    Obviously, the increased budget has allowed them to expand the project. This is a good thing, it means the money people put in is actually used on the game. More money = more game.

    So unfortunately, the bigger game they are making now has gone over budget. It's really no big deal, as they have found a good solution, which is to release part of the game early in order to generate income to finish the rest of the game. They're not asking for more money, they are simply adjusting the release schedule.

    Projects going over budget are a fact of life. These things happen all the time. The only reason we're hearing about it at all is because it's a crowdfunded project and the crowd has a right to know what is happening with their money. But don't think other games you are playing were finished on time and within the projected budget, because they're not.

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dingen ( 958134 ) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @05:20AM (#44223309)

    Three million dollars isn't "a giant stack of money" for a game studio. Remember that John Carmack interview on games for mobile, where he said it's cool because you only need 30 million to create a great game instead of 300? AAA-games cost a shit load of cash to develop. Having a talented team working for over a year on something burns money like crazy.

"If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you?" -- Garrison Keillor