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Re: Kickstarter, and the "Promise" to deliver

#16
Well, I still tend to back projects at a fairly high level, Damocles. I can't think of many projects where I've committed funds at the "common backer" tier. I never regretted my backing of Voxel Quest because the creator was deserving of the funding and had real talent. I wasn't really interested in the rewards he was offering and had already asked him to transfer my rights to a good friend on these forums. It was sad when he had to stop work on what promised to be something awesome. He even offered us a full refund but many of us declined on the grounds that we had enjoyed the ride so much. :)

I rarely calculate anything when it comes to KS projects and the like. I can be swayed by the offer of physical goods especially a boxed game with a decent manual and map or suchlike. It certainly influenced my decision concerning Limit Theory. Of course I could also hear the earnestness in the voice of a younger Josh Parnell. And he nailed me with his obvious love of Freelancer. :D

I've even been swayed by indie developers who came to these forums and convinced me of the merits of their various projects.

My biggest gamble has been Star Citizen as far as committed funds are concerned. I know Chris has the vision to deliver a magnificent space game....I'm just concerned about the sheer scale of what he now has in mind. It's not the project I originally backed that's for sure. :angel:

I may have rambled a little in this post. *chuckle*
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Re: Kickstarter, and the "Promise" to deliver

#17
Granted, I've only backed a few different things at this point, but my take on it is that the backers don't "deserve" anything except the respect and courtesy of the person(s) they pledge funds to (which includes fulfillment of promises made). If a project fails and is a definite failure, they deserve (if nothing else) an offer for a refund (which they may or may not choose to accept, at their whim). Beyond that, I don't believe anyone is "entitled" to rewards, nor do I believe legal action should be taken unless it becomes blatantly obvious (and there is sufficient proof) that the entire project was an intentional con - emphasis on "intentional". They are called "rewards" for a reason. When you were a kid, you never demanded a "reward" for doing chores, did you? Nor, if you picked a wallet up off the street and tracked down its owner, would it be tactful to demand a reward for returning it. (Or, worse, taking something from the wallet beforehand.)

In short, money pledged to Kickstarter projects is, in my opinion, a donation intended to help a project succeed - and nothing but. There may be offers or promisies of shinies at the end of the road, and I think the project leader(s) should do their best to show the backers the respect and courtesy they deserve by fulfilling the reward promises, but in my mind, a pledge is nothing more than a donation to a cause.

With that in mind, I feel much better about making pledges, and much better if the projects don't ultimately succeed. In the case of Gavan Woolery of Voxel Quest (to whom I donated time, rather than money) - at least he did his very best to make it happen. :) That's all I wanted to begin with.
Victor Tombs wrote:
Tue Jul 18, 2017 4:40 am
Damocles wrote: See: with Limit Theory, instead of playing a game for maybe 40 hours, you had hundreds of hours of interesting topics to read
Hmm....If Josh does deliver the game I signed up for I'll be spending more than a miserable 40 hours playing it, Damocles. I haven't been here for the past five years for a quick game fix. I've lost track of how many hours of my gaming have been consumed by vanilla Freelancer and its modded varieties over the years.

I'm aware of the dichotomy of interests represented here on the forums concerning the LT project. I'm from the camp that is more concerned about the actual game. :angel:
I would certainly hope that Limit Theory has more than 40 hours of gameplay in it. :lol: I'm pretty sure it will, though.
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Re: Kickstarter, and the "Promise" to deliver

#18
I'm actually a person who has the experience of participating in/running a whopping number of three (3) crowdfunding campaigns myself (none of them were gaming-related, though). And I must tell you, it's miserable and pathetic and I'd never wish to go through it again.

First, Kickstarter is the last of its kind - crowdfunding platforms in Europe actually treat crowdfunding as a pre-order, which made life really difficult when some high-contribution folks got angry at us. Second - the amount you asked for is never enough, it always turns out that you need at least twice as much. Third - the tricks and cheating. Oh, the cheating. To what depth won't you sink to see your project succeed? I was even asked to make a new PayPal account and throw money at my own project to make it succeed, which in the end didn't help but got people really suspicious.

Of the three campaigns I had to run, one was a complete failure (5 euros collected, ha ha), one was an astounding success (10k euros pledged when 4k were asked for), and the last one had troubles because people were tired of us doing crowdfunding again and again, and it got cancelled when some backers of the previous campaign saw the new one and decided that they didn't get their rewards in full and contacted the crowdfunding platform.

So, my understanding of the crowdfunding business is that it's a patch on the company's finances and a demonstration of potential market that allows to negotiate with more serious sources of funding. So in the majority of cases it doesn't actually guarantee that the project gets done.

Things to look out for, as those projects are surely to fail in some way or the other:
  • overly large dev team
  • tons and tons of promotion
  • exotic location for the company
  • putting new pledges just to appeal to the backers
  • general trend of PR and marketing trumping actual work like having prototypes

(Mostly) solo projects like LT represent an interesting situation, though: either the guy who's making it is honest and passionate and won't abuse the obtained funds, and thus will survive easily the (almost inevitable) delays just by not using funds for his salary or at least enacting stringent economic measures on himself, or the guy is a fraud and will try to run off with all the monies :D
Survivor of the Josh Parnell Blackout of 2015.
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Re: Kickstarter, and the "Promise" to deliver

#19
outlander4 wrote: (Mostly) solo projects like LT represent an interesting situation, though: either the guy who's making it is honest and passionate and won't abuse the obtained funds, and thus will survive easily the (almost inevitable) delays just by not using funds for his salary or at least enacting stringent economic measures on himself, or the guy is a fraud and will try to run off with all the monies
Thinking about your post, outlander, it never crossed my mind that Josh would run off with the money. It frequently crossed my mind that it would take longer than Josh estimated to deliver a result and I'm still not wholly confident about whether the delivered game will provide a satisfying gaming experience. I'm more wary with KS projects nowadays, when Jeremy Soule is allowed to behave in the manner he has with his backers it does sour one somewhat when considering pledging to new projects. And, as I've found to my chagrin, many of the worthwhile projects fail to reach their funding totals. I'm thinking of Ealdorlight and the second volume of orchestral Wing Commander music both of which had creators who had proved that they could deliver. :angel:
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Re: Kickstarter, and the "Promise" to deliver

#20
Josh is certainly the first type. He sacrificed a lot in order to work on LT. I trust him, and the only thing I'm not happy about is that I've missed the original Kickstarter for LT. Star Citizen appeared at about the same time, and those '70 bucks I'll never get back' went into it.

Kickstarter is a horrible way to raise funds, but it doesn't mean it didn't enable some great projects to happen, especially in the niche markets abandoned by the mainstream - like space sims.

And Josh doing a crowdfunding is infinitely better than some folks I know here in Spain who just suck in the government funding for making entirely unremarkable mobile games. 20.000 euros for making a top-down linear adventure-fighting game that's as unoriginal as Vikings with horny helmets and hard rock soundtrack can get :D
Survivor of the Josh Parnell Blackout of 2015.
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Re: Kickstarter, and the "Promise" to deliver

#21
I agree with some things you said, but I think you're wrong about Kickstarter being the last of it's kind. It's likely the last for our generation, but I'm sure it will cycle around again someday. Unlike things like VHS and cassette tapes, its falling out of favor isn't due to technology marching on, but due to the advancement of social and cultural knowledge - things that inevitably get forgotten from generation to generation. The only way to kill Kickstarter would be to set up laws prohibiting it. It'll be back, eventually, after it inevitably dies.

There's an interesting statistics page on Kickstarter's projects/funding by year here. In summary, the number of projects is far fewer in 2016 than 2015, while the number of successful projects and the amount of money pledged is about the same. This suggests Kickstarter is now trending toward larger projects. The amount of successful < $10,000 projects saw a significant decline in 2016.

I think this is partially due to people mistrusting Kickstarter more and more. Interestingly, the data points to the possibility that Potato Salad marked the start of the decline. I think this makes a good degree of sense.
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Re: Kickstarter, and the "Promise" to deliver

#22
I meant 'the last of its kind' as in 'the last one that doesn't work on a pre-order basis'. It'll probably last for quite a while thanks to being based in the US, and I'm sure the concept will re-surface at some point in the future even after the Kickstarter itself is brought to heel.

It's just that other crowd-funding platforms caught so much flak for hosting fraudulent and borderline-fraudulent projects that they decided to introduce some way to bring those responsible to account. Add much less liberal European donation laws to the mix, and you'll get modern crowdfunding scene.

On the other hand, consumer protection is important, and I'm all for it.
Survivor of the Josh Parnell Blackout of 2015.

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