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Kickstarter, and the "Promise" to deliver

#1
Well, it's no secret that those of us who are long-time Kickstarter fans/backers/users usually go on about how pledging to Kickstarter is not a guarantee for a product and/or service.

But it looks like that may no longer be the case. Personally, I understand the reason why people are upset, but that's just part of the risk you take when you put money on nothing more than a promise.
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Early Spring - 1055: Well, I made it to Boatmurdered, and my initial impressions can be set forth in three words: What. The. F*ck.
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Re: Kickstarter, and the "Promise" to deliver

#2
DWMagus wrote:Well, it's no secret that those of us who are long-time Kickstarter fans/backers/users usually go on about how pledging to Kickstarter is not a guarantee for a product and/or service.

But it looks like that may no longer be the case. Personally, I understand the reason why people are upset, but that's just part of the risk you take when you put money on nothing more than a promise.
You seem to be missing the point.

The creator of the project in question (Altius Management) is legally obligated to deliver certain rewards to supporters. The primary art assets were displayed during the fundraiser. And the creator, in turn, pledged to manufacture and ship various rewards. Altius did not even bother to issue the standard "Risks and Challenges" disclaimer.
The deck files are set to be delivered to the United States Playing Card Company upon completion of the project. During the manufacture and printing of the decks, Milan will create the custom artwork for those who have chosen those particular incentives. We have structured this project to encounter few, if any obstacles, and provide the participants with an amazing, one-time-only product / work of art.

We will rush to create, manufacture, and ship rewards as soon as possible, but most of the dates issues are not depending on us. If everything goes well and UPSCC print decks by agreed timelines, you can expect your decks in December, before Christmas and other holidays.

For backers outside the US, please read the rewards carefully to know what your shipping costs will be, and don't forget to apply additional costs to your order, for proper shipping.
I understand that the actual persons (or person) behind the project reside(s) in Vojvodina, Serbia. Altius Management is (soon to be was) simply a PR firm that enabled the fundraiser to be launched in the United States for a fee. They likely did not expect to be caught in a lawsuit as result of managing a Kickstarter campaign. I am certainly not in a position to know the extent of Altius Management's culpability in the failure of the project. Regardless, I do believe that this lawsuit will actually benefit Kickstarter in the long run. The need for an example, perhaps one could euphemistically call it a cautionary tale, has become rather pronounced. Project creators need to be aware that launching a fundraiser does, in fact, come with obligations.

As a footnote, a bit of digging reveals that Altius has now pulled all content from their web site, with the next stop for the company likely to be bankruptcy protection.
I know not what life is, nor death.
Year in year out-all but a dream.
Both Heaven and Hell are left behind;
I stand in the moonlit dawn,
Free from clouds of attachment.
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Re: Kickstarter, and the "Promise" to deliver

#3
They're talking about the pledge rewards here which are not the same thing as the project itself; depending on whether the pledge rewards include a fruit of the completed project. It's just another reason why kickstarter warns people that it's not a pre-order system.
It is the fault of the project/company to promise a reward and not deliver.

You are accountable, per kickstarter's rules, if you promise a completed project as a backer reward and do not complete the project.
woops, my bad, everything & anything actually means specific and conformed
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Re: Kickstarter, and the "Promise" to deliver

#4
While I was prepared to chalk this up to a politically motivated Washington state Attorney General, that doesn't appear to be supported by the evidence in this case.

From the reading I've done, this looks more like the developer walked with the cash. That makes this fraud, and it's not unreasonable to seek to prosecute that.

The implication is that this may not have the chilling effect on Kickstartering that some folks initially thought. IANAL, but for now, at least, it appears that developers can significantly reduce the likelihood of a lawsuit by doing one simple thing: deliver something. The sooner you can do that, the less likely it is that some AG will decide to make an example out of you.

As long as most developers deliver on their promises within a reasonable period of time, rather than taking advantage of backers, Kickstarter can remain an effective tool for delivering a wonderful variety of games and other projects.
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Re: Kickstarter, and the "Promise" to deliver

#5
This is one of the best things to happen with crowdfunding in quite a while!

The fear that project leads would just walk with the money has been harming the growth of crowdfunding. Not going through the traditional means of raising funds does not mean freedom to defraud people of hard earned money.

One asshole went as far as burning books for everyone who asked about the status of their pledge. He did it because he was not fearing jail time or lawsuits in my opinion.
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Re: Kickstarter, and the "Promise" to deliver

#6
I'm all for making sure that project leaders don't just take the money and split, but at the same time, I just don't want this to pave the way to the whole kickstarter-as-a-preorder-regardless-of-risks type thing.

Thanks for clearing it up for me, Tom.
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Early Spring - 1055: Well, I made it to Boatmurdered, and my initial impressions can be set forth in three words: What. The. F*ck.
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Re: Kickstarter, and the "Promise" to deliver

#7
There can be some leeway for failure. That is why Kickstarter mandated rules such as no photo-realistic CGI renders of items and a risks section. It is not a pre-order in that the quality of what you receive may not be what was hoped.

What this smackdown does is lessens the fear that the project lead or those involved will take the money and run. Which is fraud period.

It is two different things. And states are not going to waste resources to go after someone who makes a serious attempt to deliver because said states can't prove willful intent to defraud.

In the end there has to be consumer protection. Otherwise Kickstarter will slowly become a cesspool of projects that have no intention on delivering. Which harms crowdfunding as a whole.
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Re: Kickstarter, and the "Promise" to deliver

#8
AbhChallenger wrote:It is two different things. And states are not going to waste resources to go after someone who makes a serious attempt to deliver because said states can't prove willful intent to defraud.
We have patent trolls and ambulance chasers. States WILL waste time and resources to go after someone who makes a serious attempt to deliver as long as someone or a group of people speak loud enough. It WILL happen, because it has happened before. When? I don't know.

In the end there has to be consumer protection. Otherwise Kickstarter will slowly become a cesspool of projects that have no intention on delivering. Which harms crowdfunding as a whole.
This is where being a salesman comes in handy. Before kickstarter, you had to really make a push to try and get funding for a project. Kickstarter has made that easier, but at the same time it has also allowed through the door people that will take advantage of the situation. You should have to earn your project being put through, by putting together a good campaign. Quality of campaign should be the deciding factor not "Hi I'm <insert big-name game developer here>, give us money for a game" and that's it.

I feel as though if Kickstarter turns into a cesspool, we'll see less shovelware and better things. Then again, that's a very anarchristic point-of-view on the matter.
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Early Spring - 1055: Well, I made it to Boatmurdered, and my initial impressions can be set forth in three words: What. The. F*ck.
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Re: Kickstarter, and the "Promise" to deliver

#9
After five years of backing projects on Kickstarter, I decided to survey my handiwork. How've I scored on the projects I chose to help fund?

Code: Select all

FUNDED       DELIVERED    TITLE
Apr 10 2017  Waiting      Pine
Jul 28 2016  Waiting      System Shock (reboot thing)
Dec 12 2015  Apr 14 2017  Bring Back MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000
Oct 20 2015  Jun  6 2016  Sol Trader: a single player space game all about people
Sep 13 2015  Waiting      Legends of Ellaria, a Sandbox RPG,FPS,RTS game (apparently making some progress)
Mar  6 2015  Waiting      Underworld Ascendant (vertical slice due "soon")
Dec  5 2014  Waiting      InnerSpace (devs are quiet, but occasional bursts of "we're still working")
Nov  8 2014  Aug  3 2016  Voxel Quest (partial, but appreciated)
Oct 22 2014  Waiting      That Which Sleeps (had some developer trouble, but seemingly still in development)
Oct  2 2014  Dec  1 2014  LOOP: A Tranquil Puzzle Game (OMG I LOVE THIS GAME)
Jul 15 2014  Abandoned?   Spinward Traveller (T.V. Pilot) (seems to be given up)
May 30 2014  Oct 29 2014  BAMAN PIDERMAN: MAKE DA SHOW! (this was the only new episode released out of what were supposed to be several)
May 24 2014  Waiting      The Universim (making progress)
Apr 25 2014  Apr 10 2015  Hero Generations (already got a second edition)
May  8 2014  Mar  1 2016  Storium — The Online Storytelling Game
Feb 20 2014  Waiting      Kingdom Come: Deliverance (now has an early 2018 release date)
Dec  2 2013  Waiting      The Mandate (not sure what's happening, if anything)
Jul 31 2013  Apr 15 2014  Eterium - A Space Combat Sim for Windows PC
Jul 31 2013  Waiting      Lacuna Passage: Mars Exploration and Survival (not sure what's going on here)
Jul 28 2013  Aug 28 2015  Satellite Reign
Jul 18 2013  Waiting      Megatokyo Visual Novel Game (very, very slow progress)
Jul 17 2013  Waiting      FRONTIERS - Explore ? Discover ? Survive
May 31 2013  Waiting      TUG (had to be refinanced once already)
Apr 12 2013  Mar 14 2014  The Veronica Mars Movie Project (excellent movie!)
Apr  7 2013  Waiting      Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues
Mar  8 2013  Waiting      Jon Shafer's At the Gates
Dec 22 2012  Waiting      Limit Theory: An Infinite, Procedural Space Game
Jan  4 2013  Dec 12 2013  Elite: Dangerous (first Alpha, failed to include all promised content, requested and received partial refund)
Oct 28 2012  Waiting      M.O.R.E. - old school turn-based 4X space strategy game (in jeopardy)
Oct 16 2012  Mar 25 2015  Project Eternity (later called Pillars of Eternity)
Aug  8 2012  Waiting      STAR COMMAND: Kickstart Part 2 - The PC/Mac Space Adventure (PC KS project funds used to pay to finish Android version, still no PC release in sight)
Jul  1 2012  Mar 26 2013  Traveller 5th Edition
Canceled     .            Ealdorlight
Unsuccessful .            Sol Trader: a compelling space action RPG for PC/Mac
Suspended    .            Areal
Canceled     .            STORYSCAPE: Digital Roleplaying System
Canceled     .            "The Hopefuls" board game
So let's see... out of 37 funding attempts, I would say 10 have been delivered substantially as promised, for a success rate of about 27% so far. I don't feel too badly about that; I tend to back more experimental games, which are going to be harder to design and deliver with a small team.

And of the successfully funded projects that haven't been delivered, I'm really only grumpy about a few of them: Star Command, Elite: Dangerous, and BAMAN PIDERMAN -- the first two because I feel ripped off, and the last because I really want to there to be new episodes!

On balance, I don't hate these results... but you can see I've gotten a lot more cautious about what I back.
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Re: Kickstarter, and the "Promise" to deliver

#10
Flatfingers wrote: After five years of backing projects on Kickstarter, I decided to survey my handiwork. How've I scored on the projects I chose to help fund?
You almost tempted me to do something similar, Flat, but I realised this could result in a massive mood swing in the wrong direction for this normally optimistic soul. I share your view concerning Elite Dangerous wholeheartedly. I actually felt betrayed and angry about that one.

As far as disappointment is concerned the prize for that Kickstarter has to go to Jeremy Soule for his abysmal Northerner project. I'm sure he will deliver a symphony one day and I'm certain the result will be glorious to listen to but it's going to be hard to forgive him for the way he's treated those who backed him. :(

There's still a chance that LT may evolve into something that is wide or short of the mark as far as my expectations are concerned but I still have faith in Josh and his promise of a Freelancer experience I will enjoy. :angel:
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Re: Kickstarter, and the "Promise" to deliver

#13
Only doing games, because I also back things that are not games and I don't think they really follow the same rules.

Code: Select all

FUNDED    ESTIMATED  DELIVERED   TITLE
Jul 2015  Dec 2017   Waiting     Shenmue III  (confirmed delay, expected 2018)
Jun 2015  May 2016   Abandoned?  Power Drive 2000  (no recent news)
Feb 2015  Dec 2015   Waiting     Drift Stage  (alpha releases)
Aug 2014  Dec 2014   Jul 2016    Ninja Pizza Girl
May 2014  Apr 2015   Waiting     Hover: Revolt of Gamers  (Steam version released, other versions expected Winter 2017)
Apr 2014  May 2015   Oct 2015    Chaos Reborn
Oct 2013  Sep 2014   Jul 2017    River City Ransom Underground
Jul 2013  Dec 2014   Aug 2015    Satellite Reign
Jun 2013  Feb 2014   Waiting     A Hat in Time  (expected Autumn 2017)
May 2013  Aug 2014   Abandoned?  Road Redemption  (no recent news, on Steam Early Access)
Feb 2013  Mar 2014   Waiting     Cryamore  (still in contact)
Feb 2013  Nov 2013   Sep 2013    POWER UP  (yes, a game that actually released before its estimated date)
Feb 2013  Nov 2013   Abandoned   The 90's Arcade Racer  (got a publisher, supposedly finished, not being released)
Jan 2013  Jan 2014   Abandoned   Elite: Dangerous  (... well, the game they advertised got abandoned, still no refund)
Nov 2012  May 2013   Waiting     Distance  (still in contact, on Steam Early Access)
One completed not only on time, but early.
Two completed with reasonable delays.
Two completed with unreasonable delays.
One waiting with reasonable delay.
Five waiting with unreasonable delays.
Four not delivered.

Pretty much all of the games that have completed I haven't liked the result, but that's a risk to be expected.
Games I like, in order of how much I like them.
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Re: Kickstarter, and the "Promise" to deliver

#14
Damocles wrote: Ah.. Who cares about actual finished games. i find the development blogs and discussions surrounding it much more interesting.
I CARE! Passionately! Development blogs and discussions play their part and are helpful but as a backer I still want to see a project deliver.
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:
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Re: Kickstarter, and the "Promise" to deliver

#15
Yes, Victor, I know you had a lot higher investment than the "common backer" back then.

The statement is more about backing in the range of two figure numbers. Even when a game is never delivered, there was a lot of enjoyable content from the process meanwhile.
its still better than backing something, that then vanishes right away into nirvana.

I always calculate an investment by "money / time enjoyment" eg, "cost per fun-hour" , to see if purchasing something (games, movies, gadgets etc) was a failed investment or not.

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