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Gaming Legends Discuss Using Kickstarter For Their Next Projects

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the you're-the-crowd-you're-the-fund dept.

The Almighty Buck 112

Nerval's Lobster writes "Just as the Internet fundamentally altered the way games are distributed from publishers to players, crowdfunding has upended the traditional models of raising money for gaming development, and some of the most storied people in the industry are taking notice. Chris Roberts, who created the well-known Wing Commander series in 1990, managed to raise millions of dollars on Kickstarter last fall for his upcoming Star Citizen, eventually collecting so much money from individual backers that he could return the budget he'd taken from "formal" investment firms. "Even nice investors, they want a return at some point. They have a slightly diff agenda than I do," Roberts told Slashdot. "My agenda is to build the coolest game possible." He's not the only famed developer getting into the crowdfunding game: Wasteland director Brian Fargo spent years wanting to make a sequel to his popular role-playing game, eventually accomplishing that goal via Kickstarter. And for every famous game creator who uses the power of crowds to produce a new masterwork, dozens of talented amateurs are also financing their first games via Kickstarter and similar services. But that doesn't mean there are occasional high-profile implosions, like CLANG."

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112 comments

Excessive greed. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44960765)

Here we go again.

Re:Excessive greed. (3, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 7 months ago | (#44960793)

Getting money from a different source that leads to a more open development process=excessive greed?

Sometimes you should explain your opinions.

Re:Excessive greed. (2)

Moryath (553296) | about 7 months ago | (#44960867)

I like the idea of Kickstarter, but I think a lot of people have co-opted it and it's becoming much less useful for finding really nifty projects. Too many corporate "we're too lazy to handle our own preorders" stuff on it these days.

Maybe that's a feature, not a bug, to the Kickstarter people but it's turned me off from browsing. Finding the diamonds in the rough is a lot harder with the corporate invaders adding so much more rough.

Re:Excessive greed. (4, Insightful)

Kinwolf (945345) | about 7 months ago | (#44960983)

Indeed, it is following the same path as Ebay, which was once an awesome place to find and sell older stuff, but these days it's populated at 98% by Ebay Stores with set prices, and lost it's usefullness as an auction site. Kickstarter is going that way too, it started as a great place for new, small projects, but is being overrun now by corps who uses it as a launch platform for their next product.

I couldn't agree more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44963977)

I have a kickstarter project that is about crowd funding the

"Best Damn iPhone & Car Windshield/Dash Mount Case Ever".

None of the usual:

a) miracle sticky surfaces

b) clamps that take 3 hands

c) magnets that kill reception and cause damage or disconnects,

d) bean bags and things that hide face of phone

e) things that make you take your eyes off the road for long periods of time.

In short its a great implementation:

It's here Best Damn phone case ever! [kck.st]

Problem: You need like 30, 000 dollars to 3D print prototypes to send to bloggers. So the platform isn't all its cracked up to be! It's easy for companies with a cash flow that can afford to do this. I would not recommend to anyone starting a kickstarter project for hardware without the money to build at least 50 finished prototypes, probably more like 200 of them!

Good for big companies with money for advertising or earth changing projects.
Not so good for the small projects!

Re:Excessive greed. (4, Insightful)

frinsore (153020) | about 7 months ago | (#44961087)

What you're complaining about is the inability to find the projects that are interesting to you and I have the same complaint about kickstarter. Several times I've heard about a project that didn't reach it's funding goal I would have loved to have backed but for whatever reason I didn't discover it until it was too late.

Every digital marketplace has this problem to some extent. The good ones seem to have a good recommendation engine like amazon and netflix or they're heavily curated like steam and Xbox Arcade. Then there are places like kickstarter and iOS where they highlight the best 40 or so and let the rest remain obscure.

Discover-ability is a real problem that is only going to get worse as digital markets get more popular and larger. And I'm guessing that any company that can solve that problem will be the next tech service monopoly.

Re:Excessive greed. (3, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | about 7 months ago | (#44961165)

The problem is when people who DON'T need kickstarter clog the pipe up. Spoiled brat kids of overpaid, undertalented music acts "kickstarting" their 2nd or 3rd album for instance. James Franco wanting people to "kickstart" his vanity-movie project.

Shit like this [wsj.com] clutters up the site and makes it impossible to find the people who have interesting projects that actually need the help.

Re:Excessive greed. (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about 7 months ago | (#44962391)

I think there's another issue in there:

Most of the arts projects are essentially looking for a platform, and the artists do the campaigning legwork themselves, directing potential backers on their mailing lists to site to pay. But many of the technology projects look to the site to draw investment in.

So there's nothing wrong with arts/vanity projects per se, but there is the problem that mixing the two classes of campaign together means the swarm of vanity projects underserving of marketplace promotion crowds out the minority of projects needing a source of stranger-investors.

Re:Excessive greed. (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 7 months ago | (#44964657)

So go ahead and make your own Kickstarter-like website that would filter out such projects.

Why, you could even get the funding for such a thing through Kickstarter. ~

Re:Excessive greed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44966947)

OP AC here. Ding. You win.

People who HAVE money and HAVE big names already. They don't NEED kickstarter.

Kickstarter was created for the nobodys who have nothing but a great idea to make it.

And now that all the big names and everyone with tratidional funding are moving in now... It's turning to crap.

Excessive greed. They saw MORE money there. and now it's their platform. And it's going to kill it. Eventually. I give it 10 years.

Re:Excessive greed. (5, Insightful)

geek (5680) | about 7 months ago | (#44960921)

Getting money from a different source that leads to a more open development process=excessive greed?

Sometimes you should explain your opinions.

I think his point, and I don't know if I agree or disagree, is that more and more wealthy people are using kickstarter as a way of starting projects. These are people unwilling to risk their own fortunes and instead wish to use yours and mine. If they believed in their project so much they would use their own money to back it, but they don't.

I don't know if this is one of those situations but if these people are "gaming legends" as the article implies then one would assume, rightly or wrongly, that they are wealthy but unwilling to back their own project.

I believe kickstarter should be used for the up and comers, the idealists who are just getting started. When I see a wealthy person using kickstarter I just see greed and a complete lack of dedication to their own ideas and abilities.

Re:Excessive greed. (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 7 months ago | (#44960967)

More likely they simply want more assurance that they can succeed. Kickstarter lets them know their are paying customers lined up for a product.

I will not spend money on kickstarter for the up and comers as they are quite likely to just run off with the money as we have seen so many times.

Re:Excessive greed. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44961033)

I will not spend money on kickstarter for the up and comers as they are quite likely to just run off with the money as we have seen so many times.

How many times have we seen that with Kickstarter?

Re:Excessive greed. (0)

_UnderTow_ (86073) | about 7 months ago | (#44960981)

When I see a wealthy person using kickstarter I just see greed and a complete lack of dedication to their own ideas and abilities.

Isn't it awesome how sweeping generalizations like that are so accurate?

Re:Excessive greed. (1)

osu-neko (2604) | about 7 months ago | (#44961035)

I think his point...

...is to make a statement that is both somewhat inflammatory but sufficiently vague to allow people to read into it whatever they want. You really need to learn the art of a good troll. The less you say, the better it works.

Re:Excessive greed. (3, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 7 months ago | (#44961075)

If they believed in their project so much they would use their own money to back it, but they don't.

With the tiny big difference that if they invest their fortune, once the project is finished they have to sell the product.

Kickstarter "only" guarantees buyers. It doesn't matter how amazingly rich you are, knowing that you've got buyers is always good.

For example, Microsoft could have kickstarted their surface 2 to check if there's still enough... clients.

Re:Excessive greed. (3, Insightful)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | about 7 months ago | (#44961151)

Max: The two cardinal rules of producing. One: Never put your own money in the show.
Leo: And two?
Max: NEVER PUT YOUR OWN MONEY IN THE SHOW!

Re:Excessive greed. (2)

pr0t0 (216378) | about 7 months ago | (#44961199)

That's an interesting perspective, and one I had not considered. It's not unlike trying to get a small business loan for a start-up. No traditional model lending institution is going to loan you money if you aren't willing to risk any of your own. Gambling with house money can cause people to take risks that they otherwise may not, thus increasing the chances of a poor return on investment. Conversely, few success stories ever come out of people playing it safe, and Kickstarter may afford a designer or developer the option to take a risk that could be the difference maker in success...although that cuts both ways.

As a board gamer, I know that even successful game designers aren't usually wealthy, but they do have contacts and access that fledglings do not have. I don't know if that should keep them from starting a crowd funding project or not.

I certainly agree though that Kickstarter has been co-opted by larger companies and bigger names away from the garage inventors, hobbyists, and tinkerers; and that is kind of sad. Backing a project is now much more like shopping, than a quasi-philanthropic gesture of belief in a person or product. Part of me thinks Kickstarter should be open to all, and the public can decide what they will back. That would be the truest form of the democratization of funding. But it would probably be naive to think smaller operators wouldn't be marginalized.

It's a tough call.

Re:Excessive greed. (1)

Feyshtey (1523799) | about 7 months ago | (#44962329)

If a good game costs tens of millions of dollars to make and distribute, it doesnt really matter if you're "wealthy" with a couple of million in the bank. It matters even less when your source of income was (past tense) the game you produced 10+ years ago, and havent really worked since.

Re:Excessive greed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44962689)

You see, that is the thing, so many of these companies want to do this, but they can't because they either cannot find other investment or they feel other investment does not work very well with the project in hand.

Case in point, niche game genres like point and click, long gone, who would fund these today? Very little people.
But the people that actually DO want these games would very happily fund them if they could do so, which now they can thanks to sites like these.
Instantly these niche genres now have an investment base that was once unused.

It also works as a place to test out ideas. If the idea sounds nice to the public, bam, funded, if not, oh well, either try again with a similar idea, or new idea, or put it on indiegogo and see if the original contributors will refund it there with a lesser goal and cut the game up a bit to something more manageable.

Kickstarter doesn't need to mean kickstarting new people, it is more a case of kickstarting new ideas, the idea is the important thing here.
If the idea comes from a douche of a person, and it gets funded, hell, let them fund the douche. It isn't exactly lost funds for anyone else.
That is the good thing with crowdfunding, there are many people investing in the ideas there. (I use that loosely)
Of course, I say that, the last time I remember being on Kickstarter, the ordering was from most funded to least funded and scrolling was GOD-AWFUL, so people with less ability to advertise a project suffer hardest on it. That was a terrible thing and I seriously hope it has been changed.
Pagination and ordering is extremely important on a site like its kind. The default should be randomly decided based on the time the user accessed the page initially. (be it from the initial query or selecting random order)

Re:Excessive greed. (1, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 7 months ago | (#44961019)

OK:

"Even nice investors, they want a return at some point. They have a slightly diff agenda than I do," Roberts told Slashdot.

Translation: WHAT??? You mean those people who gave me the funding for this project actually want something out of it??? Well, fuck that, I'll just go beg from the community in a way that ensures I don't have to give them dick in return for their hard-earned dollars!"

Dude had the funding, but he didn't want to share his profits with the people that were giving him money. Ergo, excessive greed.

Re:Excessive greed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44961091)

No, that's not greed. That's just capitalism. Like buying milk at a store that sells it cheaper.

Re:Excessive greed. (5, Informative)

osu-neko (2604) | about 7 months ago | (#44961115)

Ergo, creative control. He never acted as if it was outrageous that investors want something for their money, that's an interesting bit of fantasy on your part. He merely noted that this does create constraints that can interfere with making a good game (there's a few dozen examples you can hear about if you actually follow the discussions among the game developers -- CR tends to be vague, but some of his employees that worked with him at Digital Anvil and other previous projects can be quite specific and biting at times about the interference they've gotten from publishers in the past).

Re:Excessive greed. (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 7 months ago | (#44961209)

Ergo, creative control.

Bullshit - you want 'creative control' over your project, you pay for it your own goddamn self; for reference, see: every independent artist ever, prior to the creation of websites like Kickstarter.

He never acted as if it was outrageous that investors want something for their money, that's an interesting bit of fantasy on your part.

Fantasy? That's a direct quote from TFS: "Even nice investors, they want a return at some point." Sure sounds like bitching to me. WTF do you mean, "nice investors?" Are you saying that investors who actually expect a gain from their investment in you are dicks or something?

That's the sort of attitude a selfish twat would have.

Re: Excessive greed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44963035)

-- Bullshit - you want 'creative control' over your project, you pay for it your own goddamn self; for reference, see: every independent artist ever, prior to the creation of websites like Kickstarter.

Now you don't have to be wealthy to retain creative control! Hooray for the common-man artist!

Re:Excessive greed. (3, Insightful)

Sabriel (134364) | about 7 months ago | (#44963125)

Even the "nice" investors still want a _monetary_ return, and if that means watering down the game's ambitions so they can pump up the ROI a few points, they're going to push for that.

Which is different from getting your funding from the players, who would be delighted to push for the complete opposite, because they want an _entertainment_ return.

Re:Excessive greed. (5, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 7 months ago | (#44961173)

Umm, no. That's not his point at all. His point was this: he wants to make a video game. One that is well-made, fun, and follows his vision. The investors simply want money. The means of getting that money are irrelevant (so long as it's legal... well, most investors care about that. Well, the nice ones do, anyways). When you follow the former, you end up with games that are original, interesting, and usually quite fun (Braid, Bastion, Portal, etc.). Sometimes these make money, sometimes they don't. When you follow the latter, you end up with Call of Duty: 2013. This often makes you a lot of money, but it also makes for rather terrible games and stagnation in the industry. Hence, the massive amounts of re-hashed expensive shit that gets shoved out by most of the AAA studios while the actually interesting and novel ideas are relegated to being made on a shoe-string budget in someones garage (usually: not always).

Anyways, Roberts does give the community something, namely, the game. Not money, but what they (and he) actually want. When everyone involved in the project actually wants the same thing, you can focus on that. If he had investors, he'd need to focus at least somewhat on making a game that could earn money. As it stands, even if the game sells zero copies after release, it doesn't matter so long as the gameplay satisfies the crowdfunders.

Re:Excessive greed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44963067)

Which is pretty fucking scary.

The truth is that Roberts (whose games I loved growing up) has been able to swap the "getting paid" portion of development from the part where he actually delivers the game, to the point where he has hyped the concept.

He could serve up a steaming pile of dogshit, and it won't matter because he already has the money. He doesn't even have to please the Kickstarters, as the money they give is more or less no-strings-attached (legally anyway).

Real investors are going to want him to make an actual game, deliver it in a timely fashion, and make it in a way that people will want to buy it. He doesn't have to do any of that for Kickstarters.

He's been successful in arranging the financing in a way that has him answering to no-one (at least in a legal way), and it has him in the position to reap ALL of the financial rewards should he make a game that is a financial success. You on the other hand are guaranteed that you'll buy (having already paid for it via Kickstarter) whatever game he releases (even if it sucks), and you are guaranteed that he will make the game without significant input from a publisher.

The upside for Roberts in enormous, there's literally no way that he can lose. The Kickstarters on the other hand have no guarantees.

Re:Excessive greed. (4, Insightful)

blahplusplus (757119) | about 7 months ago | (#44961367)

"Dude had the funding, but he didn't want to share his profits with the people that were giving him money. Ergo, excessive greed."

At this point, many of us old gamers could give less of a fuck. Publishers have single handledly:

-Dumbed down games
-Stopped making many genre's that used to exist in the past

Gamers are throwing money at projects because we know nothing will get made otherwise. We know some projects will fail, some will take our money, etc. But how's that different from publishers, DRM, Steam, etc? These people have taken our money and fucked us anyway with DRM and all sorts of onerous bullshit rules.

At this point we could care less, the whole gaming world is just once giant exploitation circle jerk with MMO's, F2P and DRM.

When games like wow and diablo 3 are selling virtual items, and Diablo 3 has single player lag... just how exactly are we not getting fucked six ways to sunday?

I didn't buy any of these games, but kids, illiterates and dumbasses who feed corporations aren't going to stop. So what choice to gamers who want games not being made have?

Re:Excessive greed. (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 7 months ago | (#44962717)

Fair enough; I can understand the viewpoint of the funders (we want games that don't suck), but I'm hard pressed to believe that the dev's rationale is as altruistic as some people seem to want to think. He's in it for personal gain, just like any other capitalist.

Publishers have single handledly:

-Dumbed down games
-Stopped making many genre's that used to exist in the past

The first one is a given, but I'm curious about the second: what genres have ceased to exist? I'd like to see more TBS/RTS games like the Total War series, but that's not to say that there aren't any such games being made (although I can't name any off the top of my head).

Re:Excessive greed. (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | about 7 months ago | (#44962809)

"but I'm curious about the second: what genres have ceased to exist?"

What I mean by this is : GOOD GAMES in these genre's have ceased to exist, aka, if you have a constant stream of bad low budget, low quality (unfinished) games in niche genre's, that's the same as having no genre at all. Because it's been reduced to niche status because the people publishing crap there aren't competent or have enough finances to build and polish these games to sufficient quality.

It's all about quality. The word 'genre' can't really capture the complexity of games anyway.

Re:Excessive greed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44963109)

I'm hard pressed to believe that the dev's rationale is as altruistic as some people seem to want to think.

None of us think that, you're just putting words in our mouth.

He's in it for personal gain

No shit he's in it for "personal gain". But there is more to "personal gain" than just "makes me more money". There is also "being able to do something the way that I want to do it". For a car analogy, lets say I really want to build the Homer car. I find some people willing to invest in the concept, but only if I make a few changes to better guarantee that they make money on the project. Not willing to sacrifice my dream, I instead try crowdfunding, where the "investors" aren't looking to make money off my car, they are looking to own one of my cars.

Basically, it's a quality of life thing. Being able to make something the way he wants to make it, instead of some beancounter.

Re:Excessive greed. (1)

osu-neko (2604) | about 7 months ago | (#44963315)

Of course there's personal gain involved. But calling someone greedy for not taking out a loan when they don't need to, thus avoid paying interest, is kinda stupid. Especially so when you call it "excessive" greed. Yes, he did this at least in part to not have to pay investors back with interest for the money they lent. And I, just today, bought a computer with money out of my pocket rather than agreeing to the stores financing plan. Calling me *excessively* greedy for not taking out a loan when I didn't need to just just moronic...

CR figured out how to fund his game without taking investor loans. Good on him. Calling that "excessive greed" is stupidity writ large...

Re:Excessive greed. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44961957)

Dude had the funding, but he didn't want to share his profits with the people that were giving him money.

Correction. Dude had the funding, but did not want to be constrained by the investor's definition of "turning a profit".

Very simplified, but there are three parties at play here. The Developer who is making the game, The Investor who is paying The Developer to make the game, and The Consumer who will buy the game. The Investor isn't giving away free money, they want a return on their investment. That generally translates into The Investor having a say in what kind of game The Developer makes, which may mean rehashing a classic formula instead of trying something new. Which there is nothing wrong with that, but this dude did not want to be limited in such a manner. By making The Investor and The Consumer one and the same, you change the desired return on investment from "I want money" to "I want a bitchin' game".

Is it possible that the decision to use Kickstarter actually is about greed? Sure. But without some kind of proof from you, it is far more likely that he really does just want to make a bitchin' game, and you are nothing but a troll.

Re:Excessive greed. (1)

Feyshtey (1523799) | about 7 months ago | (#44962443)

You assume that your average game actually produces a notable profit under traditional investment terms. Many lose money, and few really roll in massive cash. In fact the goal of a lot of game developers is to break even, and get a little money back into their pockets. That's a hell of a lot more possible on a kickstarter model than under the thumb of someone like Microsoft or EA, who not only requires a significant percentage of any net profits, but also strongarms the design and regularly derails the design goals of the game creators.

Returns (2)

phorm (591458) | about 7 months ago | (#44962703)

Having those close to the "investors" setting parameter on technical/gameplay details has them tied to highest-possible financial returns instead of product quality.
In the case of certain big gaming studios, a bad release doesn't even seem a setback any more as they'll just buy out the (smaller) competing shops leaving you with no other choice.

You can create a great game that makes a good/great profit. The problem is that when you start involving those close to the "investors" they want to cut the razors edge between not-fun-enough-to-sell VS crap-that-makes-more-money. Instead of profits based on game sales, you end up with "features" that increase profit but detract from game value such as:
a) Rushed release with poor testing (particularly common when a "big shop" buys out a successful small shop, cuts staff, and imposes sequelitis)
b) 0-day DLC (a.k.a cutting content to sell more as "premium" add-ons)
c) Internet-required/Always-on-DRM
d) Sequelitis (a.k.a interesting, original ideas are too risky and thus do not materialize)
e) In-game ads, including content-updates/downloads that exist just to update advertising
f) Paid DLC/items/levelling/etc
g) Multiplayer-required (good single-player games are becoming increasingly rare)
h) Analytics and personal-information scraping (getting particularly bad on mobile games etc asking for unreasonable permissions)
i) Console/mobile targeted games (may exist on PC but is controls are obviously intended for console)

Re:Returns (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 7 months ago | (#44963819)

So... kinda like this? [theoatmeal.com]

Fair enough.

Re:Returns (1)

phorm (591458) | about 7 months ago | (#44964475)

Somewhat, though in the case of the web design it's more a client who doesn't know crap about design VS in games where it's a producer who cares almost exclusively about profit and doesn't give a sh*t about design...

I think his point... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44962403)

Is that they're using other people's money to bootstrap their game/business/etc then retaining all profits of it. Unlike with the traditional investment backing kickstarter doesn't allow 'financial' returns to the donators which means the creator(s) are sole owners of their work on someone else's dime.

Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but I think more people need to consider treating kickstarter as a 'works for hire' type solution which would have the added benefit of keeping these guys churning out new works because that'd be the only way they'd be getting new funding (rather than residuals from previous works, which might lead them to become complacent... How long has it been since Chris Roberts did anything that the majority of slashdotters would consider memorable?)

Feature creep, delays? (2)

sinij (911942) | about 7 months ago | (#44960961)

I read TFA (don't judge) and all I could see is feature creep and delays written all over the project. EA's death marches to release should be avoided at all costs, but polar opposite is not any better.

Re:Feature creep, delays? (3, Insightful)

schneidafunk (795759) | about 7 months ago | (#44961011)

Yea a quote like this "My agenda is to build the coolest game possible." is nice in theory, but deadlines with budget constraints have an effect of pushing products to market. I'm assuming the Duke Nukem Forever team had similar goals.

Re:Feature creep, delays? (1)

westlake (615356) | about 7 months ago | (#44962477)

Yea a quote like this "My agenda is to build the coolest game possible." is nice in theory, but deadlines with budget constraints have an effect of pushing products to market. I'm assuming the Duke Nukem Forever team had similar goals.

There is a need for someone who can look at your game objectively ---

particularly when "coolness" is defined by a character or genre that has been dormant for ten to fifteen years or more.

Re:Feature creep, delays? (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about 7 months ago | (#44962823)

Yea a quote like this "My agenda is to build the coolest game possible." is nice in theory, but deadlines with budget constraints have an effect of pushing products to market. I'm assuming the Duke Nukem Forever team had similar goals.

Exactly. Back in the early 90s, a bunch of the biggest names in comics decided they were sick of the commercial constraints and lack of creative control they were getting from Marvel and DC, so set out to make a bunch of independent studios all published under a single brand: Image Comics.

When some of the new titles slowed to publishing once every six months, the creators defended themselves by stating they wanted to create the best comic possible, and weren't going to release an inferior product, just to meet a publishing deadline. As you may imagine, this didn't result in a very agreeable experience for the reader...

Re:Feature creep, delays? (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 7 months ago | (#44961041)

IT depends on your point of view.

If you ignore the kickstarter and only buy the game once it's made, EA's death marches gives you shitty games every time, while the polar opposite gives you failed projects (which you just ignore) and great games (which you can then buy).

Re:Feature creep, delays? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44961879)

I would agree, these crowd funding games are targeted toward a certain gamer. And the biggest problem facing commercial gaming is there rush to push a game out, or copy cat themselves with no real difference in the game play, that includes how characters move, graphics, general overall play. I think these people obsess over games, both makers and players..

But the flip side to indie game makers you never know when they are going to release a game, between not having enough people to build the game, or constantly adding to the game, which is great, but they should save ideas for the next release, keeping people interested, or at best drawing in a new crowd.

EA has some decent ideas but people that are fans of there's don't even know what they want. I remember the NFS:MW being called out on better graphics then game play, and you hear the what happened to both (game play+graphics) argument. I think there games are shitty.

Rockstar or Take-Two Interactive outside the GTA series just repeat themselves by releasing copy cat games of that series. And while you will get arguments over whether the GTA series is any good, it is a video game, and the quirks that they intentionally add is what makes it interesting, they have a good balance of humor and realistic game play. I think RockStar would be better off becoming an indie maker, and since they have been tagged A-Adult, they should just add anything and everything including nudity into the game, just to rub it into the censors faces. But anything new or any ideas they could have added are put on hold until the next release. And they have been known to quietly keep an eye out on forums, and GTA sites as to suggestions or things they could add to the game. The way the police interact with the character are from several suggestions that they used in GTAIV and GTAV..

Spoilers (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 7 months ago | (#44960979)

What I don't like about Kickstarter is the long time before I start wanting something and I get it.

I like it to exist. It allows many projects that would otherwise be abandoned. I just don't want to know about them until they are ready to ship the product.

Knowing about the amazing toys I may have in a year's time makes me appreciate less those I've got right now.

Re:Spoilers (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about 7 months ago | (#44961907)

Same for me, seems people who I know that frequently kickstart, take the stance that they do enough so that it's staggered out.

One month they'll get a get, then two months later another game, and two months later another game, etc...

FTFY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44960997)

But that doesn't mean there aren't occasional high-profile implosions, like CLANG."

Star Citizen is an abberation (3, Insightful)

Tridus (79566) | about 7 months ago | (#44961009)

At the rate Star Citizen is raising money, it's going to have an AAA budget before it comes out. It happened to hit the sweet spot of a known creator with a proven track record, good timing, and a genre with a lot of fans starved for a game. It's been marketed well, and the early previews have been good to wet the appetite (there's no meat available yet).

The sheer amount of money they've got (almost $20 million) makes it so unusual that it doesn't make a good example. Even if the game is a resounding success (and I sure hope it is) it's not a good example to follow because so few crowdfunded projects can get even close to that in funding.

What other projects CAN learn from them is to not stop fundraising just because your Kickstarter is over. Beyond that, it's just too weird to draw any kind of conclusions from.

Re:Star Citizen is an abberation (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44961083)

Mighty No. 9... Shantae...

These are two other success stories along the same lines.

Re:Star Citizen is an abberation (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about 7 months ago | (#44961965)

In terms of general success, yes they are comparable and there are quite a few. But in terms of money not so much.

SC has raised over 40x times it's initial budget request, while MN9 has thus far not even reached 3x. Could change but it's rate has been slowing.

Re:Star Citizen is an abberation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44961211)

I think you missed the best thing other project can learn from them, KEEP TALKING TO YOUR BACKERS. So many of these project try to follow a traditional model, take the money, go underground for a couple years and release the game afterword.

While your backers are not exactly the same as normal investors, they are taking a risk with you like an investor would. You need to keep them in the loop, more so even because they aren't asking for as much in return.

Re:Star Citizen is an abberation (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about 7 months ago | (#44961987)

Issue is you then risk making a game by committee, and we've seen it happen many times by traditional Devs that it's rarely a good thing, and at best are medicore. Often times games with a clear and inspired vision end up being or the better or bombing terribly.

Re:Star Citizen is an abberation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44962461)

Issue is you then risk making a game by committee

Only if you have no plans for how it should go. You already have the donations, there is no harm in sharing your progress and asking for input on relatively minor aspects of the game. As a backer for Shadowrun Returns, I was polled about minor things like "what's the second location we should make art resources for?" and "which logo do you want on the backer t-shirt?", but not things like "should we try to fully implement 4th edition rules?"

You can retain the support of backers simply by telling them, "the combat system is looking good, it's a little different than I first envisioned, but here's a demo video," and even if some people decide they are no longer interested in your product at all, you have their funds already and you can probably keep them if you answer their complaints politely, without the need to cave at every criticism.

You know how you solve that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44963181)

Ask them to write a 5000 word essay on why this feature is necessary.

The majority won't, the few that will will either convince you by the end of the essay or have you bored by the end of the first paragraph.

This would help cut down on the chaff and ensure that you get a formal enough concept to be able to work into the plan if it is in fact a solid feature request/omission/change.

Re:Star Citizen is an abberation (2)

WilliamGeorge (816305) | about 7 months ago | (#44963617)

The thing I am loving about Star Citizen is that there *is* meat already. The final game is a long way off, but there is already a hangar module where several of the early ships can be seen and interacted with if you have contributed toward the game. By doing this they are keeping backers interested, and also involving us in the development process. We can send feedback, find bugs, etc *way* before any sort of formal open beta would begin.

They are also doing a really great job of feeding tidbits about the progress on a daily basis, with a weekly streaming tv show and official fiction / lore too. Would this work for every potential crowd-funded game project out there? No - you are correct that it takes a combination of factors to get people into something like this... but there is a ton for those who want to mimic SC's success to learn from here. And if it does end up being even 75% of the game they have promised, I think we will see more gamers being willing to back similar projects in the future.

Crowdfunding could be the future (3, Informative)

harvestsun (2948641) | about 7 months ago | (#44961029)

Although Kickstarter and its ilk have plenty of flaws (for instance, that you probably will never see any returns on your investments), I see crowdfunding as having an important place in the information age. It takes the money and power from the big publishers, and gives it back to the developers and customers, respectively. And it allows the existence of niche projects which most companies would deem as "too risky".

I see the same kind of thing happening with music as well, with sites like bandcamp. As I recall, Radiohead made much more money selling pay-what-you-want copies of "In Rainbows" than they did with all their previous albums put together. Realistically, I don't see the recording industry dying any time soon, but at least we now have financially viable alternatives. It allows things to exist that simply could not have existed otherwise.

No it won't be the future (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 7 months ago | (#44961507)

It'll be part of it, but not THE future. There is still plenty of room for publishers. There is a demand, a large one, for big, well produced, titles. People like the stuff you can get from a game that has a $20-50 million budget (or even more), that you just don't see from crowd funding. Publishers are very useful for funding titles that have a widespread appeal. They can risk a bunch of money because the chance on return is good since the games have a broad enough appeal.

Crowd funding is more for titles that there's a sizable group that is interested in, but not a really huge one. You can get a smaller amount of funding and build a more specialized title, to give particular fans what they want.

That is largely what we've seen in terms of KS successes. Developers have gotten a couple million dollars, which is enough to do a game (see Shadowrun Returns) but not with all the polish of a AAA title.

So both are likely to continue.

Re:Crowdfunding could be the future (1)

Andy_R (114137) | about 7 months ago | (#44963047)

Kickstarter for video games is problematic, because it's not a nice easy 'do to this will cost that' system. For board games, it's great - the game is ready to be put into production and kickstarter lets the publisher fund the bit that needs to be paid out to a third party to make 1000 nice duplicates of their rough cardboard prototype. If demand is high, the quality and number of components can go up, if it's too low to make production worthwhile, then investors lose nothing.

For video games it's not so clear what overfunding achieves, since doing more adds complexity that will likely slow down delivery. High (say 500% +) levels of overfunding will either disappoint if the game cost it's original funding level to make and the developer pocketed the rest, or make the final product drastically different to the original plan.

This (coupled with the fact that I got roped into do some of the advertising for it) is probably why I've backed a boardgame and a wallet on kickstarter, and an album on Pledgemusic, but never a video game.

Re:Crowdfunding could be the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44963091)

It'd be interesting to see a similar site where backers actually DO see a return on investment as well.

It would be more complicated to put something like that in place, but it would most likely need to exist as a website feature, you get paid through the website as the developers of the content report back their figures and see they need to pay X amount of money to the website, either in full or in parts, etc.

If someone could find a way to make such a site with very little hassle to all parties involved, they would make a killing.
Now that would change the face of investments indeed.

Re: Crowdfunding could be the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44964665)

what you are talking about would be ilillegal in the US.

Re:Crowdfunding could be the future (1)

GiganticLyingMouth (1691940) | about 7 months ago | (#44965261)

As I recall, Radiohead made much more money selling pay-what-you-want copies of "In Rainbows" than they did with all their previous albums put together.

Uhhh then you recalled incorrectly. They made more on OK Computer alone than from In Rainbows.

Are = aren't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44961069)

Should read "But that doesn't mean there aren't occasional high profile..."

Different Viewpoint (2)

Fnord666 (889225) | about 7 months ago | (#44961085)

Chris Roberts, who created the well-known Wing Commander series in 1990, managed to raise millions of dollars on Kickstarter last fall for his upcoming Star Citizen, eventually collecting so much money from individual backers that he could return the budget he'd taken from "formal" investment firms. "Even nice investors, they want a return at some point. They have a slightly diff agenda than I do," Roberts told Slashdot. "My agenda is to build the coolest game possible."

Herein lies the difference. Kickstarter backers are not seen as actual investors in the project by the project owners, but rather as a way to informally fund games that the developers want to work on without feeling like there is any real obligation to those who funded it. To paraphrase what Chris Roberts stated, he couldn't care less if it ever makes any money as long as he gets to build the "coolest game possible". Without the incentive/pressure of investors looking for a return however, there will always be "just one or two more things" to finish up and the game will never actually get released.

Re:Different Viewpoint (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | about 7 months ago | (#44961177)

It's a risk. I've backed five or six crowdfunded projects, the ones that funded seem to be doing okay. If one of them fails, well, that's the risk that I took. I'll be disappointed, I'll ask questons, but in the end it was my decision to risk the money.

Re:Different Viewpoint (2)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | about 7 months ago | (#44961237)

Yes, but what exactly are you getting for assuming this risk? If the game fails, you're out the money, but the developer still got his living expenses paid for a number of months. If the game succeeds, he makes a ton of money and you get squat. Kickstarter funders are basically assuming all of the risk and getting none of the oppurtunities.

Re:Different Viewpoint (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44961317)

Kickstarter funders are basically assuming all of the risk and getting none of the oppurtunities.

Well, besides the backer rewards (if any) and the satisfaction some people feel from helping something out financially, but let's just ignore those facts and people long enough for your point to make any sense at all.

Re:Different Viewpoint (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 7 months ago | (#44961483)

Besides an early release of the game you mean.

Honestly they should release even earlier. Lets see alphas being given out to the backers.

Re:Different Viewpoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44962127)

Giving out beta and alpha access is a time-honoured tradition for kickstarter. It's rarer to find a game project that DOESN'T have access to development versions as part of the reward. It's good for developed too: QC testing, focus groups, balancing etc all precisely targeted at you target demographic, and performed by people who have a vested interest in the game being as good as possible. That's probably the real gain of crowdfunding a game: everyone involved is dedicated to the goal of "good game" rather than "good return".

Re:Different Viewpoint (1)

Sabriel (134364) | about 7 months ago | (#44963205)

If the game succeeds, you get a game you would not otherwise have.

Re:Different Viewpoint (1)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | about 7 months ago | (#44964615)

If the game suceeds, I'll be able to get the game anyways, even though I haven't contributed a dime to the kickstarter.

Re:Different Viewpoint (1)

Sabriel (134364) | about 7 months ago | (#44967223)

First, if enough potential backers think like you do, the game won't get funded, and you won't get the game.

Also, backers may get the game cheaper and may get early alpha/beta access and the ability to give feedback that helps improve the game.

Re:Different Viewpoint (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44961619)

I'm going to take a pot-shot and guess you haven't been closely following what has been happening with Star Citizen?

So far they have released the update-platform and hanger module on their self-imposed deadline. Updates have come out to these modules a couple of times a week. They contenue to put out updates both technical and in-lore information on (business) daily basis. Chris has been one of the most responsible-to-the-community developers I have ever seen.

Second, the majority of this is an online game, so if you have to push out with something missing, that's okay, you just do an update (that system is in place and tested).

Other good projects (1)

phorm (591458) | about 7 months ago | (#44962923)

There are a few other projects that I feel very "involved" with in terms of how the devs communicate with backers.
These ones have regular progress updates to backers, and - more importantly - the updates give the impression that the devs are quite passionate about their work
* Mighty #9 is fairly fresh but updates are nearly daily
* Leadwerks/Linux gets regular updates
* Planetary Annihilation has good progress and updates, and is steadily moving from Alpha through to Beta
* Openshot is pretty good at passing updates

I've been less impressed by a few other projects that seemed to spend a lot of time sending emails like: Hey, send money to my self/buddies for this other *great* project. SpaceVenture was one that started out like this. It's great that people are making stuff like the old classic sierra games, but I didn't pay to slammed with ads about it.

Re:Different Viewpoint (1)

BergZ (1680594) | about 7 months ago | (#44962121)

"Without the incentive/pressure of investors looking for a return however, there will always be "just one or two more things" to finish up and the game will never actually get released."

Sure, but the other side of that coin is that Chris Roberts retains full creative control over the project.
No focus groups or market testing to ensure that the game will be as profitable as possible (and, as a side effect, water down the game).

Similarly, with movies, I can't think of an example of a movie where I liked the theatrical release better than the director's cut.

Re:Different Viewpoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44962447)

I look at it like this: Kickstarter is a formal way to collect pre-sales. The benefit of paying in advance (typically the price of the product you might buy to try anyway) is that you might get something that you like that otherwise wouldn't be made. I think there is a real value in this - it is helpful to the indie scene, but perhaps unfortunately (depends on who you are) it is proving especially useful to the established players as well.

Re:Different Viewpoint (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44963009)

> Without the incentive/pressure of investors looking for a return however, there will always be "just one or two more things" to finish up and the game will never actually get released.

This isn't necessarily true given modern indy game release patterns, though. There's always "just one or two more things" but you can always add those on in a later patch. Minecraft and Dwarf Fortress are both games that still add "just one or two more things" on a semi-regular basis, despite having first been released to the public _years_ ago.

Like CLANG? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44961285)

CLANG's not an imploded game. It's a low-budget prototyping effort meant to show the concept to people with real money so that it (or something along those lines) can be built for real. Contributors got the stuff they were promised (including a downloadable demo of the work so far) and the CLANG people are still talking to money people. Work on the project is on hold until more money can be had. This would be a different conversation if the CLANG kickstarter had been about raising the substantially bigger pile of cash needed to produce a finished product. But they couldn't have been clearer about what it was about, and that's what they did. And so far, attracting a pile of cash to build a finished product is proving just as difficult for them as it is for pretty much everybody else right now.

Rich getting Richer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44961369)

This is exactly why the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. The rich: Zach Braff, Rob Thomas (Veronica Mars), Chris Roberts, and others are convincing the poor (you) to fund their projects with your money, and then charge you later for the privilege of using it. They're charging you twice, and you're happily paying for it. All the while, they're not out a dime of their own money, but get to reap the benefits of selling their product at a later time (or just keeping your money and never getting the project off the ground).

Re:Rich getting Richer (2)

Fallen Kell (165468) | about 7 months ago | (#44962715)

Except that in the case of Star Citizen, you get the game with a pledge of $35+. That isn't a bad deal considering that AAA games go for $60 now when they first come out.

Re:Rich getting Richer (1)

DahGhostfacedFiddlah (470393) | about 7 months ago | (#44963271)

This is exactly why the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.

It is? Why the hell aren't we banning Kickstarter then? We could have this wealth-disparity problem licked in a year!

CLANG? (1)

88NoSoup4U88 (721233) | about 7 months ago | (#44961727)

It seems a bit unfair to throw CLANG into the mix with these games:
CLANG was started by the author Neil Stephenson, and people are surprised how, by golly, the guy doesn't know the intricacies of game development (and its costs)?
I found it incredibly strange to see how succesful that Kickstarter was, since it's the same as a reknown gamedesigner asking money to write a book...

The other examples are people who have been veterans in the gamedesign industry, and whereas not automatically flawless, they will at least also know about the possible pitfalls of development.

Other favorite developers on Kickstarter? (1)

Biosci777 (2785273) | about 7 months ago | (#44961895)

What other famous game devs have tried this? I'd love to see what Chris Taylor (Total Annihilation, Dungeon Siege) could do with this.

Re:Other favorite developers on Kickstarter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44962651)

Chris did try this route...

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gaspoweredgames/wildman-an-evolutionary-action-rpg/posts

Re: Other favorite developers on Kickstarter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44962811)

Have you seen Planetary Annihilation yet?

Bad trend (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 7 months ago | (#44962083)

I think Kickstarter is having a negative effect on game developers, and it's certainly not doing any favors for gamers.

When it becomes easier to collect money for promising a game than it does to do the hard work and actually produce and release a good game, you'll see what's happening now: a regression in PC gaming.

Over the past several years, there has been something of a renaissance in PC gaming. Skyrim, Far Cry 3, Dishonored, etc. Big games that deliver plenty of value to the consumer. Games, like Skyrim and Far Cry 3 that you can easily put 50-100 hours (or more) and still enjoy. Games that fire up a whole community.

2013 has been an awful year for PC gaming. Look at the list of GOTY candidates from a year ago, and ask yourself if there are any games that have been released this year that are nearly as good, or will provide such good value. I believe, though I don't really have any hard data, that the rise of Kickstarter has convinced a lot of AAA developers to just put out their dream game on Kickstarter and start collecting money. It's a hell of a lot easier than dealing with a big game company and all the hassles, plus when you go that route, the company actually expects you to release something.

Instead, we have a list of promises. Trailers. Trailers announcing the release of a new trailer. Where are the AAA sim racing games this year? Where is the big blockbuster like GTA V for PC this year. Everything is "later". Has there ever been a Kickstarted game that released on schedule?

At least when you give your money to a game company, you get a game, not a promise. If the Kickstarter campaign doesn't produce a game, what do you get besides a new item on your credit card?

If you're going to give somebody money up front, you need to get more than a promise. We have a very well-known system for doing that, it's called "investing". If I'm going to give somebody my money up front so they can make a game, I want a share, however small, of the profits. Besides the novelty, there is absolutely no incentive to donate to a Kickstarted game. Zero. If the game's worth making, then do the work and find backing. But not donations...real backing. You can do it using crowd-funding, but give people real value for the risk they're taking, not just a promise that they'll get a copy of an alpha release when and if the game ever comes out.

I liked Kickstarter for games at first. Thought it was innovative and could produce games that could never be made otherwise. Because there is no accountability, that hasn't happened.

Re:Bad trend (1)

Dan667 (564390) | about 7 months ago | (#44962465)

to each his own. I hated most of the titles you highlighted you like as bland derivatives and am really looking forward to many of the Kickstarter games and like the constant stream of info on development. I also like that with Kickstarter you can influence what types of games get made and support freeing Game Designers from companies only interested in the lowest common denominator for a marginal return instead of focusing on making a great game.

Re:Bad trend (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 7 months ago | (#44966693)

Fair enough. What's the best game that you've ever gotten through donating to Kickstarter?

What's the best game that was ever created using Kickstarter funding?

Re:Bad trend (1)

Dan667 (564390) | about 7 months ago | (#44967445)

FTL is pretty fun, but from what I have seen from the development blogs I am really anticipating Wasteland 2 and Project Eternity.

What time of year is it? (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 7 months ago | (#44962759)

You might note that all the games you listed were released later in the year. This is normal. The top flight titles come near Christmas since they sell better. October and November and December are the big release times. Checking my little OS clock, we don't seem to be in October yet.

There's also the additional issue of the new console releases, which devs will hold games for since that is a big money thing in more ways than one.

I haven't seen this year as being bad.

Re:Bad trend (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44962789)

If you value a game by how long it takes to finish, then developers make games that are full of repetitive stuff that take as long as they can convince you to spend in the game.

The result of this is games that are great for people who have nothing to do but game, but crappy for people who want an amazing game experience *without* having to spend a pile of time on "make-time" projects to get the "time to finish" score of the game up.

Most AAA titles could be made much "better" for me if they took the least fun/interesting 90% of the game and dropped it. It goes from a 100-150 hour game to a 10-15 hour game with only the best parts.

There is a tonne of media out there, and spending time on sub-par media is time you never get back to spend on the better stuff.

Skyrim, Far Cry and Dishonored are all uninteresting. If I had nothing better to do but play games and a limited budget to buy them, I might find them interesting. Braid, on the other hand, is *good enough* that even if I have great thing to do otherwise, playing Braid is worth it.

Portal and (to a lesser extent) Portal 2 are also in this category.

My measure for a game is not hours of my life I spend per dollar invested, but awesome per hour of my life.

Re:Bad trend (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 7 months ago | (#44966719)

I didn't say how it mattered how long it took my to "finish" a game. I was referring to how long I spent playing it. There have been games that I've finished in 20 hours, but went back to time and again. Or went further into side missions, or online play.

The length of the main campaign isn't that important (although, there has never been a game so awesome that a 6-hour campaign was worth the $60 that AAA titles now go for). For example, as interesting as the story was, Bioshock Infinite was a total ripoff.

I see Kickstarter for games as being in the same category as Free2Play and Online Only. Just another way to try to give people less than they pay for.

Good luck (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about 7 months ago | (#44962153)

I sincerely hope it's successful. Chris Roberts has a reasonably awesome game-CV behind him (Wing Commander, Strike Commander, etc). I believe he can do it.

However....

While the ongoing waterfall of funding comes in, one of the things Kickstarter projects to is 'stretch goals' - funding hits a big benchmark, some new thing will be added to the scope of the project.

That makes it hard right now to discern whether the 'stretch goals' are reasonable, or a sign of nascent project bloat. I'm reminded of many venture-cap-funded developments in the dotcom days, and projects that suffered not from a lack of funding, but a surfeit: there was no incentive on focusing on a reasonably-achievable project and do it right, to completion, full stop. Everytime a wave of new funding came in, projects' goals would be raised, a host of new features would be projected, and the only thing growing faster than the funding were the aspirations.

So for me the jury's out. I certainly won't wager, er 'invest' in the Kickstarter. If it comes, I'll certainly buy it. But I'm not just paying to see the Egress, either.

Re:Good luck (1)

Fallen Kell (165468) | about 7 months ago | (#44962821)

I think in the case of Star Citizen at least, the "stretch" goals were all originally planned, he just wasn't sure if there would be money to get to those features. For instance, the current stretch goal is FPS combat in other locations other than boarding ships. Given that the game engine itself is a FPS engine, this isn't feature creep, just something he wasn't sure he could do while making the space combat game, but was something he hoped he could do (I mean, think about it, why should combat only be limited to when you are in a ship if there are times when you might not be in a ship, you should still be in a situation where you might be attacked or want to attack someone else, why should the game mechanics force you to not be able to do something like that?).

Point in fact, every "stretch goal" was something he wanted to have the game do. He prioritized them internally in his mind as to, well if I had to get rid of something from this game, those things would be X, Y, and Z, and then he placed them up in stretch goals that are further away from what was needed to make the core game.

The article missed a LOT out... (1)

Phyr3Ph0x (3285705) | about 7 months ago | (#44962437)

Chris started the Kickstarter for SC to prove to investors that there was still a call for this type of game. EA et al. have refused to invest in this sort of game for years as there was "no interest in space exploration games" but Chris wanted to prove that there was. The initial goal of $2M was seen as HUGE at the time. It made that goal with no problems. Funding was also flowing in via the Star Citizen site and hasn't stopped since! With the crowdfunding that has happened, Chris is now able to make the game that he (and all of the fans that have pledged) want's to make. The kickstarter was but a small part of it all. It brought awareness to the masses that the game might not have, had they stayed with just their site for funding. There was a comment of "People who are sure of their product use their own money..." somewhere up in the thread... Chris spent 12+ months choosing an engine and making a tech demo before any of it even started. THAT was his own money put into the game. The kickstarter video featured in-engine visuals of what was possible. HIS investment of time and money made that happen. Another comment was about feature creep. Nothing that has been released with the stretch goals is creep. They have all been planned for, depending on the budget. They are not making things up on the spur of the moment for if they get to a certain amount of money. By keeping the pledgers well informed of what is happening, as well as listening to their opinions, Chris has allowed the community to see a hell of a lot more of the design process than any game previously created. The release of the hangar demo has also helped. Getting bug reports and feedback from the community WAY before it would normally be seen. They have just hit the $20 MILLION mark. Chris has said that at $23M EVERYTHING will have been crowd-funded to make the game. That includes all the credit charges they have to pay for transactions and the % they have to pay Kickstarter. It seemed that it was a long way off just a few short months ago. Now it seems inevitable, and at this rate, will happen by the end of the year. For those that want to read more into Chris' ideas about crowd-funding and Kickstarter, have a look here : http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/200998/chris_roberts_on_star_citizen_.php [gamasutra.com] And for anyone that's interested in the game but not looked, have a read of the articles on the website or drop by the forums: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/ [robertsspa...stries.com]

Crowdfunding = mortal threat to Wall Street (1)

echtertyp (1094605) | about 7 months ago | (#44962467)

I will be surprised if there is not soon some quiet legislation enacted in the U.S. and the U.K. to effectively kill crowdfunding (eg Kickstarter).

Consider that a typical ownership cut demanded by venture capitalists in California (3000 Sand Hill Road types) is 30 to 50 percent. Kickstarter or Kickstarter clones could do very well just by saying if you (the individual) invest in XYZ and it pans out, you'll get your share of the 10 percent equity slice reserved for investors. So it could be easy for knowledgeable engineers, technicians and scientists to "play" the investment game via Kickstarter, using their insights from work experience, and do pretty well over the long haul. For start up founders, giving up 10% via Kickstarter is hella better than giving up 50% to 3000 Sand Hill Road folks. Why torture yourself trying to impress plump VC guys to give you 10 minutes and take 50% of your future profits, when you can just lay out your idea on Kickstarter and let the subject matter experts vote with their dollars?

Crowdfunding is therefore to the Anglo-Saxon financial elites what the comet was to the dinosaurs.

Therefore it would make sense that chaps such as Mitt Romney and friends are working quietly but very hard on getting crowdfunding outlawed or marginalized. Watch what happens in the next few years. This will of course only accelerate the decline of R&D and technological leadership in the U.S., but for the $$$ elites, that is some future generation's problem.

Player Created Content - the one further step (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44964599)

They should take the kickstarter thing even further (and break thru the rut games are in these days)

Player created assets for the game.
Not just objects, assemblages of objects , but quest scripts, tool plugins, tutorials, template of all of the above to make it easier for others to create....

Yes there will be legal issues and a heavy vetting process (and a community to organize for this scheme to be effective), but players have 1000X the creativity and imagination and potential effort that the games employees will have (really important if its to be a persistant MMORPG).

A games assets cost huge $$$$ and all the player contributions would be free (apart from the easy to use tools the company will have to provide/facilitate).

People will play the game simply to be able to create things for the game universe and the rest of the players will share in the product of those efforts.

Its an idea that is going to happen. But it will take some daring and risk (something most game companies want to do little of)

If you open source it afterwards... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44964857)

Sure, mister gaming-legend-who-for-some-reason-doesn't-want-to-finance-his-own-game, I'll chip in some money. If you promise to open-source and release all rights to the game in, say, six months.

Pros)

You still get to make the game you've dreamed of making (since that's what it's all about, right? Definitely not about the money!)
Kickstarter backers still get the game when it's done
Everyone else gets it for free six months later
No giant publishing company gets to pick up the game and make a fortune in profit without having to lift a finger or assume any risk

Cons)

You don't get to make a huge personal profit (but it's not about you making a profit from it right? It's all about getting to make that dream game you wanted!)

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