Video games on Kickstarter continue to struggle thanks to fading consumer confidence

Earlier this week, we got SuperData’s mid-year report on the booming video game industry, the enormous multinational congloms rolling around in piles of cash-shop money. But that’s just one side of the story. ICO Partners released its mid-year report on Kickstarter video games, and whether it’s good news depends on your view of Kickstarter on the whole.

Essentially, the biannual metrics show that Kickstarter’s total amount pledged peak — at least for successful video game projects — was back in early 2013. The market plummeted in 2014, resurged in 2015 (but not back to peak), and collapsed again in 2016. The pattern isn’t repeating, however. While the first half of 2017 was ever so slightly higher than the datapoints from last year, it’s still far lower than any half-year period prior to 2016.

“The Video Games subcategory is very dependent on hits when looking at the total amount of money raised,” ICO says. “In that sense, the first half of 2017 has been the best semester since 2015. And yet, this is a far cry from the best semesters in that subcategory.”

Where’s all the money going? Tabletop games. In fact, in 2017 so far, people have poured more than 7 times as much money into successful tabletop game Kickstarters as successful video game Kickstarters. That doesn’t surprise me, as every project I’ve backed in that category has come to fruition and shipped as promised. I can’t say that about all the video games I’ve backed.

Indeed, for video game crowdfunding, “the overall trend is one of decline,” GI.biz’s Rob Fahey argues, and the reason is failing consumer confidence, specifically in Kickstarted video games — he maintains that the bubble has burst and that video games are singularly unsuited for crowdfunding anyway.

“As developers big and small flocked to crowdfunding platforms in the early 2010s, lots of notes of concern were sounded. Many of the projects being funded were clearly over-ambitious; even some developers with great track records were pulling in cash for projects that looked disconcertingly open-ended, while some games were being funded despite the teams behind them showing little evidence of being able to execute on their plans. Yet at that point, the crowdfunding market just kept growing and growing; no matter how much hand-wringing there was about the likelihood of failed projects, the money and the hopeful wannabe fundees kept coming.”

“You reach a point where, burned by a couple of failed projects and still waiting to see if many of the others will deliver, there’s a serious case of Kickstarter fatigue that hits you,” Fahey says.

It’s worth noting that Massively OP tracks crowdfunded MMOs every week in our Saturday Make My MMO column, and contrary to popular belief, there are several Kickstarted MMOs that have launched or are publicly playable right now. But I think we’d all like to see more before opening our wallets yet again.

Source: ICO via GI.biz
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94 Comments on "Video games on Kickstarter continue to struggle thanks to fading consumer confidence"

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primal

outstanding kickstarters i have is

Prey for the gods
Dual universe
decent underground
toejam and earl
and war of rights

cant wait for that toejam and earl loved that game back in the day

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Sur Couf

I am not an expert of crowdfunding in any way. In the past few years I have pledged to 3 games, each time to something equal to what could be an early-access price, like 30 to 40$ max.

– Star Citizen
– War of Rights
– Kingdom Come: Deliverance

The first because I am fully confident in the guy behind the project. Cost me 35$ 3 years ago for what they call a starter pack (Aurora) and I see that since beginning of 2017 there are very positive signs. Still we have to confirm gameplay will be fun when patch will be released, the first big one coming in a couple months or so, but definitively not a scam.

The second because I like everything related to Independance War. A much smaller team but such project tend to bring a lot of volounteer to help provide feedback and assets

The third becasue which child never dreamed about attacking a castle?!

So I can not really talk about Kickstarter struggling but I did not pledged for more project because simply, I am not interested by many and I carefully select each one.

Nick Martin
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Nick Martin

I’ve had decent luck backing projects on Kickstarter… however, it was some well-covered things here that ultimately got me to give up ever backing anything. I know all the white knights will come swarming in at the statement, but Star Citizen is a scam. Even if the “greatest game ever” comes out, it won’t have the features I backed it for (since they continue to ignore it in every update).

Maybe Camelot Unchained will show up, but it’s years late and my desire to play it is long gone at this point. The third game is lesser known project, by one of the lead guys for Civ V, and at this point he basically just ran off with the money and stopped talking to anyone.

Even if these games come out, I’ve moved on and won’t be playing them. A shame, maybe, but I think the bigger shame is that they soured me to Kickstarter more or less forever.

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Malcolm Swoboda

The games I Kickstarted back in the day (2013-2014 latest; I stopped after that):

Torment: Tides of Numinera – Released, but lackluster. Patching though, and I’ll check in… next year? to see what shape its in and whether I want to reward that with buying other stuff from them.
ROAM – Never happened, legal stuff. Waste.
Unwritten: That Which Happened – Never happened. Waste.
ASYLUM – Still getting meaningless updates without a demo.
Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey – Released, and okay. But a very long and slow process for something that in the end wasn’t so fantastic (and in fact was badly performing and clearly had what would have been very useful sections cut out). I’m going to check out its ‘final cut’ version this year for another, perhaps final (unless seeking Steam achievements) playthrough, but I give it 7/10 tops.. which again, is okay. Its about what I gave the last game anyway :P (The Secret World is still the best I’ve experienced from Ragnar T)
Embers of Caerus – Never happened. Waste. An early lesson that Kickstarter MMOs probably don’t work out.
PROJECT AWAKENED – Didn’t reach goal.

Not the best record, yes? However, the ‘prices’ for Torment and Dreamfall Chapters were lower than they otherwise would have been, so that’s nice. I just don’t see the point in doing this thing again unless its a super duper compelling proposal, or I have thousands of dollars lying around.

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Anthony Clark

It’s not a game, but I never got what I paid for from Znaps:

“https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1041610927/znaps-the-9-magnetic-adapter-for-your-mobile-devic”

I got nothing.

That was the Kickstarter that broke my willingness to try any more Kickstarters.

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Schmidt.Capela

The game that did it for me was Elite Dangerous, thanks to it scrapping offline mode a mere month before launch and the company trying to squirm away from providing refunds.

Well, that and the exchange rate issues my country started facing, which coupled with Steam and GOG settling for lower prices here made backing games on KS far more expensive than just purchasing them from Steam. Thus, the money I would usually spend backing indie games on KS I now spend purchasing indie games from Steam and GOG, which is part of the reason I’m well above a thousand games on those two services together.

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Daniel Miller

Chronicles of Elyria MMO
Camalot Unchained MMO
LEGRAND LEGACY – Tale of the Fatebounds
Astoria
Sunless Skies 
Banner Saga 3, 2, 1
A Clockwork Ley-Line – A Visual Novel Trilogy
Valthirian Arc: Red Covenant – Academy for Heroes
A Grand Entrance for Visual Novel Grisaia: Phantom Trigger
Crystalline
Fatal Twelve 
Mages of Mystralia
Sacred Fire: Psychological RPG about revenge and loyalty
Chuusotsu – 1st Graduation – A Visual Novel with Philosophy
AIdol: Artificial Intelligence Idol – A Visual Novel
Minotaur: a point and click visual novel
On Earth As It Is In Heaven – A Kinetic Novel
Eternal Hour
Hoshizora No Memoria
Ramen no Oujisama / The Ramen Prince 
Medieval Shopkeeper
Grisaia: Phantom Trigger Vol.3
Episicava Vol. 1 – A Visual Novel Action/Adventure Epic
ARCANA HEART 3 LOVE MAX SIX STARS!
A Wonderful Welcome for Visual Novel Wonderful Everyday
The Masquerade Killer – Otome Game / Visual Novel
Zold:out – Innovative Anime Style TRPG

Backed all of these. Only one looks like it may not come about.

That would be Project Phoenix

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Rumm

I don’t think it has anything to do with fading consumer confidence. What games are on Kickstarter that are worth backing right now? I can’t actually name a game with any sort of word of mouth.

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Sray

Part of me wonders if one of Crowdfunding’s greatest appeals is actually detrimental to it in the long run: access and open communication from the players to the development team.

-We’ve seen over the last couple years that excessive hype generally tends to be harmful to a game: No Man’s Sky, Mass Effect Andromeda, Mighty No 9, and Yooka-Laylee are all recent examples of games that took it on the chin a hell of a lot harder than they might otherwise have had there not been an excessive amount of hype attached. I’m not trying to tell you that none of the criticism was deserved in any of these cases, but rather that the backlash was probably harsher that it should have been had there been more realistic expectations. Not all of those games were crowdfunded, but the backlash via over-hype is what this example is about.

-Continuous updates and communication from crowdfunded developers (often divulging too much of the process, creating an illusion of faster development than what is actually happening) tend to create hype by increasingly ratcheting up emotional investment; which much easier to do when a person has already also invested financially.

-The more information about the process a crowdfunded developer shares with the investors, the greater the emotional investment, the greater the expectations, the greater the eventual hype, and the greater the backlash if the project fails to live up to what often become unrealistic expectations.

So it’s possible that this information overload from crowdfunded games (compared to information revealed during traditionally funded development) is inadvertently creating the situation where these games cannot possibly hope to live up to the expectations they create as a by-product of their open development. In turn, these continuous disappointments have lead to a degree of distrust and burnout on crowdfunding for video games.

oldandgrumpy
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oldandgrumpy

My wallet closed a while ago for kickstarter’s in general but that was really the result of one of the games I backed wanting to suck up more and more of my money. Oh and not deliver on anything either :)

If what I thought was a worth while kickstarter, like massively, came past I would probably back it. Guess I have got much more cautious and discriminating about kickstarters for video games.

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rafterman

Good. Kickstarter needs to die, as far as gaming is concerned. If you can’t convince the actual money people to make your game it shouldn’t get made. Relying on customers, who more often than not, are left extremely disappointed has proven to be a scummy way to do business. Crowd funding has been abused to death and the only people who get screwed are the backers. Turns out that publishers aren’t the devils that developers want you to believe them to be, and developers are no less slimy.

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zeko_rena

I hate publishers more

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DoomSayer

Sorry but you are completely wrong here. Investors want to maximize their return and won’t invest in risky game ideas. Not only that they tend to dictate a date and cut features and water the game down to make it as mass appealing as possible.

So in your mind a game isn’t worth making if has to use crowd funding? I have backed and gotten Torment: Tides of Numenera, Wasteland 2, Shadowrun Returns, Shadowrun Hong Kong, Double Fine Adventure which were all pretty good games and we would never have seen them had it not been for Kickstarter.

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rafterman

The fact that you’ve been brainwashed to believe that those games wouldn’t be possible without Kickstarter or some other crowdfunding is what is completely wrong. Similar games from other companies managed to get their games made with publishers, there is no reason, other than the developers not wanting to, that all of the above couldn’t get made in a traditional way as well.

Seriously, quit buying the “wouldn’t be made otherwise” nonsense because it’s not true. What is true is that these developers have decided that rather than dealing with the so-called head-aches of publishers they’ve shifted those headaches to their customers. At the end of the day none of those games are better for having been kickstarted rather than using an actual publisher.

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mistressbrazen

I backed Dreamfall Chapters (not an MMO) which did release and was fun to play; TUG, which was chugging along fine and then had a melt down, but who knows they continue to work on it; Wander, which did release in some kind of beta, although I don’t know if anyone still plays it; and of course MassivelyOP and a couple of non-game projects that did well. From this point forward, I’m waiting for as close to a finished product as possible before opening the wallet for a game. No regrets but the KS process is tiring.

Valen Sinclair
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Valen Sinclair

Have not supported any KS since the guy running a WWII card game remake (Up Front) vanished with about $350,000, and delivered zilch. I personally lost $125.

Never again. There’s zero accountability, by KS or the organizer (most of the time). The worst they get is a black eye in the court of public opinion.

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Jack Pipsam

Mighty Number 9 was the final straw for many I think. That was a total disaster and destroyed the confidence of many gamers. Yooka-Laylee didn’t help either.

Personally the last time I backed a kickstarter was in 2015 and it was for this site after Massively got AOL’d.

But I logged in and looked at what I had backed. The first thing I ever backed was the Ouya. Cool idea, but a total blunder (never actually owned the system).

The first game I ever backed was “Project GODUS”, which was Peter Molyneux’s independent venture. This game yet isn’t really finished and might never be finished, but it is in a playable state. I know many are not happy, but I enjoyed my time with the game so I am not too disappointed, enjoyed the behind the scene stuff of it.
Backed Dreamfall Chapters, never actually got a copy of the game despite being entitled to it as I know it did finish, maybe I should look into that.
Then I backed a web-series which I never got around to watching (Doraleous and Associates) which I think is now cancelled?

But then there’s the big the one… I dropped $60 into… drums… Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues!
Yay… I don’t know why I did it, I was an idiot. I think I trish it once pre-steam and thought it was rubbish, never tried it again. Should at some stage I suppose.

The other MMO I backed was Camelot Unchained, I think I am due for Beta 2? But I don’t know anymore what’s going on with that only that its still in development and thankfully looking good.

But out of eight projects I backed between 2012-2015, only two I have fully gotten and consumed. MassivelyOP and a Icelandic album from Árstíðir, they also had the best value, for $15 I got a digital album, a physical album (no shipping cost!) and they sent some Icelandic rock stuff.
Three were finished (I am assuming the web-series is done) but I never got or watched.
Which leaves three unfinished and with the way Godus is, it may never be.

So I have had a good run? I dunno, whatever. I am done with Kickstarter, unless something else major comes and I mean major cuz after MassivelyOP I haven’t given to anything else.

So kids, back music, there’s some value.

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mistressbrazen

Dreamfall Chapters sent all backers keys…you may have missed in among the many, many updates they did. It’s worth checking out. Even though I’m not an adventure game person, I think they did a good job on it.

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Jack Pipsam

I think I looked into at the time a little later and it was something like they were giving the key away through a forum or something instead of just sending it to my PM or email. It was weird if I recall.

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mistressbrazen

Oh I remember that now. They sent the code directly but you did have to go somewhere else to activate it. Forgot all about that. The activation was smooth though. You should try again.

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Daniel Miller

I have backed two mmos. CoE and CU, waiting. Backed about 30 vn’s some got some still ongoing all are good. no regrets. Backed a few rpg games, all good excluding my one regret, Project Phoenix.

I never bought into some big scams Sar citisain, SotA, AOC, and so on.

I did preorer repop, but that was on steam.

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Jeff

“VIDEO GAMES CONTINUE TO STRUGGLE THANKS TO FADING CONSUMER CONFIDENCE”

Fixed.

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Iridescence

Figure I’ve spent about $1000 on KS and for that I’ve got a couple of genuinely good single player games, a whole lot of duds and a bunch of vaporware. I still think KS was originally a noble idea but too many devs abused it and ruined it for others, same with early access. I’m done with all that unless it’s a dev such as Obsidian that I trust to actually deliver a quality game.

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DoomSayer

You need to re-evaluate why you back certain games if this is true for you.

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Dug From The Earth

Ever stop to consider that without it, those genuinely good games, would have never been made?

Your kickstarter backer history would be an interesting read for sure :P

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Armsbend

See – you should have spent maybe 30 or 40 bucks on that. Maybe $100 at full price. But you spent a grand for a handful of good games. Not good.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

sounds like they backeed a loooooot of games and most of them were just shit or never happened. that’s how i read their post :P

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Iridescence

Yeah, most of what I backed either doesn’t exist or was not good (Pathfinder Online and Shroud of the Avatar- which is apparently still begging for money – being the two biggest culprits)

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Dug From The Earth

what backer level did you invest with each of these games? Backing more than the standard price of a game, if you werent comfortable losing that amount, is just bad investing.

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Iridescence

@Dug From The Earth Yes I realize that now. The hype got me and I spent way more than I should have on those two games (in my defense both had very slick sales pitches and seemed like pretty sure bets at the time).

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Fervor Bliss

Since games that do not even funding are on kickstarter and others, using kickstarter as a advertisement it is hard to say if the successes are even real.

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Droniac

The interpretation of these numbers is slightly misleading in that they are exclusive to Kickstarter as a crowdfunding platform.

In 2012 there was no real competition. Now, even Steam Early Access and GOG’s variant of it are competitors. Not to mention the growth of direct competitor sites like IndieGoGo and recently Fig. In 2016 that competition started really pulling major projects away from Kickstarter and that’s continued into 2017.

Fig alone has raised more than half ($5.5m) of what Kickstarter has managed this year, if that $9.4m is accurate. And that’s with just 8 projects. In 2016 Fig also stole heavy hitters away from Kickstarter: Wasteland 3 and Psychonauts 2… good for another tidy $7 million.

Kickstarter was always, for video games, dependent on heavy hitters to gain those huge sums. Some publishers (notably Paradox) have started funding smaller projects, of the type we’d previously see heavy hitter Kickstarters for. The remainder of those heavy hitters are now regularly opting for Early Access or Fig instead, because Kickstarter is still stuck in 2012. Nothing of note has changed on that site since Broken Age, while its competition comes with all sorts of additional benefits (publicity, investment opportunities, built-in player base, etc). Kickstarter is a nightmare to navigate too, even IndieGoGo is miles better in that regard.

As such it’s a nice report on the state of Kickstarter as a platform for video game crowdfunding, but doesn’t accurately reflect “all of video game crowdfunding” on its own. There’s probably a downturn in traditional video game crowdfunding overall even if you add it all up, but it’ll be nowhere near as immense as in this report. And you can’t really view that separately from the immense uptick in Early Access funding either. Let’s not forget that the current #3 (PUBG) and #4 (H1Z1) most popular games on Steam are essentially crowdfunding projects of indeterminate length and indeterminate design with any hope of any kind of final release being many indeterminate years into the future.

Loyheta
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Loyheta

Guess we need some wins. I had fun with yuka laylee but then again there was the repopulation

Zander
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Zander

Don’t blame Massively for using Star Citizen as the headline image. It’s the largest crows funded project ever and justified or not, the game hasn’t been finished yet. It’s also going to get the article more hits using the image, which is what Bree wants.

The link to this article has been deleted already on the Star Citizen subreddit, since it’s not related directly to the game, they don’t want or care about it being posted so don’t bother trying to brigade them here.

About the article; I can’t disagree. Crowdfunding has been a flash in the pan over gaming’s lifespan thus far. It’s shown some but not enough integrity and efficiency in how it’s conducted. Had the scope of been less, I would have never pledged because the risk justified the chance in losing money.

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Paragon Lost

“That doesn’t surprise me, as every project I’ve backed in that category has come to fruition and shipped as promised. I can’t say that about all the video games I’ve backed.” -Bree

Exactly this. My wife and I both back a lot of varied things on Kickstarter and tabletop gaming in general has gone every well for us. Whether board games, dice or tabletop rpg gaming material we’ve had good experiences.

Video games on the other hand….

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Dug From The Earth

Ive never understood the hate for kickstarter and crowd funding in general.

When you compare it to big studio publishers, in my experience, the rate of being disappointed or let down is SOOO much greater than with crowd funded things. People seem a lot less forgiving on the wrong end of the spectrum. Companies with tons of money like EA and Activision are constantly not just letting down and disappointing, but down right screwing over gamers left and right. Despite this, every new game release, its like the majority of players have wiped these publishers slates clean, and are not just willing to give them another shot, but also willing to toss even more money at them via pre-orders, deluxe editions, DLC, etc etc.

Then, enter small company, promising big things, who fumbles and doesnt deliver, and gamers are like “FUUUUUUUUUU” rageface and perma blacklist them, and the platform they attempted to deliver on. I dont hold kickstarter on some golden pedestal by any means. There is no perfect system out there. Not even close. Some of them however, are more steps in the right direction, than others are however. To stomp all over them because they arent there yet, or because they trip along the way, is just counter productive to the industry.

Gamers also need to get their priorities in check, because Kickstarter struggling isnt just the fault of the handful of media hyped failures that happened. Its all the rage and hate the gamers have thrown at them in a very unbalanced fashion as well. Either start doing this (and not opening your wallet) to big companies that screw you over at a bigger level, or step back and get a better perspective of things.

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Iridescence

@Dug From The Earth With a big publsher game you can evaluate it before you buy. I wouldn’t buy the latest Call of Duty game because I’m quite sure I wouldn’t really enjoy it but it delivers pretty much what it says on the tin and many people like that so those games always will sell well. Crowdfunding sells a dream, it gets you all hyped up for something which often the devs can’t possibly deliver and while I’d like to say this is always naivete and incompetence on their part in a few cases it does seem more calculated.

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Dug From The Earth

Well, thats the mentality with crowd funding that gets people hating it I guess. Its not crowd funding thats flawed, its largely the consumers who are.

What it comes down to SHOULD be this:

Crowd Funding = Buyer be AWARE.
AAA Publishers = Buyer BEWARE.

in this case….
AWARE means self realization of what you are actually doing
BEWARE means realization of what someone else is actually doing.

Gamers who crowd fund, and then act shocked, angry and entitled when they dont get what they want, shouldnt be crowd funding in the first place. They are buyers who arent AWARE of what they are actually spending money on. (ie: as you said, a dream, and more so, a dream that isnt guaranteed to come true.)

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Iridescence

I guess you are right. I’m far more AWARE of the realities that crowdfunding rarely delivers a quality product no matter how good the pitch may sound than I used to be. So are a lot of other people and that’s why way fewer are actually throwing money at these devs.

Even from a point of view of improving the industry I now think it’s better to reward devs who actually deliver a finished game rather than these dream merchants and semi-scammers.

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Dug From The Earth

“the realities that crowdfunding rarely delivers a quality product no matter how good the pitch may sound”

see thats entirely subjective.

My experience has been one where ive been overall happy with the results of the things ive backed. (as I mentioned before, its about a 90% success rate).

I think maybe a lot has to do with those who have only backed something 3 or 4 times. If just 1 flops, your success rate is already at 75%. Or those who spent an huge amount, well beyond the normal price of a game, only to have it fail.

For me, the fact that ive got games such as:

Torment
Grim Dawn
Darkest Dungeon
Divinity Original Sin
Pillars of Eternity
Wasteland 2
Several Shadowrun games

Are more than enough to make me feel that crowd funding is a GOOD thing for the gaming industry. All of those games were fun, quality games for me, and werent likely to have been a reality without it.

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Iridescence

Torment was kind of disappointing to me but most of those others are good. Still, compare that to all the disappointing games that have come out or games that simply never were delivered at all. If you buy a lottery ticket and win the jackpot you wouldn’t assume that that is a normal experience for everyone. I’m glad you’ve avoided being burned by crowdfunding but that is just luck.

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Dug From The Earth

” I’m glad you’ve avoided being burned by crowdfunding but that is just luck.”

Or just self restraint.

Plenty of games got me hyped and excited, but I kept my wallet closed. Mostly because I learned a long time ago “Dont judge a book by its cover”. And thats what a LOT of crowd funded games are. Just a really fancy cover.

Luck plays a VERY small role in if a crowd funded game is successful (after its funded).

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Iridescence

From a consumer standpoint there is a huge amount of luck involved in crowdfunding as it is incredibly hard to really research if the company can do what they say they’re going to do. Most Kickstarters (certainly everyone I have backed) have slick videos, people touting their experience and a good concept, these things are a dime a dozen on KS. How can you tell which people actually have the ability to do what they’re promising? The average person really can’t which is why numbers of people prepared to risk money on these schemes is a lot smaller than it used to be.

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Dug From The Earth

Thats faith, not luck.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

in 4 years i’ve been screwed over by kickstarters more times than i have been by every single publisher in the business in 15 years.

and you think video game kickstarter raging is bad, you should see non video game kickstarter raging when a project is late or never delivers. if anything kickstarter video game companies are very extremely lucky that gamers stereotypically rarely litigate against game companies for even legitimate reasons.

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Dug From The Earth

Its been just the opposite for me

over 20 investments, and over a 90% satisfaction rate.

The comedy side of me wants to think you just arent very wise when it comes to investing :P Ive seen the games that have bombed big and screwed people over. I didnt back those games thankfully, although I WAS certainly interested in many of them (unsung being one of them).

On the flip side, I have a HUGE list of games (some of them AAA) that I spent 60 dollars or more on in the last 4 years, that completely disappointed and let me down. (the comedy side of me makes me realize that im not a very wise impulse buyer :P )

Then again, you should be able to expect to get more satisfaction and such from a bigger company just because they have the funds and resources to deliver. Doesnt mean they always do, especially when these companies are instead more focused on doing as little, and spending as little, to make as much money as they can on a game.

Its also important to analyze the term “screwed over”

With crowd funding, you are backing the CHANCE for something to become a reality. Meaning it might not reach the reality stage. If it doesnt, sure, its fine to be disappointed, but is it really getting screwed over? If the devs legit took your money and fled, then thats a different story.

Switch gears to a large company, that is selling you a “finished product” You arent spending money on the chance of it being made. You are spending money on a real, tangible product, that should live up to the description “on the box”. When it doesnt, were you lied to? Did they pull a fast one? I think in these cases, its much more reasonable to feel screwed over, instead of simply disappointed.

For example. Mass Effect Andromeda didnt say on the box:

“Maybe be able to venture to multiple planets, where there is a chance you will see some great voice acting, some great combat, and roll the dice on if you will play through without any game halting bugs or crashes!”

If it DID say those things, then people 1. probably wouldnt have thrown their money at the game, and 2. would have had a real credible gripe against how bad the game was.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

i’ve only kickstarted 4 games, ED, SC, mandate and repop.

so far i have the funnest with SC in terms of the game itself but it’s also many years from development.

repop was going good until idea fabrik fucked over the primary developers.

mandate looked pretty reasonably doable and still does looking at their pitch but went into dev hell last year and now quietly dead.

ED isn’t quite what was pitched and demoed during their ks. and i find it rather tedious adn grindy, which is also not what it was pitched to be.

all of them looked fairly reasonable based on the pitches at the time i backed them. but in each case the dev either reneged on the pitch, went into dev hell, and/or got fucked by partners.

styopa
Reader
styopa

Good.
Kickstarter is a decent concept, but limited in the niches it serves. I’m glad to see it’s dying as a ‘venture capital alternative’.

At least for the gaming community, I believe Star Citizen will be the final nail in its coffin.
Even assuming it launches in this decade (remember, they’re still having trouble getting an ALPHA out the door) and delivers a TERRIFIC game experience, it’s literally impossible for them to fulfill every promise they’ve made.

The expectations they’ve raised simply cannot be met and will lead to great nerdrage and fury.

Probably class-action lawsuits will follow, after which the idea of faith-based giving as an avenue for game development funding will be dead.

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PurpleCopper

Kickstarting a boardgame seems like a thousand times easier than kickstarting a video game.

After all, the creator just prints out a PDF of the rules of the boardgame and some 3d renderings/sketches/prototype model of the actual boardgame/peices, and BAM! you know everything there is to know about the boardgame.

In fact, I don’t eve think that boardgame creators actually use Kickstarter to fund the creation of boardgames, they just use it to market the game and gauge public demand for print run quantities or just outright sell the game on Kickstarter.

But trying to kickstart a video game? How would you as a consumer even know if a video game would turn out good or not? You’d practically need a video demo of the alpha of the game, and even then you’d still not get a good enough picture.

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Reht

Kickstarting potato salad was easier than kickstarting a video game.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

most of the tabletops games on kickstarter are from established companies with proven track records as well, treating ks like a sort of presales (and as you say to guage interest in the game being sold).

i have guildies that do alot of them and coments are often along the lines of “i liked these guys other games so i’ll get this one too”.

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voydd

Finally!

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Tithian

The first massive successes were mostly single player games with scope that could be measured, without feature bloat. It was easy to back those, because at the very worst you’d wait for 2-3 years for release.

Now days everyone tries to kick-start MMOs which have a 5+year development cycle at least, and are very easy to flop. But then again, people rushed to back Ashes of Creation, for some reason I cannot comprehend.

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Veldan

I can tell you my reason: if we want MMOs to have a future, and for the current crappy MMO-scape to evolve into something better, we need to support those trying to make it happen.

Yes, there’s a chance they won’t deliver. I don’t care. I see it as supporting the attempt, not buying a product, so if the project fails, in my eyes I lose nothing.

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MesaSage

Next phase is down-line recruiting. You, too, can be a Regional VP.

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Toy Clown

I’d like to see all the shady business practices development teams have fallen into in funding games disappear. I’m more than happy to give my money for an item. You know! Like walking into a store, picking out something I like and paying for it, then walking out the door with it. That’s what needs to happen with MMOs. I want what I pay for, and I refuse to pay for anything online that I know I won’t have in my hands without a doubt, or without consumer protection.

Most of the MMOs coming out aren’t even quality, and are scams if they open the doors to lock boxes, and use psychology to hook costumers into buying.

Sometimes I think consumers are so hard up for innovation, something new and actually fun that they’re desperately opening their wallets in the hopes of that one MMO.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

speaking of which, the mandate is more or less quietly dead. the studio site is offline, the domains for the game site and forum expire august 19th.

https://www.gamewatcher.com/news/2017-03-08-crowdfunded-space-strategy-rpg-the-mandate-seems-to-be-dead for more.

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Mark Jacobs

And yet, Ashes of Creation, Dual Universe and so many more.

Just sayin’

I read GI every day and Thomas at ICO is a smart guy (we worked together when he was at GOA), but the columns should have talked about not just the numbers (stats lie) but rather a comparison of the number of failures/successes of known game developers Kickstarters and not just Kickstarters of all teams. How many know/well-known devs failed in 2016 vs. 2013 or 2014, etc?

I think consumers are becoming smarter, in general, about their donations (good!), but a lot of failed Kickstarter projects were done by unknown persons/teams so it’s not just a matter of Kickstarter fatigue, but a more selective attitude by consumers.

The tl;dr – For Kickstarter in 2017 and beyond, it’s about the beggar you know. :)

Yes, the above line includes myself as well.

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Paragon Lost

(stats lie) -Mark Jacobs

I think you’re being hyperbolic there Mark. Do stats always lie? Or is it that they aren’t telling the whole story? Or that that the numbers can be taken a certain way depending on the situation? Or that stats “can lie”.

Basically I feel that you’re being sloppy with that part of the sentence and I hold you to a higher standard there. :) You’re a better communicator, at least from what I’ve seen over the last quarter century.

Regardless it is an interesting subject and one that I’d love to see more work on. I’ll confirm that my wife and I have have so-so success on the video game Kickstarter side of things, whereas tabletop gaming and other non-gaming Kickstarters have all gone well.

Hell we’ve tossed around $1k at your project between Kickstarter and post Kickstarter upgrade that we did. (shrugs) We back you due to our the knowledge of you Mark that dates back to GEnie. I/we might not always agree with you but your sincerity, passion and drive always come across quite clearly.

I personally feel that your mmo will launch so I have no doubts on that front. It might not end up being something that my wife end up loving, but so far what we see we like. If we don’t well we consider the money a good investment/donation regardless because it has been fun and interesting watching it develop.

Though the wife and I have had years experience in the genre including behind the curtain as it were. It’s still always fun to get more glimpses behind the curtain. Anyone who is interested in mmorpgs should get such a glimpse, especially if they’ve never worked in it. It’s enlightening to say the least.

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Mark Jacobs

FYI, I was pressed for time on a day that I should have spent in bed. My always troublesome back acted up again (argh!). My brain was in a proper fog most of the day thanks to stuff I took so I could come into work today. I didn’t start to feel like myself until about 3:30.

So, let me amend my previous statement and say “Stats can lie and worse, can be abused by people to try to win arguments that they should have lost. We use stats a lot in our work and if used properly, they are an invaluable tool. If used improperly, they are worse than useless, they can be toxic.”

Better? :)

And sorry about that, I should have stayed away from the keyboard till the fog had lifted.

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Paragon Lost

LOL! Yes, apologizes for going pedantic on you Mark. It’s just that words are important as I’ve been telling my kids for decades now. Making absolute statements when not warranted leads to issues.

Sorry to hear about the back, my right knee, hip and shoulder are there with your back! There are days I just want to have all three removed. lol.

edit: Fast replies are due to sitting here staring at lotro’s client and willing it to fix itself. (mutter)

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Mark Jacobs

No need for apologies, it’s all good between us. FYI, I feel the same way about speaking in absolutes as you know (Duh right?). I rarely do so, and wouldn’t have happened if my brain was functioning properly. I actually skipped lunch and slept for an hour in a beanbag because the muscle relaxant I took just knocked the crap out of me and I could barely keep my eyes opened.

Sorry to hear about your orthopedic concerns, I’ve had them since I was a kid. Way too much time spent on hard surface b-ball courts. Still miss it though, a lot.

And again my friend, no need for apologies. You were right and passionate about your feelings and as you point out about me, it’s a trait we share.

Have a great weekend!

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Paragon Lost

You too Mark! :) Hopefully some motorcycle riding tomorrow since it’s not supposed to pull heavy rains. (knock on wood)

Cyclone Jack
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Cyclone Jack

Yep. I’ve backed numerous games, but almost all of them were by people who have a proven track record. For me to back an unknown, the game needs to be in the home stretch, not in the planning and sketching phase.

That said, I have been pleased with the majority of the games that I have backed on KS, though there were a few that missed the mark. I still think that KS can be useful for games that don’t fit a publisher’s portfolio, like ARPGs, point and click adventures, shmups, Infinity-engine style RPGs, turn-based games, niche MMOs, well, anything that isn’t an FPS. haha ;)

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

in the mmo space i think there’s an especially weariness about backing something with all the delayed ones that gave perhaps overly agress eta dates that in some cases feel like they gave those ETAs as sort of way to sucker us into buying.

while in many cases we just have grown up a little since 2012 or so and take kis dev’s pitches with a lot of grain of salt.

during the ashes of creation ks (which i am rooting for but not a backer) some sc chan friends voiced that it’s not realistic. i argued it was more doable than what star citizen was pitched as on that budget, and he admitted if SC did a kickstarter today he would not buy in for love or money, no matter how much he liked freelancer back in the day.

so jut a general weariness. and while there are some ks video games that have delivered a product that is pleasing (or at all), there’s a general weariness based on so many not delivering.

which i think the ones you list were funded successfully (and i limit that success to the funding mind you – i hate how these games are called successful becuase they happened to do way too soon presales before ever delivering a product – games succeed or fail on launch and later sales on the bottom line not on getting funded) managed to make a convincing enough case to overcome that weariness, as each showed some decent vert slice demos and overall sounded fairly doable.

the thing is is that most of the kickstarters that succeeded in funding in 2012 to 2014 simply would not be funded today if all things were the same. not because of known developers imo, but rather just the pitches as presented. many of them with the learned experience we have from many of them, if we had that weariness back then we would not have gotten drunk on the idea of getting cheaper copies of enticing but some what vague games delivered 2 years from now.

where as more recent kickstarters i think have been a bit more… realistic perhaps in various ways. and even then it remains to be seen if they will meet the true measure of success and deliver a quality product that sells well and turns a profit. as we wait to measure that with kickstarters we backed as long as 5 years ago. which is a long time to wait for something you’ve already paid for (and generally isn’t legal anywhere to take money for something more than a far smaller period of time, tho gl getting DAs/regulators to actually enforce those laws with kickstarter LOL).

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Tridus

Makes sense. Tabletop games are much smaller in scope. Costs are easier to predict because manufacturing is a known commodity. Most importantly, the scope is much, much smaller and not subject to massive scope creep.

Sure, some of those tabletop games won’t be fun. But they’ve got a very high likelyhood of delivering what they say they will. Video game Kickstarters have just had too many making impossibly unrealistic promises for tiny amounts of funding, which both makes them impossible to complete and poisons the well for people pitching something realistic (as it looks like they want far too much money compared to everyone else).

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

i think it’s more because amongst table top games that are KSed are essentially presales from established TT companies that have a clear track record.

which actually with manufacturing being a factor can be a massive issue for kickstarters becuase the manufacturer can use the kickstarter funds raised being public knowledge against you at the bargaining table and suck out any chance of delivering the product at a profit.

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CthulhuDawg

RPGs and tabletop games all seem to do gangbusters on the other hand. I’ve never been upset with one, they have always delivered and often I get way more than what I deserve for the money I put in thanks to stretch goals.

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Arktouros

Never backed a game. Never been disappointed.

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Never went outside. Never got hit by a car.

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Veldan

How’s that a good thing? That’s like never doing anything in life because if you try it might fail.

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Arktouros

The difference is that you’re putting a fear of failure on there and equating my scenario to have a fear of disappointment. However, I have no fear of disappointment, it’s simply a positive byproduct of my stance on never doing Kickstarter.

My stance was based on skepticism that keeping publishers/companies out of the equation is a positive thing and I’ve yet to see anything that universally backs up that scenario.

That skepticism was based on watching/reading the sordid history of Duke Nukem sequel which was basically a game company designer who had too much money at his disposal and no pressure to release a product on anything but his own time table (IE: “We held it back because we thought not doing so we be an injustice to you the players” which players eat that shit up for breakfast on Kickstarter titles/projects).

Kickstarter basically has would be players acting as publishers helping them pay for projects except none of you have the right to even seek your money or a product for your money. The whole situation is absurd and I’m glad people are realizing it.

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Melissa McDonald

viva capitalismo

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Darthbawl

1. Stop over-promising/over-hyping.
2. Stop under-delivering.
3. Probably something else. :P

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Tridus

Except that if you make realistic promises in the video game category, people complain that it shouldn’t cost $2M to make that game since some other kickstarter said they could do twice as much for $250K.

Between unrealistic promises , outright failures, and studio backed games that go to Kickstarter for extra money (and thus look wildly unrealistic because they actually have $5M in funding before they start), an honest realistic video game kickstarter has little chance.

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Greaterdivinity

Good, this is the maturation of the crowdfunding market. Seems to largely be working as intended, as consumers realize the risks associated with backing new projects etc.

I’m pretty cool with this. We’re still getting some great looking/sounding games that are getting funding (either at their target or well past it), but we’re seeing less money being thrown at high-risk or low-confidence projects as well, which is a good thing for everyone.

And with what appears to largely be the complete collapse of the Unsung Hero project, after years of watching the crash happen in painful slow motion, yet another blow got dealt to crowdfunding for a lot of gamers.

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Jeremy

Here’s a novel idea: Finish the damn game before you release it! If you don’t have the funding, and can’t get it from a source other than crowdfunding, then the game likely isn’t worth making with whatever tiny team you can scrape together.

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Annoyed badger

SC killed kickstarter for video games.

I know people wont like that, but thats just how it is. SC never ever should have been a KS game, it was always too ambitious to do it that way.

KS works best on small niche products that have realistic and deliverable goals that cant afford to scope creep like SC has, and which are deliverable by a small number of backers…some will just be ok, some will be bad (no biggie not massive for them to fail) and some may be breakout hits….

But SC set the bar too high, and its not delivered, its a load of promises and delays. Sure it may be great, i damn well hope it is, but a couple of games fail, then this behemoth that sucked in absurd levels of money is subject to delay and delay and looks more like an internet spaceship idea generator than a game development process….and people are understandably hesitant.

Much like with MMOs once WoW hit the scene, its going to take a long time for video game KS projects to recover from the impact of SC.

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Paragon Lost

I think that SC’s problem was that they didn’t reign in and actually control the bar. They never really bothered to set the bar themselves, they just let it run them in other words. It’s gonna burn them most likely in the long run and it did negatively impact Kickstarter funded mmos in my opinion.

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Droniac

How did Star Citizen kill a competing crowdfunding platform exactly?

I sincerely doubt that the crossover between Star Citizen’s 1.8 million backers/accounts/whatever-that-number-stands-for and the Kickstarter-backing public is at all significant. More importantly, many of Star Citizen’s backers don’t seem to be suffering from any kind of crowdfunding fatigue or disillusionment at all. It still seems to be raking in cash like it’s 2012, to the tune of many tens of thousands of dollars a day.

Also, when WoW hit the scene… the MMO genre flourished. Hundreds, even thousands, of other new MMOs popped up and thrived right beside WoW and long after WoW’s glory days. Major publishers all hopped on the bandwagon and an unbelievable amount of money was made by (nearly) all. WoW may have had a huge – arguably negative – impact on the design of games in the genre, but it certainly didn’t have a negative impact on the genre’s success.

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