The Daily Grind: Do you feel crowdfunded MMOs ‘owe’ you something?

My husband and I were chatting about the whole Chris-Roberts-is-fed-up-with-trolls-and-date-estimates-that-everyone-knows-aren’t-going-to-stick thing from last week when he said something that struck me. “It reminds me of how people harangue George R. R. Martin (of Game of Thrones fame) about his next book,” he observed. “They believe he owes them something for being his loyal fans,” which you’ll recall once prompted famed author Neil Gaiman to declare, “George Martin is not your bitch.”

The difference, of course, is that George R. R. Martin can do whatever the heck he wants while he rolls around in his well-earned piles of money because his books aren’t crowdfunded. He quite literally doesn’t owe us anything, even if people who’ve been his fans for multiple decades might feel otherwise.

Crowfunded MMOs like Star Citizen aren’t quite in that position. Technically, you knew when your credit card number hit the screen that yours was a donation toward an idea. Some of the games we Kickstart? They fail. Or they drift in limbo. Or they don’t meet the vision. They aren’t all Path of Exile and Elite Dangerous is what I’m saying. But when those campaigns masquerade as pre-orders, people can be left with the idea that, well, they’re owed what they think they paid for.

Do you feel the MMO you’ve crowdfunded owe you something? Or are you content knowing you donated toward a vision of a better genre?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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233 Comments on "The Daily Grind: Do you feel crowdfunded MMOs ‘owe’ you something?"

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Grave Knight

Depends on the project. Some projects just fail and with them the consequence of failure. Some projects don’t release even though they could, focusing instead adding one more feature asking for more money to fund the feature. They don’t rely on future updates, they don’t rely on DLC expansions, instead they believe their game has to be absolutely prefect when it’s released.

(Star Citizen, I’m talking about Star Citizen. The game should have released two years ago but didn’t because the asshole in charge just wants one more feature instead of doing what a pro would and wrap everything up and release, than add new stuff afterwards.)

zaphod6502
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zaphod6502

Almost all the features Chris Roberts added to Star Citizen were scoped in the original design documents and Kickstarter goals. As for calling Chris Roberts an asshole that is a low blow from someone behind a keyboard. You wouldn’t be saying that to his face. Commenting is easy, designing and producing a game is hard.

Perfect example is the latest fuss over the face capture technology. This was being scoped when the original Eric “Wingman” Peterson was still with CIG many years ago. But of course people are lazy or have selective memories because it is trendy to bash on Star Citizen.

Reader
Chris Brown-DeMoreno

I don’t contribute to these types of projects but I’d expect, at the very least, everything that was promised when you asked me for my money. A typical investor can be more forgiving about what the final product ends up being because they are only interested in the ROI. Crowdfunders don’t get any financial return on their investment, just the game and if the game isn’t what they were expecting then that’s reason to be upset. For me, I’d say, don’t promise things you can’t deliver on.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
PhoenixDfire

So far I’ve help to Kickstart three nostalgia projects. Elite: Dangerous, Star Citizen and Chaos Reborn. Elite Dangerous and Chaos reborn promised extra bonus and extra access to the development with higher pledge levels. I just backed Star Citizen for a remake of Wing Commander and maybe Privateer later.

Now after four years, Elite: Dangerous fulfilled most of it’s promises. There have been wobbles, i.e. the offline mode which was never in the original pitch anyway and David Braben wishes that they had either a) never promised it or b) let the community know a lot earlier that it wasn’t possible, but I wanted an updated version of 1984’s Elite and we’ve got that. People complain that it’s not deep enough for them but to be honest, it’s only as deep as you make it. Do they still owe me anything, yes. They owe me all the up and coming DLC but that’s it.

Chaos Reborn, from the guy who wrote the original X-Com : Jullian Gallop, turned out to be a nice surprise. Turn based, magic like arena game with a game world around it. Still play it from time to time.

Star Citizen, Yes, they still owe me for Squadron 42 and a Basic Star Citizen Account (my rewards for the initial pledge). I did not back the game for fps mechanics. I’ve effectively given up and consider the pledge lost. Maybe, I’ll get something in the future but any enthusiasm I had for the project has lapsed a long time ago.

When you compare the two space projects. It did seem that there was a little bit of upmanship during the Kickstarter campaign. Elite had procedural system generation, that suddenly appeared as a Star Citizen stretch goal. Elite had future plans for multi-crew and maybe fps walking around ships and stations (year 3 or 4 of the project) and then it seemed that appeared as a stretch goal and I knew that it was going to be a very long time before I saw anything from SC.

What it doesn’t allow me to do is tell the devs how they should design and write the game? Yes, I joined at DDF level at Elite Dangerous where any suggestions I made were considered by the design team during the initial development (considered not implemented) and we were supposed to get ‘God Like’ powers (which have yet to appear) but I know that the final call is Frontier’s.

Same with SC, my pledge only entitles me to what was promised, as long as they deliver, I have no grounds to complain. Even though I don’t agree with their development path.

If I wanted influence, over the way devs, designed and worked, I would have been better off putting that extra money into shares for the company (kind of wishing I did four years ago, if you’ve been following FDevs Share price).

It was the same for the original Occulas. People pledged and got their headsets. They had no control over the fact that Facebook got Occulas, the kickstarter was only for the headset.

zaphod6502
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zaphod6502

CIG decided to add procedural planets because their German studio stated they could easily add them to go the game as was proven two years ago. There was also immense pressure from the Star Citizen community to add planetary landings.

As for upmanship that is totally false. Both project leads strongly supported each other and CIG even made an announcement on their front page encouraging Citizens to support the Elite Dangerous project. Chris has publicly stated he supports the space sim genre and all projects related to that.

Reader
Paarthurnax Dragonhearth

For me personally no … I don’t give any of them any $ …. they don’t deserve it, I ain’t paying for mmos with mechanics from 1999 and graphics from 2005 …… Also most of them suck …. will probably die after ‘release’ in a few months anyway ….. But have phun throwing $ at the screen …. Some Devs live off of sheep ! ….

Reader
Robert Mann

The very nature of crowdfunding, unless you are promised a stake in things, is that you are hoping to get a better product by buying in early. The only thing you are owed is the product, in whatever state it ends up in.

Reader
Witches

I would, that’s why i didn’t crowdfund it.

A game of this scope would never be the fastest thing to produce, and claiming Chris Roberts said he could isn’t an excuse, you should know the reasonable production timeframe for this kind of thing, and if you don’t you probably should think better about the way you spend your money.

I would never crowdfund an MMO, even if this game had been made in record time and was the first game ever without bugs, the minute there’s a balance patch people will be asking for their money back.

oldandgrumpy
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
oldandgrumpy

I used to do crowd funding of MMO’s but I stopped a while ago. My first crowd funded MMO was in 2012 and I have funded half a dozen or so, my experience with these has been on the whole poor.

Reader
TotalCowage .

How have you managed to write this article without referring to the Terms and Conditions of Kickstarter?

It’s not even a debatable question. Project development is allowed to drift… but specific rewards ARE commitments and are expected to be honoured. You can’t say “I’ll give you a balloon if you fund to X level”, and then deny the existence of balloons. The T&C states;

they offer to return any remaining funds to backers who have not received their reward (in proportion to the amounts pledged), or else explain how those funds will be used to complete the project in some alternate form.

The reality though is that far too many weasel out of doing this by either spending all the money and saying “Tough, it’s all gone”, or use the massively complex reward system to say “Ahh but how do you know exactly how much you should receive for part of that pledge level?” or even just redefine a reward like “Future episodes!” to be a single page and call that an “Episode”.

Worse, Kickstarter genuinely doesn’t bother enforcing their own T&C, instead saying “we expect the individual and the project to work it out between them.”

When Shroud of the Avatar stated that Episode 2 would require a second Kickstarter to fund, otherwise they wouldn’t start development, even though Episodes 2-5 were rewards already paid for in the first one, I contacted KS about this clear violation of the rules, and was simply told to bring it up with Portalarium.

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Sorenthaz

That’s because the moment it’s funded it’s no longer Kickstarter’s responsibility or desire to care about it. They get a cut of the money, after all, so they don’t really give a care once they get their money.

Reader
A Dad Supreme

“THE DAILY GRIND: DO YOU FEEL CROWDFUNDED MMOS ‘OWE’ YOU SOMETHING?”
======
Yes.

The game that they promised.

Not “we tried and here’s the result” or “sorry, we just couldn’t get ‘er done”.

Reader
Bannex

If it’s your money and your company, feel free to put out whatever product you want. If you go to a crowd funding site and promise a product in return for the money needed to fund it them you’d better deliver.

I am unsure why there needs to be any discussion beyond this.

Reader
yoh_sl

No, they don’t owe me anything.
It’s an investment, and like any investment, there is the possibility that it will go south.
I may get my monies worth if they game comes out, but there is always the risk that it may not, or not live up to my expectations. That’s life. It doesn’t owe you anything.

Therefor you should be careful who you invest money in.
Fortunately everything I’ve invested in has either panned out well, or is well on it’s way to doing so. Usually because I trust the people who are making it, namely because they already have a background of excellence.
Trust but verified.

Reader
Bannex

This mentality is why crowdfunding devolved into cash grab junk.

You are part of the problem.

Without standards and the expectation of quality we just perpetuate an exploitative “developing” culture.

zaphod6502
Reader
zaphod6502

People should only crowd fund with eyes wide open. They need to realise they are not “investing”. All they are doing is donating to someone else’s dream. If they donate large amounts of money to a Kickstarter or a project they should not start complaining if said project fails. No one forced them to hand this money over.

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sizer99

Generally, if they delivered what they promised you to get your money, then there’s no further expectation. The problem is that StarCit hasn’t reached that milestone yet and shows no signs of ever reaching full stable basic functionality because they keep moving their goalposts.

I do feel that he owes me the single player game they hyped, promised, and I funded – which they then ignored for years after getting massive overfunding because they were too busy figuring out how to burn through all that money in multiplayer.

And yes, I know, someone’s working on Squadron 42 now – like the last time this came up over a year ago, someones will chip in to assure us (the first part of) the game is ‘almost done’. CIG is great at churning water.

zaphod6502
Reader
zaphod6502

“which they then ignored for years after getting massive overfunding because they were too busy figuring out how to burn through all that money in multiplayer”

Absolutely untrue. The multiplayer project hit rocky waters because the FPS studio CIG commissioned to develop the module (Illfonic) couldn’t deliver. CIG then took the project back inhouse and then got back on track with that part of the project.

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sizer99

Which part of that is ‘absolutely untrue’? They cannibalized Foundry 42 (the supposedly single player studio) to work on the MMO side when it first became apparent that was going to hell because they’d bloated the design and ambition of the MMO side to insanity. They decided the MMO was more important because that’s where all the phat money is.

Reader
Tufao

Do you feel the MMO you’ve crowdfunded owe you something? Or are you content knowing you donated toward a vision of a better genre?

Personal feelings when buying something can vary regardless if its crowdfunded or not. I could feel that I am “donating” as a fan of Sony, paying for stuff that I don’t care, just to “donate”, to “support” the company, so in the future, they have enough reasons to work and release a Playstation 5.
It sounds ridiculous yeah, but totally less ridiculous than buying a $2500 JEPG I am sure.
And would be even more ridiculous if I tried to enforce on people this notion, that they should all buy Sony stuff for that reason, and not because they want the product that they are buying. And would be even more and more ridiculous if Sony tried to spread this notion too and started to ban and vilanize consumers that did not follow this exact line of thought. No. It would not sound ridiculous… It would sound… cultish… consumer scam.

Therefore, the question is pretty much irrelevant. Of course, the consumer laws apply to this and are the standards to be followed by both companies and consumers when crowdfunding. The risk of a product not coming out is there. And this is just another wrong notion, because the risk of buying a broken product that never is fixed is also there. The risk of buying stuff in the internet that never is delivered to you is there too. The risk to buy a project of a house and that becoming a nightmare is there too. That does not mean that who took the money for that is “free to do whatever they want” and everything is in the consumer shoulders.

Hellen Wong’s explanation, from Federal Trade Comission is enough to stop all the nonsense that involve crowdfunding/kickstarter and “polemic” created in purpose, for the own benefits of some groups, or because people are just ignorant and prefer to stay there:

https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/public_events/971963/ftc_fintech_series_crowdfunding_p2p_-_transcript_segment_2_0.pdf

“And I will just add that
— because I’m with the FTC
— consumer protection
always applies. As everyone else has mentioned, crowdfunding is very broad. It can be as simple
as fundraising for a bake sale or, today, as we know crowdfunding, you’re using these new
platforms that consumers can really gather together and raise funds for a cause or support
a
project they really like. But basic consumer protection principles of don’t deceive consumers,
don’t defraud them, and don’t make unfair promises still apply. “

” I’m sorry
— so I just want to note one thing. We’re talking about fraud. And
that’s really important. But I do want to note that the consumer protection is not just about fraud.
To the extent that we have these projects, whether it’s issue fulfillment, or you just don’t know
whether or not something is fraud, other parts of consumer protection regulations do kick in. “

Please, people. Educate yourselves and stop to spread nonsense and misinformation. Crowdfunding won’t mature while people keep using it in the wrong way and with the wrong notions/ideas. Risk exist in ANY comercial transaction, so as consumer/marketing/ad laws to be respected.

Reader
Isarii

Well, yes – I do think crowdfunded games have an obligation to their backers. It’s not a legal one, of course. And it’s one with contingencies – sometimes projects just fail, and as long as it’s not for a lack of trying, that’s okay. But in general? Yes, I do think crowdfunded projects owe their backers a good faith effort at delivering a realized version of the vision they presented when crowdfunding.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
zeko_rena

Thanks guys, I was so bored at work and this comment section was entertaining to read for a bit! :)

Reader
Mark Jacobs

Some quick ones:

Transparency

Honesty

Respect

Effort

Gratitude

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Tobasco da Gama

Citizens demand THREG!

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Space Captain Zor

I lol’d @ THREG

Reader
Mark Jacobs

Hehe, I was thinking about trying to be clever but I gave up. :) I’ll think about it more though, at least for now.

Back in the 80s, I wrote/posted what was, I think, the first Gamer’s Bill of Rights (ex-lawyer of course). I might be tempted to write something like that up again. At Dragon Con, I was talked with a couple of other KS-backed game folks and we all agreed that it was important that companies like ours don’t mess things up. I really, really, really hope that doesn’t happen, it would be sad for so many of us as gamers and developers.

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yoh_sl

Personally, even as a backer of CU, I don’t think you owe me or anybody anything. It’s an investment, and with that there is always risk.
But for the purposes of continually investment and support, what you listed is essential.

It’s one thing to get people on your side, it’s another thing to keep them on your side.
And to that I think you’ve done a marvelous job.

Reader
Mark Jacobs

Thanks, I appreciate the sentiment but I politely disagree. We do owe you all the things I said if for no other reason than that’s what we would owe anybody who helps us out.

And whether it is this KS-backed game or any other I/we do, I’ll follow the same principles.

Reader
yoh_sl

Also, on a completely unrelated note.
Would it be alright if I contact Scott Trolan?
I have an artistic/animation issue that concerns me, and I’m wondering whether or not you’ve accounted for it, or whether or not it’s even a problem.

I figure he might be the best person to ask.

Reader
Mark Jacobs

Sure, no problem. You can either send an email to me on the Forums and I’ll put you in touch or you can send a message to support@citystateentertainment.com address to me and I’ll connect you that way.

Reader
yoh_sl

Fair enough, it’s a good principle to have.
Just as somebody who invests in KS games, I try not to get too personally invested or feel entitled to the games I throw money at.
I think that can lead to some pretty shitty behavior and unrealistic expectations.

I like to keep my expectations grounded, and judge a project based more on the people working on it, rather then the ideas proposed.
Because ideas area dime a dozen, ideas change. People are important.

The fact that your open and honest, and are so of your own volition, means a whole lot more to me then any given game idea.

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Mark Jacobs

Thanks, I really appreciate that kind of attitude. It is quite helpful to us, especially as late as we are.

And yeah, I do honest well. Usually it can be quite unhelpful in the business world but I’m not going to change the way I do things. Nobody is perfect, but I/we do try to treat the project and our Backers the way we would want to be treated if one of the games we backed was in a similar position.

Thanks again for the support and patience. it is appreciated.

deekay_plus
Reader
deekay_plus

you act as if it hasn’t already been messed up >>

Reader
Mark Jacobs

It hasn’t yet. There have been some great wins, some losses but crowdfunding is still going strong.

Like most people, that’s why I root for just about every crowdfunded game to succeed and especially Star Citizen. Duh, right?

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Serrenity

I don’t really think anyone owes me anything. I’ve never put more money into a game than I would be willing to lose, and that’s the mentality that’s been healthy for me. I don’t really stress or get angst over whether a game will come out or not because I’ve already written off the money any way. My life is better that way, while still supporting the games I want to succeed.

I think I fired off $75 at Star Citizen, and $75 at TUG, and I’ve seen neither head or tail of a deliverable product of each (and like I said below, I couldn’t even tell you what Star Citizen is anymore). I’m now anxious awaiting CU (which I already backed) or CF which I’ll wait and see initial impressions on.

Moral of the story is that I never put up more money than I would be anxious about losing and then just not worrying about whether it ever actually delivers.

Reader
Erik Heinze-Milne

Honestly, I feel like offering refunds exacerbates this issue. If you kickstart something, it is a donation. They are under no obligation to actually deliver anything. If they just stuck to that, some people would be pissed, sure, but eventually people would get the message that kickstarting something is NOT a purchase, and has none of the strings a purchase entails.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
NeoWolf

Honesty, nothing else.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Serrenity

I can get behind just expecting honesty.

Reader
Michael18

Actually, I do think GRR Martin “owes” something to his readers, to his creation, and to himself.

If you put out a piece of art into the world that is clearly designed to have a sequel and you are among the lucky .0001% that earn fame and riches that way, then you have a certain responsibility. You should at least try your best to conclude your work in a way that lives up to the standard you set in the beginning.

camren_rooke
Reader
camren_rooke

Having written a novel I can say it really isn’t just so easy to put something out to ‘conclude’ what you set forth. I had a general idea of where I wanted my story to go, how I wanted it to proceed, and where I wanted the characters to be by the end of the tale.

Damn if they didn’t go off in their own directions at times, do things I hadn’t intended, and get into places and events that forced me to change the story to accommodate their actions OR change actions I wrote that I thought were good to fit the larger story. Probably the result of being an undisciplined writer.

Also, even if I put something on paper, I look at it as I am sure he probably does with his creations, “Is it good enough to conclude what I wrote before?”, “Does it flow?”, “Oh but there are these flaws. Can I fix them? Maybe with another three months of work.” and so on.

The time adds up. The fans clamor for more.

If you honestly believe he has no intention of finishing GOT and this was just a way to scam cash, maybe you have a beef, but really, novel writing as a way to scam cash?

The ROI on knocking over convenience stores is probably better.

Reader
Patreon Donor
Schlag Sweetleaf

Do you still write, Camren?

camren_rooke
Reader
camren_rooke

I am more than halfway through two other novels… one is a remembrance. It is easier to write since it is just setting out memories. I’d love to make it into a murder mystery but can’t quite wrap my head around the pieces of the puzzle. Murder mystery writing is like writing a puzzle then figuring out which pieces to remove so the audience doesn’t read ten pages and say ‘The guy in the red hat did it.”

The other is about a nasty individual who torments a widowed man and his son when the widower finds out his secret. It required getting into the headspace of a murderer and I did not like it there so I put it on hold.

I have a ton of half and partially starteds which if life would get out of the way I probably would. :)

Honestly, the first novel(300ish pages) took two years at least, and I both loved and hated it at the end when I released it. It is invariably flawed, possibly dull, possibly racist though unintentional, but at the end of the day, it is mine.

If I can say nothing else, I can say, it is mine. No care for legacy or fans or for that matter profit (I have sold three copies :P).

I have some time coming up so I probably ought to try and finish up that remembrance so i can give it as a gift for Christmas.

Thanks for asking though!

Reader
Patreon Donor
Schlag Sweetleaf

Thank you Camren.I appreciate your posts for their wit and wordmanship:)

Are you familiar with this style of fiction http://samizdat.cc/cyoa/

camren_rooke
Reader
camren_rooke

Yes. I have been playing around with Twine trying to understand the ins and outs of writing an engaging CYOA story with it.

I did not know what ‘samizdat’ meant but its interesting as is the link you provided. Thanks.

Thank you for the compliment. To return it, I have always enjoyed your precise and biting PS pics.

And your prodigious proboscis. :D

Reader
Patreon Donor
Schlag Sweetleaf

Would you be interested in writing one ? I have been toying with an idea ,but I lack the writing chops to make it happen.

camren_rooke
Reader
camren_rooke

Maybe. How you want to get in contact?

I have no idea how to do so through Massively.

Reader
Patreon Donor
Schlag Sweetleaf

“You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.

You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

camren_rooke
Reader
camren_rooke

I would like to hear what you have in mind. I don’t consider myself a strong writer in the least but an opportunity to test myself would be good.

Deadlines and all that.

Are you on reddit? I’m there under the same name. Can send a private message to me there with email address.

Reader
Patreon Donor
Schlag Sweetleaf

Just signed up as Schlag_Sweetleaf,

Reader
Erik Heinze-Milne

Yeah, something a lot of non-writers don’t really get about writing. Just because you are writing the story, doesn’t mean the story doesn’t tell you what to write. Which on the surface, makes no sense, but in reality, stories do often take on a life of their own.

camren_rooke
Reader
camren_rooke

Oh yes, and characters too.

I have a half finished story that worked really well for three chapters involving two main characters, female Fafhrd and Grey Mouser types.

Then in the next chapter, I added another character, a poor witch driven from her tree home in the swamp when the three other witches she shares it with are brutally murdered by the lord of the land. She runs into the stable boy, young man actually and they have great chemistry and I now wanna write about those two and not the main two characters.

What are ya gonna do?

Reader
Ket Viliano

I think he owes it to himself, to his legacy, and to posterity, moreso than anyone else.

dixa
Reader
dixa

These folks didn’t hide the fact they would not release the full game unless it was ready. That was a big selling point in the original kickstarter – people sick and tired of games being released in essentially an alpha state.

Those whining now I feel are entitled brats. Was I hoping this thing would be out by now? God yes. Am I upset it isn’t? A teeny bit. There are so many other games to play right now that I am easily distracted.

If you are OCD and play only flight sims then really ya should learn to broaden your horizons some. You will gain both experience and most importantly to this conversation – perspective.

deekay_plus
Reader
deekay_plus

These folks didn’t hide the fact they would not release the full game unless it was ready. That was a big selling point in the original kickstarter – people sick and tired of games being released in essentially an alpha state.

which game are you referring to?

dixa
Reader
dixa

The one pictured. The whole point of going kickstarter was to cut out the publisher and shareholder bullshit pushing to make a buck.

This shouldn’t need to be explained.

deekay_plus
Reader
deekay_plus

and how has star citizen not been released before it’s ready to languish in an alpha state for years on end?

and how has cig not been pushing backers constantly to make a buck?

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Space Captain Zor

Because releasing playable alpha-state code to fulfill their agreement to do so during development is not the same thing as abandoning the game in that very state of development?

You really are splitting hairs if you’re presuming their released code thus far to be a “released game” or that they’ve ever implied that it is.

deekay_plus
Reader
deekay_plus

considering chris roberts considers the game 2/3 parts fully delivered yes.

and what fucking non trash indie early access game studio/publisher abandons a game in early access aside from SOE/DBG?

what kind of cherry picking are you doing to make you scenario ring true?

hint: there is none, the standard has never been higher for AAA publisher releases as for the past 3-5 years. and consumers are saying it loud and clear beyond what reddit or other social media states.

teh fact is star citizen has been early access de facto for 4 years now. if they can’t swim with the early access fishes or wish to redefine what that means maybe they should stfu with teh fucking hype machine already.

Reader
Loyal Patron
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Space Captain Zor

So what I’m hearing from you is that if they a) stop hyping, b) stop marketing, and c) release more code to your desktop then you’ll no longer consider it an early access release and it will officially be back in development with periodic code releases for testing?

deekay_plus
Reader
deekay_plus

c is an odd conclusion.

dixa
Reader
dixa

if you consider a game that is 2/3 done as done then you are only contributing to the problem at large and not helping a damned thing.

that’s not done, and i dont care if the last third takes another 5 years.

it took path of exile 4 years to get to the amazing game it is today, with a much smaller team and a much smaller investment on a game that is substantially smaller in scope. it was a mess 4 years ago. it was also the only game i have ever in my life backed. a whole 10 bucks. woo! i’m an investor!

now that game is likely to win some game of the year awards due to how amazing 3.0 has been for new players and those that gave it about 20 minutes 4 years ago and said “wtf is this crap” and haven’t been back.

deekay_plus
Reader
deekay_plus

it’s chris roberts who considers the game 2/3 delivered for the purpose of corporate liabilties.

path of exile launched with an arguably complete game that just got better over time. they weren’t bullshitting about their launch it was a launch.

they also didn’t ask for money ahead of a deliverable product, nor string customers along with delay after delay on milestone after milestone asking for more and more money.

in fact GGG is like the exact opposite of CIG. in pretty much every way.

(Comment edited by mod.)

dixa
Reader
dixa

“… purpose of corporate liabilties.”

cite your source for this being a reason.

“path of exile launched with an arguably complete game…”

the game was launched with two acts, which you repeated on three difficulties. you consider that a..and i quote here…”complete game”? you have inconsistent standards.

“they also didn’t ask for money ahead of a deliverable product”

During closed beta, by 21 January 2013, Path of Exile received US$2.2m in crowd-sourced contributions

the game wasn’t finished. not until act IV came out in 2015. then it was about as finished as launch day diablo 3 was if you consider that you had to play through it all three times.

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deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

you do realize their crowdsourcing was after it was playable right?

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deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

lol sorry correction: i implied soe/dbg isn’t trash. my bad. LOL

dixa
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dixa

What “release”? Alpha clients are not releases, they are alpha clients. Are you really going to split a non-existent hair by stating that since an alpha client was “released” then the game is “released”?

Give me a break. Look, I didn’t back this game. I have no horses in this race. I will buy it when it releases to retail outlets in physical or digital form. When it does release it better be worth the box price. All games better be worth the box price and so many are not with three times the development costs.

I can however remain unbiased when it comes to star citizen. I liked some of the wing commander games for their stories, but Lucasarts made the better space games in the x-wing series in my opinion. I was not gaga for any of Roberts other works. I respect what he is trying to do here and if he keeps to his word and releases when the game is done and the game turns out to be great there about 80 people in this comments section that will be eating crow.

If he takes his time, releases when he says it’s ready and it turns out to be a steaming pile of crap then not only will it be a black eye for the industry it may give greedy publishers and investors the idea that unfinished shit is what we want so long as we get it NOW!

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

is it playable? does it cost money? does it have a cash shop?

these are defintions of effective release on this site

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Space Captain Zor

“flight sims” was mentioned, so I can only assume they meant SC/SQ42

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

i mean but how does that even apply to sc? XD

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Space Captain Zor

Applies in that CR’s promise is to continue to develop the game until it delivers on the promises and isn’t just given up on and left in a perpetual alpha state. Then all we can do is wonder how he will do that with the budget they have and funding they continue to generate.

But, I think the standpoint logical, optimistic people take is–yes, CIG has royally fucked up a lot of different ways so far, none of which have been exclusive or unique to CIG, during development. BUT development has not ceased. They aren’t giving up. They aren’t leaving the game as “early access” and calling it quits (even if that’s what a vocal minority are now asserting will happen). They intend to see this through to the end and that still is going to require years of iteration as well as continued pure tech R&D to achieve their very lofty goals.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

that’s quite a liberal reading of

would not release the full game unless it was ready. That was a big selling point in the original kickstarter – people sick and tired of games being released in essentially an alpha state.

in today’s day and age.

dixa
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dixa

Actually it’s quite the literal meaning of what I wrote. The whole point of kickstarting this game and not partnering with EA again was to cut out the publisher and shareholder bullshit which in today’s pro-business climate would likely mean a game being punted to the consumers in an x-rebirth level of “finished”

I’m sick of it, across all platforms and all genres. I can’t fathom how anyone does not see the constant cash-grab “early access” is turning out to be and why people continue to be in with and apologize for games released as a buggy mess because a patch is coming.

I want destiny 2 on pc right now, but I don’t want an unplayable piece of trash either.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

you do know that xrebirth’s developers are self published right?

you know what i’m sick of? rockstar game devs turning to crowdfunding so they can scram the bottle of the barrel and out whale any publisher ever for their own ego’s sake.

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jay

Honestly i’ve never been behind crowd funding games. I can’t, for the life of me, understand why people throw money at these crowdfunding ventures like they do. Maybe I’m old and just stuck in my ways, who knows.

Yet I can remember the days when these developers had to go out and find funding from private backers, investment firms, and local government to get their dreams up and floating. Then in turn, they had to pay dividend to those backers over the course of the games life, as they were basically private shareholders. It’s not like this made those developers poor by any means, as many of them made absolute fortunes off of the games they created.

Now, enter crowdfunding, where dev’s no longer need to seek as much/if any at all private backers to get their labor of love off the ground. Once up and profitable, they no longer have to pay back those investments, because a massive chunk of their budget came from the fans. So the end result of this change? The dev’s get rich, because the same game that they would have to take some of the profits from, and pay back investors, all gets put directly into the net gains for the studio (the studio head’s pockets). Making those lead dev’s rich, beyond anything that they had seen before.

This isn’t true for all dev’s, take case in point MJ with Camelot Unchained. He has put into that game almost the same ammount of money from his own pockets as the backers have. He’s taken a very minimal yearly pay from the budget to live off of with his family, and reinvests much of it into his own studio.

On the other hand, ask yourself. How much do you think Chris Roberts is getting paid yearly out of the crowdfunding slush fund he has at hand. Add to that that his wife also works for the studio, doing god knows what, and is also making an extremely healthy salary. Just do a bit of research into how much they both make, and how much their house is currently worth. :) I can’t link it here for obvious reasons, but he info is out there.

Ask yourself one last question. With all of that money you are poring into this hobby, making these dev’s Millionaires, why is it that none of the studio’s are offering you monetary returns on your funds you backed them with. They have to pack back any investment money borrowed through private investments, why isn’t crowdfunding handled the same way? If you donated $5000 to this game company, why can’t you get a monthly or yearly return on that money? How much would you have gotten if you had invested that same 5 grand into a CD, stock, IRA, your 401k, etc.

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Mark Jacobs

Thanks for the kind words. One minor correction, I’m not taking any salary or payment other than the company pays for my health insurance and the occasional Starbucks run. :)

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Serrenity

My only problem with this – devs aren’t getting rich off of crowd funding. Outside of the big names, last year video game kickstarters on average only took in $45k (averaged across all successful Kick-starters). $45k seems like a lot of money, but most indie projects aren’t 1-man shops – they are a couple to 3 people. They also have costs (licensing, submissions, purchased artifacts, etc) — trying to do anything commercially driven on $45k is pretty damn hard and expecting to do that AND make a profile AND be considered ‘rich’ by the average man’s standards is just bloody impossible.

You can cite CU, SSC, Crowfall, ED, AoC, CoI et all – but those aren’t huge amounts for the teams that they have behind them. To attract and retain top talent is a spendy endeavor, and the money flies out a lot fast than you think it would. These people aren’t sailing around on the MassivelyOP Golden Yacht. In most of these cases, these companies are running on tight budgets with hair-thin deadlines on when they can deliver and veer wildly in the red and go under because they didn’t perform well enough right out of the gate (which we’ve seen; there are a few games that have closed up almost immediately after launching because they didn’t generate enough money immediately).

As for CIG? They aren’t making as much as you think. Chris Roberts and his wife had a life before Star Citizen, so their house has literally NOTHING to do their success or lack thereof here. If you find anything about their salaries online, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be fabricated to fit one narrative or another, so let’s just side step that.

Math incoming :-)

* The average cost of a senior level software engineer’s salary is just south of $50/hr (approximately $98k per year … for just salary) and on average, the cost an employee is 30% of the employees salary, meaning for an average developer is about $130k
* CIG employs around 450 FTEs (can’t find an extra number) world-wide and an undisclosed number of contractors
* So if we assume that 75% of those people are development related staff — at an average cost of 130k / year – so 337.5 people @ an average cost (not salary) of $130k comes out to be $43,875,000 in cost for a year, if you add that up year over year — it’s not small number (though it takes a hell of a lot more than calculate beyond that). You still have the other 25% of support staff (accounting, legal, IT, infrastrcuture, payroll) to support. Plus you have lots of cloud software at a per-user cost (Just using Slack for example, probably costs them about $43k)
* So 5 years of existent of a large company, with international offices — the amount they aren’t swimming in money

This is all very fuzzy math, but just to give some perspective that this shit isn’t cheap to make, and the developers ‘getting rich’ are by and large, getting anything but. Not saying that Chris R. and his wife aren’t making money, or that they somehow shouldn’t, but to put numbers across the industry in perspective.

This should also not be taken as white-knight SC. I’m a back of the game, but at this point I couldn’t tell you what the game was even about let alone must any type of intense emotion enough to care about it. Granted, I full expect to be forum-flogged for my post, but really – this stuff is hard, this shit is expensive, very few people, if anyone, is getting rich off of crowd source.

Citation: Developer Salary – https://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/software-developer/salary

Estranged
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Estranged

Serennity – you just confirmed the worries of many concerning the project. We also know why they continue to have ship sales.

Dantos
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Dantos

Desperation genres, people want a kind of game that the big publishers wont make for a variety of reasons, untested/small market, complexities of development vs potential return, just wanting to stick with what they know will sell (your CoD/Battlefields/Maddens) ect. Its a way for people to directly shout: “THIS IS WHAT I WANT”

Of course there are many risks with crowdfunding as well, but I understand WHY people would want to.

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jay

None of that prevents dev’s from setting up a system that treats donors as investors rather, other than the fact that they don’t have to and greed.

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Fervor Bliss

The Red Cross got into alot of trouble collecting money for one thing, and spending it on soemthing else.
This is the problem with Star Citizen has anyone seen anything that would cost 75 million dollars? Where is all the money going?

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MesaSage

Maybe he donated it to the Red Cross.

dixa
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dixa

GTAV cost $265 million to develop and SWTOR cost between $150 and $200 million. Both games had far shorter development cycles.

Estranged
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Estranged

CR says he can make his money last three times as long as a traditional publisher.

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Space Captain Zor

Money doesn’t = development cycle. Successful iteration does.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

where did you get that figure for gta5?

this is the first time i’ve ever seen a figure for gta5’s budget.

dixa
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dixa

Although BioWare has not disclosed development costs, industry leaders and financial analysts have estimated it to be between $150 million and $200 million or more, making it, at the time, the most expensive video game made,[44][45] though if marketing costs are included, it is eclipsed by Grand Theft Auto V, with an estimated cost of $265 million.[46]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wars:_The_Old_Republic

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deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

i asked about sources for your gta5 figure.

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dixa
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dixa

“the success of Grand Theft Auto 5 is a pointed illustration that big budget console games — the game reportedly cost roughly $265 million to develop and market — still drive global video game sales.”

“The enormous scale and detail in Grand Theft Auto 5 led to record shattering development costs. The Scotsman reported the games development and marketing budget at £170 million, or roughly $265 million. That sum puts Grand Theft Auto up against The Old Republic for the title of the most expensive to produce video game of all time. ”

https://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/09/28/gta-5-sales-hit-1-billion.aspx

and a quick and dirty list of the most expensive to develop games

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_expensive_video_games_to_develop

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deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

fool.com really?

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deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

forbes blog? really?

dixa
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dixa

you failed to acknowledge the other sources cited for you while failing to provide your own sources to back up your claim.

(Comment edited by mod.)

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

(Comment edited by mod. Not worth it man.)

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Armsman

IDK – but is the author attempting to imply CIG has stopped work on Star Citizen? I ask because so far:

– CIG has been providing a weekly Youtube show (ATV) that directly provides info ON the games development (Recently the format switched to talk almost exclusively about the bug fixing going in to get Alpha 3.0 out the door. But they also still include one segment beyond that talking about a given game system in a little more depth.

– There IS an Alpha version of the game to play (Alp[ha 2.6.3 which includes an iteration of the ‘Star Marine’ FPS shooter and an iterated version of their space shooter ‘Arena Commander.
^^^^^
So, yeah CIG HAS since late 2012 been giving weekly updates – and in 2014 started consolidating all those weekly updates in to end of month ‘Monthly updates’ that try to put everything in better perspective.

I’m just posting the above because the impression I get from the article is that there’s an inference that CIG and CR have either given up; or steeped back, and I don’t see that being the case. They HAVE come up against issues I’m sure they thought would be easier to solve/implement – but hey, welcome to software development when you’re trying something in a way it’s really not been done before (their new Planet tech.)

have they made mistakes both in development and communication at times? Yep. But again, welcome to being human and the mature of running a software development company. Further he had to start and build the company from scratch, and it’s a lot more involved that just resting/buying office space and filling it with equipment and personnel.
^^^^
I bring this up because the article mentions ‘Elite Dangerous’, and Frontier Development had been around since the 1990ies and had well established teams and personnel when they did the crowdfunding for E:D. Also, there was an E:D feature highly touted in their Kick Starter – that many people did back specifically for – which FDev was unable to deliver on; and that was a completely local version of E:D, playable on a PC without an internet and connection tom a server. They did explain WHY they couldn’t deliver that, bit it was a promised feature, and it did upset a number of backers who specifically were wanting said feature. Was FDev deceptive? No. I’m sure they wanted and would still love to have such a feature, but in working out and developing the actual game; they found it wasn’t possible. Again welcome to software development.

Here’s the point: New software development takes time. yes, you should have goals and schedules to meet (and CIG has them and even started publishing them publicly) ; but oftentimes as you hammer stuff out, things are going to throw a monkey wrench in. If it’s software based on something that’s been successfully done previously, you also have an edge in guesstimating, because there’s a proven template of sorts out there.

Even if you assume ‘full development’ on SC started once the initial Crowdfunding goal was reached. That would be November 2012. That means ‘full development’ (IE a large team) has been occurring for TWO major games (trying a number of things in ways that haven’t been done before) for 4 years and 10 months. <— That's not 'slow development' for two games with the scope and features they are trying to deliver.

Have mistakes and missteps been made? Hell yes. From what I've read over the years and seen reported, CIG has probably wasted about a year in such mistakes <– but even that's not uncommon and due to the fact the company was developing it's internal pipelines and at first trying to make use of a lot of outside contractors – and they found (and have admitted) that they realized outside contractors don't care as much; and further that there were communication mistakes made by BOTH sides. There's also the fact that Chris Roberts himself is often VERY optimistic – and as a result when he does talk about development schedules and dates, he gives overly optimistic ones as well. Luckily his brother Erin Roberts DOES have a track record of being a good project manager, and it's because he's involved that I think we will see Star Ciitizen/SQ42 Retail ver. 1.0 out sometime in the next few years. where he to leave, I would be very concerned with the future (and ultimate success/retail release) of SC/SQ42.

But -why is Star Citizen the first game where gamers are seeing these types of things disclosed and spoken of in public DURING the development? Because CIG is keeping there promise of SC being open and public facing development – warts and all.

Gamers got something similar when ME:Andromeda developers started talking about what happened during the 5 year development cycle of that game – and that it released like it did because EA had a hard release deadline they didn't want to move; and many teams felt they could have released the game in much better shape had they been given more time. <– But that type of disclosure is rare in game development. Most of the time – when the public here's the first rumors and the press starts hinting and talking about an upcoming release, said game have been in development behind closed doors for 3 to 4 years already.

Bottom line: Does CIG and other developers who use Crowdfunding owe their backers something? Hell yes, they owe them the game and perks they pledged for. But the Backers also owe said Developers the time needed to make said game and also realize said developers aren't clairvoyant – and will never be able to predict the actual time needed. they give estimates, and depending on what they encounter when the actually start making said game; they might find some promised features WON'T be possible, or won't work exactly as originally envisioned. <— That's the reality of software development.

And could this project still ultimately fail completely, and not see a retail release or see a greatly scaled back release with a lot of promised functionality missing? Yep. Again, that's the risk you take when trying something ambitious and do things in ways that haven't really been tried before or joined in the way they are doing with SC.

Crowdfunding is ALWAYS a big risk. That's why you should never jump in blind and research the info that's available on the project and the people being it BEFORE you part with you money. If you don't <— That's on you, and not the people doing/asking for the Crowdfunds. Their primary responsibility is to give you what they promised; and it's always possible thy may not be able to do that <– but that's the risk YOU take.

[Full disclosure: I backed SC in Oct. 2012 and am honestly annoyed that t's taking longer than originally promised/projected; but I also realize (and was at the time happy about) the expansion of the game's scope – and knew that would add time to how long it would take to ultimately develop. But that's me. I do have a degree in programming and have done software development of Database apps – and while that's nothing on the order of what CIG is doing here, in many ways the scheduling process is the same, and I've been on projects where unexpected issues hit and threw many a projected schedule in disarray. I do think they'll (CIG) ultimately deliver; and it will have 75% to 80% of what was promised. (Yes, after reading CR's 'pitch' and everything else I didn't think they'd be able to do everything; but as I LOVED the Wing Commander game series and the first 'Privateer', so I figured whatever he was able to ultimately do here would be good/fun to play for me – so he got my money, and I fully realized (and still do today) the risk I was taking.]

YMMV. ;)

zaphod6502
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zaphod6502

Well said. Sadly Star Citizen is the constant whipping boy for “projects gone wrong” on Kickstarter however untrue that is. The online games media also has a lot to answer for stoking the fires of uncertainty simply to gain page clicks.

I distinctly remember Total Biscuit openly admitting on one of his shows proudly bragging that all he had to do to make some extra page click money in a month was post a negative Star Citizen article however untrue that was. Then we have trash news sites like Polygon and Ten Ton Hammer that will post any false gossip about Star Citizen simply to feed their own page clicks (often fed by that slimy piece of trash Derek Smart).

Welcome to the new age of “journalism” where truth and facts are sidelined for cheap page click tactics. It is one of the reasons I proudly use apps like AdBlock Plus as many of these sites do not deserve any funds whatsoever.

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ichi sakari

I’m naive enough to expect that they’ll try to deliver as pitched, but skeptical enough to realize that there’s no teeth in that expectation (outside of some legalese).

Case in point, I’ve supported Chris because I believe he’ll make an honest effort, but only as much as I was prepared to lose if the whole thing collapsed on itself

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starbuck1771

Exactly I knew Chris from his prior games and knew his reputation. Most of the drama comes from idiots that think games just pop out overnight which they don’t. I have seen games that have taken a decade to release. SC is a game that required new tech to be developed and that in itself takes time. I know Chris will do his best unlike Derek Smart who has done everything in his power to delay progress of the game with the help of his lackeys. I backed the game and I am still glad I did. Chris may not have a ready to launch game but it is getting there and he keeps us updated on the progress which is more then I can say for some developers.

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Greaterdivinity

Yes, they owe their backers as much transparency as possible throughout the development process.

The backers have become the publisher/private investor, and should be treated as such (i.e. owed updates and proof of progress regularly) rather than a never-ending wallet that can be drawn upon when the developers eyes get too big or their funding starts to run low.

If folks like Roberts don’t like that, maybe they should have explored other avenues for investment where they could find investors who would be fine letting budgets and timelines explode while also not caring about development milestones indicating forward progress.

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Utakata

I think where the line is drawn to between you and my apparently opposing positions is when players start purchasing digital items (ie. ships) to be used eventually in the released product as part of that funding. Wouldn’t that fall under the definition then of investing, where one is expecting a return in the use of their item? I hear folks are paying a lot of money for those.

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Utakata

If I am backing something voluntarily does not mean it’s obligated in owing me anything, let alone obligated to succeed. It’s not an investment where I am expected to see returns.

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starbuck1771

That’s what some fool’s fail to realize. If you see it as an investment you need to be re-educated or a psychological check-up. If you’re spending money you can’t afford once again that is a mental issue just like gambling addiction and hoarding. I backed for what I could afford and don’t regret it.

styopa
Reader
styopa

There’s another name for crowdfunded promises that fall through:

fraud
frôd/Submit
noun
wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain.
“he was convicted of fraud”
synonyms: fraudulence, cheating, swindling, embezzlement, deceit, deception, double-dealing, chicanery, sharp practice; More
a person or thing intended to deceive others, typically by unjustifiably claiming or being credited with accomplishments or qualities.
“mediums exposed as tricksters and frauds”
synonyms: impostor, fake, sham, charlatan, quack, mountebank; More

Now, of course there’s the question of intent. It’s only actual FRAUD if the intent was never to finish it. It’s hard to tease intent out of incompetence (cf Kurt Schilling and Rhode Island).

But yeah, if you donate to a crowdfunded game? You’re DONATING that money. You have basically nothing but hope of getting value out of it.

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starbuck1771

Incorrect. Fraud requires intent to deceive. Star Citizen for instance has yet to as you put it fall through to the dismay of DS and his lackeys. However I have seen a few fraudulent games via crowdfunding and that ended badly for those involved. However this is not just an issue with gaming.

styopa
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styopa

Did you entirely miss the “…Now, of course there’s the question of intent. It’s only actual FRAUD if the intent was never to finish it. …” part?
Or did you just quit reading in a huff to get to your fanboi angry retort?

I don’t personally believe CR is any more fraudulent than a televangelist who GENUINELY believes God speaks personally to him. Delusionary insanity is a great defense against a charge of fraud, because it disarms the entire question of intent.

No, I personally believe that CR is NOT committing fraud deliberately. Full stop. People who donate to CR are, as PT Barnum put it, buying tickets to see the Egress. And they’re (in my opinion) likely to get exactly what they really paid for…an entertaining several-year saga of online development, culminating (hopefully) in the release of something called Star Citizen but which is nowhere near what’s been dreamed. And they’ll have to be happy with that.

Well, at least until the almost-inevitable Class Action suit, in which the bar is far lower for massive punitive damages than a criminal case of fraud. In which case the investors/donors will STILL get nothing, as the lawyers will get most of it, and CR will simply declare bankruptcy and walk away.

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Ket Viliano

The fraud in 38 Studios was done by Wells Fargo, who failed to disclose to bondholders that while 75mm was raised, only 55mm was disbursed. There is the issue of the missing 20mm, which Curt Shilling does not have, hence why he was cleared.

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Sally Bowls

“Accepting money is what turns you from an enthusiastic amateur into a prostitute.”

A charity does not owe you a product but does owe good faith efforts towards their goals. In the broadest definition, every Kickstarter owes you something, even the failed ones. A failure does not change the obligation of the KS, merely your expectation of being paid.

My earliest crowdfunding objections were people passing a donation off as a pre-purchase. OTOH, if the offer is “give us $X, get Y”, then Y is owed.

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Kickstarter Donor
Tobasco da Gama

They owe me what I paid for. Nothing more, nothing less.

CapnLan
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CapnLan

Yes, I do believe that they owe me something. If I give you my money then I absolutely expect the product or service I paid you for. You owe me that. That’s why I have never done any crowdfunding. I don’t do early access, founder’s packs, or pre-orders either. I wait until the product is finished before I hand over my cash. At the very least be in open beta so that I can fool around in a mostly finished product and test it out for myself.

It’s why even though I DEARLY want Star Citizen to succeed and be the amazing game it has the potential to be, I have exactly $0 spent on it. I simply cannot spend any money on it at this stage as I do have expectations if I hand over that cash. Expectations that have a chance of not being met. Therefore, no money spent.

I might, might, buy into it if/when 3.0 drops. If they have a free flight weekend and I can actually play 3.0 and see for myself how it goes then maybe I’ll bend my own rule and go for a starter pack.

In general though I dislike crowdfunding as I simply can’t pay out for the promise of product. I’ll pay you when you actually have a product.

cmdr_cotic
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cmdr_cotic

If they promise me an item in return for my money then damn right they owe me something. If I pay $60 for SC and SQ42 then I’m owed SC and SQ42, if I pay for alpha or beta access then I’m owed alpha or beta access.

CIG sell stuff with lots of specifics, people buy a lot of those items based on those specifics, if you go changing it up after you’ve taken their money then of course they are going to be pissed off.

Why is this only a question when it comes to fucking Star Citizen? Why do they get this “do they don’t they?” shit going on that has never been asked with other games, Elite, CU, WWO, AoC, Pillars of Eternity, Divinity Original Sin 2 or what have you? And this isn’t aimed at MassivelyOP, it’s aimed at all the people who somehow think it’s ok for this crap to be going on.

styopa
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styopa

All they promised was to TRY to make the thing they offered. Completely different context from more conventional sales situations where you’re actually BUYING an EXISTING product.

cmdr_cotic
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cmdr_cotic

Which is a perfectly acceptable view to take early on, when they went past $23 million they were fully funded, when they went past $65 million they were fully funded incl. all additional stretch goals, when they went past $100 million how could it not be finished? And now they are at $160 million and people are still saying it’s only assured that they will try?

They are almost $100 million past their completely funded scenario, so how can it not be guaranteed they will succeed? If this was a $5 or $10 million project then I would give them the leeway but that just doesn’t fly when they are sitting at $160 million.

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Space Captain Zor

Size of their budget doesn’t directly convert to successful software iteration.

styopa
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styopa

I entirely, completely agree with you, FWIW.
Frankly, civil law has a long way to go to ‘conceptualize’ how this stuff even works.

deekay_plus
Reader
deekay_plus

there’s been plenty of qq in teh past of what elite failed to deliver at launch (adn even since then that was pitched and even shown as “working”)

CU QQ tends to be mollified heavily by jacobs himself coming and talking to that person and being forthcoming and frank about things. and being vocal about the no questions asked refunds. he’s won over alot of detractors with that behaviour including myself.

alot of qq about aoc even tho it’s one of the strongest KS games in the history of KS mmo’s. the campaign was well done, and they’ve posted solid comms and presentations in short order since then. they still get alot of claims of it being a scam tho or about the mmo play history of the owner of the company or this or that thing that few successful in teh past mmo ks’s ever mentioned having or being prepared for even in teh slightest.

WWO gets alot of qq over having early access preorder packages entirely because of who developed the engine they are licensing and alot of tinfoil hat conspiracy theroies wrt to him and his pst history as the whipping boy for youtuber influencers posing as critics.

pillars of eternity is relatively unique in that obsidian is an established company but anyone familiar with them would have reasonable understanding of why they had to turn to kickstarter. on the other hand it’s questionable they went to ks again after poe’s success in sales volume at launch for their next game.

DOS2 is also questionable for similar reasons – the company’s entire library saw a large volume of sales thanks to the success of DOS1 and it seems odd they needed to do KS again. that being said, they just launched this week and it’s apparently a really good game that delivers even more than they pitched at as (and not in a giving you things you never asked for or wanted kidnof way).

CIG on the other hand does it to themselves. they constantly do it to thsemlves and they constantly make things worse for themselves. and they get helped in that endeavour by their rabid cultish fandom.

zaphod6502
Reader
zaphod6502

CIG has delivered updates and gamecode. You might not like what they have delivered yet there is that fact. But of course it is the latest cool fad to beat on the biggest crowdfunding project to date and in the rush to hate on CIG people are making up all sorts of false stories fed by certain shadowy individuals who couldn’t make a game to save themselves.

Why has there been no focus on one of the biggest crowdfunding failures to date? “The Mandate” had 16,400 backers who contributed a total of US$701,000. The developers continued to string along and deceive the backers through imaginary updates whilst behind the scenes they had sold the studio and rights to their own project.

Oh but wait “The Mandate” developers were not well known and of course generated little to no page clicks for the gaming press. Yet Chris Roberts has a proven track record of releasing great games and a passion for the space sim genre yet because of jealousy is constantly berated for running a successful ongoing crowdfunded project.

There is so much hypocrisy around this whole crowdfunding subject it is staggering.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

you should go tell your reddit or discord server bretheren that we’re all well aware of these facts and that regurgitating them to us means little to nothing.

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JMF

I’ve donated a large amount of money to Star Citizen. It was as the article states a donation toward an idea- an idea I still think they will fulfill to a large degree. I don’t believe they owe me anything. I would of course be disappointed if major promised systems are not fully realized but I don’t believe I am owed those. I don’t even believe I am really owed 100% transparency. Creating anything of quality is fiendishly difficult-creating something of this scale even more so. They are blazing new territory not only with what they are creating by how they are doing it and I imagine its near impossible to know what should be shared and how and how to deal with the inevitable backlash from those who always think they know better. All I have invested in is a hope for something that scratches a certain itch. This doesn’t mean suspending judgement or not having a critical eye, but it does mean the risks were clear when I handed over my cash. Star Citizen is by several times the most I have given to a crowdfunded project but the principle applies across all scales.

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Kickstarter Donor
squidgod2000

If your crowdfunding campaign tiers include copies of the game or access to the game, you owe people the game they paid for.

styopa
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styopa

IF – and that’s a big IF – it ever exists.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

or any dlc or microtransaction items as well. and everything else listed of w/e nature it may be.

Dantos
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Dantos

Thats more or less how I feel. I paid for the SQ42/SC PU package, I think im owed those games.

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starbuck1771

And you will get them when released. If you bought in for Alpha you would be playing right now. However pissing and moaning about it gets you nothing but crocodile tears.

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Ken from Chicago

Yes, we’re owed honesty, transparency.

Seeing how–curiously–only STAR CITIZEN is called out by name, and by photograph, for failing to provide what’s “owed” (as opposed to putting them behind links or calling out PATH OF EXILE and ELITE DANGEROUS, which are named as games that succeeded in providing what’s “owed”), let’s talk about the 150 million pound elephant in the room.

Setting aside that STAR CITIZEN has already provided a game that has lots of pvp gameplay, space combat, aerial racing, FPS ground / space shooter, because that’s inconvenient to the argument that SC has delivered “nothing”. That’s a cheap an easily disproved complaint–as I just did. I say that as someone whose own reaction to pvp is “EW! Kill it! Kill it with fire!”

That all said, yes, the STAR CITIZEN from the original October 2012 kickstarter offered a game, single-player space combat game, Squadron 42 and if there were enough funds donated, a stretch goal of a multi-player space sim within a certain period of time (around the end of 2015). If it failed to meet that timetable, you could get a refund.

Along the way funds raised smashed through record after record after record, certainly fast approaching Kickstarter’s then-limit of $2 million so CIG set up donations on their own site, adding stretch goals to add more variety and features to the game until finally around the end of 2014 they stopped adding stretch goals–and people still contributed. It was during 2014 they made the decision that instead of releasing a limited single-player game that would have to be re-coded to fit a more efficient multi-player universe, to work on a grander, more ambitious, cohesive universe and from within it develop the single-player game.

That idea slowly (or poorly) communicated during 2014. Personally, it was years1hundred’s “Imagine Star Citizen”, released October 2014, two years from the Star Citizen kickstarter video, that crystalized what the game was truly aiming to do, essentially a Universe-Sim that let you go / do / be wherever / whatever / whomever you wanted.

Ironically it was aiming to do what BATTLECRUISER 3000 AD was aiming for. I know because I bought the game from a used software store and spent months just reading the thick manual (which was standard in the 1990s when you didn’t have the room to put it all on disk) on the bus commuting to work. The major difference would be Star Citizen would be a multiplayer game–and benefit for an extra decade of computer technological development, not to mention crowdfunding vs an impatient publisher rushing a game out the door before it’s ready.

Since the end of 2014 however CIG started improving in making clear that the focus had shifted to the universe part of the game while they were still develop the single-player Squadron 42. With their record-breaking crowdfunding they could hire teams to work on both. Still there have been delays and incorrect estimates of progress. Ironically, that could have been minimized by following Montgomery Scott’s advice of doubling the estimated time so when you complete it early you’re considered a “miracle worker”.

Toward end of 2014, I even suggested it as way to allow for unforeseen delays to Ben Lesnick, one of a handful of folk with CIG from the start, and he replied that deliberately overestimating wouldn’t be a marketing gimmick, that it wouldn’t be honest, that they wanted to be transparent give their best guess when they genuinely thought elements would be complete. Well, we’ve seen how missed estimates have gone over in the public in the years since. Even when they’ve taken 2 steps forward, the 1 step backward can be so poorly explained that the 2 forward steps are overlooked.

And STAR CITIZEN is a special case in that it has TWO kinds of backers:
1) The original kickstarter backers from October 2012 to roughly mid to late 2014, who wanted SQUADRON 42 and anything else would be bonus.
2) The backers since mid to late 2014 onward, who bought into the promise of a virtual universe, of what SQUADRON 42 was just a part, essentially a tutorial for the bigger game.

Many in the first group have converted to the second, but some haven’t and become increasingly disillusioned as time passes–especially when the promised SQUADRON 42 “vertical slice” failed to be shown in 2016 and when it wasn’t until the 2016 CitizenCon keynote presentation had started was it announced that the slice wasn’t ready. The Road to CitizenCon released a week later that the decision to not show the S42 slice was made only days before it was due, and showed elements of it but also significant bugs. However it also showed they could have announced it days before the slice was due–which was my complaint in how they communicated it.

That brings us back to what is “owed” to backers of a crowdfunded mmo. Transparency and honesty. The two are not identical. You can be honest while admitting you are keeping something secret, cops, lawyers, judges, doctors, priests, spouses, family, critics, reporters, actors, etc. often have confidentiality or Non-Disclosure Agreements that prevent you from revealing information. You can be honest about being bound by said agreement while keeping things private. That’s where transparency comes in, by being open as well as honest. Are they absolutes? Honesty? Yes. Transparency? No. You may choose to reveal your crowdfunded game is being developed out of your garage and here’s the address and personal phone number to call about it. I know I don’t expect that level of transparency–and I certainly wouldn’t give it.

Finding the right amount of transparency and effectively communicating it is key.

STAR CITIZEN has repeatedly stumbled on effective, clear, communication. Currently they’re trying something different than give estimates as to when the alpha 3.0 will be released, they’ve been weekly posting the number of bugs that block release. They started August with 90 bugs blocking release and as of last week are down to 26 bugs blocking release–partially by recategorizing certain bugs as not blocking release, allowing a drop of 50 bugs in one week from 76 bugs to 26 bugs when previously they averaged about a net drop of a dozen (discounting a surge in bugs found from the Gamescom partial 3.0 demo).

So, yes, STAR CITIZEN has made progress on the game and being transparent about said progress, they still have areas to improve on.

— Ken from Chicago

P.S. Yes, being transparent applies to other games, but c’mon, this was mainly about STAR CITIZEN. To be fair to Bree, Star Citizen has had enough unforced errors and fumbles and missteps to earn the scrutiny.

deekay_plus
Reader
deekay_plus


this is what was originally pitched from day 1. and it fully included teh persistent universe mmo. in fact that part of the pitch is more heavily emphasized in that video adn teh original kickstarter text than the single player game. by a large margin.

i backed in early 2013 mere 2-4 months after the kickstarter. and i backed primarily for the PU. as did almost everyone i’ve ever talked to with few exceptions that have backed. few people that came into the irc channel i would later come to own asked about the single player game in those first 2 years. they wanted to know about the mmo portion. few discussions on teh official forums were about the single player game in that time, but vast majority were about the mmo (and it it was an mmo or not). most of the press about the game wasn’t about the sp game. but rather about the mmo. wether it was an mmo. if they could deliver an mmo in such a period of time.

we know from CIG’s later transmissions there was little to no work done on sq42 before their self imposed deadline for alpha being late 2014. as it was at the end of 2016 they were still a long way away from being gold state or playable alpha ready for the sp game which we know only because they begrundgingly findally disclosed any information at all about the state of that portion of the progress after the further delayed (and much hyped and advertised) deadline of xmas 2016 had passed. this coming after demanding a german reporter retract that CR had told him it was delayed just weeks prior.

with the current and past delays we have gotten contradictory statements all official from various levels of CR front facing developers and leads, including CR own statements contradicting thsemlves depending on who he has in front of him (even giving contradicting statements at gamescom last month depending on if he was on stage talking to backers or talking to the press in private in their press only booth).

we also no that the only work done on PU prior to 2015 was the rather telling bullshot 2014 citcon PU preview video. which they had spent every week on stream on WMH telling us was getting closer and closeer to completion and was on time and progressing well with shots of workers coding and creating assets and maps for it.

in early 2015 chris roberts told us that we would see the game coming together rather shortly. when the deadline for star marine flew past without a statement and backer reaction, we were told it by ben lesnick it would be a matter of weeks and not months. as those weeks grew into months jared aka disco lando made an impassioned but empty HAVE FAITH! rant post. radio silence on anything any one cared about continued. but the video spam was unstoppable and actually increased as did concept sales.

we got a heavily scripted play demo of 2.0 PU later that year which in no way resembled legitimate gameplay, and a month or two later we got 2.0 with minor x.1 tick patches every 4-8 weeks after that until september or october of 2016, which we’ve had very little communication about why and how that final milestone has been delayed but a shit tonne of marketting and hyping in every single social media and video and convention format at no spared expensve for these “communications”.

anyways tldr: most people from the kickstarter onwards backed for the mmo part, which has been part of the pitch since day 1 and was the majority of the original pitch. idk how people can ignore that video or the original text of the kickstarter. there’s good reason most of the stretch goals focused on the mmo portion as that’s the majority of the pitch and teh kickstarter campaign comments are concerned with.

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Schmidt.Capela

Funny, I’m a third kind of backer still; I care neither for the online living universe version of the game nor for Squadron 42. What I want is the persistent universe running on a private server, like we were promised from the start; basically, a modern version of Wing Commander Privateer.

Besides, modding is supposed to be well supported in the game, but only for offline play, and modding is quite important to me.

(Well, to tell the truth I would care for the online universe if individual players could completely opt out of PvP, but Chris Roberts is adamant in saying a little chance of PvP is essential to his vision for the game.)

BTW: the crowdfunding drive at CIG’s own site came first, the Kickstart campaign only came later when potential backers asking for it became too loud to be ignored.

deekay_plus
Reader
deekay_plus

their own site was made with shoestring and bandaids and couldn’t handle the load. and spent more time down than up. so they turned to kickstarter.

the handful of people who managed to get a pruchase in on their first party store got a so called golden ticket. which has ultimately been rendered meaningless. lol

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

I can get behind clear straightforward transparency.

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Duane Does not check email

Own up to mistakes, complete the promised game with the features described and meaningful communication on progress and timelines quarterly and more often up to launch.

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Roger Melly

I think it is reasonable if you ask people to invest in something that you deliver on your promises . Also be upfront with your investors send them annual reports as to where their money is being spent . Above all if you exceed your estimated release date by a significant amount of time you should be prepared to offer refunds .

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starbuck1771

Once again it is donation not investment look up the two they are completely different. Investment means you were expecting something of greater value in return for your money.

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Arktouros

I’ve never crowd funded a game so I’ve never felt owed anything.

The entire concept of crowd funding is because these game developers don’t want to owe anything to anyone especially because those investors/publishers actually have recourse to get their money back. Players on the other hand just throwing their money at a developer basically gives them free license to do whatever they want, however long they want and realistically we have very little if any ability to make them do anything. As Crowfall devs said it best launch is just a time to collect money and they’re already doing that so why rush it?

So when I read something like StarCitizen is a scam I believe it. Not a scam in that they’re trying to take your money and give you nothing for it but rather a scam in that they want you to fund their development moneytrain. It’s like a chinese fingertrap where the more people pay the longer they can delay producing a product because the people funding them have little to no actual recourse to get their money or a product. Rather than the “design, release, iterate” schedule you might see under a publisher, crowdfunded titles largely seem to be doing “design/iterate, iterate till money runs out, release” model.

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Schmidt.Capela

I believe CIG/Star Citizen allows its backers to get a full refund whenever they want, so yes, Star Citizen backers do have a recourse to get their money back. Without a fight, even.

(And IMHO CIG owes the Star Citizen backers this, as the game has grossly overshot its original expected delivery date. It’s, of course, up to each individual backer whether to seek a refund or not. For my part, given what we have already seen in the Alphas, the only things that would make me seek a refund would be if either the game was cancelled or the private servers were scrapped.)

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Fisty

A finished game that I pledged for

Leontes
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Leontes

@Bree: I’m wondering – is there some kind of competition going on among you guys as to how many comments you can provoke your readers into posting with your Daily Grinds? – If so, who got the high score? ;)

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Bryan Correll

Technically, you knew when your credit card number hit the screen that yours was a donation toward an idea.

Even if it is purely a donation (and if they are selling packages, it is not a donation) the receivers of said donation have a duty to act in good faith and spend the money responsibly toward accomplishing the goals for which the money was given.

If I give to a hurricane relief fund the managers of that fund need to ensure that, minus a reasonable overhead, the money is actually spent toward assisting victims of the hurricane. I don’t have any expectation of getting anything back personally, but if they spend my donation on cocaine and prostitutes you’d better believe I have a right to demand that they get their shit together.

Disclaimer: This is hypothetical and is not intended as a an attack on CIG. I have not personally funded Star Citizen and have no evidence that Chris Roberts has spent crowdfunded money on hookers and blow.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Loyal Patron
Jack Pipsam

Some basic respect & transparency (doesn’t have to be 100%, I get it with not wanting to announce something in planning only to scrap it and have everyone sad) doesn’t goes amiss.

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Nater

I will never crowdfund and I will never buy an early access game ever again! I’ve been burned by early access and I know it’s a matter of time before one of the big crowdfunded games goes belly up.

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Bryan Turner

He took over a hundred million dollars based off an IOU, Chris owes his backers a game; any self respecting consumer would demand a refund at this point from that entitled prick.

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Patreon Donor
Schlag Sweetleaf

SC has “paid in full” in terms of the internet drama it has provided.;)

cit bloat.gif
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Utakata

It’s not bloat, it’s “additional features”! >.<

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Roger Melly

Congratulations I think that is the best one you’ve done so far but Chris Roberts with Tribbles was a close second lol

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Bryan Correll

This one’s good, but Schag’s masterpiece is still the whale milking one.

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Armsbend

Not sure…Blizzard/Nost drama in the world of Stripes “Lighten Up Francis” was my favorite all time.

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rafael12104

Heh. Yeah, my all time fave.

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Bryan Turner

This ones a future greatest hit.

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Armsbend

It’s the current pop culture he brings in that make schlag’s pics a gas.

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starbuck1771

That’s not current that’s the 1990 IT played by Tim Curry. If you wanted the current pop culture IT then it would be the Bill Skarsgard version of Pennywise.

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Armsbend

No shit.

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rafael12104

LOL! Ah, now I know I’m back.

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Rolan Storm

Not donation, that’s for sure. It is pre-order for me. Take ‘Divinity 2’ for example – I have not bought it yesterday, I crowdfounded. Gave me some cute bells and whistles. Also I feel like I helped Larian Studios a tiny bit.

But ‘are we there yet?’ and/or ‘I gave you $20 now you are MINE’ – that’s just wrong. Wat? Pffft.

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MesaSage

Some argue that it’s an investment, others argue that it’s a donation. I say it doesn’t matter. Even if you are an investor, there’s a little thing called RISK that you have to accept. I know that RISK is not a popular concept in this modern money printing machine era, but real investment undertakes risk.

You are giving other people money and trusting. They may or may not be trustworthy. You can expect all you want out of your “investment” but in the end you are dependent on the soliciting company to deliver – and if they don’t deliver, you’re out your money. It won’t matter how you rationalize it.

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Sally Bowls

But whether the people are trustworthy does not change what I am owed; it only changes my expectations to be repaid. The debt is the debt, regardless of whether they can repay it.

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MesaSage

Is investment capital debt now?

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

in actual investment there are still rules and regulations to follow. kickstarter and indiegogo start ups disregard those flatulently as a rule.

yes there is an element of risk. as in any purchase. that doens’t mean a company can completely disregard it’s liability to consumers with weasel words and disclaimer tick boxes and gotchas in their EULAs and TOSs.

Estranged
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Kickstarter Donor
Estranged

They sell a product and it is owed, plain and simple.

I have no clue why this is so difficult.

Chris started this shit hype train, so now he can eat it or step away. Grow a sack.

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starbuck1771

You would be incorrect his sold the idea of a product. however as with any game it takes time to develop and any new tech required also takes time to develop. Anyone who has been around games for a long time can tell you that. There are games nowhere near as complex as this that took a decade or longer to be released (*Cough* Duke Nuke’em Forever *Cough*). Yet this game has only been in development for four years and people whine like babies because they didn’t read the fine print like children with their new toy. They need to realize new games are not made overnight and get the hell over it.

Estranged
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Kickstarter Donor
Estranged

starbuck – CR still needs to put on his big boy pants and deal.

And yes, I know, this is the most ambitious project in the history of gaming.

😂

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starbuck1771

At least he just stated he is tired of being asked for a date because they always complain when one is missed. He could have gone full Chris Cao.

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Armsbend

someone needs some coffee.

Estranged
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Kickstarter Donor
Estranged

Only the best for Chris.

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Bryan Correll

Everyone needs coffee! It makes modern society possible.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

My caffeine has to be cold and carbonated…and preferrably with Phenlyketoneurics.

Sweet sweet Phenlyketoneurics…..

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Tanek

Communication.

I don’t care how small your dev team is, or how much of a “crunch” you may be in. If you have people giving you money to make a game, the very least you should be doing is keeping open and honest communication going with those people.

I think this should be the case not only for kickstarted/crowd-funded games, but for early access titles as well. It may not be something that is legally binding or enforceable in any way, but I believe it is what you owe those who believed in your project enough to toss some money your way.

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FreecczLaw

That is just a strange analogy made by him imo, but yes I do think developers working on crowdfunded games owe the people who make it possible something. Developers owe it to deliver what they promise and what kickstarter requires in terms of communitcation etc, but that is about it.

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Melissa McDonald

If what they promised was a game, then they owe us a game.
If what they promised was an idea, then they owe us an idea.
If what they promised us was to be ripped off, then we’re fools.

SC promised a game. They owe us a game. To me, it’s just that simple.

Leontes
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Leontes

I guess I can go along with that, after all…

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Ravven

Perfectly said!

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