The Daily Grind: Should MMORPGs use Kickstarter as a promotional option?

    
168
Pre-burned.

One of Tuesday’s big bits of news was that Hero’s SongJohn Smedley‘s big post-Daybreak project – was cancelling its Kickstarter. The announcement was not that the game was stopping production or would not get finished, but the Kickstarter simply wasn’t going to hit its targets and thus was cancelled. The investors were still there, and there was no real question of whether or not the game would keep going, with Smedley saying even in our initial interview that the Kickstarter wasn’t absolutely necessary.

This makes a certain amount of sense, of course. It makes more sense to get people hyped for something that’s actually going to happen regardless of funding, and there’s certainly some appeal to having that money provided by fans rather than by investors who want to be paid back. At the same time, it does feel as if “support” is a bit perfunctory when the game is getting made regardless. Why put down money when it’s going to happen without your money? Why not pay for the game when it’s actually out at that point?

Whether or not you’re on board with the idea of using crowdfunding for games, it’s an interesting question to ask. Should new titles be using Kickstarter as a promotional option, or should Kickstarter only be in place when it’s the sole/primary source of funding for development? Should donations be allowed when the game is a sure thing even without them?

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!
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Radfist
Guest
Radfist

breetoplay Radfist  Still a red flag if the people you are investing in cannot elicit any interest in their own product is it not? How will they fare when it comes to marketing the finished product?  Marketing was always SoE’s biggest weakness, and based on Smed’s new venture it is easy to see why.

Keithoras
Guest
Keithoras

Wild_Phil saying that “the developers didn’t even have the basic resources at the time to fund the software tools required to raise the funds on their own website” is a bit inaccurate. They did have the resources. In fact they started to host the crowdfunding campaign on their website before starting it on Kickstarter. They had already private investors behind the project. The real reason why they went to Kickstarter is the fact they didn’t anticipate the traffic surge on their web server. As a plan B (to avoid losing the momentum), they quickly shift to Kickstarter, which gave them the time to reinforce their website to host the follow-up crowdfunding campaign after the Kickstarter ended.

Keithoras
Guest
Keithoras

breetoplay ManastuUtakata Archebius bossrprouse While I perfectly understand the concern raised by bossrprouse, let’s play the devil advocate for a moment here: 
In the current context, where a lot of backers have seen many projects funded on Kickstarter in “the old fashion way” (where the kickstarter campaign was the only source of funding) failing, many are not gonna back new projects unless they have more facts indicating these projects have better chance of succeeding. Because let’s face something here: While a significant amount of people will back projects they love, even if there is a big risk that the project doesn’t succeed (I’m in this category), a lot more people will only support projects which give the feeling they will be completed. Trust in project success has always been a funding motive far superior than affection. Therefore you can’t blame studios to include in their communication “hey guys, we are counting on your support for achieving the project, even if we have a plan B in case the Kickstarter is not successful enough”.

to quote Archebius and going further:

“The issue with starting down this path of “they could have gotten funding another way, Kickstarter isn’t for them” is that it starts to wall off the community”.

To that can be answered a perfect valid answer: “Yes, the game can be funded another way, meaning by a big publisher backing the studio. But once you have a publisher as a major investor in a studio, players must be prepared to see the original creative vision diluted, or even completely modified, especially when a project is really innovative. Why? because innovation is scary. It implies unknown territory. It implies risks. And publishers prefer to be reassured with projects who use concepts that have already proven working. That’s not a coincidence why so many MMO are WoW-clones (to various degrees) nowadays. When big publishers, yes the game can be funded, but the result might be very different from the original purpose for which the project has started, killing its interesting side. 

So to complete what Archebius already said:
Kickstarter is far more than just a simple funding tool. Beside being an efficient way to make a game project known, this is also a way for an indie studio to keep creative vision independance. And THAT is almost as important as being able to deliver the game (at least in my opinion).

breetoplay
Guest
breetoplay

SallyBowls1 breetoplay Radfist You’re saying the quality of the Kickstarter is the canary in the coal mine. Maybe. Original claim wasn’t about the quality of the Kickstarter, however; it was about its goal not having been met.

breetoplay
Guest
breetoplay

ManastuUtakata Archebius There are people in these very comments arguing that Kickstarter should erect rules stopping select studios from using Kickstarter. Usually threads like these devolve into people demanding the government step in and regulate those mean old corporations on Kickstarter too.

Warking
Guest
Warking

SallyBowls1 Warking picks86 
Not offended at all, I just didn’t know that grown people who decide to put their money into Kickstarters that others may not like needed nannies who tell them what they should and should not do with their money.
Just seems more like a case of “Stop Liking What I Don’t Like”

Craywulf
Guest
Craywulf

I think we need to be dramatically less selfish about other people’s success and wealth. If a company uses kickstarter for promotional purposes then I am not going get in way of it. Honestly it doesn’t matter if the company has funds to produce the game because kickstarter is so much more than just a funding mechanism. It’s a superior tool in establishing product interest, and information sharing. There’s a lot a company can offer than just requesting your financial support.

Ekphrasis
Guest
Ekphrasis

It’s not just you.

SallyBowls1
Guest
SallyBowls1

picks86  See above.  The consensus from Bree and others is that they already had investors.  Even if the KS succeeded, there were going to be investors in the equation.  It’s just that now the investors will be into the project for another $800K.

SallyBowls1
Guest
SallyBowls1

Warking picks86  The Irony Police would like to inquire if you were offended that others were offended? :-)