Last weekend, we ran an article covering PC Gamer’s detailed investigation into Ashes of Creation’s pledge system. At the time, PC Gamer’s Steven Messner wrote that Kickstarter had told the author that AoC’s revenue and profit sharing systems ran afoul of Kickstarter’s rules and that consequently, Kickstarter had asked AoC’s Intrepid Studios to remove Kickstarter pledges from its referral program, which Kickstarter said Intrepid had done.
Ashes of Creation’s Steven Sharif disputed that, saying that while Kickstarter asked the studio to change the language of its referral program, Intrepid had not actually changed the program itself, meaning Kickstarter pledges were still included in the referral program, which Intrepid says it believe remains in compliance with Kickstarter’s rules.
In heated forum comments about the situation, Sharif also accused PC Gamer’s writer of issuing an “outright lie” and of having an “agenda” and “combative” demeanor. “We know that he wanted to ride the hype wave with the project with clickbait titles and an article that he riddles with reddit links? Really? lol,” he told the game’s official Discord channel.
PC Gamer’s Steven Messner told me that the article was correct according to his conversations with Kickstarter as published, and now we know a little bit more as PC Gamer has revised its original article with a follow-up segment from Kickstarter that sheds quite a bit of light on the confusion, so you can put your pitchforks and torches away.
“As the original story states, a Kickstarter spokesperson told us that this was against their rules and that Kickstarter had informed Intrepid Studios, [which] had complied by removing Kickstarter pledges from the referral program,” PC Gamer writes. But apparently Kickstarter was unaware that Intrepid hadn’t actually done it. Here’s what Kickstarter Director of Communications David Gallagher has now told PC Gamer:
“The information I gave you is accurate, except, as I recently learned, the part where I said that this creator had excluded Kickstarter pledges from their referral program. [Intrepid Studios] told us that Kickstarter pledges would be removed from the program, making it entirely separate from the Kickstarter project, which we saw as an acceptable solution. It appears that this did not happen. [Intrepid Studios] said this week that based on [its] communication with us, [it] believed it was fine to continue to include pledges. That was not correct.”
Kickstarter won’t be taking any action against Intrepid Studios for failing to adhere to Kickstarter’s rules during the campaign, however. Here’s Gallagher again:
“Given the potential for misinterpretation, the creator’s removal of the reference to pledge referrals on [his or her] own site, and the fact that the Kickstarter project page did not mention the referral program, our Integrity Team has decided not to take any action against this project. We’ll be revisiting the way we communicate our rules around referral programs to make sure our policies are clear to creators going forward.”
Ashes successfully funded on Kickstarter yesterday, grossing $3.2M with nearly 20,000 backers.