Greed Monger is the story that keeps on giving. Or taking. And then refunding. But not entirely?
Let’s start at the beginning. Greed Monger is probably the most famous MMORPG Kickstarter failure to date, having raised over $100,000 back in 2012 to build what the developers said would be a “crafting-focused sandbox MMORPG.” By 2015, the project imploded as devs abandoned it over a lack of funding, generating scam accusations from angry backers. Subsequent attempts to revive the game failed.
One of the original founders, Jason Appleton, resurfaced earlier this year, promising to reimburse Kickstarter backers with his newfound cryptocurrency fortune, though a quick glance through the Kickstarter’s comments shows that currently there are still backers who at least claim they haven’t received theirs. As we reported in our crowdfunding column a few weeks ago, Appleton appeared to have closed down applications for refunds and set about railing at donors still asking for their money back.
“All people coming here dropping their pants is going to do is make sure you are either the very last person to get a refund or none at all,” he wrote earlier in May. “A part of this games failure was the self fulfilling prophecy of the haters, trolls and flamers that loved to hate everything about it. Now, some of you are doing the same thing to yourselves. I dont HAVE to give you refunds. I have chosen to. I will not give refunds to people adding to my stress or creating more problems for me. Simple as that. It’s 1am EST and I still have another hour of work at least before I can think about sleep. Just relax and wait patiently. It’s been years. You aren’t in any hurry. I’m doing what I can with the time I have.”
Incidentally, around the same time, Appleton – billed as a “crypto YouTuber” – announced he was launching a 13-episode television series funded entirely by bitcoin. It’s called The Crypto Show.
And that brings us to the present. This week, he posted another long update on Kickstarter to justify his refund window, arguing he’s been fully transparent and asserting that the reason he couldn’t just mass-refund everyone as planned was PayPal’s byzantine processes. He places some of the blame for the delay on the very backers whose money his team took, suggesting that they weren’t forthcoming enough in offering him a solution for how he could mass-pay them. Moreover, he says, he is reluctant to cash out of Bitcoin at its current low value just to hire an assistant to make all the refunds happen one by one.
“People could help remedy the issues I’m having instead of adding to them by simply helping me find a payment solution that makes it easier to distribute funds in groups. This way I could take a list of email addresses in each tier and send 75 people $30, etc and knock out Tiers as originally planned with Paypal,” he writes. “Now I get it, for many, its easier to simply add to the problem than be part of the resolution. It’s like the News, they dont get rating sharing happy stories and its not as exciting. Just like its more fun to be nasty, aggressive, insulting etc to someone gamers still love to hate due to a dismal failure. Just because the game failed doesn’t give anyone the right to make me appear to be someone I’m not and it doesn’t matter that you aren’t one of the people that were refunded already. It doesn’t make your defamation or accusations ok.”