I’m just going to come out and say it. I don’t like Kickstarter. Even though great games such as The Banner Saga and Shovel Knight have come out of it, I still really dislike it. This is mainly because with most great things, there are always a few people who seem to ruin it. Let’s just run through the idea. So if you don’t know what Kickstarter is (and I’m guessing you just discovered the Internet as well), Kickstarter is basically crowd-funding.
Say you have an idea for a game, but didn’t have the appropriate funding to hire a team of game developers, designers, artists, and writers, as well as not having the money to buy the sufficient technology required to give to the team to make the game, Kickstarter would have you covered. You can go online and tell people about your idea, and if people liked it, they could all pitch in whatever amount of money they wanted. With this, you could also reward people depending on how much money they place into the project. These rewards could be anything such as concept art, behind-the-scenes videos, etc. This could also encourage people to spend more on your project. After a certain amount of time (usually thirty one days), you’ve either met your goal on how much money you wanted, or passed it. Sometimes you don’t meet your goal, however, you could always make budget cuts here and there. Nevertheless, it sounds great. Indie developers can find a way to get the appropriate funding to make bigger and better projects. People who back up these projects can contribute to more games and new ideas getting into the gaming market, whilst gaining rewards for doing so. However, if this was a great idea that worked, I wouldn’t be writing this article.
Recently I’ve noticed a few odd things going on with Kickstarter. The most notable was the loss of half a million dollars. Yes, that’s correct. Half a million dollars. The Yogscast, a group of popular YouTube channels that upload gaming videos, were going to have a game made about them. Well, to be accurate, it was more or less about the two most popular Yogscast members, Lewis and Simon. They announced this all the way in 2012, and the Kickstarter page details that the game was estimated for a late December 2012 release. The game was being developed by Winterkewl Games, which was a small development studio. They wanted a quarter of a million dollars, but got more, and ended up with half a million dollars. After months of silence, the game was cancelled.. So that’s great. Half a million dollars wasted, because the development studio couldn’t handle the scope of the project.
Nevertheless, a lot of people (such as myself) dislike Kickstarter because we can see what it is. It isn’t providing money for people to make games any more, it just seems to be throwing money at games which haven’t been made yet. Don’t take this the wrong way either, I don’t dislike the Yogscast or any members of Winterkewl Games. I read through and understood why Winterkewl couldn’t handle the project. But that doesn’t mean they’re totally excused, and they shouldn’t be. I’ve just stopped supporting Kickstarter, because I don’t see the point of risking my money. Especially if money can just be wasted. If people want to support it, that’s fine. I’m not trying to insult or really offend anybody. People can spend their money however they want to spend it. I’m just going to spend it on games I actually want to play that I know (or hope) are finished. Kickstarter, to me, seems to relate to the gaming industry quite well at the moment. Great concept, poor execution.