Thursday, 15 August 2013

Crowd Funding

So this is about Kickstarter, IndieGoGoCommunity Funded and no doubt there's a whole host of other crowd funding websites out there.

With the recent controversy over the highly successful funding but failure to deliver of The Doom That Came To Atlantic City on Kickstarter I felt it appropriate to post on what I think crowd funding is doing to and for the hobby.

There are positives and negatives for the hobby with the use of this source of funding.  Let me see if I can break it down...

Positives

  • This method of funding is great for self publishing games that a company has rejected for whatever reason. Particularly effective for recognised creators of games.  It's also a less risky way for a company to bring a new product to market that they would normally not get made.  Plus it plays to the fanbases of products where a reboot/relaunch/expansion can happen 
  • Products that a company would potentially opt against under normal circumstances.  Using crowd funding to reduce risk of taking to market.
  • Fan rallied expansions or reboots for products with a small / core player base.  Builds momentum for that product where the fan base is particularly active and can exercise that momentum through a variety of means.

Negatives

  • Your spend is speculative and is hedged on the basis of eventually getting what you've paid for.  It's very different from the normal retail experiences for both brick & mortar and online (unless the online seller is really bad at shipping of course...).  To quote GeekDad - "Kickstarter is not a pre-order platform. It’s not like seeing a pre-release DVD on Amazon and reserving a copy."
  • After a successful funding many companies revisit this source of funding time and time again.  Thus making this route of supply almost exclusive.  Now that might be a good thing from some perspectives but I think it limits the routes to market that a product has and also saturates a core market resulting in game stores (online and bricks & mortar) being unable to a) get the product in a timely fashion and b) find a market for the product as the core market has already bought it.

In summary - I get why it is popular and why it works but at the same time I feel that some relatively established publishers are becoming more risk averse when it comes to launching new products.

The latest for "TDTCTAC", Cryptozoic have since picked it up and will fulfill all pledges for the game that fans made.  Pretty awesome of them to do that seeing as they had no obligation to do so.  Interesting to see what the MSRP is of the game though as they'll need to recoup that "marketing" expense somehow!
I played an early version of the game when Keith Baker came to KoA on our opening day and whilst it was still rough around the edges I am pleased to see it finally make it to print.