Sitrep: The problem with crowdfunding is the crowd

No Day'z Later

By on March 12, 2014 at 5:37 pm

Forgive my cynicism (or don’t) but I’m not into Kickstarter’s vibe at all and, until this week, I couldn’t really figure out why. It was always an inkling; a something-something about every person and their dog/cat/cat-dog suddenly being given an elevated platform with which to beg for money that, I thought, was pretty galling on a mysterious level. Then I saw some class-A titanium rip-off derp like No Day’z Later in the queue for internet Centrelink and I realised: Yeah. That’s why.

I mean, 18 people pledged $416 to this monumental basin of grammatically unsound anus water before it was mercifully cancelled. 18 people! $416! That’s technically a collective or at the very least a socially mixed backyard gathering that are paying almost $500 for someone to squeeze a loaf onto the ground and play with it delightedly for hours. Hours, guys. Delightedly. Maybe there’ll be some sepia fingerpainting, I don’t know. Maybe only the one person who pledged $25 or more gets that extra. Those incentives. They almost make me want to pay up not to get them. “Fly to our country and hang out with us!” HEY NO. YOU COME HERE OR JUST ADD ME ON STEAM.

Certainly Kickstarter has not been without supreme glory. I couldn’t dispute that, no way. I have sunk that many hours into The Banner Saga of late and it most likely would not have happened if not for believing in the kindness of strangers. Likewise Wasteland 2 is looking fab. I mean there are definitely some killer projects out there asking for dollars, and that is what really chaffs my undercarriage: Anyone is allowed to Kick a Start. In this context, that means a lower and lower signal-to-noise ratio.

Its indicative of a wider problem on the internet. It’s like when you’re trying to find good new music. There is so much new music and every butthole is in a band, so a lot of that new music is bad new music. Sometimes the good stuff languishes and then gives up and gives in because they think no one cares. It’s not that no one cares, they just can’t find the stuff.

I had to stumble over this sexcellent isometric sci-fi horror the other night. Kickstarter has provided the perfect infrastructure for a suggestively gaping void to open up and swallow the good times whole, because every Gen Y grommet dev thinks they know everything and has no money. And people are idiots, don’t forget that. The fact that No Day’z Later almost got itself to $500 fills me with a nameless dread as often felt by high-powered executives in the 1980s whenever the business cards came out for comparison.

I’m a big believer in not bitching and moaning unless you have some semblance of an idea that might help to fix whatever you’re bitching and moaning about, so. I was thinking of doing a Kickstarter to raise money for Mastodon to come play at my apartment. “How will that help, Toby?” Hush now, sweet thing. All your questions will be answered after the fact. Sleep now.

13 comments (Leave your own)

Lol , I mean what next? Some random wanting to crowdfund a trip around Australia promoting Google Glass?!?!?

 

ralphwiggum:
Lol , I mean what next? Some random wanting to crowdfund a trip around Australia promoting Google Glass?!?!?

Hahahahahaha, oh man, I’d forgotten that

Kickstarter is a weird beast, some awesome things coming from it, also some total trash, at some point enough people will be disappointed in the results that they’ll stop chipping in.

For me though I’m happy to throw $10-$20 at the odd one I’m interested in, but I generally only go for ones that have people involved that have proven they can deliver a product of some sort, so far they’ve all delivered, but I’m sure my luck will run out eventually.

 

I have seen much worse things funded on kickstarter… much worse. browse the 700 to 900 projects they have, and you can get down into some backwater funding efforts very quickly.

indiegogo is usually much worse in quality as well.

Still not half as assed as some of the steam greenlight projects that got through the initial and 2nd round,

i.e. case in point, pixel art because, pixels.

A driving game in minecraft ? greenlight it.

A survival/adventure horror with werewolves ? sure. just don’t let totalbiscuit get a review copy …

 

While admittedly there is a lot of rubbish out there on kickstarter……there is a lot of rubbish out there on game store shelves, in steams game library, and in the app store for your various mobile device.

Rather than bemoaning the fact that 18 people offered to pledge money (possibly friends or family who didn’t want the owner to feel bad and knowing it would never be funded anyway) – you should be thrilled that 50,000 people didn’t make it a reality.

Generally the dumb ideas have fallen to lack of interest and the good ones have been elevated.

For me it’s the massive rise of DRM free gaming and games making fun of DLC, DRM and micro transactions. Wasteland 2′s boots DLC on the load screen make me extraordinarily happy that developers that don’t tread their player base like idiots and suckers are getting an opportunity to shine.

For all the pit falls and morons involved – there is definitely a bright and shiny wonderland starting to emerge – and considering the number of PC games that are set to come out and their diversity – Kickstarter has done a hell of a lot more for good than it hasn’t.

 

ralphwiggum:
Lol , I mean what next? Some random wanting to crowdfund a trip around Australia promoting Google Glass?!?!?

My fav one that i’ve seen so far was some hipster chick from one of the hipster cities in the US who wanted to sail around the world …. AND PEOPLE FUNDED HER!

“Hi, I’m Patchouli and i want to go on a journey of self discovery, fund me”…. and that shit worked.

I wonder if i can pay for my next holiday with kickstarter and just set rewards as different tiers of postcards, stretch goals can be extra postcards from different countries.

 

icinix: While admittedly there is a lot of rubbish out there on kickstarter……there is a lot of rubbish out there on game store shelves, in steams game library, and in the app store for your various mobile device.Rather than bemoaning the fact that 18 people offered to pledge money (possibly friends or family who didn’t want the owner to feel bad and knowing it would never be funded anyway) – you should be thrilled that 50,000 people didn’t make it a reality>

This.
No point making a rant about a couple of Day Z/Minecraft/Flappy bird knock-offs which aren’t going to be funded in this lifetime anyway. Especially when there have been things like Raindrop, Shadows of the Eternals (Thrice), U-55, The Realm, Project Awakened etc. etc. that damn well should have funded.. =(

I’m sick of rehashes and reboots and sequels numbering literally up in the 6+ range on games these days. If innovation and fresh ideas need to be crowdsourced then so be it. If a Baldur’s Gate 3 (Pillars of Eternity), a proper isometric Fallout 3 (Wasteland 2), a continuation and ending to a brilliant story so far that I am invested in (Dreamfall Chapters) etc. etc. are asking for funding to be made in this day and age of AAA casualizations and Dude-bro concessions with an emphasis on pretty graphics over substance; then I’m more than happy to throw hundreds of my dollars to these projects to help make them a reality.

I do agree wholeheartedly about the mountains of crap that needs to be dug through to find these gems however, perhaps a similar system to Steam’s Greenlight where-by an upfront fee to list a project could be a requirement (Nothing too high though, the whole point is to ask for money after all) would put a stop to the blatant plagiarizing on some projects and would encourage others to put a bit more effort into what they are showcasing from the get go, more screenshots, info, platform availability etc.
In saying that it pays to keep an eye on more indie centric gaming sites which frequently report promising projects, subscribing to things like the Awesome list, threads on the Steam General forums at times, and my most used method – just checking the ‘recently launched’ filter of Kickstarter each morning at the same time I check my emails. It’s how I ‘stumbled’ across and backed that Stasis game that was mentioned here, as well as the 140 other backed projects I’m more than happy to help fund. ;)

I dunno, I couldn’t be happier with Kickstarter/IndieGogo. To each their own.

 

So your problem with crowd funding is that people (who aren’t you) spend their money (which isn’t yours) on stupid shit? That is a serious first world problem you have there Toby.

 

schrapple,

Not sure it’s anything to do about the people willing to throw money at projects and more aimed at people willing to choke the system with silly pointless projects. Usually at the expense of making enough noise to drown out the worthwhile projects that really do deserve our money.

 

vcatkiller,

Restricting what can or can’t be crowd funded is a paradox.

 

Toby, can i come to your place to see Mastodon play? :)

 

vcatkiller: Not sure it’s anything to do about the people willing to throw money at projects and more aimed at people willing to choke the system with silly pointless projects. Usually at the expense of making enough noise to drown out the worthwhile projects that really do deserve our money.

But don’t you see those projects wouldn’t exist in the first place had someone not thrown money at a project that was undeserving of it. That’s why its happened. Maybe the answer to this is stop rewarding developers for bad behavior. They wouldn’t flood the market with this crap if it didn’t make money. I had the same attitude towards flappy bird.

Look at the mess that games made of IOS, you literally cannot use the Appstore anymore because 90% *made up statistic, of the games on there are Flappy . But in the end people are supporting it. I don’t think the devs are to blame for exploiting the market, I think the markets to blame for being too stupid to realize if it didn’t like these things becoming a trend in the first place, stop rewarding them for doing it in the first place then you idiots.

There are better ways to market your games, I think the devs have just gotten lazy at it lately. The better games can be found so long as the devs actually put an effort into their marketing. If not then unfortunately the market will ignore them, the industry has always worked this way but its gotten worse due to overcrowding with terrible untalented hacks that in the past would’ve been booted out the second they made a terrible game like Flappy Bird. Nowdays that practice is rewarded. Is it any wonder why we’re in the mess we’re in today. Stop rewarding shit games.

 

The whole point of this crowd funding, and is proven quite well in this article, is that the crap will fail…the great games, the great ideas, run by good people will succeed..

Yeah some crap gets through, and some greatness goes unnoticed…but its working.

Well until Star Citizen comes out as a 32 bit polygon version of galaga and proves all you have to do is hire a good screen shot artist to make millions…I kid….

Steam Greenlight was awful because it was manipulated, so a lot of awful garbage got through…

As far as crowd funding goes, I fund you in return for your finished game…if it looks good. You can save that BETA/Early Access crap ill give you money and you give me your finished game…the end.

 

gammad,

Sadly opportunistic developers will take advantage of naive consumers who are willing to waste their money on crap.

Having said that, don’t be so harsh on the guy who made Flappy Bird:

http://m.rollingstone.com/culture/news/the-flight-of-the-birdman-flappy-bird-creator-dong-nguyen-speaks-out-20140311

 
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