April 7, 2013

Why I feel Kickstarter is a bad thing long term

You know, I keep seeing people bring up Kickstarter a lot lately for video games, and I see several big names (names who don’t need it in fact) abusing Kickstarter to get avid gamers to foot the bill for them. And that’s just sad to me. Why is it? Well, this crap has happened before, but it wasn’t the gamers back then that it happened to, it was the publishers, because publishers foolishly paid up front, in full, for things and the result was the actual developer had no incentive to develop quality products which lead to the gaming market crash in the early 80s. If you want some full insight into the inevitable crash the gaming industry is currently heading towards if they don’t change their practices, I suggest watching CleverNoobs video on YouTube, it is an excellent watch and highlights several points that I am about to discuss.

Now, if you look around, you will find many that see Kickstarter as an ingenious idea. Why is that? Well quite simply the people believing in this idea, despite the many negative eggs we’ve already had, are the fanbois and in some cases, PR pushers for specific big name people to boost hype for such things. Though name alone probably helps these people do also employ paid people who purposely go out to hype the ever living hell out of their product under anonymous names, and in turn this hypes up fanbois who in turn spill it down. However, I have several reasons I do not like Kickstarter and see it as a long term fail in the making and nothing more than a temporary band aid fix for developers still wanting to make a quick buck instead of a quality product, or in some cases, just want to stay relevant when history has already told them to piss off. Again, my reasons for not liking Kickstarter are many fold, but I will list three main big ones for myself, personally.

First reason, this system has a huge potential to be abused by scammers. And before people deny this, it has already happened on multiple occasions. Several people have already used Kickstarter to gain money off the gullible people who put blind faith into these products and the end result is, well, they will never see a return in that investment. While a few have been publicly caught, there are undoubtedly more who have yet to even be discovered and probably won’t be until the time of their product coming due actually arrives, and by then anything that people put forth into the product is well past unrecoverable. Now I know there are people who say they have preventive measures in place for all this, but the reality is, any measure you put up you can counter, so this system is not even far from impenetrable, and I seriously doubt it is as difficult as some might think.

Second reason, at least as far as the gaming industry is concerned, just like with publishers, Kickstarter rapidly became a big boys only club. If you don’t have a name you are shit out of luck of actually catching interest in your product besides a few people. If you didn’t have ghost fans pushing you out there to catch the hype train of real fans, you were left with your own circle to try and get it around. And it is getting worse because the big named people are throwing out bigger and bigger figures while the people just wanting to do what they are striving to are struggling just to meet a realistic goal. And add into the fact that some of the big names are now throwing out shameless incentives to just throw more money at them well past the quota figure promised, the actual small named indy game developers are finding it harder and harder to actually compete with this.

And my third, but not final reason, for not liking Kickstarter is pretty simple. You are paying them upfront for an unfinished product that they have no incentive to make sure is a quality product. Yea, you might get a game, like Atari got a game that was sort of like Pac-Man back in the 80s when they paid a developer upfront instead of making him develop a quality product, but in the end you are at greater risk of receiving something that is not only generic in the end but all the promises that were made will just turn out to be little more than fluff that bears no use in the game, or at worst, not even make it into the game as a whole. And worst than even the quality part of the product, there is a chance that it could fail to even launch, and if that happens the backlash from people who funded these projects will be catastrophic.

While I know that the big publishers pushed a lot of developers away from that side of the industry, the current problem is the big names using this program are now abusing it without reason to. Many of big name developers using Kickstarter are furthest from strapped for cash to be able to produce the titles they are looking to produce, but they threw out these rather large figures at what they feel would need to be to create these games, some of them with not even a demo or name of the product to be seen, and even threw out shameless incentives to get people to pay more.

In the end, even the big names aren’t above abusing their fanbase, regardless of how people think. All they have to say is remember my one good game and they know their fans will jump on it, especially if said big name makes large promises that claim their in development product you’ve never seen will be like one of their famous games of the past. There is no proof that will happen, just their word, and in the long run, this is going to cause more damage to the gaming industry as a whole, and will definitely hurt the legitimate indy developer struggling to try and get their game out there and really show change and potential in an otherwise stagnant industry.

So to reiterate, I firmly believe that Kickstarter is just going to cause more damage than good in the long term of the gaming industry and once the bubble breaks on Kickstarter, the gaming market will most likely crash hard. Will it recover? Probably but there will also probably be a very large gulf when we see a new game title surface after the crash happens.

If you agree or have a differing view, leave your comment below.

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