CCV: Kickstarting a Gamble for Both Parties
I will admit that I am getting a bit sick of all the video game Kickstarter news. Double Fine thought outside the box to snag some extra funds, and it worked since they made a huge amount of money. Of course, it didn't hurt that the developer and the man behind the studio are both known for crafting excellent, high-quality games, so helping back Tim Schafer's crew isn't really too much of a risk...you know you will get your money's worth.
The problem is that Double Fine's success in raising so much money IN EXCESS is encouraging other game developers to jump on the band wagon. Unfortunately these new companies do not have the same proven track record as Double Fine, so who knows what you're going to get. This makes supporting some Kickstarter video game projects a gamble for the everyday consumer.
The biggest issue is that you are putting money towards a project that is nowhere near finished, so you have no idea what you're going to get. Also, Kickstarter will not refund your money and the company is not at liberty to do so if the finished product does not meet your expectations. If you donated $20 for a "wacky adventure starring Sasquatch" but the end product was a kiddy game where Sasquatch wandered the woods hiding from humans, it may not be what you wanted, but tough luck because you aren't getting your money back. Ok, maybe that is a bad example, but I'm just saying that by funding a product that is not complete yet, you have no idea what the end result will be.
The funder is not the only person taking a risk...the fundee is also taking a huge gamble. Sure, having a bunch of people send you money to make your dream game may sound like a good idea, but it leaves a huge burden on your shoulders. The developer will have to meet expectations for the game, since a lot of crazy promises will have to be made in order to attract attention to the game in the first place. Also, if the end result doesn't meet the public's standards, you will face a lot of heat from those that donated to the game. Sure, there's no legal rule saying that you must refund customers who are unhappy with your finished product, but your new game doesn't need bad PR like that. Lastly, let's just say that you have this grand vision for a game and have your donation request met. Then a month or two down the road you suddenly release you're short a large chunk of change. You have this responsibility to finish up your game, but didn't raise enough funds to cover the entire expense, so now times are very hard indeed.
Do I think Kickstarter has potential for funding new games? Sure, if the right people are the ones developing the game. I would not send a company money for a game that I didn't know would be totally awesome. On my limited income I can't just throw my hard-earned cash at any fly-by-night developer. I wish them all the best, but it's just a personal gamble that I for one won't be taking.
Now if someone wants to make a beat 'em up starring Sasquatch, Yeti & friends, then I'm game!