Deano Ware
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I am curious as to whether most BGG members consider Kickstarter to be a "start up" venture or simply an alternate sales channel for the more main stream game companies like GMT, Valley Games, etc.

It seems lately more and more of the Kickstarter "projects" are simply alternate sales channels for the more established and main stream publishers to push an expansion or a new game. So in the end it becomes more a "pre-order" service than a genuine start up venture.

I am really concerned that as more and more main stream publishers use Kickstarter it will dry up the funding for honest to goodness start ups and raise the bar on those that do try and use the service.

I see "projects" now that have established graphic artists doing the art for the game, are being offered by published game designers and even some where the game has been sold for years on the "con" circuit. To me these are not "start ups" and I refuse to fund them on Kickstarter.

And more depressing it discourages people like me from even offering a game that may be in the conceptual stage but I don't have the money to employ a graphic artist, to order components and pay for a table ready prototype to be appear in the video.

I still like the idea of Kickstarter but more and more it seems established professionals of all types, i.e. documentary, music, games, authors, etc. are crowding into the media as a way of getting an established fan base to fund their upcoming releases.
 
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Matt Riddle
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ya, i think its both right now. Not sure if its a good or bad thing. I am wondering if the tide will turn on kickstarter and people will not fund games that deserve it. At this point I agree that I would not fund a WIP game. I have come to expect complete games. I have funded 3-4 thusfar.

I am not sure that is the right forum for concepts. Regardless of publisher backing or not, I think an incomplete idea with no art and components wouldnt make it. Whats your pitch? This game is going to be rally neat I promise... it takes more than that for me to want to back something. If kickstarter evolves into a preorder mechanism with a bonus item then it is what it is.
 
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William Crispin
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I have seen numerous comments from people who will not back games from established companies because they feel it dilutes the creative spirit of KS. For my part I am looking for original games that I want to play. I do not do it to "support" an artist. I will not back a game that I do not think has a very high chance of resulting in a professionally finished product.

The sad truth is that if a game developer does not have the cash and experience to put together a convincing KS kickoff then there is a good chance they do not have what it takes to release a polished finished product even after receiving the funds from a successful campaign. While developing a game is certainly challenging I think handling the production issues easily dwarfs that.

Most of the KS campaigns I have backed have had numerous production issues and delays. These from people who are already at least modestly experienced in producing games.
 
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Brian Schroth
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dcware wrote:
I am curious as to whether most BGG members consider Kickstarter to be a "start up" venture or simply an alternate sales channel for the more main stream game companies like GMT, Valley Games, etc.

It seems lately more and more of the Kickstarter "projects" are simply alternate sales channels for the more established and main stream publishers to push an expansion or a new game. So in the end it becomes more a "pre-order" service than a genuine start up venture.


Could you explain what you find so distasteful about a pre-order service? I personally think it's better than a run-of-the-mill pre-order service, as buyers rest easy knowing their money will only be spent if the project is complete, and sellers do not have to worry about the risk of insufficient sales- if they don't raise enough, the project simply fails with zero commitment.

I realize that Kickstarter can also be used in other ways, but this particular way seems like a win-win for both customers and sellers, and it does nothing to detract from the other way.
 
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Jason Hinchliffe
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I'm not going to discourage any new market that offers me more choices. I see no reason that this market should have any special restrictions. If Toyota wants to kickstart a new vehicle that's good by me. Why not.

 
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Chris Cieslik
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People should support or not support at their own whims, and worry less about what the other half of people do!

For me, it's a great site. I can't legally take pre-orders through my normal PayPal account, and Kickstarter lets me do so. I do understand that lots of people would rather order games through normal channels, and that's just fine too
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Well, they don't use Kickstarter but it seems inspired by it.

But Lock 'n Load Games now has what they call the Gruffless Preorder system. Works like Kickstarter. They set a date, and if they don't get the funds they move on to the next project.

I'd say it can be a good way to judge what exactly the market wants, so you're not wasting your time developing something that either might take years to reach(like conventional P500's), or might not re-coup enough to have made it worthwhile.

Some food for thought.
 
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Deano Ware
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Quote:
I personally think it's better than a run-of-the-mill pre-order service as buyers rest easy knowing their money will only be spent if the project is complete, and sellers do not have to worry about the risk of insufficient sales- if they don't raise enough, the project simply fails with zero commitment.


Well first of all, the fact that the Kickstarter project is "complete" does not mean the actual game will be completed. They get the Kickstarter money once they meet their goal. So they can intentionally set it low like $3,500 or so and get "funded".

As a previous poster stated many Kickstarter projects that got "funded" have been late, delayed or never delivered. So Kickstarter is actually worse than pre-order because with pre-order if you "pay" for it they either give you your product or your money back. With Kickstarter you simply contribute so if they never actually produce the game you never actually "paid for" the game so technically they don't owe you a refund. Now I don't know how KS enforces those who don't deliver but legally they are under no obligation - it's venture funding pure and simple.

That is largely my main complaint with the "pre-order" nature of most of what is getting funded right now. But on a more principled level I believe its not fair to those who need funding to get a good "prototype finished", "pay a graphic artist" and pay for quality components to be discounted because they are now competing with firms that are simply "recycling" stuff from other games and don't have to duplicate the real overhead involved.

I believe if they have a completed prototype or game already being distributed at conventions then they should go to real venture capitalist and get funded based on their "financials" like any other business plan. You never see any financial numbers in a KS presentation. It is all "advertisement" which no real venture capitalist would fund without numbers to back it up. But since most KS contributors now simply consider themselves making a "pre-order" they don't care about the numbers they just want their copy when it comes out.
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Dave Maynor
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Yeah, I see it as venture capitol for prototype funding. That's the intent, and i think even the big companies are using it this way. Sure, this stops them from fronting all the capitol for a new project which is the typical risk/reward model for companies.

But, it also replaces the product testing and survey/polling phase to ensure the market has interest in the product. It really is a slick idea, and I have no problem with bigger companies using it as a revenue stream to get a project to production stages, then take over form there. Ideally a larger company using KS for initial run will lead to a game that company will carry, and the production numbers will be higher than a normal self funded project.

The real question is how KS fares overall, as the gaming community seems to be a miniscule portion of it. I do think however that games tend to be the most direct return on investment of almost anything else I have seen on the service, so that's kind of motivating also. If KS continues to do well overall, the gaming community has a neat little vehicle to ride on. If not, the gaming portion will not be enough interest to keep it going.

But considering what the 'service' does, I see it being around forever. It is a great idea with little to know direct overhead or work now that the community and site are up and running.

Wish I would have done a KS project for the idea behind KS.....
 
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Brian Schroth
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dcware wrote:
Quote:
I personally think it's better than a run-of-the-mill pre-order service as buyers rest easy knowing their money will only be spent if the project is complete, and sellers do not have to worry about the risk of insufficient sales- if they don't raise enough, the project simply fails with zero commitment.


Well first of all, the fact that the Kickstarter project is "complete" does not mean the actual game will be completed. They get the Kickstarter money once they meet their goal. So they can intentionally set it low like $3,500 or so and get "funded".

As a previous poster stated many Kickstarter projects that got "funded" have been late, delayed or never delivered. So Kickstarter is actually worse than pre-order because with pre-order if you "pay" for it they either give you your product or your money back. With Kickstarter you simply contribute so if they never actually produce the game you never actually "paid for" the game so technically they don't owe you a refund. Now I don't know how KS enforces those who don't deliver but legally they are under no obligation - it's venture funding pure and simple.


Are you sure about this? My understanding is that there is an obligation to provide whatever rewards were offered, but I will concede that I'm no expert on Kickstarter. There's certainly an ethical obligation, if not a legal one, and I've yet to hear of anyone reneging on it.


Quote:
That is largely my main complaint with the "pre-order" nature of most of what is getting funded right now. But on a more principled level I believe its not fair to those who need funding to get a good "prototype finished", "pay a graphic artist" and pay for quality components to be discounted because they are now competing with firms that are simply "recycling" stuff from other games and don't have to duplicate the real overhead involved.


I don't think this is a good description of how people spend their money. They don't say "Well, I've got $500. I'm willing to spend $400 on games from traditional stores. And I'll use $100 for games on Kickstarter". Instead, they simply buy what looks valuable to them.

An established publisher using Kickstarter for a glorified pre-order is no more competition for those guys than that same estabished publisher publishing their game through traditional means. In both cases, they're just another game on the market. It's not like there's limited space on Kickstarter. Those seeking out games that truly need backing and support are still able to find them and do so.

Quote:
I believe if they have a completed prototype or game already being distributed at conventions then they should go to real venture capitalist and get funded based on their "financials" like any other business plan. You never see any financial numbers in a KS presentation. It is all "advertisement" which no real venture capitalist would fund without numbers to back it up. But since most KS contributors now simply consider themselves making a "pre-order" they don't care about the numbers they just want their copy when it comes out.


But why "should" they follow this inferior business plan? Releasing a board game is a very risky thing. It's hard to judge the right size for the print run, and you never know if it will be a hit or a dud. But if you release it on kickstarter, you can know the exact size of the print run before it happens, and you can guarantee that the copies will sell or else you won't do it. It's a great business prospect. So why should they be restricted to the far more risky venture capitalist funding model?
 
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Matt Riddle
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i3ullseye wrote:
Yeah, I see it as venture capitol for prototype funding. That's the intent, and i think even the big companies are using it this way. Sure, this stops them from fronting all the capitol for a new project which is the typical risk/reward model for companies.

But, it also replaces the product testing and survey/polling phase to ensure the market has interest in the product. It really is a slick idea, and I have no problem with bigger companies using it as a revenue stream to get a project to production stages, then take over form there. Ideally a larger company using KS for initial run will lead to a game that company will carry, and the production numbers will be higher than a normal self funded project.

The real question is how KS fares overall, as the gaming community seems to be a miniscule portion of it. I do think however that games tend to be the most direct return on investment of almost anything else I have seen on the service, so that's kind of motivating also. If KS continues to do well overall, the gaming community has a neat little vehicle to ride on. If not, the gaming portion will not be enough interest to keep it going.

But considering what the 'service' does, I see it being around forever. It is a great idea with little to know direct overhead or work now that the community and site are up and running.

Wish I would have done a KS project for the idea behind KS.....


I backed a music project from a band I loved in college. In that case you also get the CD/digital file much like with games you get the game. MANY of the other kick starter projects are true pledges. Gaming/Music are areas where atleast you are getting something for your pledge (i.e preorder) but the movies and art projects and others you are throwing your money at a person to finish something with no direct return
 
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Travis Worthington
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BagelManB wrote:
Quote:
That is largely my main complaint with the "pre-order" nature of most of what is getting funded right now. But on a more principled level I believe its not fair to those who need funding to get a good "prototype finished", "pay a graphic artist" and pay for quality components to be discounted because they are now competing with firms that are simply "recycling" stuff from other games and don't have to duplicate the real overhead involved.


I don't think this is a good description of how people spend their money. They don't say "Well, I've got $500. I'm willing to spend $400 on games from traditional stores. And I'll use $100 for games on Kickstarter". Instead, they simply buy what looks valuable to them.

An established publisher using Kickstarter for a glorified pre-order is no more competition for those guys than that same estabished publisher publishing their game through traditional means. In both cases, they're just another game on the market. It's not like there's limited space on Kickstarter. Those seeking out games that truly need backing and support are still able to find them and do so.


This couldn't be more true - self published and small publisher games have always had to compete with the the giant publishers (hasbro, mattel, etc) and the large hobby publishers (FFG, GW, etc) - kickstarter is no different really.

Of course it isn't always the greatest looking games that are going to get the most funding. Creature Clash! Card Game did really well on kickstarter, I think in part becuase the art was clearly a labor of love that fit the theme very well. Cards Against Humanity was another small game launched on kickstarter without a lot of great art, that has done very well since.

While there is no formula for success in publishing a game (and every person that puts a game on kickstarter will be a publisher) - that is true for all sizes of projects and companies that support them. Having a great game, that people really enjoy playing is the best way to ensure the long term success of a game that you are trying to publish - regardless of whether kickstarter is part of that process or not.
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T Worthington wrote:
BagelManB wrote:
Quote:
That is largely my main complaint with the "pre-order" nature of most of what is getting funded right now. But on a more principled level I believe its not fair to those who need funding to get a good "prototype finished", "pay a graphic artist" and pay for quality components to be discounted because they are now competing with firms that are simply "recycling" stuff from other games and don't have to duplicate the real overhead involved.


I don't think this is a good description of how people spend their money. They don't say "Well, I've got $500. I'm willing to spend $400 on games from traditional stores. And I'll use $100 for games on Kickstarter". Instead, they simply buy what looks valuable to them.

An established publisher using Kickstarter for a glorified pre-order is no more competition for those guys than that same estabished publisher publishing their game through traditional means. In both cases, they're just another game on the market. It's not like there's limited space on Kickstarter. Those seeking out games that truly need backing and support are still able to find them and do so.


This couldn't be more true - self published and small publisher games have always had to compete with the the giant publishers (hasbro, mattel, etc) and the large hobby publishers (FFG, GW, etc) - kickstarter is no different really.

Of course it isn't always the greatest looking games that are going to get the most funding. Creature Clash! Card Game did really well on kickstarter, I think in p art becuase the art was clearly a labor of love that fit the theme very well. Cards Against Humanity was another small game launched on kickstarter without a lot of great art, that has done very well since.

While there is no formula for success in publishing a game (and every person that puts a game on kickstarter will be a publisher) - that is true for all sizes of projects and companies that support them. Having a great game, that people really enjoy playing is the best way to ensure the long term success of a game that you are trying to publish - regardless of whether kickstarter is part of that process or not.
great post
 
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