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Subject: Possible solution to miscellanous Kickstarter problems rss

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That's just crazy talk
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Scott Hill
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It would never work.
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Is this like when people riding horses would stop and mock the guys who had smoke coming out of their engines from the first cars?

Kickstarter has its problems. But I don't see anything you mention that's not the same problem that many publishers have.

A lot of Kickstarter first timers make mistakes. It's a growing process, and one that hopefully people are learning from.
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Justin B
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I avoid kickstarters that:
- Are just used as pre-orders (IE Compounded)
- Have high shipping (IE $30, yes i know it's not their fault, but I can buy it in store for $0 shipping later)
- Lack of interest by author (IE Meat Puppets... Going to drop out soon)
- Price is a couple dollars off MSRP and no bonuses (stores will have it a lot less then the MSRP)
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Matt Brown
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GeneralPeeEff wrote:
First of all, organizations are formed.. let's call them "publishers". The publisher's job is to receive proposals from would-be game designers. They will decide which games are the most interesting and potentially make them the most money by selling the most copies.


I'm pretty sure we have something like this now. I think they are called publishers.
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TomVasel wrote:
Is this like when people riding horses would stop and mock the guys who had smoke coming out of their engines from the first cars?

Kickstarter has it's problems. But I don't see anything you mention that's not the same problem that many publishers have.

A lot of Kickstarter first timers make mistakes. It's a growing process, and one that hopefully people are learning from.


Ultimately I agree with all of this. That being said, I appreciate the "tongue in cheek-ness" of the OP.
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Tom Vasel
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GeneralPeeEff wrote:
Mistakes cost the customer money and cost the hobby credibility.

Thanks for your reply.


Sure, mistakes cost the customer money. But can you point out where Kickstarter is costing the hobby credibility? I haven't seen that.
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Kickstarter lets the wee designer get a go. Some wee designers are terrible but others excellent; punishing the excellent ones because of the poor ones misdeeds is unfair.

I'd say on a very good day Kickstarter is democratising the industry making it more responsive, representative and diverse and making game production less about capital and more about ideas. Further, this trickles down to the stores and up to the publishers - where there is more competition, greater availability of a diverse range of products and a strengthened consumer power. The voices in the industry expanded from hundreds to thousands in a few clicks of a mouse.

Publishers are not in it for the art (or at least can't just be in it for the art). Look at Mob Ties: The Board Game here's an excellent game with amazing, though bloody art. The publishers' requested the art was toned down, the designers didn't want to compromise their vision and so became publishers via Kickstarter and the support of their funders.

All this said Kickstarter needs to do a better job of protecting their funders; funders need to do a better job of protecting themselves and understanding the risks that they are taking. From a UK/Europe/Rest of the World viewpoint I'd also like it if a better model to deal with international supporters could be worked out - it's largely prohibitive at the moment.
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Andy Leber
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soulchief wrote:
I avoid kickstarters that:
- Are just used as pre-orders (IE Compounded)


People also need to stop thinking of Kickstarter as a pre-order, on the projects that aren't a pre-order too (See OP Problem #3: "non-backers can buy the games cheaper than backers once they hit the retail chain")

If it's possible to get a finished product for cheaper than retail, then that's fantastic. But I personally would never expect it. The money you pledge needs to not only cover the cost of the product itself, but also additional costs of a startup project (hence the need for kickstarter).

It really needs to be thought of as supporting the project overall with a donation, and then getting a reward, period. Rewards such as that rarely equal the value of money pledged.

(ie: A charity may provide some small gift or trinket as a thanks for donating, but you wouldn't expect to get $10 worth of swag from your $10 donation, obviously)

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GeneralPeeEff wrote:
If customers were truly aware that their pledge is not a pre-order, they would pledge far fewer projects.


But that isnt the fault of the platform. Kickstarter is very clear in what is is. All of the FAQs and all of their documentation describe it as a form of crowdfunding for something that might not be created otherwise.

Often times I see people on BGG say that they wont back something on kickstarter but would probably buy it in a store once its released. The issue here is a lot of these projects couldnt, or wont exist under traditional means of publishing. There may not be a huge market, or it may be a new style of game that a publisher has deemed "too risky."

I can understand peoples concern with kickstarter, and even peoples dislike of it (its all personal preference). However, all kickstarter does is allow for another path to production for products that might not see the light of day otherwise.

Sure some may fail, some may be mediocre, and some may be great, but its up to the backers to pledge their money wisely, and realize that they are in fact taking a risk on something. If someone doesnt want to take that risk, they dont need to. But its certainly not a problem in the platform.
 
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GeneralPeeEff wrote:
TomVasel wrote:
GeneralPeeEff wrote:
Mistakes cost the customer money and cost the hobby credibility.

Thanks for your reply.


Sure, mistakes cost the customer money. But can you point out where Kickstarter is costing the hobby credibility? I haven't seen that.

Anecdotal, mostly. I've been to a few gatherings and cons where someone has sat down and said, "awww, not another Kickstarter game" then got up to find another game.


True, but I also have seen people do the same with "not another FFG game" "not another cube pusher", etc.

Quote:
I understand you're going to show up and defend Kickstarter. After all, you do work in the Kickstarter industry. But please understand that when the quality of the *average* game goes down, so does the opinion of the hobby.


Bah, I've criticized Kickstarter games in the past and will do so in the future. There are a lot of problems with people just publishing whatever. But it doesn't hurt the credibility of the hobby as a whole - just the credibility of that particular person/company. The cream will rise to the top, and it is.
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Matt Brown
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GeneralPeeEff wrote:
But please understand that when the quality of the *average* game goes down, so does the opinion of the hobby.


Which you can't prove is happening now that KS is around. KS does do a decent job of weeding out the truly bad stuff. There are a number of the rules poor awesome miniature games that have done huge numbers but there's a mass of really good games out because of KS.
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People should stop seeing Kickstarter as a preorder. It's an investment and if you're lucky, you get something back for your investment.
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GeneralPeeEff wrote:
Reading through the various threads for Kickstarter projects, it seems like there are common issues with them:
1. late shipments
2. games hit retail stores before backers
3. non-backers can buy the games cheaper than backers once they hit the retail chain
4. production issues
5. general low quality of the gameplay itself

I propose a dramatic change to the way games are produced.

First of all, organizations are formed.. let's call them "publishers". The publisher's job is to receive proposals from would-be game designers. They will decide which games are the most interesting and potentially make them the most money by selling the most copies.

The publisher will then work with the designer through an entity called a "developer". The developer's job is to refine gameplay and ensure the game will be well-received. In some circumstances, though, the developer will suggest to the publisher that the game be cancelled. This prevents the game from being produced and the publisher's name from being associated with bad games.

Once the game is developed, the publisher will work with a manufacturer to get the game physically produced. The publisher will have relationships with the manufacturer and will this be aware of common production issues like faulty manufacturing, pre-production proofs, printing delays, wet environments, mould, etc.

The publisher will then use his capital to get the game published. The publisher will obviously not pay a lot of money to get a game published that he/she doesn't think will sell well. Of course, then, the publisher will rely on his developer(s) and designer(s) to produce a quality product. If the game "sucks", as it were, the publisher stands to lose money and perhaps even go out of business.

Once the game is produced, the publisher will work with a distributor, who specializes in delivering the game to retail (and on-line) outlets. Shipping is a distributor's specialty, not a publisher's, designer's or developer's.

The distributor will deliver games to stores, and the stores will sell them.

Problem #1 is avoided when a competent publisher employs a competent manfuacturer.

Problem #2 is avoided because there are no backers -- all customers are on equal footing. Pre-orders can be done between a customer and the retailer.

Problem #3 is avoided because those stupid enough to worry that a game won't exist without being backed will be out of the equation. There are enough games already.

Problem #4 is *mitigated* because the publisher has a relationship with a manufacturer. Defect rates are noticably higher with Kickstarter projects and production quality is higher with publisher-produced titles.

Problem #5 is *mitigated* because the publisher has a financial stake in the game's success.

Thoughts?


Heresy, get out the dunking stool!


With that said I'm not sure how Glory to Rome would have ended any differently if it was shipped via a "publisher" than a Kickstarter.
 
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GeneralPeeEff wrote:
Reading through the various threads for Kickstarter projects, it seems like there are common issues with them:
1. late shipments
2. games hit retail stores before backers
3. non-backers can buy the games cheaper than backers once they hit the retail chain
4. production issues
5. general low quality of the gameplay itself

I propose a dramatic change to the way games are produced.

First of all, organizations are formed.. let's call them "publishers".


Either you are unaware, uneducated or otherwise uninformed that many of the biggest culprits of breaking the said 5 issues you see on Kickstarter are from none other than -gasp!- publishers themselves.
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the_vinman wrote:
People should stop seeing Kickstarter as a preorder. It's an investment and if you're lucky, you get something back for your investment.


This would be a mistake.

Most Kickstarter projects tell you exactly what you can expect some time in the future.
Kickstarter.com has the following to say on the topic:

"Is a creator legally obligated to fulfill the promises of their project?

Yes. Kickstarter's Terms of Use require creators to fulfill all rewards of their project or refund any backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill. (This is what creators see before they launch.) We crafted these terms to create a legal requirement for creators to follow through on their projects, and to give backers a recourse if they don't. We hope that backers will consider using this provision only in cases where they feel that a creator has not made a good faith effort to complete the project and fulfill."

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Architeuthis wrote:
the_vinman wrote:
People should stop seeing Kickstarter as a preorder. It's an investment and if you're lucky, you get something back for your investment.


This would be a mistake.

Most Kickstarter projects tell you exactly what you can expect some time in the future.
Kickstarter.com has the following to say on the topic:

"Is a creator legally obligated to fulfill the promises of their project?

Yes. Kickstarter's Terms of Use require creators to fulfill all rewards of their project or refund any backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill. (This is what creators see before they launch.) We crafted these terms to create a legal requirement for creators to follow through on their projects, and to give backers a recourse if they don't. We hope that backers will consider using this provision only in cases where they feel that a creator has not made a good faith effort to complete the project and fulfill."



Technically, yes. Although it's pretty much up to the backer to try and sue someone. Realistically, it's not an "investment" and almost any word we use for KS, be it "investment", "donation", etc tend to not be exactly accurate. But they are far more accurate imo, than "Purchasing" or "Preordering".
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Holmes108 wrote:


Technically, yes. Although it's pretty much up to the backer to try and sue someone. Realistically, it's not an "investment" and almost any word we use for KS, be it "investment", "donation", etc tend to not be exactly accurate. But they are far more accurate imo, than "Purchasing" or "Preordering".


Most people expect to receive a product at some point after backing a project on Kickstarter, and from what is presented there, they would be right to do so.
 
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Quote:
People should stop seeing Kickstarter as a preorder. It's an investment and if you're lucky, you get something back for your investment.


This isn't strictly true since you only fund a project if the goal is met .... at that point unless you funded too low an amount you usually get something.

An investment you fund it regardless hopingyou get some a return on it. Granted it's usually an educated risk but a risk nonetheless.

That being said the way I look at Kickstarters is a way to pre-order a game while providing some of the overhead funds to get it off the ground, thereby guaranteeing that it does get off the ground. I look at the pledge levels and that the one that I feel is worth the reward plus a small donation.
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Michael Grankin
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"But Kickstarter helps small designers to publish a game which they will not be able to produce otherwise!" - that is the kind of statement that bothers me in all kickstarter related discussions. Saying that is very dishonest - you can release your game as PnP anytime. If feedback is positive you can then publish the game any way you wish, iron out bugs during peer review and have some potential customers (see D-Dice, for example).

Sadly, many creators choose the easier way of AWESOME REVOLUTIONARY CONTROVERSIAL MATURE GAME, BLOOD TITS GORE MINIATURES and appealing to impulse buyers.
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Michael Carter
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Kickstarter is to the game industry what American Idol is to the music industry.
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theflint wrote:
"But Kickstarter helps small designers to publish a game which they will not be able to produce otherwise!" - that is the kind of statement that bothers me in all kickstarter related discussions. Saying that is very dishonest - you can release your game as PnP anytime. If feedback is positive you can then publish the game any way you wish, iron out bugs during peer review and have some potential customers (see D-Dice, for example).

Sadly, many creators choose the easier way of AWESOME REVOLUTIONARY CONTROVERSIAL MATURE GAME, BLOOD TITS GORE MINIATURES and appealing to impulse buyers.


Saying that is absolutely not dishonest. It does help small designers publish their game. It's obviously not the only way to go but one of a few options.

If someone doesn't like backing Kickstarters they don't have to but I don't see the point in bashing them for using a legitimate way to publish a game.
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GeneralPeeEff wrote:
Reading through the various threads for Kickstarter projects, it seems like there are common issues with them:
1. late shipments
2. games hit retail stores before backers
3. non-backers can buy the games cheaper than backers once they hit the retail chain
4. production issues
5. general low quality of the gameplay itself


Not sure about #3. I know people say that, but...

I personally question how many people are really, honestly, backing kickstarter games to save 10% (or whatever) off retail. If so, that's severely flawed logic and is a bad decision financially because they have to pay their contribution up front, NOT when the product is delivered. And not only that, there is no contract in place securing you will have the product at all, not even within a specific time under certain conditions.

Since most kickstarter projects take at least a year to deliver, you've lost the use of your money for 12+ months, at which time you could have just purchsed the game online for more the 10% off, if that's what you're going for.

People back stuff on Kickstarter because they want to be involved with something, they want to feel part of the process, and because they want to be somebody who helped "discover" something before everybody else did.

From a customer profile point of view, they are the early adopters.

Inherent to being an early adopter is that there's alot of risk involved, because you are "signing" up for it first. Yoiu want it before everybody else gets it, so you can the cool guy who helped make it popular ; )

A good parallel is to look at gadget early adopters, or "gadget geeks". These are the folks who are buying the new stuff before others have even heard of it.

The rest of your stuff I think is spot on, however, due to the nature of the beast, you're not going to solve it unless designers/publishers kickstart finished games.
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Mike Geller
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soulchief wrote:
Price is a couple dollars off MSRP and no bonuses (stores will have it a lot less then the MSRP)


Out of curiousity, are you referring to brick-and-mortar or online? Because where I live only one out of six of the local stores charges even one cent less than MSRP (and it is not "a lot" less). Also the online stores won't give free shipping unless you order $75 to $125 worth of games and if you want to pre-order you need to wait until everything is available before it ships.

The price consideration for KS is kind of a wash for me. Not a big issue either way.
 
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I like your tone and I am always a fan of sarcasm, but if you do not like Kickstarter and think it only produces average games, then STAY AWAY FROM IT! Nobody has a gun pointed at anyone. All Kickstarter does is offer more options to gamers. Publishers often only touch games that they think will sell at market. This is often a narrow window. KS allows interesting games with abnormal themes to be created.

Kickstarter also allows someone with "No Capital" to produce a game from the ground up. It also gives designers, like myself, full control over our games. No publishers telling us to cut this or add that. We get to make the game we want and our backers want.

Kickstarter is only a few years old, but it's impact has been felt and more and more designers and big name publishers are going to use it as time goes on.

If you are uncertain about a product being offered on Kickstarter, WALK AWAY! Also, keep in mind that thousands of crap games have been shoved down our throats for years by the big publishers. Now indie companies are springing up everywhere and making great games. I simply see no issue.
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