Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Tipa of West Karana wonders whether Kickstarter will usher in the age of boutique gaming. Well, I am kind of skeptical. I checked Kickstarter's FAQ and found that the people pledging money will be charged the moment the "funding goal" is reached. After that "It is the responsibility of the project creator to fulfill the promises of their project. Kickstarter reviews projects to ensure they do not violate the Project Guidelines, however Kickstarter does not investigate a creator's ability to complete their project." In other words, if you fund a video game via Kickstarter and the game is never released or totally sucks when released, you're out of luck and have no way to get your money back.

Making video games is an extremely risky business. Changing funding from investors to crowd funding does not change that. Thousands of games every year get cancelled before they are ever released, or are rushed to release in a state that only remotely resembles the promises made before. Pre-ordering a game before the first reviews are in is a risk, which is why companies offer you lots of goodies if you pre-order. Using Kickstarter is a far higher risk, as you aren't even certain to ever get that game at all.

Of course like in any gamble there is also a chance that you win, in this case that by pre-pre-ordering the game you assure that you get the game that you wanted, especially if what you wanted isn't really mainstream. Some types and genres of games have fallen out of fashion, and Kickstarter might make it possible for some not fashionable games to be made. I just wonder if everybody is well aware of the risk involved. Hype for a game and a famous developer don't guarantee that in the end the game will be actually any good. Would you have wanted to Kickstart Daikatana or Duke Nukem Forever?

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