Author Topic: Your Thoughts on Kickstarter?  (Read 4945 times)

Jon Shafer

  • Lord of the Forest
  • *
Your Thoughts on Kickstarter?
« on: March 20, 2013, 01:03:25 PM »
Kickstarter is something I've thought a great deal about (not only for the obvious reasons). There seems to be an odd vibe surrounding it, and I don't think many people have really collected their own feelings regarding the platform. Some folk seem to think that it should only be used for "real" expenses, and that the project creators shouldn't be making money of it. Others view it as income or profit as from any other source, and once it's in the team's pocket they can do whatever they want with it (within reason - no running off to a Caribbean island or anything).

Now, some questions for you guys!

What do you think? What "should" money raised through Kickstarter be allowed for? What obligations do project creators have to their contributors? If AtG instead raised a million dollars, what would you expect us to do with the "extra" 900k?

- Jon
If you have any questions, please send me a private message here on the forums or an email at [Contact@ConiferGames.com]. Thanks for your support!

Re: Your Thoughts on Kickstarter?
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2013, 01:21:31 PM »
Personally I love Kickstarter.  I think its an amazing idea as well as a perfect example of what people can accomplish when we work together.  I tell everyone about Kickstarter and everyone I've told about it so far has never heard of it!  I believe a company should do what they said they were going to do with the funds.  For a digital project like this you create the one product and send it out with all stretch goals met, any funds left over is free game in my mind.  I feel most people would like to see those funds used to make more games instead of closing shop and pocketing the money, but again if you met the goals you said you would do no one could really say boo about keeping the remaining.  As for a physical product I feel you need to put in some buffer in your price.  Lets say you get a quote for a paperback black and white RPG book and find you can sell it for $30 each, so your Kickstarter is $30 a book.  Well if your stretch goals are full color and hardcover, you're going to be short on funds since everyone just paid you $30 for a book that is now going to cost you more than $30 to make.  If your price includes your stretch goals, but leave your funding goal where it needs to be for softcover B&W books, then it'll take less time to get there, if anything goes wrong you've got a little extra, and if you meet all your stretch goals you'll have the funds required.  Of course, your stretch goals take more time which costs money as well, I find the physical example simpler to follow :)

As a final note, let us not forget even if your Kickstarter succeeds you are not legally bound to do anything!
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Re: Your Thoughts on Kickstarter?
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2013, 01:26:10 PM »
In my opinion Kickstater funds should be used to:

Create and improve the promised product.
Fulfill pledge rewards.
Pay salaries/hire more staff (I don't see Kickstarter projects as being charities... the creators should expect to make a salary or stipend for all their efforts... of course this should probably be built into the Kickstater projects minimum funding).
Create surplus product to sell outside of the Kickstarter campaign.

However, there is a question of what a company should do if they are "wildly" successful. For example, would you have been able to think of stretch goals that really would have been able to use an extra $900,000? It seems to me that once you get into wildly successful territory, then the people behind the Kickstarter project really need to look at what those funds should be used for and how they can reward those who pledged.

I personally liked your idea of creating an expansion with the extra funds and then offering that free of charge to all those who pledged at a certain amount. This to me is a good way to respond to being successful.

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Re: Your Thoughts on Kickstarter?
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2013, 12:09:57 AM »
What do you think? What "should" money raised through Kickstarter be allowed for? What obligations do project creators have to their contributors? If AtG instead raised a million dollars, what would you expect us to do with the "extra" 900k?

Obviously the correct use of the money would be to blow it all on hiring a famous actor like Patrick Stewart or Morgan Freeman (or both) to do narration for the game.

But really I think Kickstarters should be started with the intention of funding a project, and not profit, but I don't think anyone reasonable would expect you to spend all of that money on one game if it wasn't required. Once all of the stretch goals were reached, it would have been totally fine to just invest the extra money into the company (marketing, hiring more people), future games, or just saving it in case any disasters happen during development.

Re: Your Thoughts on Kickstarter?
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2013, 03:17:59 PM »
You were pondering this on Twitter a bit ago, and I had difficulty summing up a response in 100 and however many characters, so now I get to exaggerate a bit.

I believe that the Kickstarter funds should first and foremost go towards the product and salary (enough to warrant working full-time, but not enough to be able to go out and buy a sports car).  The funds should be used conservatively; at this phase the prototyping really should be nearly complete, and the license costs and such already determined.  Yes, emergency cost events occur, prices go up, but hopefully this was kept in mind when making the Kickstarter target goal.

In the case of a wildly successful Kickstarter, enhance the product being kicked, without getting bloated or too crazy.  At some point, there are going to be too many features, too many creative contractors (looking at Torment: Tides of Numenera right now, hoping they aren't going too big), or too much something to where the project will collapse in on itself.  Plenty of examples of this in Kickstarter as well as normal software development.  Cash can be stashed to put towards the next project and maintenance of the company between projects, or to upgrade the game development suite in some way.

Now to clarify, previously I stated that the game devs should get a small bonus.  If Twitter allowed more text, I must say that this should only be the case if the game is received well by the fan-base.  If the game makes even the backers sad and disappointed, then that 'bonus' money should go towards trying to recover the public image of the company and win back those supporters.  Because you lose the support, the next Kickstarter will most likely flop.  This is another case of using leftover Kickstarter funds to invest in the company's future.

Jon Shafer

  • Lord of the Forest
  • *
Re: Your Thoughts on Kickstarter?
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2013, 06:21:52 PM »
Thanks for your thoughts, all. My personal feeling is that project creators should always try to do right by their backers, and that philosophy is multi-faceted. That includes being transparent and honest about what's going on, doing one's best to follow through on what one has said, and thanking supporters for their generosity. Had AtG blown way past its goal we would have used some of those funds to improve AtG (more music, animations, etc.), some would have gone to bringing more folks on full-time, and some would have gone towards future projects (such as a playable Romans expansion).

However, once you've cleared all of those hurdles, I believe that it's fine for project creators to reward themselves. I'm going to do whatever I can to make great games for you guys and hopefully provide you with an interesting story to follow along the way, but I'm not going to bend over backwards and jump through hoops to try and ensure I forever live a life of poverty. I'm going to be pinching pennies during AtG, but should it do well I definitely won't shy away from traveling and eating out a bit more. :)

- Jon
If you have any questions, please send me a private message here on the forums or an email at [Contact@ConiferGames.com]. Thanks for your support!

Re: Your Thoughts on Kickstarter?
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2013, 09:09:03 AM »
However, once you've cleared all of those hurdles, I believe that it's fine for project creators to reward themselves. I'm going to do whatever I can to make great games for you guys and hopefully provide you with an interesting story to follow along the way, but I'm not going to bend over backwards and jump through hoops to try and ensure I forever live a life of poverty. I'm going to be pinching pennies during AtG, but should it do well I definitely won't shy away from traveling and eating out a bit more. :)

- Jon

I think that it would be wrong of us to expect you to live in poverty forever.  Hope would be that you find success of a sort with AtG and gain either a steady enough following on kickstarter or some big private donors to where you and the others at Conifer Games can live comfortably consistently.

Jon Shafer

  • Lord of the Forest
  • *
Re: Your Thoughts on Kickstarter?
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2013, 11:17:50 AM »
Thanks much, sir. I'm confident that AtG will do well and given our scope there's very little risk in what we're doing. I have some really exciting ideas for future games, so I certainly hope we're able to keep it up! :)

- Jon
If you have any questions, please send me a private message here on the forums or an email at [Contact@ConiferGames.com]. Thanks for your support!

Re: Your Thoughts on Kickstarter?
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2013, 01:27:37 PM »
For me it seems like there are different classes of kickstarters, with different expectations accordingly.  With something like AtG, I feel like I'm essentially prepaying for the game so there is of course an obligation for the project to do it's best to deliver the purchased goods, but that's all there is.  If the total raised is right at goal or 10x goal it doesn't really matter to me where the money goes as long as the developer delivers the goods.

Another type of project is the "give me money so I can create X", where the reward for X is often worth a lot less than the money you put in.  There I feel like if funding goes amazing there really is some obligation to reward the backers beyound the agreed tiers.  Backers are essentially overpaying to ensure sufficient volume (in $s) to make the product.... but if you 10x the sufficient volume...

Anyways I generally steer clear of kickstarters where I feel the value to the backer is poor (examples would be give us $20 and we give you a $3 from our new bakery), so for me there is never really a problem when things go really good.

Re: Your Thoughts on Kickstarter?
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2013, 12:25:25 AM »
For me there a vew things
1) Keep the Game and all AddOns/DLCs of it DRM free without any fixed bounding to a single shop or even worse Social Media software unless you specifical mentioned it in the KS
2) Make the best Game you can do with this money
3) Keep your KS promises (OK with the exception of the release Date as I already have games that are late by over 6 Month)
4) Do Updates at KS how the project go along at last once per month
5) Focus on the controlls for the Systems you sayed trough the KS that you will suport bevore even tinking about porting to other systems not promised there.
6) Dont forget that not everything will go along the plan and so have some money in reserve, nothing is worse for the backer and developer if you run out of money and never fulfill the promisses.
7) Dont push yourself to hard as no one is happy if you work your self into a hospital or even into your grave.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2013, 12:51:19 AM by Adauli »