19 November 2016

A Followup to Last Week's Entry

Last week, I posted an entry about Kickstarter. Specifically, I was talking about how some projects are on there because it's a new company (or perhaps just an individual) who has no way of bringing their idea to fruition without crowdfunding. Other projects are there as a way of gauging interest; some creators put their ideas on Kickstarter to see how many people are willing to back it, and if the project doesn't reach its goal, then it's probably not a viable product.

But there are quite a few people who use Kickstarter only as a way of funding a project without having to spend any money themselves.

By the way, for those of you who are curious, Conspire managed to get funded with just hours to spare. They finished at 101%, beating their goal by a mere $101. It was close; I wasn't sure it would make it. I was actually checking in every 20 minutes or so to see how they were progressing.

Anyway. Whether or not a creator truly needs the money is only one consideration in deciding to back a project. Another factor is the stretch goals (for those of you who don't know, a 'stretch goal' is an extra something that will happen if the project reaches a certain goal). A perfect example is the Order of the Stick Reprint Drive. Rich Burlew, an independent artist responsible for The Order of the Stick webcomic, wanted to get his older books back into print, but didn't have enough money to do this on his own. He wanted to reach a goal of just under $58,000 to bring volume 3: War and XPs back into print.

I already owned a copy of volume 3. There was no reason for me to back the project. The first stretch goal was that if they reached $97,000, he would also be able to reprint the print-only prequel book, On the Origin of PCs. I already owned a copy of that book as well.

But once the drive hit $150,000, he would reprint volume 2: No Cure for the Paladin Blues. That was the only book I was missing from the collection. I suddenly had a reason to back the drive.

Finally, and I think in some ways most importantly, there's one other consideration in deciding whether to back a project: past performance.

I've heard from a friend about one company (I don't remember which one, nor the game they were attempting to fund) that he supported on Kickstarter. The project was quite successful, and in addition to the main game, several expansions were unlocked. However, the company chose to ship the rewards to the backers all at once. This meant that they were going to wait until all of the expansions had been published before sending out any product at all.

As a result, the main game and the first few expansions are already available for purchase by the general public. But John can't buy them (technically, I suppose he could, but it would be silly to do so) because there's a copy already marked to be sent to him at some point in the future. In some ways, one of the benefits of backing a game on Kickstarter is to be amongst the first to receive a copy. But this company has subverted that for their backers.

Anyway, I suppose some people are so excited about being the first ones to get a product that they're willing to back a project even if it doesn't really need to be backed. Patience is not a virtue that some people have, after all...

But for those of us who don't mind waiting a little bit, there are other considerations to keep in mind when deciding to back a project. To review:
  1. Does this project really need money to get published? Or is the creator just unwilling to put up the money on his own?
  2. What are the stretch goals? Do they make the project worth backing?
  3. Has this creator made any other projects before? If not, does he or she seem like they could use the support? If so, are the backers of those projects satisfied with what they got out of it?
That's what I was thinking about as I sat down to write this entry. Maybe I was influenced in part because I attended a meeting of people who are tired of ideology and irrational decision making have such a large effect on the course of life for so many.

I will end there for now. See you back here next week! Until then,

Game on!

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