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August 27, 2012 9:11 AM   Subscribe

Ben Kuchera, a video games journalist who has written for Wired, Ars Technica, and now the Penny Arcade Report, discusses the seedy underbelly of Kickstarter promotion.
posted by gilrain (72 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
PA itself is up, but I can't seem to get any Report articles to load. Strange.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:20 AM on August 27, 2012


As an aside, when you have an active kickstarter, you get spammed by all kinds of people trying to profit. I've recently been getting emails from a company offering email addresses of potential backers for spamming...
posted by iamck at 9:23 AM on August 27, 2012


Interesting piece. The guy who was all "bribing journalists is like buying advertising, isn't it?" is a major asscandle.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:24 AM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


There is also the problem of people selling existing products at a big markup while claiming to have designed it as seen here http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bc26/ambiolight-a-one-touch-room-makeover/comments

Kick starter doesn't enforce their own rules
posted by mulligan at 9:24 AM on August 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Money is shit. It attracts flies.
posted by philip-random at 9:24 AM on August 27, 2012 [9 favorites]


Ugh, the top comment on that ambiolight project is very typical:
If the product is good, it is worth the money. They are priced fair for high quality LED. End of story.
Amazon is for selling products! Kickstarter is (supposed to be) for raising money to develop products!
posted by muddgirl at 9:32 AM on August 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


There's a certain strain of geek that will justify anything under that sort of quasi-libertarianism.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:33 AM on August 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


whores feel like whores when the money is on the dresser, film at 11...
posted by sexyrobot at 9:34 AM on August 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


I find it hilarious that it's the Penny Arcade report discussing this when the parent company just straight-up asked for a quarter million dollars for walkin' around money in exchange for letting you be their butler or whatever.
posted by griphus at 9:36 AM on August 27, 2012 [14 favorites]


I'm glad to see the disclosure about Kickstarter projects paying for funding, but is this really any different from existing press relations in the gaming industry? All sorts of swag, free games, early exclusive access, etc is traded between the game publishers and the mainstream game industry. The entire domain is disgustingly compromised. Kuchera is a good guy for fighting against journalistic corruption, but he's a lonely voice.

I hope Kickstarter is well prepared for the coming shitstorm of projects that "succeeded" in that they got funded, but then fail to deliver the promised product. There've been a few public failures like this already but as the projects get bigger and with more press attention, the stakes are higher. My guess is Ouya is at risk of being such a big failure, we'll know next March.

Also tangentially related, Chris Crawford whining about his failed Kickstarter. As one friend of mine put it, Crawford seems to be good at blaming anyone but himself. His project Balance of the Planet is still active but it's very unlikely to reach his funding goal. And reading the project description, it's little wonder why.
posted by Nelson at 9:38 AM on August 27, 2012


Asking hundreds of people to spam the tip lines of gaming blogs and news outlets is not okay.

Truth, though that's often how Steam works for indies. You generally have to spam Steam to get a response at all, and if they reject you, you need your fans to spam them. (Though usually it's a friendlier, Twitter-based spamming.)

Folks need to understand that the staff at a direct download service != the press.
posted by Peevish at 9:39 AM on August 27, 2012


I find it hilarious that it's the Penny Arcade report discussing this when the parent company just straight-up asked for a quarter million dollars for walkin' around money in exchange for letting you be their butler or whatever.

Wasn't that so they wouldn't have to run ads on their site for a year or something? I mean, I have no love lost for the PA guys, and it is rather different from the usual model of premium memberships that don't see ads, but it didn't seem that egregious to me.
posted by kmz at 9:44 AM on August 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


It was, in my opinion, a case of "hey, let's get on this 'free money' bandwagon and offer some completely nominal reward in return." They didn't even have to make a product. Unless I'm missing something and there was a mass alienation of customer base because of the ads they were running it was a greedy move plain and simple. They're up to half a million dollars now. For the benefit of an ad-free site, that's absurd.
posted by griphus at 9:49 AM on August 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


Neat links about ambolight. I reported it as miscategorized (product design), suggested a new category of Theater.
posted by tilde at 9:50 AM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm waiting until we get the inevitable instance of someone raising some crazy amount of money and then disappearing with it. Hijinks will ensue, I think.

A lot of people seem to be viewing kickstarter and pledging projects and rewards as more binding than they really are.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:54 AM on August 27, 2012


It was, in my opinion, a case of "hey, let's get on this 'free money' bandwagon and offer some completely nominal reward in return.

(I assume we're talking about Penny Arcade Sells Out!) Yeah, it's basically "Fund my website for a year!" I have no problem with that - I often donate money monthly to websites I value to keep them ad-free, and I don't get anything in return except no ads.

BUT, that's not what Kickstarter claims to be for, and it makes me question the integrity of the company's business model. What if PA doesn't follow through with the promises made in their kickstarter? Sure, they might suffer a PR hit, but Kickstarter can't claim that 'investment is a risky business' if they are not actualy facilitating investments, can they?
posted by muddgirl at 9:56 AM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Already happened. Eyez.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:56 AM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


(By 'they might suffer a PR hit,' I mean Penny Arcade. My point is that Kickstarter tries to hide behind non-delivery of products by stating that we are investing in designs, not purchasing products. But that has been falling apart for awhile.)
posted by muddgirl at 9:57 AM on August 27, 2012


Funny thing about Kickstarter is nobody hears about a funded project 'cept the people that pledge to it. It'd be pretty easy for a project to disappear without anyone really knowing about it but the backers. It'd have to be really high-profile, like if Double Fine Adventure failed, for anyone to even hear about a failure. It's an interesting self-perpetuation mechanism.
posted by Peevish at 9:58 AM on August 27, 2012


I'll admit I'm pretty ignorant about websites with massive traffic like PA, but are they really either taking in $250,000/year in net ad revenue?
posted by griphus at 9:58 AM on August 27, 2012


Also tangentially related, Chris Crawford whining about his failed Kickstarter. As one friend of mine put it, Crawford seems to be good at blaming anyone but himself. His project Balance of the Planet is still active but it's very unlikely to reach his funding goal. And reading the project description, it's little wonder why.

Oh Chris. Develop a port of Patton Strikes Back for iPad already, and then use the $$$$ profits from that for the Balance of the Planet thingy
posted by Bwithh at 9:59 AM on August 27, 2012


(...wait, is "net revenue" what I'm thinking of?)
posted by griphus at 9:59 AM on August 27, 2012


I was angry and then accepting of the Penny Arcade Kickstarter, almost makes me wish we didn't have the no active Kickstarters rule because we didn't get to discuss it with the rest of the internet.

Angry: Yes it sounds awful for a major online presence to beg for money to give us the privilege of viewing their content without ads. That is not what Kickstarter is for. Full stop.

Accepting: I eventually came around because I think goals that they didn't reach would have let them stop doing all sorts of promotional comics they do for various games and spend their time working on original material. Not a bad way to monetize their work.

Crowdfunding is definitely the way to go if you have an established fan base. I don't think Kickstarter was the right place to do it for Penny Arcade though as muddgirl notes on preview. Maybe next time they'll so their own pledge drive type thing.
posted by yellowbinder at 9:59 AM on August 27, 2012


I've been working, off and on, for a project for well over a year -- some MeFites know about it already -- that's going to require Kickstarter funding (or IndieGoGo, or whatnot) to push it from "interesting basic implementation" to "something that could be truly great."

It's not a game, per se, but it's got a lot of game-like elements.

I've been putting off working on it for months now, partly for legitimate personal reasons, but also because I find the whole crowdfunding thing kind of terrifying. I work in advertising and marketing, so you'd think I'd be super comfortable with this stuff, but the sudden injection of old IPs and online celebrities into Kickstarter begin to make it feel like a much less hopeful environment. It's beginning to feel like if you're not Neil Gaiman/Amanda Palmer, or resurrecting an old SJG board game license, or not a well-connected developer, there's not much room for you in the current Kickstarter environment.
posted by Shepherd at 9:59 AM on August 27, 2012 [10 favorites]


I'd love it if we could discuss the article, here. Ben Kuchera has full editorial control over the Report, and it really needn't become another referendum on Penny Arcade. We had that thread, already, and that Kickstarter is over.
posted by gilrain at 10:03 AM on August 27, 2012


I eventually came around because I think goals that they didn't reach would have let them stop doing all sorts of promotional comics they do for various games and spend their time working on original material. Not a bad way to monetize their work.

But this is still "replace our current revenue stream with a new one." And that's not what Kickstarter is supposed to be for:
Kickstarter is focused on creative projects. We're a great way for artists, filmmakers, musicians, designers, writers, illustrators, explorers, curators, performers, and others to bring their projects, events, and dreams to life.

The word “project” is just as important as “creative” in defining what works on Kickstarter. A project is something finite with a clear beginning and end...

Kickstarter is not a place for soliciting donations to causes, charity projects, or general business expenses.
posted by muddgirl at 10:03 AM on August 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


(Again, I don't mean this to be a referendum on Penny Arcade. It's a referendum on Kickstarter.)
posted by muddgirl at 10:04 AM on August 27, 2012


"As it turns out, my model was only right for what Kickstarter used to be," said Crawford. "That is, Kickstarter used to be a semi-charitable operation in which people could assist worthy creative projects that might not make it commercially, but still ought to be done. But in the area of games and comics, this is no longer the case.


Actually original founding use of Kickstarter was proving to the networks that a fourth season of Arrested Development would be profitable enough to invest in
posted by Bwithh at 10:11 AM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


...so you're trying to tell us that the "kick" in "kickstarter" is not about knocking down people who write unfavorable reviews and kicking them violently?

I don't understand - that doesn't make any kind of sense. If you don't kick the reviewers, how will they know what kind of review to give your project? Unless of course what you're proposing is some sort of shock collar specifically designed for reviewers. But then, wouldn't "Shockstarter" be a better name for it?
posted by wolfdreams01 at 10:12 AM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's beginning to feel like if you're not Neil Gaiman/Amanda Palmer, or resurrecting an old SJG board game license, or not a well-connected developer, there's not much room for you in the current Kickstarter environment.

Nah, those are just the only ones you hear about. Most Kickstarters are mostly funded by people who know the creator in question, with modest budgets that occasionally go over, and with minimal press. A friend of mine made a three part blog on how to run one as a non-famous person. If Kickstarter's FAQ is to be believed, almost half of the projects posted are successful - pretty decent odds given how crappy many of them sound.
posted by Peevish at 10:15 AM on August 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'm with mudgirl. I viewed kickstarter as a return to the patronage system, but it ended up being too many patrons running around telling you why they need your money to continue getting even more money. Kickstarter needs more peasant. Seriously, if you have a million in the back then fund your own fucking project. Don't come to me with your hat in your hand pretending like you need to money to create your art.

If I am not helping you make something new, that you could not produce without me, then I am not interested.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:16 AM on August 27, 2012 [8 favorites]


*hums Springtime for Hitler*
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:24 AM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


A friend of mine just funded an album with Kickstarter and I can assure you that unless you're in the local jazz scene here, you have no idea who he is. Hell I have no idea who he is.
posted by griphus at 10:27 AM on August 27, 2012


This sort of thing happens all the time in the real world. My mother owns a business and has bought advertising space in magazines in return for them running articles about her store. Of course, these are real bottom feeder operations; not exactly Time or even Ladies Home Journal, but they still purport to be actual magazines, not bundles of adverts. Also, a friend of mine reviewed restaurants for a local paper and discovered that when she reviewed an eating establishment owned by a man who bought a lot of advertising in that paper, she was pressured to go back there for another meal and write a new review. And of course, many media outlets print or air press releases and other promotional materials from companies, pretending they're news. It's not so bizarre that some video game designers might get the idea that friendly media coverage is for sale (and at pretty reasonable prices).
posted by Clay201 at 10:37 AM on August 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


Seriously, if you have a million in the back then fund your own fucking project.

I sort of felt this way with Neal Stephenson and Clang, but I backed it because I want it to happen so badly.
posted by adamdschneider at 10:41 AM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


she reviewed an eating establishment

she gave a local eating establishment a negative review.
posted by Clay201 at 10:41 AM on August 27, 2012


BUT, that's not what Kickstarter claims to be for, and it makes me question the integrity of the company's business model.

Said business model being: get projects funded succesfully, make sure to get your cut first, whatever else happens is irrelevant, ultimately sell out to Facebook or Google.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:45 AM on August 27, 2012


Yes, that is the implication.
posted by muddgirl at 11:10 AM on August 27, 2012


mulligan: "There is also the problem of people selling existing products at a big markup while claiming to have designed it as seen here http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bc26/ambiolight-a-one-touch-room-makeover/comments

Kick starter doesn't enforce their own rules
"

And Penny Arcade themselves befitted from KS not enforcing its own rules with their own Kickstarter.
posted by ShawnStruck at 11:54 AM on August 27, 2012


I use AdBlock so I'm not gonna read any of it, just click and load over and over, stealing Kuchera's precious content. I may even screencap it and print it out for sticking on posters around town.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 11:54 AM on August 27, 2012


Kickstarter's been on the blue a lot lately, and it's starting to give me second thoughts about my own project. I'd been thinking of doing an AskMe for Kickstarter advice, since I feel like a tiny baby innocent lamb in the world of self-promotion, but I'm nervous that people are starting to get Kickstarter fatigue.

Possibly I am ill-suited to this business model, because the whole thing is making me really fucking anxious and I haven't even done anything but plan yet.
posted by nonasuch at 11:59 AM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I sort of felt this way with Neal Stephenson and Clang, but I backed it because I want it to happen so badly.

That's the project that soured me on kickstarter. One of the privileges of being wealthy is you get to do things with your money. You get to buy yachts and shoot your ashes into space. Maybe I have a false understanding of Stephenson's bankroll, but I watch that video and think, "If you want this to happen so badly then write a check."

I keep half expecting Obama/Romney to launch a kickstarter campaign to fund a commercial.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:02 PM on August 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


I haven't even done anything but plan yet.

Congratulations! You are now ahead of the curve of most Kickstarter campaigns.
posted by griphus at 12:05 PM on August 27, 2012 [3 favorites]



I sort of felt this way with Neal Stephenson and Clang, but I backed it because I want it to happen so badly.


That's one of the reasons I didn't pony up for Clang. Stephenson should hit up his blacksmith for some spare change before
posted by longdaysjourney at 12:36 PM on August 27, 2012


Sorry, that should have been:

Stephenson should hit up his blacksmith for some spare change before passing the hat to the rest of us.
posted by longdaysjourney at 12:37 PM on August 27, 2012


Congratulations! You are now ahead of the curve of most Kickstarter campaigns.

Heh. The real problem is that I've hit the wall of "if/then." If I want to know how much money I need to ask for, I have to know what my production costs are. If I want to know how much my production costs are, then I need to get samples made and show them to the manufacturer. If I want to know how much the samples will cost, then I need to comparison-shop a bunch of seamstresses.

For that matter, if I want to know if Kickstarter will even approve my project, then I have to put the proposal together in a way that requires paying a graphic designer and making a video that should include footage of things I can't do without setting off a whole new chain of if/then.

I just want to make some pretty dresses! Be less difficult, manufacturing process.
posted by nonasuch at 12:39 PM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'll admit I am not totally on the up-and-up with the Kickstarter TOS and so on, but if you ballparked it and included that to-do list in the proposal, it wouldn't sound any less legitimate than a whole lot of things that got funded in full.
posted by griphus at 12:53 PM on August 27, 2012


I agree it seems weird to see people who can clearly afford to finance their own projects doing kickstarters, but on the other hand who cares? If people want to give their money to these folks, why not let them? Just because Penny Arcade rakes in tons of money from ads doesn't inherently mean that it's morally wrong for them to try making money a different way. (or Neal Stephenson, or Amanda Palmer, or whoever)

I would be somewhat swayed by a convincing argument that these high profile projects take money that would have been directed at the smaller unknown creators that Kickstarter is ostensibly for. Is Kickstarter closer to a zero-sum game? Is there any research on this?
posted by Wretch729 at 1:32 PM on August 27, 2012


I don't think anyone's making an argument that it's immoral for Stephenson or PA to try to raise funds - as I said before, I regularly give money to my favorite bloggers and artists to keep them in business and sometimes ad-free. The question is whether Kickstarter is the best way to do that, for the funders, considering there is no culpability when promises aren't delivered on and Kickstarter can't or won't enforce their own guidelines.
posted by muddgirl at 1:40 PM on August 27, 2012


Well, for PA at least, the problem is they're not making money. They're just asking for a very large sum of money in exchange for, well, not a whole lot. It's their prerogative, and I'm not about to tell everyone to get their picket signs, but it is a dick move on behalf of some people with a whole lot of money, and fans with (mostly) considerably less money. On the whole (as in, talking about half a million dollars) the whole "ad-free" thing feels about as much a purchased thing as the tote bag you get when you give NPR fifty bucks. Except Penny Arcade is a thriving business and internet powerhouse. It's like donating money to Apple or Microsoft or the New York Yankees.
posted by griphus at 1:45 PM on August 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Griphus my argument is that if people voluntarily wanted to donate money to Apple or the (ugh) Yankees why shouldn't they be able to? Presumably no one here is being coerced. I certainly would not do such a thing, and personally I find it a bit strange, but I don't see what harm there is in other people doing it. (Unless, as I wrote above, it can be shown that they're crowding out the smaller startup groups Kickstarter is "supposed" to serve, which would be cruddy).

Enough PA supporters decided they liked the idea of going to an ad-free page that the PA guys raised half a million dollars. If they had made some BS plea about how Penny Arcade would no longer be able to exist without donations that would be exploitative and demonstrably misleading, but they explicitly did not.
posted by Wretch729 at 1:56 PM on August 27, 2012


We would like to offer you (2) $125 Kickstarter reward tiers (details below) in exchange for promotion on your website in the form of a Press Release, interview or article (see attached). Your reward will be delivered on the target release date of December 2012,”

I see the problem. They should have just sent the junk over, without the explicit quid pro quo, just cuz they are cools guys who want people to get a sneak peak at all the awesome stuff contributers are getting.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:56 PM on August 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


No one here is being coerced, but what happens in 6 months when (hypothetically) Penny Arcade runs out of money and they put ads back up? What recourse do funders have? My impression is that they have zero recourse. So why this charade? Why use Kickstarter and not solicite donations the old way? What does Kickstarter provide to funders?

PA and Kickstarter can do whatever the hell the want - they have way more money than me and a much bigger voice. All I can do is point out that it's a fucked up system.
posted by muddgirl at 1:59 PM on August 27, 2012


BTW. previous kickstarter darlings Disaspora is now a community project. Seems like they had enough. These poor kids must have been living on Ramen and free dixie cups of water from starbucks for the last couple years. One of them is dead. They are still taking heat about "what did they do with that 200k, blow it on Cristal living it up?".
posted by Ad hominem at 2:04 PM on August 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


OT: I'm starting a kickstarter to help pay web designers to not use white type on a black background.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 2:07 PM on August 27, 2012


I'll admit I am not totally on the up-and-up with the Kickstarter TOS and so on, but if you ballparked it and included that to-do list in the proposal, it wouldn't sound any less legitimate than a whole lot of things that got funded in full.

That does make me feel better. I actually just dropped Kickstarter a note asking how complete a proposal has to be to get approval; we'll see what they have to say.
posted by nonasuch at 2:12 PM on August 27, 2012


One thing that needs to be more clear about Kickstarter is that you are an investor. Prospectuses usually come with a big red warning on the front (in the FC biz it is called a Red Herring) that says something like "although we all did amazing things in the past, you are not guaranteed a return on your investement. In fact, there is a good chance you will never get anything".

Really kickstarter companies should issue shares, Par value what the fuck ever. They can even be non-voting shares and the founders can keep all the Zuckerberg style super shares that get 100 votes each
posted by Ad hominem at 2:13 PM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Muddgirl, The Onion apparently agrees with you (video).

I trust Penny Arcade has the budgeting chops to not run out of money in six months, but I take your general point. Forbes has an interesting article that gets into this problem (it cites the Ouya example Nelson mentioned above).
posted by Wretch729 at 2:20 PM on August 27, 2012


I've previously mentioned my unhappiness with Stephenson's Clang, and I have my doubts about Penny Arcade's strategy as well. There are a lot of poorly thought-out Kickstarter projects there, hoping to ride the wave of enthusiasm, and people should rightly be careful.

However, while the projects that make six and seven figures on Kickstarter are the ones we might hear about, the really interesting ones are those that are raising four or five figures. These projects are raising the seed money that will pay for basic materials. Often the creators are not paying themselves, they genuinely are doing it for love - although I'm sure they would hope that it becomes successful enough that they could make a decent profit one day.

Once, this seed money would have come from foundations or publishers, which is better than nothing at all but is inherently, irreversibly riddled with cronyism. Now it comes from the people who want to see the project happen. As long as they aren't being misled, I think that's a beautiful thing.

Also, Ad hominem: Why would they need that? Kickstarter backers explicitly are not investors, they will never get any kind of financial return. They might get what was promised to them, but they're not going to make any kind of profit, and they don't have any guaranteed say over what happens in the project. The site is pretty clear about that.
posted by adrianhon at 2:20 PM on August 27, 2012


Really kickstarter companies should issue shares...

Wouldn't that require them to organize/incorporate on a legal basis?
posted by griphus at 2:25 PM on August 27, 2012


I can't find a way to browse ALL projects in a given category on kickstarter.

This means I have to settle for some filtered version of reality at the get go. It's a deal killer for me.
posted by MikeWarot at 2:25 PM on August 27, 2012


These projects are raising the seed money that will pay for basic materials. Often the creators are not paying themselves, they genuinely are doing it for love - although I'm sure they would hope that it becomes successful enough that they could make a decent profit one day.

And these are the projects I donate to. But my impression is that Kickstarter makes more money from 7-figure projects than from 5-figure ones (both from fees and free publicity for Kickstarter itself), and I have to wonder if they bend their guidelines when they see something that could turn in to a 7-figure project.
posted by muddgirl at 2:28 PM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Griphus my argument is that if people voluntarily wanted to donate money to Apple or the (ugh) Yankees why shouldn't they be able to?

Definitely! Is it still a dick move to ask for more money from people who are already giving you money (in ad revenue, merch sales, PAX tickets/booths, etc.)? In my opinion, it's a huge dick move.
posted by griphus at 2:30 PM on August 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wouldn't that require them to organize/incorporate on a legal basis?

It would, it takes minimal effort. But really, you shouldn't be taking X amount of dollars from kickstarter and dumping it into your personal savings account. Some kickstarters are going to end up being personally sued when a project fails, there is no "corporate veil" protecting the founders.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:31 PM on August 27, 2012


Kickstarter is very explicitly not investing. Most of the offers are basically early purchases of promised goods. When you fund a Kickstarter project you are a customer, not an investor. The problem is that you may not get the promised goods delivered.

There are a variety of people working on the "Kickstarter for investments" idea, aka crowdsourced funding or mini-angel funding or whatever. It is not minimal effort; selling shares of companies to unqualified investors is a big, complicated thing in US securities law. The recently passed JOBS Act contains some provisions towards this. But it's not a new idea, much of the early 20th century had all sorts of mom-and-pop investment opportunities. There was so much fraud that we ended up with a tightly regulated securities market, mostly for the better. Here's some current concern about fraud potential under the JOBS Act.
posted by Nelson at 3:12 PM on August 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Explicit like bongs are "for tobacco use only".

That is what makes no sense to me. They may be trying to claim you are not investing, you are a customer, but many kickstarters I have seen you don't even get the finished product, so it most certainly is not pre-ordering in most cases. It isn't a donation, these aren't charities.

Well I suppose you are right that it isnt really investing, since you don't get any shareholder right and by not having shareholders you aren't going to hit any thresholds about ownership of your private company.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:25 PM on August 27, 2012


Truth, though that's often how Steam works for indies. You generally have to spam Steam to get a response at all, and if they reject you, you need your fans to spam them. (Though usually it's a friendlier, Twitter-based spamming.)

Which is why, one assumes, they started Steam Greenlight (which is going to be tightly integrated with the new community and game hub stuff in the currently-in-beta UI refresh). I know I come off as a Valve apologist a little too often, but I do love how responsive they can be (sometimes).
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:08 PM on August 27, 2012


Kickstarter is starting to lose their way in the same way that Etsy has, with large-ish projects shadowing over "the little guys" who want funding to get something started. I've tried several times to start a campaign and been rejected on the grounds that it wasn't for a project, but primarily to fund a small business (I want a laser-cutter so that I don't need to expensively farm it out for prototyping and production).
OK, that's fine, but when I go to their website and there are several featured campaigns that are doing exactly what I'd like to do, I just don't get it. Many of the projects just seem to be a pre-order system for already finished products.
Also, I don't have the resources to sink $5K into a professionally produced video, as it appears others have done. It appears that the budget for some of the videos on there would exceed what my target would be.
No, I'm not bitter...stomps off and grumbles.
posted by Mr. Big Business at 7:41 PM on August 27, 2012


Really kickstarter companies should issue shares...
Wouldn't that require them to organize/incorporate on a legal basis?


In an ideal world, incorporating wouldn't be that difficult and funding small projects would be a lot simpler.
posted by niccolo at 8:28 PM on August 27, 2012


Wretch729: "Muddgirl, The Onion apparently agrees with you (video).

I trust Penny Arcade has the budgeting chops to not run out of money in six months, but I take your general point. Forbes has an interesting article that gets into this problem (it cites the Ouya example Nelson mentioned above).
"

Gabe from Penny Arcade said on his twotter account that they will do a kickstarter every year.
posted by ShawnStruck at 8:30 PM on August 27, 2012


griphus:
Is it still a dick move to ask for more money from people who are already giving you money (in ad revenue, merch sales, PAX tickets/booths, etc.)? In my opinion, it's a huge dick move.
I wonder if griphus' opinion and this and mine fall into the same sort of ask vs. guess dichotomy that has been discussed here in the past?

For me there's no problem with them asking for more money from supporters, provided they don't frame it in an "or we'll take away our bat and ball and go home!" exploitative way. No obligation to contribute, implicit or explicit, exists in my mind. However, I get that reasonable people can disagree about this.

I guess also griphus and others are saying it comes across as greedy, which I understand but at least for the cases cited so far don't agree with.
------
Also since I feel guilty about contributing to the derail that gilrain didn't want I will bring it back to the original PAR Kuchera piece and say that while being unfortunate, the outright bribery he's writing about is of a piece with the marketing sleaze that the gaming industry/gaming press is rife with and didn't really seem like anything new except for the kickstarter involvement. The mob mentality of the militant supporters that is the second part of the article is also both depressing and nothing new. The internet breeds these little rabid packs of people. This is known. I think Kuchera provides more insight when he's actually analyzing Kickstarter's problems rather than how the compeny is interacting with well known existing phenomena.
posted by Wretch729 at 8:51 AM on August 28, 2012


ShawnStruck: Gabe from Penny Arcade said on his twotter account that they will do a kickstarter every year.

Actually, using Kickstarter was just a proof of concept. If they wind up doing it again, they said they would create an in-house system rather than use Kickstarter. I'm not sure if they're still considering doing it every year, since they didn't actually hit all of their goals.
posted by gilrain at 12:42 PM on August 28, 2012


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