Catchy title hey? Recently there was a post in the Muslim Gamer forum about the scams that people are running on Kickstarter to take money off of the many willing to support up and coming games and various other projects. The discussion ended up moving over to the Muslim Gamer Teasmpeak yesterday where we discussed whether Kickstarter really had any benefit to gamers. I was going to leave it at that, till I saw another press release in my inbox with yet another title asking for money. Another waste of money, another bunch of gamers flying towards the bright neon light of a fly zapper I thought to myself…
If you’re wondering what is WMD – World of Mass Development you can check out our article from the Game Developers Conference?
Lets get a few things out the way first. I can understand Kickstarter has a place and can be beneficial in SOME scenarios. But to me it seems like its the latest craze in Nigerian Prince scams. Not in the sense that you dont get anything back for your money, as in almost every case, you get the product\game that you are supporting back when its released. The part that really bugs me is the fact that Kickstarter projects for games are basically a way of gamers funding the developer to buy a new house or that Porsche that they always wanted, while giving nothing back to the gamer that has supported\taken the risk for them in the first place.
Before you begin frothing at the mouth and screaming in the comments section that you do infact get something back, the game itself, calm down and let me explain.
When I look at Kickstarter gaming projects, I see that I can put my hard earned money into the game and in return, I get a copy of the game once it is released. To some this is great as you are getting a game that may not have seen the light of day otherwise, but to me its a scam. The reason being is that I am essentially playing the role of an investor and in today’s world, in any industry, in any scenario, an investor becomes a part of owner of sorts. If the investment succeeds, you make money with them, if it doesn’t then you take the risk of losing money with them.
Kickstarter projects essentially dump all the risk onto the investing gamer and give all the benefits to the developer. If it succeeds, the developer makes all the money and the gamer gets the resulting game, if it is a shoddy game, the gamer gets the poorly developed game and the developer still makes all the money. Win win for the developer either way.
In my opinion this is where the WMD – World of Mass Development model is so much more appealing. You get the opportunity to invest in the game and if it is succesful, you get the game and make some money on top of it. For example with Project C.A.R.S, if you invest 100 Euros in the game, you not only get the game, but if it is successfull, you get 400 Euros back, making a profit. Where as with Kickstarter, you dont invest, you essentially donate or pre order the game. Sometimes for much more than the game will actually be sold at Retail for post launch. The gamer is basically taking the risk out of development for the developer and piling it onto the gamer. The gamer puts their hard earned money into the game, then without any idea of how the game will actually turn out, the developer reduces their risk to zero (if their dollar goal is met). They have essentially made in some cases millions of dollars of sales and have already paid the mortgage off on their house, made the profits and provided what they would have provided anyway to the gamer, a game. During all this, Kickstarter themselves have made a few hundred thousand dollars in fees too for doing pretty much nothing.
The point that some make is that unless I along with others, invest in the Kickstarter project , I wont see the game that I want to see being made. Well if you are that crazy about a game, accept the fact that you are essentially taking the risk away from the developer so that they can drive that new Porshce and pay off that mortage and you get a gfame in return for your “investment”, then there really isnt much I can say to that. Its your money, you can flush it down the toilet, send it to that guy that emailed you about the 64 million dollars that is ready to be transferred to you or send it to kickstarter.
Where I would prefer to see gamers push these projects to is “World of Mass Development”, where gamers will actually see a benefit to their investment. Not only will they get the game, the in game character and what ever else the developer has promised, but they will actually be seen as an “investor” and make profits if the game is succesfull.
I would use World of Mass devlopment rather than Kickstarter, but there are no games on WMD?
More gamers need to email game projects on Kickstarter and say “Hey, I like the idea of your game and I would like to support you, but not on Kickstarter, if you move to WMD, ill invest X amount of dollars”. If more gamers started doing this, more games would move to the model. If you give money to gaming projects on Kickstarter but then also ask the question, why arent there more games on WMD, im sorry to say, but you are the reason why there arent more projects on WMD.
Investing in Kickstarter games benefits the developer, not the gamer! They keep the money, instead of sharing profits with the “investors”. Wake up and stop wasting money on Kickstarter! You cant buy games with bad DRM then ask why bad pubslihers keep using bad DRM…
I guess if people re worded the Kickstarter thing from “investing in a game” to “donating to a game”, I wouldnt be so annoyed. If you want to donate to a game then so be it. But if more people refused to “donate” to a developer and instead asked them to switch to the World of Mass Development model, where “investing” in the game prior to development would in turn benefit the gamers financially as well as the developer, this latest scam would turn into the latest best thing about gaming.
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