All Grown Up
Heraclitus said that “the only thing in that is constant is change.” The line is as true of the internet as it is the natural world in which he was making his observations. Sure, granite might take a little longer to wear down, and the seasons are far more predictable than trying to divine which players will be on top of the heap next quarter, but it is all change to one degree or another. Once upon a time, afterall, AOL and Yahoo were immortal titans of industry. Today it is Kickstarters turn.
What changes have been taking place with our favorite crowdfunding website? Well, I’ll give you a hint – they haven’t yet found the time to improve their native search functionality.
A typical refrain in many of my past articles goes something like “X project shouldn’t be on Kickstarter because they don’t need the money.” I said it and I meant it – so did many of the projects I backed early on. Need is one of the major factors in the projects of yesteryear. The first project that I gave money to Wasteland 2 made that a central premise of their pitch. “This is probably the last chance for a Wasteland sequel. We have tried to pitch this game multiple times to game publishers, but they’ve balked. They don’t think there’s any interest in a solid, old school type of game. This is our shot at proving them wrong. And more importantly this could help bring back an entire genre of RPGs” writes an impassioned Brian Fargo in the spring of 2012, just over a year ago.
How times have changed.
You won’t hear me making that argument anymore. Not because I don’t believe that is the case, but because Kickstarter no longer does. In a recent blog post, Kickstarter announced that the funding platform is for everyone and that we were always at war with east asia. That is certainly true today, but looking through their blog at older posts certainly betrays a taste for projects of an indie nature. I imagine that it was easier to be in favor of the little projects before one started to make so much money of the bigger ones.
Now you you don’t just see the one time time mega projects – you see large projects coming back for seconds. Any regular reader knows that my interest in projects on this site borders on addiction, but it is trends like this that will see my interest wane. I love the swag, don’t get me wrong, but I love supporting projects that NEED help to get off the ground more.
Who are these repeat offenders?
Well, Mr Fargo launched a second video game project before delivering on the first (using IP that was Kickstarter spawned but equally unrealized) to the tune of $4.2 million. This was somewhere between disingenous and a travesty to me, and I ranted about it at length at the time.
Doublefine, the Kickstarter that arguably started this gold rush launched a second project of their own yesterday and is already halfway to its own goal of $700k. I would have expected a launch following on the coattails of their first game that raised more than $3.3 million dollars to fund more quickly; it turns out that quite a few of their first backers are wary about backing a second project when the first still has yet to release a game, and is running almost a year late.
Last (and worst in my opinion) Penny arcade recently closed the books on their second project to the tune of $210K. This is a paltry sum compared to their first Kickstarter that grossed over half a million, but a record breaker in terms the percentage in which it exceeded its goal. Penny arcade exceeded their original $10 goal by more than 2 MILLION percent. That’s right – $10. If you are launching a project that only costs $10 to realize, then why does it even need funding?
I feel that all three projects are cashing in, and trading on the goodwill of their various fanbases for something a little more tangible, but I don’t see any other explanation for Penny Arcade’s ham-fisted-cash-grab. It offends me, and I’m not the only one. Sources as diverse as Reddit and Kickstarters own blog boil over with rage on this topic.
I think we will see more of this from all of the above sources and many others. The day is fast approaching when EA tries to crowdfund Madden or somesuch, and that’s okay. Because Kickstarter says it is.
I suppose I should thank them – if this keeps up I’ll be able to save a hell of a lot of money on my crowd funding habit. What do the rest of you think? Am I taking myself too seriously again?