The Cost of Kickstarter Rewards
Don’t let the title deceive you, this post isn’t about the cost of producing rewards. Rather, this post is about the cost of Kickstarter rewards after the backers have gotten theirs and the creator is left with a product to sell. This has proven to be a surprisingly touchy subject, and the source of more than one argument around these parts. Lets consider some recent projects, and how they’ve marketed the goods after the fact.
Peek below the fold for more.
The other day, a friend pointed out that ‘early-access’ to Wasteland 2 is available on Steam, for the low, low price (ha!) of $59.99. He felt vindicated by the price, having backed the Kickstarter, that he got a better a deal than Steam was offering–a sentiment rooted in the fact that backers often seem to be paying a premium for the “privilege” of getting in at the ground floor. I can’t say I blame him, because no one wants to feel like they got the short end of the stick–least of all if they took the risk to pledge to the project, and then wait through all the ups and downs for it to be finished.
Consider the case of Numenera. I’m a big fan of the product, but I didn’t back the project–I waited for the pdf to hit stores before I committed. After purchasing the digital edition, I was so enamored that I ordered a hardcover edition from Amazon. All told, I paid less than anyone who bought into the project at the digital/hardcover level for the same product. Though Numenera was good enough that I jumped to back the followup project, The Strange, my only hesitance was was in figuring out whether or not I’d be better off waiting for the book to hit the shelves. Fortunately for backers, Monte Cook Games did a much better job of assembling the reward tiers this go round, and it seems like project backers are going to get a much better deal than those who missed the boat.
David has made a number of posts about Queen Game’s practices on Kickstarter. They’re among the worst offenders in my opinion, as backers typically pay MSRP for a product they could’ve gotten on Amazon at 30% off (or purchased at their FLGS and supported a local business). Now, I don’t mean to suggest that project creators need to cut their throats to give backers a deal, but I do think that projects that are destined to be productized (i.e. not exclusive to Kickstarter) should give backers some additional value to acknowledge their special role in the creator’s value chain. Otherwise, whats the point?
For my part, as I back more projects that become products on store shelves, its becoming harder to maintain the distinction that I’m not preordering a product. I just don’t want to compound the risk inherent in being a backer by paying more than if I waited to buy something on Amazon… What say you?