Episode 182: Three's a Crowdsourcing
Posted 21 August 2012 - 02:35 AM
Posted 21 August 2012 - 07:01 AM
I am sure there are some exceptions, but you really need lots of connections to get publicity around your project and even then if you don't have a large fanbase already you are fighting tough odds. That being said, I really enjoy backing projects and I think that, once refined, it will be the best way for content creators to get funding for their next project.
There is a cool thing that you can do with kickstarter as well: Funding free content. http://www.kickstart...r-force-returns
The Cyber Force comic book is a great example where the creator simply wants to fund giving away free copies to stores around the country in an effort to get people into their local store and perhaps reinvigorate that market. I really hope that more content creators will use kickstarter to get as much money that they *need* and then release the project for free once they reach their goal, which is basically what Tom vs Bruce is.
I threw some money towards Tom vs Bruce purely based on their appearance in this podcast so please make sure they appear regularly!!!
Posted 21 August 2012 - 07:04 PM
On the subject of Kickstarter, I think it's a decent idea at its core, as I believe it's in line with my own belief that consumer clout, at its essence, is expressed by how one "votes" with the cash in one's wallet. The Kickstarter concept seems to fuel that line of thinking. Of course, as is the case with most new ideas or endeavors, there will always be some bad apples out there who will try to corrupt a concept in any way imaginable in an attempt to get one-up on the world.
Hopefully Kickstarter can maintain its identity and relevance in the years ahead without devolving into some kind of twisted "Swiss army knife" means of making decisions, (e.g. "Should we fix the potholes on Main St. in Yourtown? Vote now on Ballot Measure X, brought to you online by Kickstarter!) I can just visualize that as the next evolution to the brain rotting flotsam and jetsam in future election years!
Posted 21 August 2012 - 07:46 PM
I think the future for game financing is the model that Endless Space used, you paid for Beta access. If Endless Space had failed you would have had a beta version for your money. Now you might have never played again, because you were so unhappy knowing what might have been, but you would have something for you hard disk. The strength of this model is that you have to produce something first almost like security before people give you money. Your beta build is an advert which says look how far we've come and imagine how it will look if only we had a little more money to finish it.
Posted 22 August 2012 - 01:40 AM
Posted 22 August 2012 - 09:14 PM
Personally, I look at kickstarter et al as a way of helping to create things that publishers would never touch. In many ways, the big hope for Kickstarter is that it will start to reverse the recent trend of genre death. The publishers are getting more and more conservative, and it's getting harder and harder to get anything green-lit that isn't one of a small and shrinking set of established genres. Any publisher-backed title failing in a major genre becomes a declaration of that genre's death. Kickstarter and indie successes, as rare as they may be, will hopefully prevent the industry from distilling down to CoD clones.
Posted 22 August 2012 - 11:32 PM
One of the hipster trends in big cities are "make shops", places like this in my local city: http://www.columbusideafoundry.com/. There has been building over the last decade a cultural push toward the physical and the more personal. This is also echoed in big corporate branding with "authenticity" being the meme among thought leaders in that field.
Kickstarter hits these trends perfectly in two different ways. First, it provides an opportunity for creatives to produce their own inspirations as opposed to simply schlocking things together in their employer company. The indie games movement is another example of this in practice, and something that Kickstarter directly supports. Then, it connects producers with consumers. This is hugely, hugely important. From a personal perspective, as someone who really loathes superficial and inauthentic relationships and connections, I'm seeing more and more people trying to build and connect on micro, one-to-one levels. Kickstarter allows this in wonderful ways. Say what you will about it, the format allows a lot of creative and interesting things to be offered to consumers. And consumers are gobbling them up. Things like getting your name in a game as a cool character, that rocks. It is weaving together the designed artifact with the experiential participation and integration that we crave. I've tried to think about how to sell those sort of things OFF Kickstarter, just on our normal company website. And I'm pretty sure it would not be very successful. The focus of the Kickstarter lens makes all of those things more vibrant and, importantly, participatory.
Troy made a comment on the show about things going back to the Middle Ages and he was onto something. Not that we're going all the way back there, but there is a trend moving away from the abstract, indirect and industrial to the concrete, direct and personal. I've seen it in all of the industries I'm fortunate enough to work within. And it is part of a much longer historical arc that we've seen before, such as the arts and crafts movement in response to the industrial revolution.
The wild card with Kickstarter, as people have noted, is the uneven quality. It is certainly inevitable, inherent in the process and even structure. There is less accountability, and the sellers often have less proven track record delivering successful products *on their own*. Personally I see it as a process. Kickstarter has made my desire to serially publish board games more possible. The first campaign was very successful. I think the game is good, but it also reflects my limitations as a creator: my strengths and interests are in design, and my weaknesses and dislikes are in development. Objectively I am very pleased with much of the innovation in the game but dissatisfied with how my personal limitations show thru in the overall fit-and-finish, whether it be the rulebook or the cumbersome markers or some mechanics not being fully baked. I suspect in these ways I am a "garden variety" creator on Kickstarter: there is a good core there but the seams do show.
However, where the "kickstart" metaphor comes in is that it allows me to do another game. And that game will have some of the same limitations but also will be improved thanks to the lessons learned. And, again thanks to the first project, it allowed me to hire someone to take over development and other aspects for subsequent projects. So the *third* game is going to be vetted and polished and presented in a way perfectly consistent with what good, reputable, established companies produce. But it had to start somewhere, and it never would have begun if I hadn't pushed the button - warts and all - and the community hadn't been so generous with its support.
So long as Kickstarter is a gravity well for game buyers I fully expect to do all of our pre-order campaigns there. I love how close I get to customers; I love the creativity in rewards it offers; I love that it generates lots of pre-orders to hedge the financial risk. I think it is a genuine win-win. I'm so appreciative for both the service, and the people who use it and choose to buy our things.
Posted 23 August 2012 - 07:55 AM
I also don't know if I buy into Bogost's QVC-fever-dream angle (and no, I didn't buy in on an Ouya). I still think of my backings as patronage. Maybe thats the wrong word. I understand the contract I'm getting into. I am aware the output of individual Kickstarters may and will suck. However, I also know that my $20 aggregated with others means somone is able to quit their day job for a while and go work on some project. Doing that, they'll attempt interesting things, pick up practical expereinces, and push the state of the art a little further along.
My day job involves managing a giant stack of software that all began as quiet little projects, so I'm sticking with my romanticism for a little while longer.
Posted 24 August 2012 - 09:50 AM
Posted 28 August 2012 - 01:37 AM
I used it to print out a prototype just for my own use but you can open it up for others to buy at whatever markup you want over the base cost. You can contact successful kickstarter projects and ask them for help, that usually works.
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