Today, gentle readers, another Kickstarter has begun. It’s for a game called Wild West Exodus. If you’re interested, it’s here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/wildwestexodus/wild-west-exodus-unfinished-business?ref=nav_search Well, Kickstarter seems to be more and more involved in our industry of gaming. In a way, it’s perfect for what we do; you have prototypes and concept art before the big release, there’s a group of nerd-types that you can reach through the interweb-tubes, and you know how popular (or not) you are before you have to commit huge amounts of money on production. It’s a great way of pushing your gaming product forward. As long as you can get word to spread of course. Now, here’s where Wild West Exodus (WWX) doesn’t have a problem. It’s already an established game, with it’s own forums, as well as facebook pages and exposure on other gaming sites like Beasts of War. They’ve already ridden the untamed monkey that is Kickstarter and have learned it’s lessons. Their pledge levels and goal are reasonable, their stretch goals are enticing, and if I had any money they’d have me by the Peacemaker. But does it work so well for everyone?
Kickstarter isn’t the ticket to free money that gamers seem to think it is. Firstly, you need an idea, and that’s a lot harder than you’d imagine (ask anyone who’s ever GM’d a game). Then there’s the hell of pre-production; concept art, prototypes, photography, logistics, playtesting, product design, the list goes on. If you’re not pretty much ready to go, don’t bother starting (and where have you got the money so far?). Then of course there’s the Kickstarter going live; organising pledge levels, working out stretch goals without losing money, and then making sure it all actually happens without letting people down (just ask the makers of D.U.S.T. about that). Don’t forget you’ll lose a bunch of money off the top to pay Kickstarter their share.
Don’t think you’re safe as a pledger either. Who’s this company and what are they really going to do with my money? How accurate is the presentation compared to what I’ll get? Most importantly, will anyone even remember this game in a year when I finally get my stuff (if ever, just ask the people who pledged for D.U.S.T.)? Now I’m not trying to hate on Kickstarter, I just think that it should be taken with a grain of salt, as I do most things (probably not good for my heart). If I’ve got one thing to wonder, it’s will I still want this game in a year when it arrives. When it comes to WWX I’d say yes, especially when I take into account the money I could save thanks to stretch goals. On the other hand, do I want to wait a year for an over priced pair of dice? Hell no!
How do you feel about Kickstarter? Is it the saviour of the games industry? Should it kick itself in the face? The best comment wins the chance to be kickstarted directly in the crotch.
Until next time gentle readers.