I often hear people bemoaning the lateness of this or that Kickstarter project. Some are over a year behind schedule, and so it’s hardly surprising folk get peeved.
In contrast to this trend, I recently got a boxed game called Neptun from Queen Games. This campaign finished on the 1st of September 2014, and had an estimated delivery date of December 2014.
It actually arrived before the end of September!
Naturally, even this speed comes in for a bit of flak. The criticism I’ve read is that Queen are just using this as a pre-order system. Indeed, depending on where it was printed, it may even have been on a ship by the end of the KS. Even if it was printed locally they must have been pretty well advanced with the whole thing. That’s true.
Is this a bad thing?
Personally I don’t mind. When I look at a KS I read the delivery date like I check the rest of the page, but it doesn’t make a difference to buying in or not – it’s more of a hint towards how realistic and experienced the creator is. Whether I actually pledge or not depends partly on a more general assessment of the people supplying it, though it’s mainly the project itself (and shipping/tax costs). Regardless of what the nominal use of Kickstarter is, I am perfectly happy with people using it as a pre-order system. It may allow me to see a product I hadn’t been aware of, and it probably allows the company to promote its wares more broadly than traditional methods. In either case, I don’t see how I am suffering.
One argument I’ve heard against this sort of thing is that it drowns out the genuine and deserving people who are really just starting something up. I disagree, certainly as far as I am concerned. On the occasions I look at Kickstarter with a view to spending some money, I trawl through all of the currently active gaming projects. If I expect them to deliver a project I want then I consider pledging. If not then I don’t. To be honest, the delivery date is of little interest in itself. I’ve already got plenty of toys to be going on with, so I can wait 🙂
I suppose that people who only look at the summaries of KS on news sites, or only buy things they think are heavily discounted may have a different view. Personally I think that whatever Kickstarter was ostensibly set up to do (and I’m not convinced what they say in public and think in private necessarily match) it has evolved since it entered the real world and continues to do so. In our supposedly free market it will reach the level the buying public deserve. No sense complaining about some theoretical ideal which never really existed anyway.
But that’s just me. What do you think?
Absolutely, I have no problems what-so-ever if a company is using KS as a pre-order tool. If gamers are getting their hands on more games, and more quickly then it can only be a good thing.
What KS says in public doesn’t necessarily match. Or at least, the way they promote themselves and what they say they are actually for doesn’t necessarily match. You don’t have to delve very deeply to find that they’re open about being for a lot more than just a new company trying to raise funds to get a project started.
Looking over their history, Queen Games are averaging around a KS campaign per month. It would seem likely that rather than campaign X specifically being to fund product X, they’re using KS as a way to generate rolling income that allows them to keep making new games. I would imagine the funds raised from the Neptun KS have gone into making the two games they’ve funded since. If all of this means that they can release a steady stream of games to customers who want the product, then more power to them. I’ve never understood the desire to hold KS to a misplaced morality that if it was actually enforced would just make it worse for us as customers.
KS make their money by taking a % of funded projects, so they turn the best profit by things funding highly, however they get there.
I don’t know if that project got lots of stretch goals, but with a so close release date, that should have been difficult to have time producing things unlocked during the KS… unless everything was already created and SG were only here to tease the project.
Personnaly I prefer to have things getting built during the KS, people give ideas, requests, some of them make it into the project, we can see thing evolve.
If KS is used as a pre-order platform, is has to be specified to be totally honest I would say.
I don’t think Queen Games are using KS as a pre-order platform so much as a rolling source of income that allows them to release a series of games. Something they otherwise couldn’t do without either KS or a significant period of time in which to build up the capital. There seems like doubt that Neptun existed as a game prior to the KS and that it probably was already in production, but that was only because previous KS campaigns raised the funds that allowed them to do this, just as the funds from Neptun will likely have gone into the production of Orcs Orcs Orcs and Cubo & Metro. It’s an unusual use of KS and one I haven’t come across before, but not something you can fairly term a pre-order.
*There seems no doubt that…
@Ben – If you’re right then it’s not a bad idea. If not, then you’ve just invented a new tactic someone really ought to try 🙂
@Pika – As you say, if it’s already sone then you can’t include feedback. Something I must remember next time I’m told that Mantic are just doing pre-orders 😉
Totally ! I like the way Mantic drove each KS I took part in 😀
I was actually even more impressed with how Mantic turned around at the end of Dungeon Saga and said that’s it no more, this is what we have wanted to make and has gone far beyond are expectations but there is literally nothing else we can do/want to do at this time, which I assume was to say within the time frame they had set out for the Kickstarters completion.
The times schedule on a Kickstarter much like yourself means nothing to me, I would rather have something of a higher quality than a product that feels rushed out off the line. Being British however I do expect to be fully in the loop with what’s going on, you can be a year late but I don’t want to find out about it a week before its due. I guess one thing I expect from my kickstarters is regular progress updates even if its an update just to say there’s been no progress because it shows the makers of the game actually care about there customers.
Absolutely. I think communications are key in running a Kickstarter. There are many examples, the summary of which is that the trend is very strongly for customers to be quite tolerant of people who are late but talk to them and explain what’s going on, and intolerant of people who are equally late and leave them in the dark.