Within every new era comes innovations, see the telephone, the personal computer, and within our generation, Kickstarter.
For those of you who don’t know, Kickstarter is a public fund raising tool that allows people, such as you or I, to help struggling idea/concept reach fruition. You have a cool idea for a ring that shoots green and red lasers? Kickstarter will have a place for you. Have a great idea for a book about a goblin that can make roses out of his toenails? Kickstarter will be more than happy to help.
This idea of crowd funding has made for great success, such as Dice Rings by CritSuccess, a group that came up with the great idea to design spinner rings that mirror dice, like the 20 sided dice and even a Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock ring. Kickstarter also has had great success with video games from giants like Tim Schafer of Double Fine, dubbed only Double Fine Adventure. Raising more than $3 Million, Double Fine has been funded for Adventure and is apparently in development right now.
Sure, that sounds like a success story to you, but have you taken the time to consider the down side to this venture idea?
We fund these groups/companies to create their dreams that you want to see as a finished product, but where does the line between funder and content critique get drawn?
The simple fact is that once someone hands a content creator a sum of their own money, the investor can possibly stand back and say they feel they deserve some input on the project. In fact most investors have clauses or stipulations that the developing party must meet before any funds are given. If we go by that logic, how long will it be before the video game Kistarter ventures receive funders within the industry that start making these creative demands upon developers?
Some of you might be saying, “Jay, I think maybe you are over reacting to the idea of crowd funding. Gamers support gamers, no demands would ever come from one of our own” And to paraphrase one Kevin Spacey in the role of Lex Luthor, “WRONG!!!!!!”
Let me show you an example; you fine folks remember a game that was released last year called Mass Effect 3? I’m sure you know it, as well as the controversy regarding a certain irritating ending that made the gaming community rage in unison. Fast Forward to the internet forums and countless petitions crying out for a new and improved ending, an ending many of them said they deserved.
I’m sure we all know where this is going. The creative team at Bioware behind Mass Effect eventually gave in and handed over an updated ending, apologizing to the fans about the issue. Here comes the issue, this incident set a precedence for other gaming companies in similar situations. The masses will cry, they want to make the masses happy, and then they cave in.
It sounds like a rather sad fate for a developer company, but sadly since that moment Bioware caved in to public pressure, the power was placed upon the gaming masses.
Am I saying all gamers are selfish and demanding when it comes to the games they play?
No, well at least not entirely. Some gamers are that spoiled by other factors in life, that they feel they deserved better than what they were given/promised. I have met and befriended many over the years (don’t worry, the friendships never lasted, and they no longer reside in my bubble), and I know many others must exist in the world. These men and women who demand satisfaction are always looking for an outlet to complain and vent their dislikes to others around the world, so when shown a weakness in a company’s policies towards public pressure, it is easy to assume that they may then push harder on other developers.
I know, this is speculation, but look at the facts presented then look back at Kickstarter ventures and ask yourself something. If these kinds of people are given the chance to make demands on a game where the developers are dependent on their funds, would they not try to wriggle something out of the developer?
Sure, there are still variables that are in play that could and most likely would prevent this sort of issue. The developers would then be responsible to draw the line, saying no to demands, even if that means the loss of a needed donation.
The future of crowd funded games is one I am wary to support as I feel some people could possibly taint it for the rest of us, stealing the joy away from us getting to see new and independent games from great people.
Please note, this content was not intended to slam any one in particular or point anyone out who either uses Kickstarter or is a developer who likes to make their clientele happy. I may have made mention of Bioware, but I have nothing against them as a developer, I merely was stating that the move for a new ending was a cave into community pressure.
I do hope that this does not become a trend as it will harm us all in the end and rob us of some great games/experiences. Do you guys agree/disagree with my views?
I want to hear what you think, so leave a comment below, follow me on twitter @respwnpoint or facebook.com/tehrespawnpoint and leave a comment.