Monday, 19 January 2015

Kickstarters and entitlement

Prompted by a tweet from Mike Hobbs, and an outstanding thought I never got to raise (because we ran out of time) on one of the Meeples' end of year shows in which we were also going to list our pet peeves of the year:
I know I've said this before, but once again it rears its ugly head (and yes, the best advice is still 'don't read the comments')...

Kickstarters are, when it comes down to it, a vehicle for (in general and hopefully) low-risk investment on the part of you, the punter, and low-risk fund raising for product/whatever development on the part of the designer. Nothing more. You are not entitled to insane quantities of figures at massive discount over store retail, just because it's a Kickstarter, and Mantic and Reaper have enough infrastructure, resources and fans to do that - they are the exception. In fact, if you see someone promising that on the kind of small run Kickstarter that seems to garner this kind of whinging and moaning? Start questioning their financial planning and common sense, and whether you should actually be risking your money.

Ultimately, what it says on the Kickstarter page is up to the person running the Kickstarter: if you don't like what the Kickstarter is promising, or what they're proposing to do with your money, then don't back it, and walk away. But please? Stop moaning. We seem to have lost sight, amid the headiness of things like Dreadball and the like, of what Kickstarter is actually for: you are the one helping the Kickstarter by putting up your money in advance under the terms they choose to specify, so they can both gauge demand and then have cash-flow available to pursue they project. They don't have to do anything special for you compared to an ordinary after-the-fact punter: yes, it's courteous to express gratitude to backers by some form of rewards, but some peoples' entitlement issues, that a backer should be treated like a close sibling of the Divine for even THINKING about waving money at the Kickstarter, are both greedy and preposterous.

End of rant.


  1. Well said Mike. I've only backed two KS's but the way I see it is I'm giving my money to someone to produce a game a want to play. They are putting in the effort for my reward. Of course the designers etc will benefit It is after all their livelihood. If I don't like their vision I don't pay. If you like it support them don't criticise.

  2. I think the kickstarter should give an incentive above what you would get if you wait till it's available as you do have some risk and anyway why pay upfront when you can wait if nothing extra is offered?

    But no I don't see that you should expect the world. I was offered the world by Baker Company but the very excess of product was the thing that slowed it down, rushed the sculpting and ended up producing the lower quality product that pleased very few


    1. I think one difficulty is that Kickstarter was originally envisioned as "I would like to make this thing, I don't have the money to get started, please lend it to me rather than sending me to a bank for a startup loan which they won't give me, and I'll give you a thing as thanks", with the intention that the business might then become self-supporting off that initial money. Fair enough. What it's become all too often is a pre-order system: an established company says "we're going to do this anyway, but we want some of the cash up front". In the latter case it's only fair to expect a bit extra for your money compared with the retail customers: after all, you're paying early (maybe a year or more), and money has a time value (interest).

  3. I couldn't agree more, the gaming side of Kickstarter is, in fact, quite spoiled by the likes of CMoN and other larger players. If you peruse other areas you will rapidly find out that add-ons and stretch goals are almost non-existent. I'm also likely to rapidly pull out of anything that starts to add bunches of add-ons and stretch goals for exactly the reason mentioned by Ian. Unless it was carefully planned at the beginning (like Reaper does) then all of those things continue to add time to a delivery date that was only calculated on supplying the original concept not the extras. I also agree that to many supporters feel entitled to steep discounts on the price. The price should be carefully calculated by the creator to both fund his project and provide enough funds to keep going once everything has been delivered. There are more than a few instances where companies have started 2nd and even 3rd kickstarters because they miscalculated the 1st kickstarter and they are using the new ones to finish the old one.

  4. An overinflated sense of entitlement is not limited to kickstarter, it seems endemic these days.

  5. Check this one out. No stretch goals, no extras just an interesting product form some very funny guys:

    massively over funded btw.


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