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Kickstarter and it's effects on gaming
What is Kickstarter?
Kickstarter was started in 2009 to allow the community to fund projects of their choosing. These projects are all of creative nature, things such as music albums, books, and games all fit into the guidelines Kickstarter has set forth. Artists are able to present their projects to their fans via the Kickstarter website and in turn the fans can choose to give money in support of their projects. In order to reduce the risk to both the community and the project creators Kickstarter works on an all or nothing format. What this means is if the project requires $15,000 to be created and the kickstarter project only generates $10,000 in funds then no one will be charged and the project founder will receive no money. This model ensures that the person or people running the project will only ask for what they reasonably need and the community (called backers) will not have their money taken and never see the results of their support. Kickstarter projects have different tiers based on the amount of money that a backer is willing to give and generally different rewards will be given based on the tier that the backer chooses. Project creators may choose to run their project from 1-60 days and funding will continue for the duration of the time frame even after the goal has been met. Allowing funding to continue after the goal has been met has caused many project creators to add what are called stretch goals. Stretch goals are goals beyond the initial goal that when met the creator will do something extra for the community such as give something to all backers or add something to the project. Kickstarter also allows every project to have updates posted to it by the person running the project as well as a message board where backers can post questions and comments. This interaction really allows a fan base to grow around a particulate project and gives a sense of ownership to the people that choose to back a project. With over forty thousand successfully funded projects totaling more than $500 million Kickstarter has proven to be a viable business model for those looking to start a creative project.
How does Kickstarter help gaming
Kickstart has proven to be a big benefit to the gaming community for many reason, the most important of which is communication. While historically game developers have always changed their games to cater to the person giving them the money for the first time the gamer is the one giving the money so the changes made cater to the fans instead of the bank. This method of funding also allows a developer to gauge interest in a particular project. If something does not get funded then the developer has the option to change the project and try again or to abandon the project entirely in favor of something else. With enough funding from backers Kickstarter has enabled small game development teams to create the games they always dreamed of making but could never afford to. Kickstarter is also giving more exposure to the indie gaming scene via link sharing from backers of projects to their friends who may otherwise have never heard of the project.
How could Kickstarter hurt gaming
As with anything that is asking for money from people there are dangers involved and Kickstarter is no different. There have been some projects that have been funded but have never seen the light of day and the project manager has seemed to drop off the face of the planet. While I like to believe that everything on Kickstarter is real and when funded will be seen through to creation this is not always the case. This reality makes for a strong argument to never back a project, however as long as you are careful on what you choose to back you can avoid this and be part of something big. One of the biggest red flags on Kickstarter is a game with nothing but concept art that is seeing very little updates to it. If updates are not being done on the Kickstarter project the chances of the developer losing interest after the campaign is over and abandoning the project are high. If this trend of not releasing funded projects continues to grow we could see game developers shy away from the program due to the bad press and then we are left with the traditional game development model, there by taking things once again away from the gamer.
Kickstarter has seen quite a few success stories so far such as Shadowrun Returns, Wastleland 2 and the Double-Fine adventure game but the future is up in the air. Most of the big name successful projects that have been funded through Kickstarter so far have not been released yet so the quality and success of these projects on the market has yet to be determined. On a whole I believe that Kickstarter can allow us as gamers more insight and involvement in the game development process then we have ever had before. As long as people are cautious and aware of the project they are backing Kickstarter may cause game developers to give the gaming community the attention it deserves during the game creation process, after all we are the ones buying the games right? If you enjoyed the article please comment below and don't forget to like us on facebook and visit zenbunny.net.