To backers, this stings. The pride of helping fund someone’s passion simply isn’t there if everyone else can eventually have a piece of that pie, too. No matter how they’re acquired, behind-the-scenes documentary videos, “alpha” builds, and in-game perks aren’t exclusive anymore if everyone can have the same perks. Arguably, it’s even worse when, in a few instances, these pre-order bonuses are coming in cheaper than you could have initially gotten them with the crowdfunding campaign.
It could be viewed as a question of whether or not someone is willing to effectively pay a “crowdfunding surcharge” for early access, but again, occasionally the same “alpha” or “beta” access is being offered to everyone who pre-orders in the traditional sense.
In short, creators should be careful about alienating potential contributors. If creators are willing to make the rewards, they should be willing to cater to their backers, too. Internet culture is a touchy, fickle thing, and it doesn’t take much to alienate a vocal minority (a very vocal minority).
There’s a great deal at stake here. These crowdfunding efforts are the only chance that some of these creators have, and they could lose that resource if we’re all not careful. Games like Kentucky Route Zero and FTL: Faster Than Light might not have ever seen the light of day without Kickstarter, and we certainly wouldn’t have seen Dominique Pamplemousse in “It’s All Over Once the Fat Lady Sings!” without Indiegogo.
Places like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are fertile grounds for creative talent to take their would-be projects, but creators have to be careful not to squander the interest of supporters. We’re not in questionable territory anymore; crowdfunding is a widely-accepted practice, and creators have to be aware of their actions. It might only take a few more exclusives-turned-pre-order-bonus items for that vocal minority to denounce crowdfunding on the whole, potentially sullying the entire ecosystem for future hopefuls.