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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Steven Kimura - Disappointed With Kickstarter

Default Steven Kimura - Disappointed With Kickstarter

April 22nd, 2013, 14:37
I know this news post has nothing to do with RPG's, but it has eveything to do with all the recentt RPG's kickstarted. Former Harmonix and Irrational Games turned indepent developer Steven Kimura has has spoken of his grievance with the direction of Kickstarter.
“Kickstarter is becoming a burned out, cynical market that can’t support the kinds of projects we’re working on.” says Kimura. “It’s disheartening for me to see some rehash of a game that was popular 20 years ago get funded. I get it, because that’s a reflection of the retail market – all sequels – but those kinds of projects have really burned people out on Kickstarter for us.”

“For me, indie development is about making something creative and different. I think that’s what Kickstarter was supposed to be about, but I think that it’s shifted, especially in the game space. Now it’s just a shop and I think that’s the death of that platform. That’s not what it’s for.”
Now the question is do you agree with him? I for one am grateful for kickstarter. I have more RPG's that would of never been funded by a publisher.





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April 22nd, 2013, 14:38
Just posted about 10 mins ago. Planet explorers got funded. It's an indie game, it's creative, different and definetly not rehash of a 20 years old game so… WTF is that former Harmonix and Irrational Games employee talking about?

Kickstarter is supposed to make life easier for ppl who can't get enough starting funds for making some product. While I can now start writing a tractate about how smartphone projects should be banned because of the fraud nature of the whole smartphone business, I won't.
Everyone who believes his idea(s) could be turned into something good, nice, fun or useable stuff because of Kickstarter can now get the "push" directly from targetted audience instead of signing a contract with a big bad publisher/distributer and left without a dime in the end (a recent example: death of Black Hole Studios after the job done for Ubisoft).

The man, former employee of some names that is not listed on wikipedia, is also probably disappointed with the fact that Veronica Mars, series left without a proper ending, will now, because of Kickstarter project, get a closure through a movie (got 5 million). I bet that same man never watched Firefly and never got excited like a baby over Serenity.

Kickstarter is not just there to support only indie projects. It's there to make things audience want possible when ignorant and blind CEOs don't want to bless such stuff. It's not a perfect service as every project still needs some sort of marketing and a presentation, but honestly, if KS existed a decade ago, I bet we'd see Van Buren made.

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April 22nd, 2013, 14:45
Originally Posted by joxer View Post
Kickstarter is not just there to support only indie projects. It's there to make things audience want possible when ignorant and blind CEOs don't want to bless such stuff. It's not a perfect service as every project still needs some sort of marketing and a presentation, but honestly, if KS existed a decade ago, I bet we'd see Van Buren made.
I agree Joxer. Van Buren was the true next fallout game. Somebody should see who owns the rights to the project now.

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April 22nd, 2013, 14:49
How about we wait until some of the more interesting projects are actually released - before we start talking about the model as a failure.

It's not just about playing on nostalgia - but about picking up something that worked and taking it to new places in an environment where it can actually happen.

Games like Star Citizen, Wasteland 2 and Project Eternity aren't about being nostalgic so much as it's about getting back to something that was fantastic but "died" because it wasn't the most profitable kind of game.

They sure don't look plays on nostalgia to me - but genuine attempts to focus on gameplay and design over mass appeal. They look to be evolving those designs as well.

If this guy wants to be creative and experiment with new things - he can do so WITHOUT this kind of support. You can be creative at home with your computer and it doesn't have to cost a dime.

I wouldn't want to limit what Kickstarter is for - but I'd MUCH rather see games like those I mentioned above than another atrociously boring "indie platformer" using whatever new gimmick - trying to masquerade as something innovative.

I mean, games like Plants versus Zombies, Braid, Minecraft, Angry Birds and so on are all fine games, but they're among the least innovative I can think of. They're using ARCHAIC gameplay with slight twists and a gimmick or two.

Ok, Minecraft is more than that - but with such a massive success, it's an easy design to evolve and expand upon. But at heart, it's really a very old game design, only now with multiplayer.
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April 22nd, 2013, 15:21
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
I agree Joxer. Van Buren was the true next fallout game. Somebody should see who owns the rights to the project now.
No need for that. Most stuff from Van Buren got alive already inside FNV (Arcade Gannon sidekick is one example, "Big Empty" area is another, but there are many more). Still, imagine the excitment if Van Buren was actually made back then… But no, the money was tossed into some console crap and Descent sequels.

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April 22nd, 2013, 15:31
A lot of people get good money from Kickstarter for projects that try something new. There are countless of examples for this, and not just in gaming.

Kimura just failed to raise interest for his own project. Which is the reason why he thinks the platform sucks.
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April 22nd, 2013, 15:32
While I agree with D'Artagnan that we need to see how all these projects turn out, the short and long of it right now is that we have seen a major resurgence in a type of RPGs that was declared dead or uniteresting for at least a decade. And, maybe more important, maybe a chance for several small and mid-sized developers to gain financial independence if their games are successful.
Sure, there is a danger that KS drives become somewhat formulaic. And sure, new people and new ideas will have it more difficult, because, well, crowdfunding relies on finding a crowd. If you are an artist wanting to creat artsy games, or if you just suck at presenting your vision, your crowd may be small.
So, it's not a cure for all ails, but I am damn happy KS came around and shook things up.
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April 22nd, 2013, 15:33
I think if you present your product well and actually have a clear goal it will get funded. If he is complaining because the smaller ones aren't making the millions the bigger ones are then he is just being unrealistic.

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April 22nd, 2013, 15:40
BTW, here is a list of games that have gotten funded by Kickstarter. While most are in established genres, there are also wildcards like FTL.

http://www.kickstarter.com/discover/…most-funded#p2
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April 22nd, 2013, 16:20
Originally Posted by tuukka View Post
Kimura just failed to raise interest for his own project. Which is the reason why he thinks the platform sucks.
Ohhh, I knew I smelled sour grapes!
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April 22nd, 2013, 16:55
how immature
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April 22nd, 2013, 17:04
This sounds like mostly sour grapes to me.

On his point about sequels: Yes, people like what is familiar. That is human nature. And it's corporate nature to take a winning formula and beat it to death…to the point of cramming it down the market's throat. I agree with the other posters that Kicstarter doee not fall into the sequel spiral. Yes, old genres, such RPGs and adventure games, have been revived. Yes, they play on nostalgia, which certainly seems to help draw attention, but they seem to me to be more of a departure from the originals, by and large , than your average modern corporate sequel.

Speaking of drawing attention, that seems to be the biggest hurdle for a Kickstarter project, just as it is with most any sales venture. (That and having an interesting product to hold the attention once its drawn.) I think any Kickstarter developer better be ready to go balls out with the marketing — spamming, begging and speaking to whatever media outlet or blogger that will give him the time of day. I'm sure I'm not the only one to notice Kickstarter's browsing is just awful. Even an interested consumer actively seeking a project can easily be stymied by the website, which really ought to be improved.

I suggest this gentleman dust himself off (I am guessing he had a failed Kickstarter project, as that is what it sounds like.) and try again with a real marketing plan. A clever idea is no guarantee of success. Like it or not (and I personally hate maketting), this is still business.
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April 22nd, 2013, 17:09
This clown sounds like an idiot. I've got 3+ yrs of future games to look forward to thanks to Kickstarter, not to mention the Veronica Mars movie which both myself and the wife look forward to. He might wanna clean his sandy parts off next time before he opens his mouth.



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April 22nd, 2013, 17:11
Kickstarter is booming right now - but pretty soon, people will start being a LOT more selective and less over-the-top with excitement. It will happen once we see which of the most promising titles actually succeed in doing what they promise to do (and MANY won't get anywhere near that) - by which time we'll have a decent feeling of what's worth supporting and what isn't.

I'm just hoping it won't die out and I fear that people are being somewhat naive if they believe that just because there's no greedy publisher breathing down developer necks, it somehow magically means that all these developers are super talented geniuses.

Nah, the best games will always be very rare. Kickstarter won't change that.
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April 22nd, 2013, 17:12
Seems like Kickstarter backers have been more than generous enough with things THEY WANT.

Sounds like this guy is crying.

A lot of the games getting funded that I'm interested in ARE rehashes of old games. Games that are classics. Games from the first golden age of PC gaming. Games from genres publishers won't touch. Games that can stand to have a modernization so they can be enjoyed on modern PCs without jumping thru hoops. Old school RPGs that aren't graphical overkill. Turn based stuff. Strategy games. Etc.

They're not necessarily sequels in the same sense that the big publishers just want to rehash the same game ideas that sell millions of units over and over. They're games nobody is willing to fund and to have any hope of getting done and done somewhat decently need a little help.

It would be cool if Wasteland 2 or SRR (maybe not SRR since the devs kinds of suck and mislead backers and fans and seem kind of shady) sold 1m+ units because it should show that there IS a market for old school/classic game designs and that not all games have to be FPS style repetition.

The fact that a lot of long time/old school developers are getting the chance to make some more old school type of games without publishers turning the product into (more) kiddie mode console/tablet/app phone crap is nice (hi XCOM:EU, I'm talking to you). Really getting tired of PC game design getting watered down due to the console first style mentality.

Nobody can expect Kickstarter to fund EVERY game idea that comes out. There has to still be some responsibility on developers fund new game ideas in other ways, even the same old ways.
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April 22nd, 2013, 17:22
This is his (failed) KS project, if anyone is interested:
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/…ine?ref=search
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April 22nd, 2013, 17:25
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
This is his (failed) KS project, if anyone is interested:
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/…ine?ref=search
So this is what KS was intended for… contrary to "nostalgia"-driven "remakes" of "20 year old games" like Project: Eternity.

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April 22nd, 2013, 17:41
His own project looked pretty cool, mainly thanks to the original graphics style.

But nowhere on the page you can actually find info about gameplay. It's supposed to be some kind of RTS/action/RPG hybrid. But after watching the video, and reading the text, I was pretty confused.

All I can tell is that it's an RTS were you play a team of monsters killing people in famous disaster-locations, like Titanic.

Which doesn't really sound that exciting. Disregarding the graphical style - Which IS cool and original - it sounds awfully generic.

That's probably why they failed to make money.

Compare it to FTL, a somewhat similar project. It's no wonder why that got money, and this didn't.
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April 22nd, 2013, 18:54
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Kickstarter is booming right now - but pretty soon, people will start being a LOT more selective and less over-the-top with excitement. It will happen once we see which of the most promising titles actually succeed in doing what they promise to do (and MANY won't get anywhere near that) - by which time we'll have a decent feeling of what's worth supporting and what isn't.
I think people are already being selective, at least in terms of selecting the pitches that they like. If some developers don't like the results, well tough luck. Deal with it.

At least they found out before building and shipping the product, which is something they didn't have before Kickstarter.
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April 22nd, 2013, 18:59
Originally Posted by rjshae View Post
I think people are already being selective, at least in terms of selecting the pitches that they like. If some developers don't like the results, well tough luck. Deal with it.

At least they found out before building and shipping the product, which is something they didn't have before Kickstarter.
Some people are selective, some aren't. But my general impression is that a lot of "old-school" fans are supporting projects simply out of excitement for the prospect of getting back to a certain kind of game that's been missing for a long time.

I think, with time, things will settle down and we won't be seeing these major titles popping up almost every single day.
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