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Default InXile Entertainment - Fargo on Crowdsourcing in the future

October 29th, 2012, 22:15
Brian Fargo speaks with GamesIndustry.biz in an article format, saying he would return to Kickstarter regardless of whether sales of Wasteland 2 could finance a new game or not:
Should Wasteland 2 be a great success, though, it will raise a very different question. Crowd-funding has proved to be a convincing platform for getting ostensibly non-commercial ideas into production and into the public eye, but once that has been confirmed and rewarded with commercial success, is it appropriate to go back to the crowd for more?
"Yeah, because it goes beyond just getting money to do it," says Fargo. "Even if [Wasteland 2] sells a bunch and it could finance [another game], I'd like to keep that same relationship."
"Let's assume that I'm gonna deliver the game, so my backers are going to get whatever they were gonna buy anyway. If I pitch a new idea to my Kickstarter fans and nobody wants to fund it, I'm glad I didn't make it. It builds on itself… Ultimately, it helps me that I'm spending time and effort on something that people actually want. I can't see any harm in that because I'm giving people what they want at the end of the day."
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October 29th, 2012, 22:15
I see a problem with it. People pay way more for a kickstart project than they do the traditional route. We are your publisher, yet we get nothing extra if your game sells like hotcakes. Instead, you come asking for big piles of money again. Where does the profit go? If a kickstart is successful, then the previous game should pay for as much of the next game as possible. A kickstart for a sequel would need to be for much, much less money as several of the assets will be reused. I'll be very curious as to how this pans out, because this is the first true sign of greed we've seen from the "project people".

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October 29th, 2012, 22:37
"People pay way more for a kickstart project than they do the traditional route." - I'm not sure that's true. And, presumably, it would be less true in a W2 follow-up than with W2 itself.
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October 29th, 2012, 23:05
I'm not saying all people, but let me put it this way. Retail game A costs $50 for every single purchaser and then goes down after the initial release. In Kickstarter, more than a 1000 people paid more than $50 for Wasteland 2. As a $140 pledger for Project Eternity, I will not pledge for a sequel if the original earns a lot of money. Why would I? Let the profits pay for the sequel. I've done my job of showing I'll support their type of game.
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October 29th, 2012, 23:11
Businesses have been looking for ways to engage in differential pricing for many years. If you value something highly you will, all else being equal, be willing to pay more for it than someone who values it less highly. Businesses would love to find a way to charge the people who value their product highly a higher price than the people who value it less, but traditional open markets make that difficult. The closest we've come to that in the games market is using time as the differentiator — people who really want a game buy it at release and pay full price. Others who value it less will wait and buy it used, or get the GOTY edition, or pick it up on GOG a decade later for a tenth of the original price.

Kickstarter provides another way for businesses to engage in differential pricing, by asking those most interested in the creation of a product to help finance its creation. I'm not at all surprised that businesses are looking to make use of this.

(I can also see another reason why a business might go back to Kickstarter — it's probably a very good form of market research. If you think you have a fantastic product idea but when you try to Kickstart it nobody is delivering the love, well, that tells you something. That kind of feedback is golden. And the fact that the people providing it do so by putting actual skin in the game instead of just flapping their jaws tells you something about how serious their views are.)
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October 29th, 2012, 23:44
The next step in the evolution of crowdsourcing is higher reward tiers getting an increasingly higher return on their investment should the game do well. Just because we're fans doesn't preclude use from having some business sense.

If I shelled out $500, $1,000, $10,000 on a kickstarter project, I would primarily be doing so to support the developer's vision. But if they succeed and sell millions of copies, I would be pretty irritated if they just pocketed that profit and started up another Kickstarter for a subsequent title - irritated to the point I might not support them that go-around.
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October 30th, 2012, 00:46
So where are the theorys about possible next big project?

So basicaly the same situation was Mark Zuckerberg when his friend asked for ???, that helped him with money to fund and bring the project alive. I am just wondering if he was feeling betrayed or something or that he still has a friend…
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October 30th, 2012, 00:47
I could see another bard's tale, maybe not the joke one like the last.

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October 30th, 2012, 03:07
"I'm not saying all people, but let me put it this way. Retail game A costs $50 for every single purchaser and then goes down after the initial release. In Kickstarter, more than a 1000 people paid more than $50 for Wasteland 2."

http://www.kicktraq.com/projects/inxile/wasteland-2/ - "Average Pledge Per Backer: $48"

"As a $140 pledger for Project Eternity, I will not pledge for a sequel if the original earns a lot of money. Why would I? Let the profits pay for the sequel. I've done my job of showing I'll support their type of game. "

As a 100 dollar backer for Wasteland 2, I would consider backing another sequel, but I probably wouldn't back for 100 again. Overall, it would just depend. If I trust the team, if I'm interested in the project, and if I think Kickstarting it will help some, there's at least a decent chance I'll Kickstart regardless of the context.
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October 30th, 2012, 05:04
You're a nicer person than I am, killias2
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October 30th, 2012, 06:47
Originally Posted by crpgnut View Post
I'm not saying all people, but let me put it this way. Retail game A costs $50 for every single purchaser and then goes down after the initial release. In Kickstarter, more than a 1000 people paid more than $50 for Wasteland 2. As a $140 pledger for Project Eternity, I will not pledge for a sequel if the original earns a lot of money. Why would I? Let the profits pay for the sequel. I've done my job of showing I'll support their type of game.
I agree with your point of view - many people pay the minimum $20-30 for bare digital download, but the real drive for Kickstarter campaigns are all those people who shell out/maximize their credit cards $50-10,000…. I myself paid $55 for Wasteland and $70 for Eternity and I usually buy games from gog.com or GOTY versions when they are below $50… I view Kickstarter as a platform that can make creators and mine dreams come true, but apparently some people started to view it as "easy money" - a place where people just throw money at you - i.e. Old School RPG/ SHAKER Project and other less important projects…
But on the other hand Brian Fargo has a point as well - if his ideas for the sequel are not going to be accepted by the community than it is better for everyone involved not to make the game at all…
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October 30th, 2012, 08:32
Mr Fargo seems to want to avoid taking risks himself by dumping them on his fans. I can see how that approach can be appealing since it feeds the egos of those that feel wise enough to be in control and able to take the important major decisions. Personally I prefer the creators of the games I play to be creative and risk takers. Crowdfunding only appeals to me when it serves to liberate them from having to do what others think they should be doing. As such, I'm not going to support his approach.

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Last edited by holeraw; October 30th, 2012 at 16:38.
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October 30th, 2012, 09:35
That should soothe the fears of people who thought that KS would be a take the money and deliver nothing fraud feast.

The deal is so good for developpers that this one already think of the next time while being in the midst of developping the current game.

It is not a surprise and was announced: in this environment, getting people to funding you one year, one year and half activity is a sweet deal. Just for the sake of repeating the sweet deal, KS developpers will endeavour to deliver a game so they can get a new round of funding.

If they take the money and flee to the bahamas, they can kiss goodbye to repeating the business model over five, six years.

Added to that, that funded one year activity might net them even extra if the games sell beyond KS backers.
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October 30th, 2012, 09:38
Originally Posted by xep624 View Post
But on the other hand Brian Fargo has a point as well - if his ideas for the sequel are not going to be accepted by the community than it is better for everyone involved not to make the game at all…
I think he refers to the stretch goal dynamics more than the bulk of the game design.

Somehow, players will fund the game from the basic design but might reject a new idea by showing less to no support through stretch goals.
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October 30th, 2012, 09:39
Originally Posted by holeraw View Post
Personally I prefer the creators of the games I play to be creative and risk takers. Crowdfunding only appeals to me when it serves to liberate them having to do what others think they should be doing. As such, I'm not going to support his approach.
But arent corporations publishing games supposed to be killers of that set of mind?
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October 30th, 2012, 14:46
I agree with your point of view - many people pay the minimum $20-30 for bare digital download, but the real drive for Kickstarter campaigns are all those people who shell out/maximize their credit cards $50-10,000…
Source please. The vast majority of folks purchasing the game are doing so at the minimum download price (you can see the numbers right on the site). People have the option to pay more. I don't see any downside or unfairness to the model, even if it is used for a sequel. In fact, there are many advantages, only the most obvious being that the player can pay 50% of the retail price for the game.

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October 30th, 2012, 17:44
The more I learn about the kickstarter business model, the more I appreciate it. I have no doubt that the kickstarter concept will soon become as big as Ebay has become to online auctioning.

In recent months I have enjoyed seeing all the news blips posted here at RPGWatch of all the various kickstarter projects. Most of them I have really no interest in. At the same time, I haven't seen this much variation in PC gaming in over 12 years and that is fantastic. In the 80s and 90s PC games had such varied gameplay and long for a return to that.

That all said there are slippery slopes that can really drag the kickstarter concept into the dirt by the people who employ it if they aren't careful.

1) Kickstarter is a relatively new concept. Like anything new, many people who may have their interest peaked by it may not last as this concept moves from 'new' to 'new normal.' Creativity is key to help fight against this and if those who want to use kickstarter lose their creativity and go the route of 'mainstream gaming' they will have greatly diminished this avenue of funding.

2) Greediness is another huge pitfall I see. Like myself, everyone else interested in PC gaming are steadily coming to understand the kickstarter business model and what it means not only for themselves but to the developer. Unlike a publisher, who gets paid back for their funding plus interest and profits (in a typical 'vanilla' publisher-developer relationship), kickstarter backers do not get paid back any of this and are entitled only to what they paid for when backing a project. That all said, I believe the comments made in this interview were disingenuous at best and probably would have been best kept unsaid - at least for now as kickstarter evolves. That whole line of 'I'd like to keep that same [kickstarter] relationship' just reeks of snake-oil salesmanship even if he honestly believes what he is saying. It just reads terribly.

3) Collapse of a fully backed and funded kickstarter are another possible problem. If too many projects get backed and actually funded and then later collapse, there are no legal mechansims in place for backers to get their money returned. This will be a huge problem if there is ever a wave of project collapses as it will give kickstarter a very bad reputation and people will become less likely to participate - I know such a reputation would make me think twice.

For now, I see kickstarter very favorably. I think it has a good chance at genre-busting and reinvigorating PC gaming with varied content like what we saw back in the 80s and 90s. I hope those who use kickstarter to fund their projects will respect their backers beyond just rhetoric and demonstrate their respect by following through on all their stated committments. So far this is exactly what I've seen and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it stays this way.

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Last edited by TheMadGamer; October 30th, 2012 at 17:55.
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October 30th, 2012, 17:51
Is there a way to dig deeper? Is there a way to see whether the low end backers, with their higher numbers, donated more to the project than the over $100 backers?

I'm not saying I wouldn't back another kickstarter, but not if the game does well enough to fund the next one without double dipping the fan. It'd be like Bethesda re-packaging their game and charging full price for it again….oops
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October 30th, 2012, 20:01
Let's assume the WL2 project works as intended. Good game, earns Inexile 10M$ after all costs but before taxes.

Of course they'll do another Kickstarter.

And not supporting it, assuming the new game is very similar, is not that clever. You supported WL2 and got a good game in return. It makes sense to at least pledge the minumum amount for a digital copy, to save some money compared to the normal release.
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October 30th, 2012, 20:17
Many good posts in this thread.

Let's see the WL2 Kickstarter for what it is: Business.

Fargo received:
  • 2.5M$ after costs
  • Marketing value* worth at least 5M$, and counting
  • Independence from publishers
  • Risk reduction to zero for the next 24 months
  • Probably many new business opportunities due to the KS hype and the fact that he as a veteran industry person is in demand again.
  • Direct contact to the core customer base.
  • 100% of all profits; minus the Pay-it-forward stuff - which adds to the marketing value.
  • Less overhead due to publisher demands / relations

* Wasteland 2 got massively more press attention than any 2nd tier RPG in the last decade. Even in publications all over the world which woudn't have cared at all for a publisher founded WL2. This is worth a lot.

So Fargo would be stupid not to do another Kickstarter after a succesful WL2, and he deserves kudos for being upfront about it.
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