Kickstarter - All News
Tuesday - September 22, 2015
Kickstarter - Now a Benefit Corporation
Polygon asks the question on how changing to a Benefit Corporation will change kickstarter by interviewing CEO Yancey Strickler.
What's in a name?
So what exactly is a public benefit corporation? It's a new kind of corporate entity, officially recognized in the state of Delaware (where Kickstarter is incorporated) in 2013. Now available as an option for companies in 27 different states, Strickler says it falls somewhere on the spectrum between a corporation and a true non-profit.
"A benefit corporation has a legal responsibility to perform a social good, to provide a benefit to society," Strickler said from the library of the Kickstarter headquarters in Brooklyn, New York last week.
"A company that is a benefit corporation has the opportunity to inscribe legally into their founding corporate documents what those benefits actually are. Rather than just being a company that does good in its practices - and that's something that can change with time - this hard codes that into the deepest possible fabric of the corporate structure. And so it's a very different way of thinking about how a for-profit company would operate.
Kickstarter's new charter, at a little over 500 words, is a surprisingly light document. But it includes directives that you'll not find in the founding principles at other organizations. Among them are explicit promises that Kickstarter will "defend the privacy rights and personal data of the people who use the service," and that they will "not lobby or campaign for public policies unless they align with its mission and values, regardless of possible economic benefits to the company." One even prohibits the use of "loopholes or other esoteric but legal tax management strategies to reduce its tax burden."
The core of it, however - and the part that Stickler is especially proud of - is Kickstarter's "5 percent pledge," in which the company will annually donate 5 percent of "its after-tax profit towards arts and music education, and to organizations fighting to end systemic inequality." At least half of that money will be earmarked for underserved communities in New York City itself.
Saturday - September 12, 2015
Kickstarter - Court orders Payment for Failed Delivery
A Washington State court orders a Kickstarted game creator to pay $54k for failing to deliver.
For the first time, a Kickstarter campaign has been ordered by a state court to pay restitution and civil penalties for failing to deliver rewards to its backers. The judgment, filed July 22 in Washington state, sets a precedent there that companies and individuals who accept money through crowdfunding are beholden to deliver on their promises.
"Washington state will not tolerate crowdfunding theft," said Washington's attorney general Bob Ferguson in a press release issued July 27. "If you accept money from consumers, and don’t follow through on your obligations, my office will hold you accountable."
Polygon previously reported that in April of 2014 Ferguson filed suit against Edward J. Polchlopek III, also known as Ed Nash, and his Nashville, Tenn.-based Altius Management, for failing to deliver products to the backers of the Asylum Playing Card campaign. The playing cards, designed by a Serbian artist, were to be an exclusive printing delivered by Dec. 2012.
The campaign, launched by Altius in in Sept. 24, 2012, promised backers at the $9 level a single deck of playing cards. Backers at other levels were to receive signed original art and other perks. The campaign was successfully funded on Oct. 31, receiving $25,146 on a $15,000 ask.
The expected shipping date passed without backers receiving anything.
Tuesday - May 12, 2015
Kickstarter - Available in Germany as of Today!
Starting today Kickstarter is available with all features in Germany. Of course I was curious which projects went online right away. I'll post a collection of Kickstarters which caught my eye for one reason or another. Please don't understand this as a recommendation. Maybe some of these Kickstarters will make you smile - or think "Why haven't I thought of this?".
All pages are multi-language:
- Sky Sharks is a trashy movie with surprisingly good f/x for the intended budget. I think I recognized an actor who played in Das Boot in the opening scene.
- The mother of all cake pans: Der Mutterkuchen. The German humor behind this is hard to translate.
- Das Tal - PvP Sandbox MMO. "Tal" is German for "valley".
- Happy Cheese - "Crazy delicious, vegan, organic, raw, world class gourmet cheese".
- USB ChargeDoubler - double your charging speed!
- STEAMPUNK AMERYLL - A fantasy-steampunk Pen & Paper universe
- TIO - Save the World, Twice a Day: A new analog toothbrush, state of the art and sustainable.
- The Dwarves: The Saga is a cooperative fantasy boardgame based on a bestselling book series.
- Karnivore Koala - the post-eucalyptic board game.
- You want to write like Albert Einstein? You can with the Albert Einstein Font.
- MIITO – the sustainable alternative to the electric kettle.
- Crysis Analogue Edition - The Board Game
Wednesday - October 15, 2014
IndieRPGs - How to Not Fail at Kickstarter
Since I posted How to not fail at Kickstarter in 12 easy steps last April, a lot more people have come to me seeking advice–and as a direct result, my list has grown. The time has come for another article, one with even more tips and tricks for funding your game.
Lest you think this follow-up article is unnecessary, a quick glance at Kickstarter’s stats page will correct you. As of today, there are nearly two failed game Kickstarters for every one that succeeds. The “games” category includes board games, which historically have higher rates of successful funding than video games do–if we were to look at video games alone, the ratio of failures-to-successes would likely be even worse! Suffice it to say, we still have a lot of room for improvement in terms of how we run our video game Kickstarter campaigns.
If you haven’t read the first article yet, now is the time! Don’t worry, I’ll wait. …all caught up? Good! Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I now present to you: How to not fail at Kickstarter in 8 more steps.
Saturday - September 20, 2014
An update to our Terms of Us
So what’s different? To begin with, we simplified the language, subtracted lots of legal jargon, and made the terms as straightforward and to-the-point as we could. We encourage you to read the full update here.
We also added a detailed outline of what’s expected from everyone involved in a project. For the overwhelming majority of projects, it’s pretty simple: creators finish the work they planned, backers are happy, and nobody sweats the details. But there are exceptions. Sometimes problems come up, projects don’t go according to plan, and people wind up in the dark about what’s supposed to happen next. So we’re spelling it out — what’s expected from backers, what’s expected from creators, and what needs to happen if a project runs into trouble.
You can read that section of the terms right here. This update reflects the best practices we’ve seen from our community to get the best possible outcomes from challenging situations. Incorporating them into these terms is a small but important part of building a healthy, trusted environment where people work together to bring creative projects to life.
Friday - August 08, 2014
Kickstarter - The Cracks in Crowd-funding
I found an interesting article on a site called xsolla where they talk about the cracks in crowd-funding, and a few Kickstarter concerns they have.
While Kickstarter and crowd-funding existed several years before the Double Fine kickstarter, that was the first time that a major developer thought to use the platform and it made waves throughout the industry. The Double Fine kickstarter was funded within 24 hours and made global news among the Game Industry.
From there, we saw a rush of developers looking to capitalize in the same way as Double Fine. Either brand new titles like Planetary Annihilation or bringing back classic series like Wasteland 2. And for the rest of 2012, it was success after success after success for the platform and games being funded.
This continued to some extent in 2013, but things have hit a massive wall in 2014 with less game projects reporting success and controversy surrounding failed projects. There are several factors that are adding up to big problems for crowd funding.
Wednesday - June 04, 2014
Kickstarter - Simplifies the Rules
The Kickstarter rules for launching a campaign have been simplified, resulting in just 3 rules left.
We’re also introducing dramatically simplified rules for Kickstarter projects. After taking a long hard look at every one of our guidelines, we boiled them down to three basic principles:
- Projects must create something to share with others.
- Projects must be honest and clearly presented.
- Projects cannot fundraise for charity, offer financial incentives, or involve prohibited items.
These three rules highlight exactly what Kickstarter’s all about: making things, sharing them with others, and being honest with the people helping you do it. To see the rules in full, click here.
This could result into campaigns that were previously denied being accepted now.
In addition the acceptance process for a campaign has been automated, so it is possible to launch the project yourself once it has gone through some automated checks, or you could still ask for some feedback before launching it.
We want creators to have the support and freedom they need when building their projects. That’s why we’re introducing a feature called Launch Now. It gives creators a simple choice: go ahead and launch your project whenever you’re ready, or get feedback from one of our Community Managers first.
Over the past five years, our Community Managers have offered their expertise to more than 100,000 creators — sharing advice, encouragement, and support to give creators the best chance of success. We love doing it, and we’re always here to help. But we’re pleased to offer creators a simpler process for sharing their projects with the world, and the flexibility to choose how much help they need.
We’re rolling out Launch Now in stages. It’s currently available to 60% of projects, and we’ll be expanding it to more projects in the weeks to come.
Sunday - May 25, 2014
Kickstarter - Editorial @ GamesIndustry
GamesIndustry's writer Rob Fahey has posted a new article on GamesIndustry.biz where he talks about how Kickstarter can't just be funding for newcomers.
What is Kickstarter? Kickstarter is a strong indicator from the market. For a game that's failed commercially twice, it's about the only indicator worth listening to - one which actually takes money up front from consumers to the tune of the cash required to fund development, or a decent percentage of development. This is, in effect, the last throw of the dice for a franchise like Amplitude. You can't blame publishers for not wanting to fund a game which has a history of critical success matched to commercial failure. Equally, you can't blame a developer for not wishing to remortgage their house or spend their personal wealth on the same project; why should they undertake risks that no publisher would?
Kickstarter is, above all else, a way to remove risk from the most risky game development projects. Up until now, publishers have focused on removing risk by following "safe" creative paths, copying commercially successful projects and making endless sequels and titles which fell comfortably within the bounds of existing genres. Kickstarter allows that risk mitigation to take place at a much more creatively beneficial place - in the realm of project financing. Kickstarter is a way to stand up with your idea, in all its unedited glory, and say "here's what we'll make - who wants it?" - and crucially, a way to sit down, dump the idea and work on something else if it transpires that nobody wants it.
Friday - April 04, 2014
Kickstarter - Editorial @ Gamasutra
The creator of Contract Work explains in a blog on Gamasutra how he managed to get his game funded on Kickstarter, but failed to make it a success.
Here is the part about what went wrong in art & style.
I'm not a great artist, which from the beginning meant that I should have been smarter about the Contract Work art. At some point I tried to transition away from pixel art to taking advantage of my 3d rendering knowledge, but I didn't finish the transition. I also brought in some outside assets to help fill some gaps. Take a look at this screen:
The security stations are in a pixel art style. The enemies are 3d renders. The floor tiles are outside assets. There are multiple types of disjointed lighting effects. There is so much text on the screen! As Adam Smith from RockPaperShotgun writes:
The graphics, taken as a whole, lack character, even if some of the robot designs are attractive in isolation. It's all too busy, which added to my initial sense of disorientation and difficulty. The screen presents too much information, the camera is a little too close, and the character feels beset from all sides, even before the real action begins.
What I needed to do was clean everything up, take more time to establish a consistent style, then make sure that style was used in every part of the game. It retrospect, it was a hot mess.
Monday - February 17, 2014
Kickstarter - Hacked Last Week
Kickstarter was hacked last Wednesday, and they have an official statement on the site. I'll leave this up for a few days so people can change their passwords.
On Wednesday night, law enforcement officials contacted Kickstarter and alerted us that hackers had sought and gained unauthorized access to some of our customers' data. Upon learning this, we immediately closed the security breach and began strengthening security measures throughout the Kickstarter system.
No credit card data of any kind was accessed by hackers. There is no evidence of unauthorized activity of any kind on all but two Kickstarter user accounts.
While no credit card data was accessed, some information about our customers was. Accessed information included usernames, email addresses, mailing addresses, phone numbers, and encrypted passwords. Actual passwords were not revealed, however it is possible for a malicious person with enough computing power to guess and crack an encrypted password, particularly a weak or obvious one.
As a precaution, we strongly recommend that you create a new password for your Kickstarter account, and other accounts where you use this password.
To change your password, log in to your Kickstarter account and look for the banner at the top of the page to create a new, secure password. We recommend you do the same on other sites where you use this password. For additional help with password security, we recommend tools like 1Password and LastPass.
We’re incredibly sorry that this happened. We set a very high bar for how we serve our community, and this incident is frustrating and upsetting. We have since improved our security procedures and systems in numerous ways, and we will continue to do so in the weeks and months to come. We are working closely with law enforcement, and we are doing everything in our power to prevent this from happening again.
Kickstarter is a vibrant community like no other, and we can’t thank you enough for being a part of it. Please let us know if you have any questions, comments, or concerns. You can reach us at email@example.com.
Tuesday - January 28, 2014
Kickstarter - Editorial @ Evil As A Hobby
A blog by the name of Evil As A Hobby has an article about the amount of projects that fully delivered to their backers.
Let’s cut to the chase: having spent a long time manually scraping Kickstarter video game project data and following up each and every of the 366 successfully funded projects between 2009 and 2012, the data indicates that only around 1 in 3 have fully delivered their promised title to their backers. (Data scraping occurred over the last week of December 2013 and the first week of January 2014.)
Friday - October 25, 2013
Kickstarter - Editorial @ Wired
Wired takes a look at some of the top funded RPG kickstarters with a new article called,"Over Budget, Behind Schedule: What’s Up With Gaming’s Biggest Kickstarters?"
What's the status now?
Wasteland 2's original Kickstarter pitch named this month as an estimated delivery date. "It's funny, because you have to put your date down on Kickstarter not knowing the scope of the game," Fargo said. "So we put a date down, but that was a very small project. Once we triple fund, and everybody says, 'Make the game much bigger,' does that date really apply anymore?"
When Fargo realized an October ship date wasn't going to happen, he decided instead to push for having a beta ready by then, opting to get at least something into backers' hands on time. The beta will deliver roughly 90 percent of the game's feature set, he says, albeit with some missing skills, sound effects, and animations here and there. But Wasteland is a narrative game, and inXile doesn't intend to give away the entire experience before release. Players will be able to explore most, if not all, of post-apocalyptic Arizona, but a large portion of the game takes place in Los Angeles — none of which will be accessible until the final release.
"It's such a transparent process," Fargo said. "I think that people aren't worried about you being late as long as you're showing updates, and you're communicating, and you're letting them touch and see things — as long as it's moving along, everybody's happy."
The Banner Saga
What's the status now?
The game's Kickstarter success meant it would be able to scale up in quality, but it's never as easy as it sounds, says Thomas.
"It is interesting to see how people correlate money with content," he said, "as if you just liquify a vat of cash and pour it into a computer and voila, another set of characters!" Thomas said the extra cash did allow the team to hire more, and more talented, people.
Banner Saga's multiplayer combat portion was released as a free, standalone title called The Banner Saga: Factions in February of 2013. Meanwhile, the single-player campaign has been pushed back a number of times. While the original hope was for the first part of the single-player trilogy to land by the end of 2012, it was soon delayed well into 2013, and may possibly even slip to January 2014.
What's the status now?
"We've tried to always stick to what we talked about in our Kickstarter pitch," Project Director Josh Sawyer told WIRED via phone. "We're making a game that's essentially about exploring a big beautiful world with a lot of tactical combat and a cool story with cool companions in it. Every so often we have some crazy idea for something neat that we could add, but we know that there's so much to do already that we don't really need to throw more difficulty on it for us."
Much like Double Fine Adventure, Obsidian's initial expectation was to make a modestly-sized Infinity Engine-style game with a very small cast of characters, classes and not a whole lot of extra features.
"But with the Kickstarter," Sawyer said, "the fans basically said 'please give us these extra doodads, we want them.' So we're making a game that is much larger in scope both in terms of size and also the variety of characters you can make and interact with."
The team, which shifts around in size but currently consists of around 20 people, is now deep into production developing the core game. But while everything is going relatively smoothly, Sawyer is reluctant to discuss a release schedule.
"We're really trying to really focus on making this game the size that our fans expect it to be, as deep of an RPG system as they really expect it to be, and as polished as they really need it to be," Sawyer said. "We've had games come out that have not been very polished, and we don't like that reputation. We've been improving it over time, so with something where the release is entirely under our control, we're going to make sure that is absolutely as good as it can be."
Friday - September 27, 2013
Kickstarter - Editorial @ Polygon
Polygon is the next site to give their opinion on kickstarter saying be careful as they will break your heart. I'll share the end but dare say read the rest for perspective. You wont be disappointed.
Does this mean all Kickstarted games are destined to fail? No. There are always outliers. And there are even a few interesting test cases where experienced developers with solid records of developing and shipping games have turned to Kickstarter with prototypes, plans and execution ideas fully in place. Even these projects are subject to the uncertainties involved in any creative project, but a large percentage of them may get finished. Whether they will then be good games is an entirely different question.
The fact is, video games are too volatile a creation to be planned and executed on the scale of a Kickstarter pledge. In an industry where even the most talented leaders often miss by months and millions of dollars, it is insanity to expect any but a few of these projects will succeed.
So it's to you, the dreamer, the backer, that I write this last: If you're backing a video game, hold out both hands and start wishing. Then bet on the hand that fills up first.
Saturday - September 07, 2013
Kickstarter - Worth It for Indie Game Developers?
In a new Gamasutra blog post Fredrik Wester ponders if kickstarter is even worth it for indie developers. It's a good read, but do you agree with him?
We all know how Kickstarter is supposed to work: a company or group in need of funding presents an idea to the Internet at large, and based on the strength of the pitch (and some incentives for donors), crowdfunding ensues.
When it comes to game development, though, is this really the best model for raising money – and are gamers really willing to put their money up for a game they don’t they don’t know much about?
Crowdfunding seemingly came out of nowhere for us in the gaming industry and took us by storm. We've experienced the first generation of super projects and the mixed results they delivered (and still aren't delivering). Now that we're looking at a 2nd (or maybe 3rd) generation of crowdfunding and we see that something completely different is happening.
Friday - August 30, 2013
Brian Fargo - The Present and Future of Kickstarter
Brian Fargo is interviewed by DualShockers in this new video from GameCom 2013. The topic of the interview was about kickstarter.
inXile Entertainment CEO Brian Fargo is one of the men that made Kickstarter cool with his Wasteland 2. Here's what he thinks about Kickstarter now, and about where it's going.
Tuesday - August 27, 2013
Kickstarter - Video Games and Stretch Goals
Last week Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler posted on his blog about the inherent risks with adding stretch goals to a Kickstarter campaign. Although the website caters to any and all creative projects, limited only to its creator’s imagination and willingness to put themselves on the internet, Strickler’s post specifically mentions games as his example of projects that are in danger of abusing the system, “trading long-term risk for short-term gain.”
"For a typical stretch goal a creator will promise to release their game in additional formats or add extra functions if certain funding goals are met. But expanding a project’s scope can change the creative vision and put the whole project at risk. We’ve seen stretch goals leave some projects overwhelmed, over budget, and behind schedule."
The elephant in the room that immediately comes to everyone’s mind is the original trendsetter of the new wave of highly successful and vastly over-funded video games – Double Fine’s Broken Age. Originally asking for $400,000 (with half of that going to produce a Making Of documentary), the then untitled Double Fine Adventure reached its now laughably modest goal within the first eight hours of the month long campaign, eventually landing at over $3.3 million in funding.
Thursday - August 15, 2013
Kickstarter - Think Before You Stretch
The founder of Kickstarter Yancey Strickler has a new post talking about the pitfalls of stretch goals.
Over time we’ve seen a growing number of creators adding “stretch goals” — unofficial targets beyond a project's funding goal, with promises of new rewards or other incentives if they are reached. Stretch goals are seen as a way to keep pledges coming in after a project’s funding goal has been reached. But are stretch goals a good idea?
All-or-nothing funding is simple and clear: a project has a single goal, and backers support the project in its pursuit of that goal. Stretch goals muddy the waters. What if someone got in early and helped a project reach its funding goal, but now the creator is focused on stretch goals? What if someone backs a project for a stretch goal-related reward, and that goal isn’t met? Both are bad experiences for backers.
For a typical stretch goal a creator will promise to release their game in additional formats or add extra functions if certain funding goals are hit. But expanding a project’s scope can change the creative vision and put the whole project at risk. We’ve seen stretch goals leave some projects overwhelmed, over-budget, and behind schedule.
As many creators and backers have learned from experience, often what seems like "extra" money isn't extra at all. If a project has a funding goal of $10,000 but raises $1 million, does that mean its creator got an "extra" $990,000? Not at all. More money means more backers and rewards to fulfill — and less margin for error.
Friday - November 30, 2012
Kickstarter - Six Most Important Lessons
Gamasutra has an editorial that covers, according to the author, the six most important lessons from Kickstarter. Here is the one on the need for a plan:
You need a clear and realistic plan -- no matter who you are. Fan love for developers can play a major role in Kickstarter successes, as we saw with Double Fine Adventure. But pedigree isn't everything, and fans are quickly becoming much more circumspect about that.
Veterans Brenda Brathwaite and Tom Hall learned this the hard way. At the beginning of the Kickstarter boom, the idea of an old-school RPG from the creators of Wizardry, Anachronox and more might have been enough to inspire fan faith, but the pair ended up surprised at how much detail and specificity fans demanded when they went live. The pair decided to halt their Kickstarter until they could come back with a stronger plan and a clearer trajectory.
Even though it's possible they could have made their goal in the end, the audience feedback and slow start to the funding was an important sign to Brathwaite and Hall about what even the most experienced developers need to know about the Kickstarter environment.
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