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Default Kickstarter - Video Games and Stretch Goals

August 27th, 2013, 18:37
Leviathyn has an interesting post about what the founder of kickstater said about stretch goals. The article takes a look at the the most successful projects.

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.
More information.
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August 27th, 2013, 18:37
The real elephant in the room is Kickstarter's all or nothing set-up, which generally I really like.

But when you raise more than the money you ask for, what do you do with the rest?

For one, you could just make what you promised and pocket it. But I think the hue-and-cry would be awful.

For two, you could donate the extra to charity. But people backing project aren't backing your charity - I mean, you could add that as a stretch goal so people know early on, but it still seems weird.

The result that most take is to add more to what they initially offered. And I do believe this is the right way to go, but I think the problem is always the oversell. They offer too much for what they are getting in return.

$10 or $15 gets you the finished game, one that will cost $20 on release? This isn't a pre-order, this is supporting a vision. I think this is a very bad decision. You could argue money ahead of completion is better than money after completion, and there's probably economic methods of proving that, but it's one way you are potentially short-selling yourself.

Many, many physical rewards. These need to be prototyped, made and shipped - and those orders need to be fulfilled, which is man-hours of packing boxes. Those costs cannot be hand-waved as "us devs will put in time after work and on weekends" for projects with thousands, or tens of thousands of backers! It's better to do less, or make the physical rewards LIMITED and EXPENSIVE. People should be thinking "what, $100 for a $20 game and a $15 t-shirt? that's not a good buy!" because it ISN'T a store, it's a fund-raiser.

I could go on, but I won't.

I'm a huge supporter of Kickstarter and games being made on Kickstarter, but I don't want the opportunity closed because people like Tim Schafer dream too big and fail at doing business-related arithmetic.
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