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August 15th, 2013, 04:58
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.
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August 15th, 2013, 04:58
All of these potential issues are not a problem of having stretch goals but the problem of not planning well. Actually the more backers they get the less it costs to fulfill each reward since the larger the quantity of physical objects you need to make and ship the less it costs per object. If kickstarters that make a large amount of money are having difficulties fulfilling rewards then they would have had much more difficulties at a much lower amount of backers.

PS. Any issues people backing a kickstarter have with stretch goals is their own issue rather then an issue with the kickstarter. If you only back something for a stretch goal and don't wait till it gets to that stretch goal it is your own fault since you can wait and nobody is forcing you to back the project. I also don't understand why it is a problem for a kickstarter to focus on stretch goals after it gets funded since the stretch goals (for the most part) are there to make it better and for the creator to get closer to his/her vision.
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August 15th, 2013, 05:06
I don't think anyone should back a game unless they are ok with actually losing that money. It will always be a risk with the potential for good. If you are scared of losing the money, perhaps it is not the right move.
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August 15th, 2013, 15:04
I consider it like going to the casino. I go to have fun and if I win then that is just icing on the cake. But there are two projects that better pay off for me or I might be done with Kickstarters: Wasteland 2 and Project Eternity.
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August 15th, 2013, 18:44
I'm feeling a bit uneasy lqtely about the mechanics and character development of Project Eternity.
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August 15th, 2013, 18:57
Kickstarter will continue to be the greatest thing in the gaming world until one of these projects fails or flops. Or the developer runs to Mexico or something, which I'm surprised hasn't happened yet (yes, criminals will figure this one out soon, don't you worry). Once that hits the press, Kickstarter's popularity, at least for gaming, will tank.

That said, it's odd that KS themselves would caution stretch goal usage, as clearly it brings in oodles of money for them in addition to the original percentage. Makes you wonder if they don't see something on the horizon with one of the current projects.
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August 15th, 2013, 19:00
I see nothing wrong with what he said in the article. If you offer to much you run the chance of not finishing at all. That's the point he is trying to make. Look at Broken Age for an example.
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August 15th, 2013, 19:02
Originally Posted by Capt. Huggy Face View Post
I'm feeling a bit uneasy lqtely about the mechanics and character development of Project Eternity.
Naw… Obsidian would kick in their own cash if they needed to overhaul something, although I doubt they'd tell us. They have too much current and future investment in this new "world" to let the very first installment fall in its face.

It's the smaller stuff I'd worry about.
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August 15th, 2013, 19:05
I've only KSed one game and it is now 1 year late. I'm not inclined to KS another at this time.
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August 15th, 2013, 21:42
Ill-considered stretch goals are probably a bad idea. But then ill-considered game features are a bad idea as well. I don't think stretch goals are intrinsically bad, as long as you've thought them through—weighing the additional cost vs. the donor audience you're trying to attract. In terms of risk avoidance, having a few well-chosen stretch goals is probably better than having a multitude. Then again the prevailing approach seems to be to provide a large number of micro-goals so that there will be something to talk about in the updates, so maybe that provides better publicity.
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August 16th, 2013, 01:03
RPS has an article up today where they interviewed Fargo. He talks about how every idea costs money. The real drain comes in when you've promised a feature and have to go through several different mock ups/trials. Cutting the feature isn't really a great option, imagine the potential backlash. Anything that runs into issues and requires a lot of testing/fixing/adjusting not only delays the project, but is a total time & resource suck. IE HBS needing a loan after several Matrix mockups for SR:R.
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August 16th, 2013, 01:25
There's a lot of issues with Kickstarter projects. Even without stretch goals, getting a multiple of your original goal can cause a lot of problems.

Dishonesty: It's also possible you deliberately undershot your goal, hoping your real goal is reached without you looking greedy.

Bad Planing of Kickstarter: Majority of money goes into fulfilling pledge-rewards; if additional backers don't mean more money for the project but more costs in fulfilling pledge-rewards, you did something wrong in your planning of the reward tiers or your execution of fulfillment.

Bad planing of making the game: More money = More time. If you still have alot of extra money left we come to the time = money thus money = time principle. Having extra money doesn't mean you have the people with working hours to spend it on.

Let's say 400k gets you 30 full-time developers who work 1 year to make a game. (If they would have been underpaid with the goal amount then you were dishonest.)

If you get 2.4 million you could hire an additional 150 people and finish the game in 2 months; unpractical because you would also need office space and computers and coffee and even increasing the amount of people increases the amount of decisions being made and things to manage so the project would still take longer than a year.

If you get 2.4 million you could let those same 30 developers work 6 years instead of 1. But you discover you have to increase the scope to simply have something for them to work on.

If you get 2.4 million you could let those same 30 developers keep working 1 year but increase their salary sixfold.

Basically all the people who run kickstarters are incompetents. Unless they got exactly the goal they asked and delivered the result on the promised date.

If they got a multiple of what they asked but managed to deliver on the promised date they lied and undershot their goal.

Or they gave themselves an increase in pay, which I wouldn't consider lying (nobody forced backers to go past the goal), but I don't think backers would be happy about it.

Instead of stretch goals I'd rather have that they gave a revised time-table in case they overshoot their goal with a multiple (combined with the stretch goals if they are really adamant about having them).

"Great, thanks for giving us 3 times what we asked for. Time to completion of our game now has slipped from 1 year to 3 years!"
Last edited by JuliusMagnus; August 16th, 2013 at 01:36. Reason: changed multitude to multiple
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August 16th, 2013, 09:50
Indeed a lot of issues.
Though the extra money collected by a KS can also be considered as profits. But it breaks one semi-rule: secrecy of profits. The KS offers no place to hide. If you plan a project for 0.8M and get 2M, the profit is there to be seen. That is the price of the all or nothing.
In the meantime, games that came with some extra funding looked for additional features as that KS hiring a consulting team to make their SCI FI game look scientifically credible. Nearly impossible to keep the developpment process under control as you strive to find new ways to justify extra fundings.

A game design is usually hard to break into smaller pieces and until you fund a minimal core, the game design is endangered. Even before the game is completed, it is known it wont deliver.

Yet many KS break the core design into smaller pieces, that is the dishonesty point. As the funding target did not match the minimal funding required to get a game, you're ended with a lame game design even before people got to their keyboards.

But KS provides a platform to reactionary players. It is here to endure.
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