Friday, October 04, 2013

What Has Kickstarter Done For Gamers?

Yesterday, Polygon asked its readers to join in on a conversation about Kickstarter, specifically if they felt the website was failing video game fans. If you have 30 minutes to spare, it’s worth the watch. The minisode was hosted by 2 Polygon members, one being part of the editorial staff, and looked into how Kickstarer is helping the indies, while not really delivering on promises.

But it’s an interesting question to pursue given how many people are looking to crowd sourcing for funding their video game endeavors. While there have been a few successes, there have been just as many, if not more, failures or games pausing while they work on internal issues.  The release of Shadowrun has given some hope that the Kickstarter fad can help out developers. But I also think that this is a situation of us, the gamers, expecting too much, too fast.

Game development takes a long time, even for smaller projects. When you care about the final piece, you can spend years crafting it until it  reaches the level that you have always dreamed of. Take a look at mobile games, for example. They are always coming out with new releases, updates, and game modes to better the product. And to keep people interested, but that’s not the point here. The games that have gone under on Kickstarter have been due to unforeseen issues (need for additional financing, for example) or the developer didn’t properly compute the time it would take to make the game.

It happens. People over-estimate and under achieve (not always intentionally, of course). It's a bit early to say that Kickstarter is failing gamers. Rather, they need to give the projects time to cultivate and see the light of day, which can take years. Give it 5-10 years for crowdsourcing and then we'll have better data to pull results from.

So how do you know if the game you’re supporting is going to be released? You don’t. The best thing that you can do to ensure that your money is going towards a worthy project is to research. Find out about the company, if this is their first game or fifteenth. Learn about their team and what their turnaround time is. And if all else fails, ask! That’s why there is a comments and Q&A section on each Kickstarter page.

Give the Polygon video a watch. What do you think about Kickstarter failing gamers?

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