Kickstarter Fatigue and Risk

By / October 5, 2015 / Dave, General, News

I like the idea of Kickstarter. I been a backer since 2012 and backed about 70 projects. I think it’s great that there is a community of like minded individuals out there that can come together to help someone create their dream. With that said, is anyone else out there getting Kickstarter fatigue?

Kickstarter  is being used as a place to generate buzz and lock in pre-sales for established companies. I’m not sure I agree with the whole locking in pre-sales thing for every project you come up with.   I know it’s good business and I think that’s fine for an up and coming company but once you’re established maybe you shouldn’t crowd the field. Going back to the well over and over again tends to dry up the available resources. Which is where I’m at right now.

We received this in the mail this morning.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Folklore: The Affliction is launching on Kickstarter Tuesday 10/6/2015

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(From Greenbrier Games, they also created Fantasy Resin Collection, Zpocalypse 2 and Ninja Dice. )

Looks good, it has elements of Mice and Magic, in the form of story telling, you can level up your character…blah, blah, blah. ( If you want more info track them down on Kickstarter). Here’s the rub. As of this writing Folklore: The Affliction has two, yes two, pledge levels  $95 and $199. WTF! This is a disturbing trend and Greenbrier is not the first to do this. No pretense on hitting goals to build “more game”, no helping spread the word and feeling the camaraderie of helping someone realize their dream. Nothing but straight up sales. This project will probably be funded and Greenbrier will get another badge of honor for having another successful Kickstart. But is this how Kickstarter should be used?

I don’t mean to beat up on Greenbrier, as a company they are doing what they are supposed to do, make money. They are still a very small company and can use every dollar they can get they are also indicative of the trend. This looks like a fun game and Kickstarted is a proven venue for sales. But a bigger question is, as a community, are we being taken advantage of?  Are we so desperate to have the new “cool thing”  that we simply fork over our hard earned cash?  In my opinion  $95 is a lot for a board game I’ve never played and $199 is ridiculous.

In my mind Kickstarter is for the underdog, the 18 year old kid tinkering in their  basement, the life long inventor with projects sitting on the dinning room table, the group of friends that have a great idea but would never be funded by any established source, not that Kickstarter isn’t established but you get where I’m going. Once you’re established you should move on to more traditional forms of funding, sales and marketing and free up the space for the next guy.

I can only speak for myself but I won’t be backing Folklore: The Affliction in its current form.

risk
And that brings me to risk.

Kickstarter is not a store and projects like this give the illusion that you are buying something .

Greenbrier has a high probability of delivering what they promise but keep in mind if you pledge on Kickstarter there is a a chance you will never receive your stuff. There is a high probability that the project will incur significant delays. There is high probability that at some point communications between the project creator and project backer will break down.  There is a chance you won’t actually like the thing you helped bring into the world. And the worst of the worst, the project may be fraudulent.

I’ve been lucky I’ve had projects delayed and in one case the project creator could only complete about 80% of what they promised but shipped what he had. In every other instance I received  what was promised. Not so for everyone else.

Lastly, I’ve also heard a disturbing trend, Kickstarter is being used to help keep companies afloat by using the funds form one Kickstarter to fund the completion of a previous Kickstarer. Before you cry BS, I’ve heard this from people inside companies doing this.  That’s just poor management and increases the risk for anyone funding these companies. It is also legally and morally questionable.

I think, for the most part, the Kickstarter community does a good job of filtering out questionable projects but we have to be careful with how long we support our successes with crowdfunding.

Just a thought.

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