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Kickstarter Too many Kickstarter projects? Is Kickstarter the new d20 glut?

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
One recent trend which has been growing in popularity to the point of a veritable deluge is the Kickstarter project. Hardly a day goes by without hearing about a new Kickstarter in our little niche industry - and that's only counting the ones I notice. There are undoubtedly countless more.

To put it into a bit of perspective, EN World has reported on 24 Kickstarter projects so far in July, and since we started reporting them in anything other than an occasional capacity, we've had a similar number every month. 22 in June, 27 in May, 25 in April; that's nearly a hundred of them, or an average of a new one every day excluding weekends - so many that I span off a separate site for them all (although they feed over to EN World's news automatically). They are, by far, the most common type of news item that has appeared on EN World in recent months: and this shows that many projects and products which would have normally been reported as more traditional projects are now being reported as Kickstarters.

It's almost like it's the "go-to" default publishing method for small press now, and isn't exactly unheard of in much larger companies. And, one assumes, it lowers the barrier for entry into the industry while simultaneously removing any level of risk.

Of course, I've used the system myself. In fact, I'm not embarrassed to use this topic as an opportunity to promote TO SLAY A DRAGON, my own Kickstarter for an old-style adventure.

So nearly 100 items in three months seemed to be a good landmark to ask: is this too many? Is it yet reaching the point where you see the title and think "Oh, not another Kickstarter...."? Or is that spirit of opportunity and entrepreneurism still appealing? And is there a point at which our little industry is going to be "tapped out" - where people will just be unwilling to donate to more projects? After all, it's not like we have the wide market of, say, iPhone accessories or video games.

It'd be interesting to hear your thoughts on the number of Kickstarter projects being launched at present, so please do feel free to post a response below.
 
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billd91

Hobbit on Quest
Sure, it's all the rage now, but I expect it'll settle down into something a bit more sustainable. At least, I hope so. Personally, I've only pledged (and donated) to one Kickstarter project and I view most others with a skeptical eye. But if everybody wants to play junior venture capitalist and support projects they'd like to see hit the market, more power to them.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
I like 'em, but I might prefer a more dedicated area for them than the main news site. Maybe raise one up on occasion (every two weeks or so?) that you think is especially awesome to highlight.

As it is, I do feel a little like I'm getting Kickstarter Spammed. ;)

That said, it's inspired me to figure out how to try it myself. Back to writing! :)
 



gamerprinter

First Post
Well, considering the Kaidan Campaign Kickstarter is my first venture using Kickstarter itself - it's not the first time I've worked with a patronage system for publishing Kaidan material. Like Open Design Project, Rite Publisihing has it's own in-house patronage system, which is how the original Curse of the Golden Spear trilogy for Kaidan was funded. It's only because we really need fairly 'big bucks' to fund the campaign setting that we chose to go with the 800# patronage system - Kickstarter, who has a larger footprint among the patronage systems and more potential patrons.

All the Kaidan supplemental publications were funded in-house without a patronage. Thus Kickstarter shouldn't be the only method of RPG funding.

Really with all the bigger parts of Kaidan, funding has always via patronage - granted, I've only been trying to publish RPG materials over the last 2 years.

There's also IndieGoGo, another patronage set up.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Here's the question that really comes to mind: How many of the kickstarter projects actually end with good product? Or even a product at all?

Right now, there's a ton people saying, "If you give me money, I'll do X!" Unfortunately, I expect many of them to fail to deliver X. And that will quickly begin to sour people's taste for Kickstarter.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Here's the question that really comes to mind: How many of the kickstarter projects actually end with good product? Or even a product at all?

Right now, there's a ton people saying, "If you give me money, I'll do X!" Unfortunately, I expect many of them to fail to deliver X. And that will quickly begin to sour people's taste for Kickstarter.

I've seen articles about this recently in the mainstream press (not specifically about our little corner, of course, but about Kickstarters as a whole). I'll see if I can dig a couple up.
 


drnate29

First Post
I suspect we'll continue to see a lot of KS projects. I think in particular the success of RA and Traveller really made some jaws drop. I personally have no issue with whomever posting a project, I think a little caveat emptor will kick in and folks will be leery of whom they support. My main issue is that some of them seem to have rather high pledge numbers: a couple of shorter softcover books and a map or two shouldn't need a $100+ kickstarter pledge. As far as covering them here, I think that can actually help with the vetting process.
 

renau1g

First Post
I personally haven't contributed to any Kickstarter projects (although I might have contributed to the Paizo one recently, but missed it) as I don't trust the anonymity of the internet.

Here's a few articles I found:

"According to the research, only about 25 percent of projects ship on time, and the more a project exceeds its goal, the more delays it faces. So, projects like the Pebble and the Ouya have a good chance of facing delays if the data holds true. The delays are quite long on many projects. Only 75 percent of projects deliver their products eight months after they finish."

Overfunded Kickstarter Projects Face More, Longer Delays

"A number of things can go wrong; just as with startups receiving investment, sometimes things prove to be harder than anticipated–as with this project to create an independent games label, which dragged on for a year after the funding closed without updates from the backers. Eventually they got back in communication and told their backers they’d vastly underestimated how hard it would be to start a company."

When Kickstarter Goes Wrong: Were 419 Backers Almost Taken for a $27,637 Ride? | Betabeat

"Back in March, a project on Kickstarter for American-made flip flops “with an eye on the environment” raised $56,618 of its $12,000 goal in order to build a sandal-making factory in the small town of Geneva, New York.... The project has had repeated delays with sporadic updates from the founders. Almost 10 months later, many of the 1,091 backers are steaming. "

Caveat Backer! Vere Sandals, Overfunded Kickstarter Project, Fails to Deliver | Betabeat
 

Revinor

First Post
I was wondering why some of the kickstarters are done by publishing houses with almost ready product. After all, they could just make a preorder available on their website to more or less same effect.

Advertisment is one part. But I think that real catch behind the Kickster is Gamification of the Preorder. All the funny titles, possibly to win exclusive rewards, signed copies, getting your name in the credits for virtue of paying 10 dollars extra - all these things make people preorder things they would never consider in normal case.

I was curious to see how Order of the Stick Kickstarter went and was cheering along. Not late afterwards I got bored, then annoyed. I think I have slowly reached the point where I will actively avoid anything advertised through Kickstarter and feel a considerable amount of schadenfreude to see them starting to fail to deliver after getting funded (there is bound to be enough rotten eggs in the basket).

Obligatory XKCD link.
 

jmucchiello

Adventurer
There's also IndieGoGo, another patronage set up.
Just remember a project on IndieGoGo can be setup with the dubious feature where the project gets all pledged monies whether or not it reaches its goal. Some people find that a bit suspect. At least with Kickstarter there's something to the pledge "If we get this much money, we will do X. If not, you are not out a dime." The same is not true of all IndieGoGo projects.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Just remember a project on IndieGoGo can be setup with the dubious feature where the project gets all pledged monies whether or not it reaches its goal. Some people find that a bit suspect. At least with Kickstarter there's something to the pledge "If we get this much money, we will do X. If not, you are not out a dime." The same is not true of all IndieGoGo projects.

That may be so, but if you're not American you have no choice but to use IndieGoGo over Kickstarter. Kickstarter's an exclusive club at present.
 
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gamerprinter

First Post
Just remember a project on IndieGoGo can be setup with the dubious feature where the project gets all pledged monies whether or not it reaches its goal. Some people find that a bit suspect. At least with Kickstarter there's something to the pledge "If we get this much money, we will do X. If not, you are not out a dime." The same is not true of all IndieGoGo projects.

It could be taken the other way, however. I mentioned that my initial set of adventures were funded through Rite Publishing's in-house patronage system. What I didn't say, is that the project didn't get fully funded - at least not meeting the monetary goal of the patronage. However, we still put out the trilogy of adventures - I just had forgone the payments for the maps I created for it, so the project could be released. (It was my own project, so the loss in payment wasn't stopping me from releasing the products.)

For example, in my Kickstarter project to qualify as funded, I require collecting $4000, then as a second Tier for $7000. Even if we fully fund Tier 1, and something towards Tier 2, we will still put out a larger GM's guide, just perhaps not as large as our Tier 2 goal (200 pages.)

If I could use the moneys collected for even not hitting the $4000 goal, I would still release a product (just a little smaller than I planned.) By not being able to do this, unless fully collecting the minimum funding, I see this as somewhat detrimental to Kickstarter vs. other means of patronage funding.
 
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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I could be taken the other way, however. I mentioned that my initial set of adventures were funded through Rite Publishing's in-house patronage system. What I didn't say, is that the project didn't get fully funded - at least not meeting the monetary goal of the patronage. However, we still put out the trilogy of adventures - I just had forgone the payments for the maps I created for it, so the project could be released. (It was my own project, so the loss in payment wasn't stopping me from releasing the products.)

For example, in my Kickstarter project to qualify as funded, I require collecting $4000, then as a second Tier for $7000. Even if we fully fund Tier 1, and something towards Tier 2, we will still put out a larger GM's guide, just perhaps not as large as our Tier 2 goal (200 pages.)

If I could use the moneys collected for even not hitting the $4000 goal, I would still release a product (just a little smaller than I planned.) By not being able to do this, unless fully collecting the minimum funding, I see this as somewhat detrimental to Kickstarter vs. other means of patronage funding.

So you set a lower goal. The fact that you can - and did - do it for less money means that you set the goal too high in the first place. That's a feature of Kickstarter, not a bug.
 


gamerprinter

First Post
So you set a lower goal. The fact that you can - and did - do it for less money means that you set the goal too high in the first place. That's a feature of Kickstarter, not a bug.

Perhaps it can be looked that way. But I still released everything I promised in the original patronage. Had I not been both the project creator and the project cartographer, it would have meant no maps - which really wasn't a possibility for an adventure arc. I don't know any other freelance cartographer who would have made the maps for no pay.

It wasn't that the patronage was set too high, it was just I had a work-around for not getting the full funding. Not every publisher has that option.
 

Stereofm

Adventurer
Supporter
I am getting fed up with Kickstarter myself. You get one for everything and its dog, and my budget is not infinite.

I have no regrets so far, but I don't tink I'll be going that way much more, unless I really like the products I get this way.
 

JeffB

Legend
They annoy the crap out of me personally. I am tired of seeing them on the front page, and I refuse to support any of them..even for products I might like.


That is the sugarcoated version. I toned down what I really would like to say out of respect for Eric's Grandma.
 

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