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


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Now this concerns me. I thought the purpose was to support creators that could not afford their initial start up fees. Established companies can afford launching projects (easily or otherwise), and because they have a good reputation, their risk is somewhat lower (though still very present). Ergo, established companies shouldn't be involved by design (as I understand it) but also for the reasons I've laid out. If an established company or person uses Kickstarter (yes, I'm looking right at Paizo), then my ridiculous example becomes very appropriate: They might as well start a kickstarter project for their phone bill. This is something they should be financing themselves.
It isn't so cut an dried. Reaper miniatures began a kickstarter to expand production their bones line of minis. They were very up-front about the reason for the kickstarter. The molds for these types of minis are very expensive. The company was planning on expanding the line as quickly as funds would allow. The kickstarter was just to speed up the growth of the line and provide customers with more of what they wanted NOW.

In this case, customers who don't even contribute still get the benefit of more minis being available for purchase sooner than they would be otherwise, and backers get cool actual products from a reputable company that can be trusted to deliver the goods.

So there are exceptions for larger/established companies.
 

Someone

Adventurer
I got a better idea! Morrus could run a Kickstarter with the goal of hiring a person to sort the RPG Kickstarter projects!
But in the bloated and ruthless environment that's Kickstarter now you'll need a good campaing to make your kickstarter known, a campaign that will take money! So I propose a kickstarter to get funds for a campaing for a kickstarter to hire the guy that sorts the kickstarters.
 

Crazy Jerome

First Post
I completely agree with this.

Kickstarter is all the rage right now, just like the .dot com booms of yesteryear. And there will come a crash where we start to see more failures than successes.

The key will be what arises from that. I greatly hope we see a sustainable form of the kickstarter model arise that continues to allow the small publisher with a good idea to rise past the initial barrier of investment.
This. It's why as soon as OOTS hit it big, I immediately started ignoring all kickstarters as much as I could. (I did check out the Ogre one, since I respect Steve Jackson games as a business.) If I could set something that would hide all references to kickstarters, I would for now. Give it two or three years, and I'll start paying attention to what's emerging after the crash. :D
 

ahayford

First Post
I'm not sure this comparison, to the Dot Com's, is valid. The Dot com bubble burst largely because many of these companies that hadn't turned a profit, were overvalued (to the extreme). There are tons of kickstarters now, as it has proven itself to be a good way to generate buzz and funding. And you might be right, in the sense that there is more to choose from so its harder to get noticed. And thus, less campaigns may reach their goals...


But I don't really see the comparison to funded kickstarters failing. Its pretty much an individual basis, based on the company doing the campaign. There will be KS that fail to produce a product...it will happen....but I don't see it as a huge thing like a bust.
 

gamerprinter

First Post
This. It's why as soon as OOTS hit it big, I immediately started ignoring all kickstarters as much as I could. (I did check out the Ogre one, since I respect Steve Jackson games as a business.) If I could set something that would hide all references to kickstarters, I would for now. Give it two or three years, and I'll start paying attention to what's emerging after the crash. :D
And who is saying there's going to be a crash, for certain?

There would only be a problem if a rash of funded Kickstarters that "took the money and ran" and did not produce something - that would indeed be a problem. (Which I doubt will happen in a major way, though I expect some to do this.)

If the problem is that some Kickstarters don't get funded - that's not a problem for anyone, except the publisher or project creator. This simply means there wasn't really a market for a particular project.

Not only don't I think there's a problem, I don't see any indicators that there would be.

I am involved with a Kickstarter that started funding well after the OotS Kickstarter was over, and its already funded, though still collecting funds. Everything we've ever planned to release gets released.

And as AHayford says, there's no comparison between the .COM Bubble and this, they are not even close to being like the other. Pessimism is not enough to make it happen. I don't see the problem.
 
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Crazy Jerome

First Post
But I don't really see the comparison to funded kickstarters failing. Its pretty much an individual basis, based on the company doing the campaign. There will be KS that fail to produce a product...it will happen....but I don't see it as a huge thing like a bust.
It's new. There are a lot of people involved, most of whom don't really know anything about each other. And then a lot of money is flying around. It will break somewhere, probably fairly soon.

Now maybe that doesn't turn into a crash, exactly. It might be more of a Wild West thing, where a bunch of people get burned (shot), others hit the goldmine, and the town moves on, while the trains are still staying mostly on the tracks.

I don't have any objection to people doing it. I'm simply not an early adopter of methods that are pretty much sure to have key failures at some point. When everyone gets the kinks worked out, I'll start paying attention to it as a possible venue. In the meantime, for me, it's a lot of noise, no signal.
 

gamerprinter

First Post
It's new. There are a lot of people involved, most of whom don't really know anything about each other. And then a lot of money is flying around. It will break somewhere, probably fairly soon.
Since 2008, (7 years) so it's still new, but has funded over 24,000 projects so far. The patronage funding method is quite old - much of the Renaissance art was paid for this way. So the idea isn't something new.

I see nothing overly complex in the 'scheme' to suggest that a breakdown was imminent. It's fair for you to not to early adopt anything, but that does not infer that the system will break ever.

As said by many, certainly someone will get burned, but that won't the fault of Kickstarter, rather the individual creator who failed to provide.
 
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Mark CMG

Creative Mountain Games
In the meantime, for me, it's a lot of noise, no signal.

I've given this a bit more thought and have come to the conclusion that for EN World to be a good RPG News site, it needs to do a lot more than just cover the two main RPG companies, otherwise it might as well change its name. At the least, the announcement of a Kickstarter RPG project is the announcement of an RPG or RPG-related product in the works, sometimes a whole product line. Given that, EN World covering the announcement of a new Kickstarter project is solid RPG News reporting. It's not hype, it's not the announcement of a "sale" or just another design journal or blog post like many companies do to keep their brand in the public eye while they work on the next big thing. It's an actual announcement of a planned project and it seems that the vast majority get funded (most wouldn't bother unless they were pretty damned sure of success) while I'm often surprised at the huge funding garnered by some projects (1 1/4 MM by OotS?).

Anyway, each is an individual News item is worthy of front page exposure. If they happen to collectively take up a good amount of front page real estate and cause enough discussion that the two main RPG companies have to do more to compete for that front page news space, then let it happen naturally. Obviously the Kickstarters are getting funded and the products are getting made, so the complaints you might be getting aren't coming from the people who produced or backed those products and they read news too. I think buundling the product News from certain quarters and shoving it off in a pile in the corner is probably not a good idea after all and, along the same lines, bundling a week's worth of blog posts from a single company isn't the same thing. Besides, if someone is interested in only reading news from one or two main companies, then bundling their week's worth of blog posts makes it easier to find while avoiding the other news from the many tabletop RPG companies that make up the wide and diverse market.

So, let the RPG News page include all the tabletop RPG News you can get your hands on or that people submit. If people have to scroll a bit to get to the only news they are personally interested in reading, so be it. It's been a long time since this site was dedicated to just a single company's third edition release news. The ENnies alone suggest this site is about a much broader industry. A "Daily RPG Magazine" probably needs to remain fairly broad in its news coverage.
 

Crazy Jerome

First Post
My comments have nothing whatsoever to do with WotC or other established companies who may not see kickstarter funds as a useful avenue. But for the record, I'm against "news glut" no matter what form it takes. It just so happens that kickstarter is the particular glut being discussed here. Data is not inherently information.

There's a reason why newspapers have different sections, sub sections, etc. while they try to get you to buy it, so that they can tell your advertisers that you did. If you annoy your customers enough by burying the content that interests them intermingled with a lot of stuff that doesn't, they stop paying attention to what you are saying. (See massive declines in circulation over the last 40 years, caused in part by this.)

I realize there is a tension here between making things readily available versus technical and budget limits on filters versus the people paying the bills getting a certain amount of semi-captive eyeballs. But there is, I think, a rather short-sighted tendency among some producers to think that anything that might allow someone to avoid their crucial information is, defacto, bad for them. It's the same instinct behind the idea that of course you'll want to stop your dinner to answer my call where I try to sell you something. You can rapidly reach a point where you aren't going to buy even something you might otherwise like, because I won't stop calling or sending you junk mail.

You'll also note that I did not say that it shouldn't be there. I was quite clear that the high noise part was for me, and that I would filter it out if I could. I'm sure other people find it quite interesting, and some would like to make it even more prominent. Ultimately, it won't be much of a problem for me if it stays on its current course. I'll just avoid the news forum entirely, except when I have a link from somewhere else to it that looks interesting. That could be a problem for anyone who wants my eyeballs on something that might interest me and others like me.

You can't resolve this issue easily, as it basically involves a fight over time (and also in this case, money). Heinlein nailed it years ago, in that quote about how others would use up all your time if you let them. Salesman want your attention. Consumers want to give it only to the salesman that have something they want. Every person draws the lines in different places. It is an issue, not a problem--and thus can only be managed, not solved.
 

Mark CMG

Creative Mountain Games
It just so happens that kickstarter is the particular glut being discussed here.

And that's the problem I realized right there. They aren't "Kickstarter" News. They are news stories about new projects from dozens of different sources that are RPG related and just happen to use Kickstarter as a crowdfunding aparatus. It wouldn't make any sense to shunt off a bunch of RPG News items that all used RPGNow as their sales location nor to bundle and pigeonhole all RPG News items of products that use PDF or Print as their format. If anything, the news pages of EN World have become more diverse since the advent of Kickstarter rather than the opposite.
 

Crazy Jerome

First Post
And that's the problem I realized right there. They aren't "Kickstarter" News. They are news stories about new projects from dozens of different sources that are RPG related and just happen to use Kickstarter as a crowdfunding aparatus. It wouldn't make any sense to shunt off a bunch of RPG News items that all used RPGNow as their sales location nor to bundle and pigeonhole all RPG News items of products that use PDF or Print as their format. If anything, the news pages of EN World have become more diverse since the advent of Kickstarter rather than the opposite.
Sure. Some people that would be very interested in, say, new hard sci-fi themed projects would like to see all such projects, no matter how funded--while ignoring other stuff. Kickstarter is irrelevant to them, but heavy traffic in epic fantasy materials is a glut for them. OTOH, kickstarters could be perceived as glut because it is coming across as very much a fad (or heavy trend, if you prefer). I think that is where the d20 glut comparison comes in, since there was then very much a sense of "Joe's Garage, Pizza, and now RPG Company" putting out a quick d20 product to ride the wave. Yet, definitively identifying fads or trends while they are happening is tricky.

Ideally, we'd have several filter categories that we could include/exclude on ourselves, individually as users. What might be a bit controversial is why "Kickstarter" is something that people would want as a filter to include or exclude.
 

Mark CMG

Creative Mountain Games
OTOH, kickstarters could be perceived as glut because it is coming across as very much a fad (or heavy trend, if you prefer).

Naw. A couple/few dozen new projects a month is not even close to a glut when they span across RPG genres and formats, as well as including text materials, miniatures, tabletop accessories, programs, etc. I think some are just overreacting to the fact that the word "Kickstarter" figures prominently in them which gives a convenient focus to "type" them and dismiss them since they aren't in someone's personal area of interest. I suppose someone could just as easily take all of the "News" items that have to do with Fantasy RPG design and make the same assertion, though in that case all of the items falling under that header would have a lot more in common and would likely be more justified.
 

gamerprinter

First Post
OTOH, kickstarters could be perceived as glut because it is coming across as very much a fad (or heavy trend, if you prefer).
It's only a fad because Morrus just started posting them to ENWorld News, however Kickstarter has been around for 7 years - longer than I have even been a member here. Had Morrus added Kickstarters to the news 7 years ago, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Just because you've suddenly noticed, doesn't make it new or fad-dish.
 

ShinHakkaider

Adventurer
Gonna add my two-cents in and then keep it moving...

I LIKE the Kickstarter stuff on the front page. It's not news related to D&D (Which I have very little to no interest in) or Pathfinder (which I AM interested in but I get my Pathfinder related news from the Paizo site and not here).

It gives me a reason to come here. There are a lot of RPG and miniature related kickstarters out there. It's good that there's a place I can come to see what's crackin' as far as those Kickstarters go.
 

Crazy Jerome

First Post
I think some are just overreacting to the fact that the word "Kickstarter" figures prominently in them which gives a convenient focus to "type" them and dismiss them since they aren't in someone's personal area of interest.
Well, that may be true for some, but it's not my reaction. I'm ignoring them because they are kickstarters. If a kickstarter product that I might be interested in otherwise is released later in the more traditional path, I'll check it out then. For me, "kickstarter" is roughly a synonym for "vapor ware". I'm not interested in vapor--or more correctly picking the vapor out from the real stuff.

If I had the money, I'd have jumped on the Ogre kickstarter, precisely because I don't think SJG would make that kind of commitment to vapor, and thus I wouldn't need to make such a determination. As with Ptolus, it's something that I knew I wanted as soon as I found out about it (though that was preorder instead of kickstarter). Obviously, if I'm not interested in the product for its own sake, it doesn't matter whether it's vapor or not. But the point is, for those products that I might be interested in, until this all shakes out, if it's kickstarter, I'm not even going to consider it.
 

Mark CMG

Creative Mountain Games
Well, that may be true for some, but it's not my reaction. I'm ignoring them because they are kickstarters.

Certainly your right but that really has little to do with whether or not they are RPG News items. And of course they are much more than "Kickstarter" projects. They are all individual projects that use Kickstarter for their initial funding and then continue to be products after that. If it makes it any easier, just think of each of those announcements with "Kickstarter" in the text as product press releases, ignore the word "Kickstarter" and think about whether or not they are products you might be interested in after the "Kickstarter" aspect is over and they become more widely released. I don't know that many, if even any, have become vaporware in any sense of the word. Of course, anytime a company puts out PR about a product that isn't finished and plans to release it down the road there is a chance it will never come to market or to market in a form as suggested by the early PR, though that is less so when the company crowdsources money and has some obligation to produce what folks have pre-paid to acquire. Still, the bottom line is that all of the RPG-related Kickstarter announcements are still RPG News. Clearly you undersand that despite your general distrust of all but a few companies and that's the real thrust of this discussion even if none of the announcements appeals to you personally.
 

GrimGent

First Post
I'm ignoring them because they are kickstarters. If a kickstarter product that I might be interested in otherwise is released later in the more traditional path, I'll check it out then.
Of course, the downside with this approach is that even a potentially interesting idea by some enterprising newcomer could well end up neglected and never reach the market in any form for want of funds and encouragement. Then again, I admittedly do treat Kickstarter mainly as a way of preordering from established companies. White Wolf (or Onyx Path, as the case may be) apparently intends to make extensive use of its services in the future.

(The project that recently got me looking into this whole newfangled crowdsourcing business, Soda Pop's Tentacle Bento, was actually dropped by Kickstarter after already reaching its funding, but then moved to the company's own site and completed the pledge drive without any further hitches.)

Oh, and I've been meaning to ask... The Hulks & Horrors project over at IndieGoGo (here) shows up on the tumblr page but I can't seem to find it on this forum. What's up with that?
 

gamerprinter

First Post
For me, "kickstarter" is roughly a synonym for "vapor ware". I'm not interested in vapor--or more correctly picking the vapor out from the real stuff.
I have no idea whether the majority of Kickstarters are start-up companies having no history of any products before. Looking at the various project creators, many are existing publishers, many have existing products. If it were only start-up 'nobody' companies, you might have a point, but of course, most of the companies are known publishers.

My own Kickstarter project follows a year of 10 released products for the same setting, some as print products available across the globe, many highly acclaimed products. I asure you that my Kickstarter is not 'vaporware'. In fact my Kickstarter is already funded - so a product is guaranteed to be released from this - and not just one.

I've only chosen to use Kickstarter to fund a project that is currently outside my budget - everything within budget gets produced without outside financing. A 200 page printed book is outside my normal budget.
 

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