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Gyrus

Kickstarter Projects : Are game publishers sneakily trying to use Kickstarter?

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I just read this really interesting article on Australia's Atomic Mag forum...

http://www.atomicmpc.com.au/News/316172,are-game-publishers-sneakily-trying-to-use-kickstarter.aspx?utm_source=feed&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=Atomic+MPC+All+Articles+feed

If it's true - it's more than a bit worrying.

Some selective quoting (by me)

Obsidian's Kickstarter comments thread features eye opening insight into the audacity of one unnamed publisher.

....

One of the most stunning revelations comes in response to a question about whether publishers are looking at Kickstarter. Obsidian’s response (apparently written by Feargus Urquhart) is as follows (unfortunately the nature of Kickstarter's comments make specific post links impossible, but the thread can be found here http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/obsidian/project-eternity/comments )

We were actually contacted by some publishers over the last few months that wanted to use us to do a Kickstarter. I said to them "So, you want us to do a Kickstarter for, using our name, we then get the Kickstarter money to make the game, you then publish the game, but we then don't get to keep the brand we make and we only get a portion of the profits" They said, "Yes"

The fact that anyone at a publisher is looking at Kickstarter through such eyes is quite frankly worrying, without even getting into the fact that the offer seems downright insulting. Obsidian has followed up with the following post –

I think they were trying, honestly, to be able to do something with us and they felt that was the easiest way to do it. They would then not need to go get budget approved and deal with the challenge of that. What I don't think they did was to think about our side of it and what they were really asking.

Just think about that for a moment. We aren’t talking about a publisher using Kickstarter to garner interest in a niche game, we are talking about a publisher using Kickstarter funding and the goodwill it engenders to cover the cost of getting a game off the ground. While in many ways the unregulated nature of Kickstarter makes it somewhat of a socialist utopia, such moves could soon cause major damage to the spirit that has enabled games like Double Fine Adventure, Wasteland 2 and Planetary Annihilation get off the ground.

....

by John Gillooly for Atomic MPC

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It's stupid, but not unexpected. Business and art don't always align, and when they don't, the publishers come out looking like jerks. We respect art, because we love art and are never victims of art. But we are often victims of capitalism, and when the art we love seems to be a victim of capitalism as well, we go into big brother mode.

This is like if the school bully were beating up a smaller kid, and his big brother saw it and came over to stand up to the bully and it worked. But then instead of learning a lesson and deciding to maybe not pick on people smaller than him, the bully was like, hey I've got an idea... I'm gonna go pick on that kid until his big brother comes, and then when his big brother gets here, I'm gonna tell the guy who's bullying ME that that kid's big brother said something about his mom. Everyone still gets picked on except for me! BEST PLAN EVER!

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Well, actually, it's more like fraud... the real world "go directly to jail" type.

Kickstarter's own info says

Every project is independently crafted, put to all-or-nothing funding,

and supported by friends, fans, and the public in return for rewards.

...

The filmmakers, musicians, artists, and designers you see on Kickstarter have complete control and responsibility over their own projects. They spend weeks building their own project pages, shooting their own videos, and brainstorming

what to offer as rewards.

...

Every project creator sets their project's funding goal and deadline. If the project succeeds in reaching its funding goal all backers' credit cards are charged when time expires. If the project falls short no one is charged.

...

So if publishers are in fact doing this - I would say "fraud" because it's falsely advertised.

In fact some countries have laws about this sort of thing.

I am sure Kickstarter would be furious to see this... after all - their reputation is at stake too.

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I've noticed that a share of Image Comics have been Kickstarters.

Amy Reeder's Halloween comic ended up being distributed by Image. They didn't pay for the comic in anyway though and don't own it.

If a game publisher offered THAT kind of deal, then it would make sense. If a publisher felt "Hey, you have a great product and we would love to get it into the market and throw our own advertising budget into it and help it be a success simply for the prestige, with no profit and no guidance, we'd love to sell your game."

If say an Activision or someone else offered THAT deal, then a Kickstarter should take it. I don't see any publisher ever doing that though.

If one of the people who have published DoubleFine in the past wanted to publish DFA for the major retail after all the Kickstarter and Late Backers came in as a Goodwill motion that'd be cool though. Even if it meant we'd then feel less select... (everyone played this game, now we aren't special... wahhhhhh)

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LOL I suppose this was inevitable. The devs just need to hold steadfast and remember why they went to kickstarter in the first place.

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Sorry, but is hard to buy the original thead of this topic. No doubts publishers are looking close at croud funding sites as their own stakes are in great risk, but no one would accept such a deal! Definetly nothing close from: we get all you get nothing for giving your face. The nature of this sites efectively counters publishers excessive greed.

On my humble opinion, the only 2 things a publisher can do now to ensure busines is: Make a 60m or higher budget game or become a lot less greedy, especially towards programmers. Still, giving up greed is harder than quiting smoking. Having that said, the stupid nature of human being will keep publishers around for a while. Just look at a..le, every one buys their crap, even on a lot less quality for a considerable higher price.

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