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Let's talk about Kickstarter price inflation

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I'm on my phone so I cannot type out a big reply, but I've read about 90% of the posts here. The only thing I came here to say, to help better explain the increase in reward tiers is: Brad Muir is the one that says "Holy shit!" when he hears $500,000 was spent on the rewards in the DFA documentary. inXile and Obsidian have proven that $20 is a viable price for Kickstarter.

$500,000 sounds like a lot of money, but you have to remember that they made 3.3 million dollars and that a lot of that money came from the $100 tier. If Massive Chalice makes, say, $2 million because the demand for the $100 tier isn't great enough because it includes no physical rewards, then even if their physical rewards costs are nothing they're still making less money in the end.

If I'm understanding SurplusGamer's numbers correctly DF still made about $66 on every $100 purchase. Ultimately they're still making more money than if that customer just bought the $20 tier. Now to be honest I have no real knowledge of the logistics or economics around this stuff, but I'm guessing if I were an economics professor right now I would probably say something interesting about supply and demand. :P

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The idea of add-ons could very well work :) It could be something best left for after the kickstarter though.

And a t-shirt that could go 200 mph... that would be interesting wouldn't it ;)

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I'm on my phone so I cannot type out a big reply, but I've read about 90% of the posts here. The only thing I came here to say, to help better explain the increase in reward tiers is: Brad Muir is the one that says "Holy shit!" when he hears $500,000 was spent on the rewards in the DFA documentary. inXile and Obsidian have proven that $20 is a viable price for Kickstarter.

$500,000 sounds like a lot of money, but you have to remember that they made 3.3 million dollars and that a lot of that money came from the $100 tier. If Massive Chalice makes, say, $2 million because the demand for the $100 tier isn't great enough because it includes no physical rewards, then even if their physical rewards costs are nothing they're still making less money in the end.

If I'm understanding SurplusGamer's numbers correctly DF still made about $66 on every $100 purchase. Ultimately they're still making more money than if that customer just bought the $20 tier. Now to be honest I have no real knowledge of the logistics or economics around this stuff, but I'm guessing if I were an economics professor right now I would probably say something interesting about supply and demand. :P

Yes, everything you said here is right - I'm just saying that since times have changed, I think they're right to be cautious about implementing a lot of physical rewards at lower prices right now. And let's not forget, the tiers didn't start off so awesome in DFA. They were gradually made more awesome, by kickstarter updates. Every time they were made more awesome, the sales increased. But they did it bit by bit, so as to not push their luck, and figured it out carefully. So let's give it some time :)

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I think that after the first Kickstarter and the others that followed, Double Fine thought that it would be better with a smaller number of reward tiers, simplify it a bit. Now this is still a learning process and they will be reading what is said so if there is enough demand for a mid point tier (at around $75 for example) then they may add one.

From being involved with a fair number of Kickstarter funding periods, none went through the entire time without major changes being made to tier levels and rewards on offer. Best thing to do now is to give reasons for wanting more options and possible ideas that they could use. There is still plenty of time to implement new things.

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Just a quick data point about Broken Age Kickstarter and physical rewards.

I believe the physical rewards (including manufacturing, fulfillment and shipping. but exclude any DF staff time) came out to be to be around $475k.

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I was a little thrown off at first to see that I had to pay 150 dollars to get the poster and shirt, when I only had to pay at the 100 dollar level to get those for Broken Age, but I thought about it, and came to the conclusion that Double Fine probably underestimated the massive cost of the merchandise on the first go round, and tried to manage that a little better this time.

There's a give and take that's difficult to quantify here. Would more people have backed at the 100 dollar level if the items were available there? Maybe. I know I really wanted to back at the 250 dollar level for Broken Age so that I could get the art book, but could not wrap my head around explaining that kind of spending to my then girlfriend on a video game. Had it been 50 bucks less, I may have done it. 100 less, and I definitely would have done it. But how much would lowering that price have eaten into development funds? Would the additional number of people backing at a higher level have actually made them more money to make the game with? I don't know. On a massive scale, yes, probably. But who's to know at what scale it would have actually happened at? It's not an easy decision.

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The physical tiers still made around $900K. The more items they order the cheaper they are, so if MASSIVE CHALICE wasn't as successful the amount of funds from each physical tier pledge could be less, with half the backers and increased price of items they could be making $400K from physical rewards, but those people would probably still back the project at the higher tier digital making the campaign $300K. That's close enough that with a bit of variation, for instance less physical reward backers, having physical rewards could make Double Fine less funds than not having them at all.

I don't understand why the $150 reward tier doesn't contain the stuff that was in the Broken Age $100 tier, I personally don't care about physical rewards, but I can see why people aren't going for the poster and the t-shirt. I really don't understand a lot of merchandising, I don't go out of my way to wear logos unless I genuinely like them artistically, or they're fictional companies from games and film. At least the DFA poster looks cool even if you don't know it's a company logo. I can understand people wanted a physical media. If you're going to have a physical tier you might as well try to get people to pick it.

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Just a quick data point about Broken Age Kickstarter and physical rewards.

I believe the physical rewards (including manufacturing, fulfillment and shipping. but exclude any DF staff time) came out to be to be around $475k.

Wow... that's quite the expense! I know I've read of other kickstarters running into issues with their physical rewards, some even ending up spending the money that was supposed to be for the project.

A half million on Broken Age... wow.

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Yeah, physical rewards can be a real killer if mishandled. That's why every time they considered them for Broken Age it had to be part of a calculated decision about what they could afford to add for the project. Even having exceeded their goal by far, they wouldn't have wanted to stymie their momentum by misjudging a physical reward tier. I'm sure it's no different this time - they may add extra rewards to make the tiers more attractive, but it's not a thing that can be done blithely.

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Once you know about how much physical rewards cost, you just charge that much more for them. If someone really wants something tangible then they need to pay for it. I'm just happy that I get a bloodline. Nothing could be more meaningful than that level in a game like this. I LOVE that this was included.

I hope that they also have some stretch goals despite the main page sounding like it wouldn't. The goals don't have to be much but they really need to be "something" just to serve as free marketing for the project. Small achievable goals are basic human fuel to kick us into action so they're really perfect to keep fans talking and coming back to see each update and where the progress is. They also provide a structure for the project creator to step in and update regularly which also draws more attention.

The stretch goals don't have to be extreme, they can be goals that they'd like to shoot for at that amount of money. I've seen other game projects be more vague in that area, like, "Story is made even bigger".

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If you're looking to just purchase goods straight-out for a regular price, just go to the DF store.

If you want to invest in a game and be involved in the process of development, then donate to kickstarter.

Its really two different things. They aren't trying to sell you a tshirt. They are trying to fund development on a cool game.

My thoughts exactly. The store is reasonably priced if you are only interested in goods and are not able or willing to give extra money for helping developing a game that you will probably love.

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$20 for the game. This is totally reasonable.

$50 for early access, making-of video, concept art, and soundtrack. Many big publishers sell "Special Editions" for $20 more that includes all that stuff. This is $30 more. Now you could argue that a lot of special editions don't have a soundtrack and that's where the extra $10 comes from, so it's still reasonable-ish.

$100 for the in-game bloodline. $50 extra for this one feature. Here's where things start to get a bit iffy. I can't think of any big publisher games that include something like this, but I don't think I can value it at $50. Firstly, because it's not a very unique reward: thousands of other people are already going to be in there with you. Secondly, because it could easily be replaced by a built-in character editor that would let you customize your own bloodline/house at the beginning. If they do include a bloodline editor, then paying simply for the privilege of being one of thousands of random defaults doesn't seem all too great.

.

$20 for the game is less than half of the average price for a game of the length they describe. XCOM is STILL $40

$50 for early access, making of, etc... When was the last time you bought this from a major publisher? Capcom won't cough that up for less than $75. You can't get it at all from MOST publishers.

$100 for in-game Bloodline. Perhaps you misunderstand. This is paying for inserting your bloodline into the game. EVERY game. It's not about customization, it's about influence. You can't buy this from any game that isn't being kickstarted, although sometimes if you're lucky you can win it in a contest. Note that there are currently 331 people who have purchased that reward level. That's not thousands. It's probably not going to be thousands. I would love to see it hit 900.

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$20 for the game. This is totally reasonable.

$50 for early access, making-of video, concept art, and soundtrack. Many big publishers sell "Special Editions" for $20 more that includes all that stuff. This is $30 more. Now you could argue that a lot of special editions don't have a soundtrack and that's where the extra $10 comes from, so it's still reasonable-ish.

$100 for the in-game bloodline. $50 extra for this one feature. Here's where things start to get a bit iffy. I can't think of any big publisher games that include something like this, but I don't think I can value it at $50. Firstly, because it's not a very unique reward: thousands of other people are already going to be in there with you. Secondly, because it could easily be replaced by a built-in character editor that would let you customize your own bloodline/house at the beginning. If they do include a bloodline editor, then paying simply for the privilege of being one of thousands of random defaults doesn't seem all too great.

.

$20 for the game is less than half of the average price for a game of the length they describe. XCOM is STILL $40

$50 for early access, making of, etc... When was the last time you bought this from a major publisher? Capcom won't cough that up for less than $75. You can't get it at all from MOST publishers.

$100 for in-game Bloodline. Perhaps you misunderstand. This is paying for inserting your bloodline into the game. EVERY game. It's not about customization, it's about influence. You can't buy this from any game that isn't being kickstarted, although sometimes if you're lucky you can win it in a contest. Note that there are currently 331 people who have purchased that reward level. That's not thousands. It's probably not going to be thousands. I would love to see it hit 900.

There's two $100 levels, one with shipping one without :P

1570 people in total have backed bloodlines :)

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I agree with OP.

This is funding to make the game, and they're going to make money selling it afterwards as well. The rewards could afford to be better.

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There's two $100 levels, one with shipping one without :P

1570 people in total have backed bloodlines :)

And then there's all the backers above the $100 level who get everything in the tiers below them including bloodlines which makes it 2222 crowd sourced bloodlines.

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There's two $100 levels, one with shipping one without :P

1570 people in total have backed bloodlines :)

And then there's all the backers above the $100 level who get everything in the tiers below them including bloodlines which makes it 2222 crowd sourced bloodlines.

This excites me.

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There's two $100 levels, one with shipping one without :P

1570 people in total have backed bloodlines :)

And then there's all the backers above the $100 level who get everything in the tiers below them including bloodlines which makes it 2222 crowd sourced bloodlines.

Oh man didn't even think about that! :P That's loads! :D

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Fair enough. I responded a little quick because I had to go to work.

Regardless, you still can't buy the ability to be in the game's distributed code at retail anywhere.

Would I like to be able to afford the rewards at the $50 and $100 tiers? Sure.

But it's good value for money, and you can't pretend otherwise.

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$20 for the game. This is totally reasonable.

$50 for early access, making-of video, concept art, and soundtrack. Many big publishers sell "Special Editions" for $20 more that includes all that stuff. This is $30 more. Now you could argue that a lot of special editions don't have a soundtrack and that's where the extra $10 comes from, so it's still reasonable-ish.

$100 for the in-game bloodline. $50 extra for this one feature. Here's where things start to get a bit iffy. I can't think of any big publisher games that include something like this, but I don't think I can value it at $50. Firstly, because it's not a very unique reward: thousands of other people are already going to be in there with you. Secondly, because it could easily be replaced by a built-in character editor that would let you customize your own bloodline/house at the beginning. If they do include a bloodline editor, then paying simply for the privilege of being one of thousands of random defaults doesn't seem all too great.

.

$20 for the game is less than half of the average price for a game of the length they describe. XCOM is STILL $40

$50 for early access, making of, etc... When was the last time you bought this from a major publisher? Capcom won't cough that up for less than $75. You can't get it at all from MOST publishers.

$100 for in-game Bloodline. Perhaps you misunderstand. This is paying for inserting your bloodline into the game. EVERY game. It's not about customization, it's about influence. You can't buy this from any game that isn't being kickstarted, although sometimes if you're lucky you can win it in a contest. Note that there are currently 331 people who have purchased that reward level. That's not thousands. It's probably not going to be thousands. I would love to see it hit 900.

If the final product does have the large variety and high production values of XCOM, then it would be a fair comparison. Until then, I don't think we can just say Massive Chalice is a better deal than XCOM. As I said, lots of games come with making-of videos and extras so I don't think MC is very special in that respect just because "most" publishers aren't doing it.

I think you might have misunderstood. I don't think "EVERY" game of MC will include all 2000 or whatever bloodlines in it. I can't imagine any way that would be possible. You're just getting a shot at being one of the randomly selected few. I will concede the point that no other game lets you buy the ability to be in the game's distributed code, but many games provide functionally the same thing by just giving you a character editor. XCOM lets me edit my characters, so it seems feasible for MC to let me edit my bloodlines.

Also I think DF has already admitted through their actions that the value could be better. They added a special relic and a boxed edition. The relic thing instantly made the $50 tier more attractive to me. They could throw in a giftable copy of Psychonauts or mini comic book or something and I wouldn't be able to resist upgrading. I'm not saying it's bad value for the money as it is, but I do think there is a sweet spot they could hit that would bring in even more money.

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I think it bears repeating, because it is absolutely crucial to understanding Kickstarter: it is NOT a pre-order system. If you think that contributing to a kickstarter campaign is the same as a pre-order, you WILL set yourself up for massive disappointment, if not outright fraud. If you at any time during the payment process thought "wow, I'm getting some real cool goods in return for my money" YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG. Not only are you doing it wrong, but you are behaving in a way that will get you conned, fleeced and otherwise taken to the woodshed.

Here's what a Kickstarter is: it is an INVESTMENT into a person or group of people to give them the free time they need to create whatever it is they promised to create. That's it. As a result, there are only three questions that you should ask yourself when backing a kickstarter: what happens to me if the Kickstarter just takes the money and runs? What trust do I have in the people behind the Kickstarter to deliver the goods or service they are advertising? How much is it worth to me to give these people the chance to create what they said they will?

Note that none of the questions involve "What am I getting for my money?" That's because you actually have no idea what you will be getting for your money. There is no contract, no delivery schedule, no enforceable action that entitles you to receive anything in return for your money. This means that asking for more t-shirts, more DVDs, more physical products that have actually nothing to do with the core product is just hamstringing the people you are trying to support. I'm not surprised that the t-shirt sits at the level it does: it has a fixed cost that contributes exactly zero to the production of the game. If you want a t-shirt for $10, go buy one at Target or Walmart. If you think DF is ripping you off by "charging" $100 for a t-shirt or is providing bad value in general, you are not only missing the spirit of the Kickstarter, but you are actively requesting that DF work less on the core goal, and instead turn into a cheap online shop or t-shirt store.

Do you see the people who are spending $10K on the Kickstarter? They are essentially saying "I want to support you in your endeavor so that you don't have to fight to put food on the table every day, and can instead focus on your creative goal". They - and everybody else, down to the $20 level - are patrons of the arts, investors and supporters. If you personally think that the Kickstarter is a rip-off, I suggest you wait until it is available on their store or via Steam. If you want a t-shirt, go buy one from Target. If you want to get a T-shirt with a particular logo, hire an artist (Maybe Brad or Tim can suggest some).

Look, I understand that hitting the right levels is a big deal in getting more people to fund the game with more money. But the core goal here is to make sure that each additional level actually increases Double Fine's ability to deliver on the product, and not actually hamper it - which is what a $50 box set with t-shirt and poster would actually do.

On that note: I'd actually rather see the Million dollar goal be a game-oriented feature, not more public playthroughs. They are fun, but... they are not the game. Now get to work, slackers! I kid, I kid.

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On that note: I'd actually rather see the Million dollar goal be a game-oriented feature, not more public playthroughs. They are fun, but... they are not the game. Now get to work, slackers! I kid, I kid.

I agree with most of your post (I just left out the big chunk I agreed with, ha). Regarding the Million Dollar Team Stream, it is more than just a playthrough. Once game development actually happens, we'll be able to see that in action.

We'll play more great games that inspire us, show MASSIVE CHALICE concept art as it develops, answer your questions, and once the game itself starts to take shape we’ll be able to start sharing that with you as well!

Smiles

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I think you might have misunderstood. I don't think "EVERY" game of MC will include all 2000 or whatever bloodlines in it. I can't imagine any way that would be possible. You're just getting a shot at being one of the randomly selected few. I will concede the point that no other game lets you buy the ability to be in the game's distributed code, but many games provide functionally the same thing by just giving you a character editor. XCOM lets me edit my characters, so it seems feasible for MC to let me edit my bloodlines.

I don't see why not. All the bloodline data would go into a database and the game goes through that to get one for a new game or later additions to a current game. In fact if they didn't do that then it would make a mockery of the whole point of that tier. People aren't going for that tier just for the possibility that their created bloodline might make the final product, they want to be sure that it will be in it.

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I think you might have misunderstood. I don't think "EVERY" game of MC will include all 2000 or whatever bloodlines in it. I can't imagine any way that would be possible. You're just getting a shot at being one of the randomly selected few. I will concede the point that no other game lets you buy the ability to be in the game's distributed code, but many games provide functionally the same thing by just giving you a character editor. XCOM lets me edit my characters, so it seems feasible for MC to let me edit my bloodlines.

I don't see why not. All the bloodline data would go into a database and the game goes through that to get one for a new game or later additions to a current game. In fact if they didn't do that then it would make a mockery of the whole point of that tier. People aren't going for that tier just for the possibility that their created bloodline might make the final product, they want to be sure that it will be in it.

What I mean is that in a playthrough you're going to be one of the randomly selected few. Only a fraction of people who play the game will ever see your name.

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What I mean is that in a playthrough you're going to be one of the randomly selected few. Only a fraction of people who play the game will ever see your name.

Ah yes, of course. I just mistook your meaning. It should be possible to choose your starting bloodline, so that people who made one can select their own which at the end of the day is what the people going for that tier want to be able to do. An option to pick one at random or should also be there.

And now I feel all of this is getting away from the point of the thread, whatever that is!

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Some games set up amazing tier structure for rewards and some games set up utterly horrible ones. Kickstarter CAN be really good for both the developer and the consumer, it may not be beneficial at all for the consumer or it may not work great for the developer. For instance this kickstarter: 10-25 dollars is a very acceptable price for the full game. They have it set at 20 bucks which is great. The early access seems a bit steep at 50 dollars. You are paying over double to get in the game early. 35 bucks for a nice perk isn't too bad. The upper levels 100 dollars plus are designed perfectly because they offer really cool stuff for the consumer and not a significant gameplay disadvantage for the lower level buyers. That is by far the most key aspect of big donations.

Take for instance Hex MMO trading card, they recently got funded and the game sounded cool so they went well beyond what they needed. Their pledge model though was utterly horrible and completely abusive to people putting money towards their game. 20 dollars got you in the game but 250 bucks got you massive ingame bonuses that made everyone who donated less look like crap. The 500 dollars got you insanely more than 250. The 2500 dollar pack got you vastly more ingame benefits than the 500. The 10000 dollar package got you even more powerful ingame perks. Over a thousand people pledged over 500 bucks which is GREAT for the developer but really crappy for everyone else playing an imbalanced game. Its literally focused around player vs player matches and big spenders just monumentally crush you.

The exact opposite would be Stonehearth also recently funded and looked excellent. 15 bucks got you the full release of the game. 25 got a copy for yourself and a friend/family. 30 got you early access in the beta and 45 beta for you and a friend. Everything higher up like massive chalice doesn't give powerful ingame bonuses its just really cool fluff. They made it really reasonably priced to get in on the action with your friend and play together. It was very beneficial for them and the buyer. So I think massive chalice did a really great job pricing but not optimal.

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I think it bears repeating, because it is absolutely crucial to understanding Kickstarter: it is NOT a pre-order system. If you think that contributing to a kickstarter campaign is the same as a pre-order, you WILL set yourself up for massive disappointment, if not outright fraud. If you at any time during the payment process thought "wow, I'm getting some real cool goods in return for my money" YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG. Not only are you doing it wrong, but you are behaving in a way that will get you conned, fleeced and otherwise taken to the woodshed.

Here's what a Kickstarter is: it is an INVESTMENT into a person or group of people to give them the free time they need to create whatever it is they promised to create. That's it. As a result, there are only three questions that you should ask yourself when backing a kickstarter: what happens to me if the Kickstarter just takes the money and runs? What trust do I have in the people behind the Kickstarter to deliver the goods or service they are advertising? How much is it worth to me to give these people the chance to create what they said they will?

Note that none of the questions involve "What am I getting for my money?" That's because you actually have no idea what you will be getting for your money. There is no contract, no delivery schedule, no enforceable action that entitles you to receive anything in return for your money. This means that asking for more t-shirts, more DVDs, more physical products that have actually nothing to do with the core product is just hamstringing the people you are trying to support. I'm not surprised that the t-shirt sits at the level it does: it has a fixed cost that contributes exactly zero to the production of the game. If you want a t-shirt for $10, go buy one at Target or Walmart. If you think DF is ripping you off by "charging" $100 for a t-shirt or is providing bad value in general, you are not only missing the spirit of the Kickstarter, but you are actively requesting that DF work less on the core goal, and instead turn into a cheap online shop or t-shirt store.

Do you see the people who are spending $10K on the Kickstarter? They are essentially saying "I want to support you in your endeavor so that you don't have to fight to put food on the table every day, and can instead focus on your creative goal". They - and everybody else, down to the $20 level - are patrons of the arts, investors and supporters. If you personally think that the Kickstarter is a rip-off, I suggest you wait until it is available on their store or via Steam. If you want a t-shirt, go buy one from Target. If you want to get a T-shirt with a particular logo, hire an artist (Maybe Brad or Tim can suggest some).

Look, I understand that hitting the right levels is a big deal in getting more people to fund the game with more money. But the core goal here is to make sure that each additional level actually increases Double Fine's ability to deliver on the product, and not actually hamper it - which is what a $50 box set with t-shirt and poster would actually do.

On that note: I'd actually rather see the Million dollar goal be a game-oriented feature, not more public playthroughs. They are fun, but... they are not the game. Now get to work, slackers! I kid, I kid.

Yes, for the 100th time, I get that Kickstarter is not a pre-order system. Yet so far nobody has given me a compelling reason for why we can't compare Kickstarter's benefits to the benefits of the pre-order system. I understand some may have different philosophical or emotional reasons for backing, but once you cut past all that the reality is the same. They are both simply ways of getting video games in the hands of people.

Investment is a bit of a loaded word now. The word investment makes me think of taking on risk in hopes of getting a profit, which is not the case with Kickstarter. You aren't going to get something literally worth $10000 in return for your $10000 pledge, aside from emotional value. I think you use another word that much better sums up Kickstarter, which is patronage. Patronage is a word that says you will not get an object of equal monetary value in return, and that some of your money is meant solely for the purpose of keeping an artist fed and making the creative vision happen.

For me, there's something I like about the idea that everyone pays the same price. There is no super special version of XCOM for $100 where they'll customize a soldier in the game to my specifications, so even the richest gamer ends up paying $60 for his copy just the same as me. We're all equal. Now with Kickstarter there are fans throwing in upwards of $10000 and it's just not something I can match. These people who are throwing in a lot of money get more say in what happens in the game (sitting in on design meetings) and exclusive stuff just for them. The same way a king or pope of yore could expect an artist he patronized to put him in some paintings. Even though we get to talk here on the forum there is some stuff that's just for the wealthy backers. That feels kind of lame.

Yet, in the pre-order model the publisher's bean counters often served in that role of suggesting what the artist should be doing, so perhaps it's not a bad thing that wealthy backers are playing that role now. I dunno. In the end I suppose I'm just happy that Massive Chalice is going to get made.

Here is an Andy Warhol quote I'm reminded of:

What’s great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it.

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Yes, for the 100th time, I get that Kickstarter is not a pre-order system.

Then why do you keep talking about it as if it is one?

Yet so far nobody has given me a compelling reason for why we can't compare Kickstarter's benefits to the benefits of the pre-order system. I understand some may have different philosophical or emotional reasons for backing, but once you cut past all that the reality is the same. They are both simply ways of getting video games in the hands of people.

And again, they're not. A pre-order provides you with a contract that requires the other party to deliver you the specified product. The price for it is the same for everyone, which is a legal requirement. A pledge is the equivalent of a donation. You can pledge whatever you want with the understanding that there is no legal requirement for the other party to provide anything in return.

Investment is a bit of a loaded word now. The word investment makes me think of taking on risk in hopes of getting a profit, which is not the case with Kickstarter. You aren't going to get something literally worth $10000 in return for your $10000 pledge, aside from emotional value. I think you use another word that much better sums up Kickstarter, which is patronage. Patronage is a word that says you will not get an object of equal monetary value in return, and that some of your money is meant solely for the purpose of keeping an artist fed and making the creative vision happen.

Investment does not necessarily mean profit. It simply mean that you invest a resource into something or someone (which could be as simple as time) from where you may or may not get something useful in return. Furthermore, the value of something is exactly what someone wants to give someone else for it. No more, no less. Note that this is dictionary/econ101 definition of value, and the only one that makes sense in a global concept, rather than in a purely personal concept. That means that to those who pledged $10k, what they're getting in return for it is worth exactly $10k. Note that that includes the feeling that comes with supporting Double Fine.

For me, there's something I like about the idea that everyone pays the same price. There is no super special version of XCOM for $100 where they'll customize a soldier in the game to my specifications, so even the richest gamer ends up paying $60 for his copy just the same as me. We're all equal. Now with Kickstarter there are fans throwing in upwards of $10000 and it's just not something I can match. These people who are throwing in a lot of money get more say in what happens in the game (sitting in on design meetings) and exclusive stuff just for them. The same way a king or pope of yore could expect an artist he patronized to put him in some paintings. Even though we get to talk here on the forum there is some stuff that's just for the wealthy backers. That feels kind of lame.

And your last sentence is I think where the problem is. Welcome to the real world, kiddo. Sorry to be harsh, but that's exactly how the world works. Furthermore, that's the most efficient way of providing Double-Fine with backing. You have to offer something to people who are willing to put out that kind of cash. That's either some type of statue (virtual or real), or some direct input into the game. And direct input is fairly cheap for Double Fine, while being just about the most valuable thing any backer could get. Hence the price tag.

Yet, in the pre-order model the publisher's bean counters often served in that role of suggesting what the artist should be doing, so perhaps it's not a bad thing that wealthy backers are playing that role now. I dunno. In the end I suppose I'm just happy that Massive Chalice is going to get made.

I think we can both agree here.

Here is an Andy Warhol quote I'm reminded of:

What’s great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it.

And now we're disagreeing again. :) Rich people don't live the same way. Just look for the #rkoi tag on Instagram. If there'd be a $10k coke bottle made with cola nuts mashed in the mouths of Pygmy virgins, I can guarantee you that the rich people will drink that rather than the regular coke you and I drink. The entire point of being rich is that you don't consume the same things poor people consume. And considering that this comes from Warhol, an artist famous for attaching huge sums of money to what were essentially single color prints of popular images, it's a somewhat ironic statement.

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Hmm, apart from something like soft drinks, looking at real food you often don't want to compare what rich and poor people can afford to eat and drink as the difference can be insanely huge (availability, price, quality, taste). Hey, on a more positive note you could imagine that the sooner you back and the longer a project takes, due to inflation, it will get cheaper and cheaper and at some point you'll almost get a game for free. No?

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For me, there's something I like about the idea that everyone pays the same price. There is no super special version of XCOM for $100 where they'll customize a soldier in the game to my specifications, so even the richest gamer ends up paying $60 for his copy just the same as me. We're all equal. Now with Kickstarter there are fans throwing in upwards of $10000 and it's just not something I can match. These people who are throwing in a lot of money get more say in what happens in the game (sitting in on design meetings) and exclusive stuff just for them. The same way a king or pope of yore could expect an artist he patronized to put him in some paintings. Even though we get to talk here on the forum there is some stuff that's just for the wealthy backers. That feels kind of lame.

And your last sentence is I think where the problem is. Welcome to the real world, kiddo. Sorry to be harsh, but that's exactly how the world works. Furthermore, that's the most efficient way of providing Double-Fine with backing. You have to offer something to people who are willing to put out that kind of cash. That's either some type of statue (virtual or real), or some direct input into the game. And direct input is fairly cheap for Double Fine, while being just about the most valuable thing any backer could get. Hence the price tag.

Do you really need to fall back on the old "welcome to the real world, kiddo" refrain? It never adds anything to a conversation. Also notice that I just gave you an example where that's exactly the way it worked. As a customer I can't put any more money than $60 or so into the development of XCOM to get any extra perks.

Yes I absolutely agree with the basic idea of "more money gets you better things" but I don't think that always has to be the case (XCOM, the pre-order funding model) and sometimes it shouldn't be the case (health care). Now I am obviously not comparing video games to health care, I am just trying to make the point that the attitude of "that's just the way the world works so deal with it" is not going to improve anything.

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Do you really need to fall back on the old "welcome to the real world, kiddo" refrain? It never adds anything to a conversation. Also notice that I just gave you an example where that's exactly the way it worked. As a customer I can't put any more money than $60 or so into the development of XCOM to get any extra perks.

And I can give you an example of how a cheetah catches its prey to illustrate why I like orange juice, but it's going to be just as irrelevant. The reason I brought in the welcome to the real world refrain is because you clearly don't understand the legal and economic differences between ordering something and donating money. The reason for that lack of understanding is generally because that person hasn't studied economics or ever had to deal legal obligations yet. To repeat: you're NOT a customer of Double Fine. You're a backer. Those are two very different things.

Yes I absolutely agree with the basic idea of "more money gets you better things" but I don't think that always has to be the case (XCOM, the pre-order funding model) and sometimes it shouldn't be the case (health care). Now I am obviously not comparing video games to health care, I am just trying to make the point that the attitude of "that's just the way the world works so deal with it" is not going to improve anything.

And not understanding why things are the way they are isn't going to help you change things. I've explained to you why things are the way they are - to just say "That's lame" isn't much of an argument that's going to convince anyone of anything. Once you understand the difference between ordering something and backing something, come back and we'll have a discussion about why the perks are badly structured. Until then....

Edited for missing quote tag.

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