Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Another New Dawn Fades

2013 was definitely the year of the Kickstarter for the Wargaming hobby.

2014......not so much.

So why is this?  Well two reasons spring to mind.

 The first was that people eventually clicked onto the fact that a load of Kickstarters were no more than a pre-ordering mechanism for figures that were already scheduled for production. Both Mantic and Reaper hijacked the crowd funding platform to book pre-sales for ranges that almost immediately had widespread retail releases. People cottoned on to the fact that they could avoid the "risk" and wait for the product to hit retail shelves and then buy what they really wanted.

Secondly, a lot of dross got dumped on the market. Again Mantic and especially Reaper were guilty again. A lot of the Reaper minis are absolutely gak and no matter how cheap, your investment in time to paint them must be worth something. I believe that the market is now being more discerning in what it will fund.

Finally, delays. Most wargaming Kickstarters suffer massive delays - well those that fall outside the precinct of pre-sales. It is not unheard of for campaigns to be months and even a year behind delivery. I have been reasonably lucky, Mierce and Mantic Deadzone were on time but I'm now seven past due for Tablescapes. Some of the miniature offerings are even worse. Why is this? Well a couple of reasons. Firstly, some Kickstarters overpromise, be it through stretch goals and freebies and this puts pressure on both design and production capability. It is this second one though that I the main roadblock. Most wargaming Kickstarters use the same production facility in China. As such this producers sets their own timetable and the Comments section on a lot of the campaign pages is filled with tales of woe re unexpected delays.

The market is therefore in the hangover period. The initial euphoria around Kickstarters has gone and punters are both more skeptical and discerning as to where they put their funds. Campaigns have scaled in their promises and are critically aware of the problems that have plagued the 2013 offerings.

I don't think anyone has lost money yet but the community as a whole is a lot more circumspect. Well run campaigns still hit targets but there is a far greater scrutiny on delivery dates and whether they are realistic. Creature Caster, who just finished an offering, were steadfast on the number of models they would produce and stuck to hit although stretch goals were hit early. The community appears to have rewarded the promotor for his discipline.

It will be interesting to see if the second part of 2014 see a revival in the wargaming Kickstarter.

1 comment:

  1. God yes. It was all excitement and shiny until you had to wait for your pledges to get fulfilled. Sedition Wars (abortion of a Kickstarter) finally cured me. Whilst I can see the value of getting projects off the ground, the tyranny of distance and my aforementioned experiences now means that I am waiting for stuff to hit retail (proof that they can actually deliver) before I am going to part with my hard earned.