Monday, June 30, 2014

The Kickstarter Backlash

The Kickstarter backlash is well and truly in the ascendency.

This is largely inspired by ongoing delays in the delivery of early 2013 Kickstarters. The most high profile of these is Raging Heroes “Toughest Girls in the Galaxy” where they demonstrated all you need is concept art featuring “boobs” and you can sell nerds anything.

However it is not just Raging Heroes. Secret Weapons Miniatures continue to be late with their “Tablescapes” – latest delay is problems with box printing – and it is likely to be at least 10 months past delivery.

In both these cases – and true with a lot of Kickstarters – the manufacturer is WGF in China. They are practically the only player in the game and so Kickstarter promoters are hostage to them.
Obviously the losers here are the backers. They have effectively provided an interest free loan for the product development and are unlikely to get the product they have funded much in advance of retail release.

I am convinced that the major reason for this is ill-defined and in some cases unexpected stretch goals. I expect that a lot of promoters start out with a tight little project but start seeing the cash coming in and then start making promises far beyond their capacity to deliver. From there, things spiral out of control.

In my view it speaks volumes for those Kickstarters that stick rigidly to their script. The most obvious of these was Frontline Gaming with their table mats. They had a product with 2-3 variants and refused to move beyond that until they had delivered. I would not hesitate to back one of their projects going forward.

Similarly, the first Mierce Kickstarter succeeded as they controlled their own production rather than relying on someone else thousands of miles away. Say what you like about maelstrom/Bane Legions/Mierce, they delivered a good Kickstarter.

And recently we had the Creature Caster campaign. Here they refused to overpromise and offer new concepts over their tightly scripted offering. They haven’t delivered yet but the professionalism during the campaign gives me every confidence that they will.

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