Kickstarter Disaster As Adventure Game Sees Money Disappear

Jack Houston and the Necronauts is an adventure title from the same guy who, in his spare time, is working on that cool Han Solo adventure game. It had been up on Kickstarter, but after meeting its funding goal, it was time to get to work.

Until something happened. Something that should serve as a warning to anyone hanging their hopes on the service.

The way the service works is that when somebody pledges money, it doesn't actually come out of their accounts. That doesn't happen until the developer pulls the plug and goes to "cash in". While in the majority of cases the money comes through, there are plenty of reasons for it not to come through, ranging from dummy pledges to bouncing cheques.

When Stacy Davidson, Jack Houston's developer, went to "cash in" recently, he found that one of the all-important $US10,000 pledges hadn't come through. Which dropped him back under his target goal. Whoops.

He's now setting up private payments to cover the gap, but if the drama reminds us of one thing, it's this: Kickstarter might sound great because it removes the need for publishers, and all the interference they can exert on a game.

But the flip side of a publisher is that publishing video games is what they do.

When Kickstarter Fails: Jack Houston Has A Problem [Rock, Paper, Shotgun]


    Oh, man. Hope things work out for the guy.

    I've always thought this was a problem that was bound to crop up eventually. Sucks for this guy that it was a big one that didn't come through though. :(

    I'd prefer for the money to come straight out of my account when I support a project, and be returned or used for "credit" for a different project if it doesn't make its goal. I often forget I've pledged money for stuffs.

      When I've pledged money, not to kickstarter, my credit card is authorised for a certain amount and that amount counts as credited but it's still in my account until either the company I pledged it to cashes in or cancels the authorisation. Or I cancel the authorisation myself through my bank, in which case the company I pledged the money to would be instantly aware the auth was cancelled.

      I agree, waiting a month after I pledge for the money to come out is dangerous, circumstances can change dramatically in 4 weeks.

      At least give us the option for the money to come straight out, paypal styles.

      I don't think taking the money before the project meets it's goal would work out that well. Imagine pledging $10,000 on something, then getting stuck with $10,000 worth of Kickstarter credit because the project didn't meet it's goal. It's great if you're throwing around $10 here and $20 there, but if you're putting down $1,000+ it's because you believe in the specific project. They can't do straight up refunds without running into fee problems and the like.
      I agree it'd be a nice option but I don't think it'd work as the standard. I know I'd be less willing to put money on things that haven't reached their pledge goal yet if there was a chance that money would get turned into store credit. I like Mike's idea down there of doing the transactions as soon as it reaches the target amount.

      The way Kickstarter works now is riddled with flaws and exploitable loopholes but at the end of the day the current model does what it's meant to. It'll blow up in people's faces from time to time but it'll also allow great things to happen.

    And sometimes publishers cancel great games that are already half-done. Shit happens, Kickstarter or no.

    It's not like publishers always pay developers what they owe on time (if at all) either.

    I'm not sure of the legality of 'suspending funds' on a credit card for greater than 5-7 working days, but I find it a little frustrating when I've committed funds to a project that makes its goal at say day 10, and have to wait another 20 before the funds disappear.

    Sure it'd make it pretty messy if I 'upped' my commitment, but surely that'd allow for a better timeset for people to 'correct' any payment issues before the deadline.

    It'd be a pretty big setback for a small group (which is what kickstarter is all about (in theory)) to have to suspend their project to get the funds/funding sorted (so costly in time as well as any payments they'd need to manage to get alternative payment options arranged).

    I'm sure alternatives are available to Kickstarter/Amazon, it will be interesting to see what/when they do something about it. (this isn't the first time this has occurred to a 'kickstarted' project at all :C )

    It seems strange to me that Kickstarter can't act as an escrow service, as well. If the project falls through, refund the money, if it succeeds, just pass it on.

    Maybe people should be a bit more sensible and stop making $10,000 Pledge levels. They're absolutely absurd and unless it's something like the Double Fine project, no sane person will put up that much money just for lunch with the devs or something. Plus if even one of them falls through like this, you're screwed.

    Well said Steve. There should be verifications of some sort in place after, say, $1000 so that people don't make dummy pledges. With that said, however, Project Starters also should put a leash on their arrogance. When a random, relatively unknown designer with zero big projects under his belt offers you something like an interview and an invite to a party for 10 grand, he is asking to get duped.

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