Sad Reminder: Some Kickstarter Games Don't Work Out As Planned

Back in February, a Kickstarter game called Code Hero won a lot of hearts with its promise of teaching players how to actually make a game. It also won a lot of money, with backers pledging $US170,000 to get it made, $US70,000 over the game's original target.

Since then, however, things haven't exactly gone according to plan. Despite being promised various physical perks for pledging, backers have yet to receive a thing, even those who are out of pocket $US1000. And comments from the game's boss, Alex Peake, suggesting that the $US170,000 received isn't enough to finish the game, have set alarm bells ringing.

While the developers have issued a lengthy statement pledging that work on the game continues, and point out that a playable build was released earlier in the year, backers have every right to be cautious, especially since they paid expecting their money to contribute wholly to a developed game, not be used as a down payment for further funding.

To that end, some of them are getting together to demand answers, the goal being the "organising backers of Code Hero into a group where we can better communicate". While this sounds a lot like lawsuits are on the way, the group's organiser, Dustin Deckard, told the the devs he is "just trying to get answers about the project's progress as [they] hadn't replied to his email before".

Code Hero development continues [Primer] Code Hero Kickstarter Goes Bad [The Escapist]


    Well they have acheived something here, they are showing us what not to do when making a game.

    Hey, why isn't the italics button working? I wanted to stress the word 'not'.

    I have mixed opinions on Kickstarter. I love Kickstarter, but at the same time I'm weary of it... While I think it's great in that it gives people a chance to raise the funds they otherwise wouldn't have for projects that normally probably wouldn't go ahead, there's always that chance that they may fail or people will screw over their backers. It's all well and good to say backers need to accept the risk of a project failing, but it would be another thing to actually be one of those backers who has pledged a lot of money and got nothing in return. >_

      "It's all well and good to say backers need to accept the risk of a project failing, but it would be another thing to actually be one of those backers who has pledged a lot of money and got nothing in return."

      While I agree that the perspective changes things, the fact remains that they donated money with full* knowledge of the risk entailed. People need to stop treating Kickstarter like a preorder shop and more as a donation service where you might get a free copy and something cool for helping out, and stop expecting things they back to succeed every time.

      * Well, as much knowledge as you can have when someone you don't know says they can do something, without knowledge of their skills in the necessary areas. It's as simple as "donate as much as you feel comfortable donating based on how much you know about the developers and how realistic you think their goal is".

        I understand that, and agree with what you're saying; people do need to understand and accept the risks. I knew the risks before I pledged money to the whole two projects I help fund. But at the same time I feel bad for the people who have been screwed over and would also be pretty pissed off if I were in their position, so I can't really just dismiss it as "you knew the risks".

          The fact that you see it as being "screwed over" implies that you feel they are entitled to some output regardless, and it's that attitude that's causing the whole mess. They were not "screwed over", they donated money to help realise an idea that never made it to fruition. All they are entitled to is gratitude for their support, an apology for not delivering, and an explanation as to why it failed.

            So, how would you feel if you pledged a large amount of money for a project that promised you this, that, and various other things that you were excited for, only for that project to fail and for you to end up with literally nothing? Would you be perfectly ok with it and write it off as a lesson or experience? Or would you be annoyed that you were "screwed over"? While it is a donation to help people realise an idea, promises are still made, and unless there are mitigating circumstances that couldn't be foreseen or fixed, then backers do expect something in return (unless they choose to forgo any incentives). Again, promises are made, and generally people expect promises to be kept. When those promises aren't kept, then I think it's understandable that people feel "screwed over".

              The short version? I wouldn't pledge that much to anything. But, then again, I'm paranoid and cynical, so your mileage may vary.

              The long version? Fine, here we go...

              If they "promised" this, that and the other, then yes, I'd be angry and seek renumeration, because I was deliberately misled. In fact, Code Hero was one of the few things that I considered backing, and, had I access to a Credit Card, or had Kickstarter accepted Paypal, I would have done so. I felt that their funding goal was a bit optimistic, but I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, because they had a great idea. I would not have pledged more than I could afford to lose, however.

              What I'm saying is that these people who donated were not misled - they knew the risks. Every promise that was made had the implied condition of "...if, and only if, this idea becomes a reality as a result of this Kickstarter"*. That is fairly clear, as far as I can see, and if the kickstarter fails, the promise is void. If someone doesn't bother to inform themselves enough to at least recognise that, I can't feel any pity for them should they overreach, and would expect none were I in their shoes.

              As a rule, I don't part with large sums of money unless I am guaranteed reciprocation of value, so I'm having a hard time fathoming a situation where I would do so (I only use ebay, for instance, with the "Buy Now" option, because I don't like not knowing the outcome). If I did, however, I would endeavour to inform myself as much as possible before doing so, and while I would be disappointed and angry if it failed, my anger would be directed more at the situation that I'd got myself into than at the creators, because I know that the creators wanted their idea to be realised even more than myself (after all, why else would they be doing this?). It would be a shame, but it wouldn't be the end of the world.

              * Note I say "becomes a reality", not "reaches its target funding goal", because I know that project costs can very easily blow out far beyond what anyone expects, for reasons completely outside our ability to foresee or control.


      This is why I never pledge more money than I would be comfortable losing, or, say, donating to charity. Sure, handing over any amount of money and getting nothing for it is irritating, but so long as wilful robbery isn't going on I'm inclined to let it slide. Ventures fail, even ones run by good and experienced people with all their ducks in a row.

      When deliberate fraud is going on, yeah, okay, then it's time to start getting out the pitchforks.

        This is why I never pledge more money than I would be comfortable losing, or, say, donating to charity.

        So you equate donating money to a charity with simply losing money? You'd only donate to charity an amount you'd not worry about falling out of your wallet at the train station? How... generous of you.

    I thought one of the terms of investing in a Kickstarter was that you can have no guarantee of getting the finished product, so how can there be lawsuits or any kind in this situation? Any investment is fraught with risk, and Kickstarting games is pretty much nothing but promises and faith.

    Kickstarter is great way to get money for no work. Anita Sarkeesian made a fortune & has yet to release a video, but has time fly around the globe give lectures.

      What a stupid example.

        Is that because it's an example of how someone had money pledged to them under the pretense that it was being used to make a video exploring the female tropes in video games and so far has not given any indication that the funds are being used for that purpose? Seems like a great example to me.

    This is what happens when you pledge to a Kickstarter project from a group of Nigerian Princes.

    imho, donating to kickstarter is akin to going to the casino. You set aside a sum of money, (that you'd be willing to lose) in the hope you get something grand in return.

    That is how kickstarter should be viewed.

    Kickstarter continues to intrigue and amuse me. The reason most people seem to pledge is because they are expecting something in return for their pledge. At its core though, Kickstarter is simply giving money to someone to let them try and complete a project and the rewards are entirely up to the project owner. It's altruistic funding with no need to appease shareholders or investors.

    It would be interesting to see how a game that is popular with people would go if there were no reward tiers. Would people still fund it knowing that all they get is the warm and fuzzy feeling that they enabled a game to exist? What if you had to buy it as well afterwards? Would you instead hold off until it is made?

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