Worth Reading: The Way Games Are Using Kickstarter Is Changing

Worth Reading: Some Kickstarters Are Lying About Game Budgets

It's Saturday, which means it's time for another instalment in Worth Reading, our weekly round up of the best games writing from the past week.

Update (4:50 p.m.): Hey, everyone! The headline for Worth Reading has been changed. How come? Previously, it was written as “Some Kickstarters Are Lying About Game Budgets,” which echoed a line in my piece about how some Kickstarters are “lying” about their budgets. My language was too blunt and, in an attempt to shorthand an article I was highlighting, did a disservice to the Kickstarters whose budgets were being described. While some Kickstarters may be misleading people about their budgets, the ones highlighted in the article I was linking to and referenced in our own article here, have explained to potential backers that the amount of money they’re asking for doesn’t constitute a full budget for their game. Some backers may not realize this, but the information, to some extent, is there. That makes these Kickstarters and their approach worth writing about, and it makes the phenomenon of asking backers for significantly less money than the cost of development worthy of discussion, but it doesn’t constitute lying. I apologize for my mischaracterization.

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Worth Reading: Some Kickstarters Are Lying About Game Budgets

I'm of two minds on this argument. One, I believe the fear over known quantities coming to Kickstarter and raising tons of money actually helps the service — and smaller projects — by introducing crowdfunding to other people.

On the other hand, it’s absolutely true this new way of using Kickstarter—asking for way less than you actually need, and simply leveraging the service as a way to prove interest to potential investors—is doing a terrible disservice to our understanding of game budgets. Crowdfunding has been a wonderful way for people to better grasp the realities of how much it costs to make a game, but some projects seem misleading.

Five other companies are listed on Bloodstained's Kickstarter page. If I only count the cute faces and names, we have a total of 20 extra staff to handle marketing, merchandise and PR. Marketing can easily match a game's budget on its own, but let's assume — again, with big sparkly anime eyes and youthful hearts — that we'll only be doubling the budget by bringing on another 20 people across five companies.

We now have a budget of $US7.2 million.

This is napkin maths, but you begin to understand how quickly costs can escalate.

Even knowing that Igarashi's publishing partner is covering 90 per cent of their pre-Kickstarter budget, that's only $US5 million on the table. Where is that extra $US2.2 million coming from? If Igarashi had asked for the full $US7.2 million on Kickstarter up front, it's almost a guarantee the team would never have made its goal. But is this recent pattern of compromising on the "public budget" vs. the "true budget" really any better?

Worth Reading: Some Kickstarters Are Lying About Game Budgets

It might be years before we actually see any movement on Nintendo attractions at Universal Studios, but in the meantime, we get to wonder about what might be. AV Club's writers came up with a whole list of mixture of the absurd and the potentially amazing. Personally, I'm rooting for them to finally capitalise on Pokemon Snap, and let us go on a Pokemon safari! Pleeeeease!

As you make your way through the park, you'll want to keep your eyes peeled for Pokémon. We've hidden 151 of these critters across the park, and you'll have to catch them all to win the title of Pokémon Master. To start your adventure, simply download the Pokémon Trainer smartphone app. While it's open, you can tap your phone to any Pokémon you spot to capture it. If you succeed, you'll get to learn all about your new friend from information provided by the world famous Professor Oak.

The Pokémon like to move around a lot, so you won't find them in the same place if you come back too soon. They could be anywhere from the tall grass near the Jurassic Park River Adventure to hiding among the wands at Ollivander's. Catch as many as you can and build the perfect team to do battle with other trainers around the park!

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    simply leveraging the service as a way to prove interest to potential investors
    I think this goes against the spirit of crowd-funding (if not the actual rules). it's supposed to be a way for upstarts to get funding they otherwise couldn't hope to receive. If i knew they were doing it as a straight-up marketing test, i'd would certainly not fund it.

      Obviously because most crowd funders dropping money want to have that 'I was apart of that feeling'.

      I think that it's perfectly fine the name it self is 'Kickstarter', what did you expect? That 10% of a games playerbase would be able to pay for the games creation?

      But it's not really supposed to be anything. It's essentially just a way to offer pre-orders with an escape hatch if things don't work out. Some people use it to gather the funds required to complete the project, others use it to prove that there is demand for the product. The 'spirit' of crowdfunding is just putting an idea out there and letting the public get involved in making it happen.
      I can agree with some of the points made in the article, but I think her mistake is thinking that the bubble hasn't burst yet. It burst ages ago. People don't get blindly nostalgic anymore without a big name attached. People don't trust random developers to be able to deliver. Hell, they don't trust established developers to deliver. The reason it feels unfair that these guys are changing the rules, using it in conjunction with proper investors, coming in with PR teams, going viral, sinking half a million into a Kickstarter campaign, etc is because you need to do all that to have even the slightest shot at success.
      Without that you're going to get at best 10% of what you would have during Kickstarter's golden age, and if you haven't noticed the golden age is over it's going to seem like those guys muscled you out when all they really did was survive the collapse.

      I'm of two minds about it. On one hand, if the game would be funded regardless of the Kickstarter, it feels a bit dirty. On the other, if it works out that they need to make, say, 30% of their actual budget to be able to bring the rest of investment in, I'm not sure I have a problem with that so long as it's disclosed.

      Also, what about stuff where extra funding has come in after the fact? Like, if a kickstarter is really successful and a publisher (or a platform holder, since Sony and MS both actively court indies nowadays) comes in and offers to add extra to the team's budget in order to get it on their platform?

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