Video Game Kickstarter Disappears With Over $30,000

Video Game Kickstarter Disappears With Over $US30,000

It's the ultimate Kickstarter horror story: You help fund a project. They succeed. They stop sending out updates. Their website expires. And nearly two years later, it's become clear that they have disappeared with your money.

In December of 2013, gamers paid over $US30,000 to fund a Kickstarter for a game called Mansion Lord. A month later, Mansion Lord's creators opened up a PayPal account to accept even more money. And in August of 2014, after announcing that the PayPal funding round was over, they simply disappeared.

For over a year now, the Kickstarter creators -- who call themselves Golgom Games -- have been totally MIA. They haven't updated the Kickstarter or their social media pages, and their website has expired. Most Mansion Lord backers have given up on ever seeing the game they were promised.

"We have tried contacting Kickstarter but were basically told tough luck it's for you and the creator to work out," one Mansion Lord backer told me. "But they have given us no way to reach them."

Perhaps that should have been an early warning sign: the Mansion Lord Kickstarter page has no contact information or even names of the people behind it. A registration lookup reveals that the golgomgames.com domain was registered by someone named Michael Wong, who lists two different addresses on various registrations -- one in California and one in Texas. But Wong has deleted most of the websites registered in his name.

I've reached out to both the email address and phone number listed for Wong on various WHOIS lookups, but haven't been able to reach a human being. I've found some other information on Wong as well, but I'm going to hold off on publicizing everything until I'm clearer on who he is and what happened here. If you know more about Wong or anyone else behind Mansion Lord, hit me up. We plan to keep following this one.

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Comments

    Comment prediction: "this is why I never back Kickstarters, Kickstarter is the worst, never trust anyone".

      Add to that "I hate people" or something along those lines, the most overused, BS statement ever.

    Some kickstarters are going to be awesome.
    Some kickstarters are going to be okay.
    Some kickstarters are going to go bust and never produce anything.
    Some kickstarters are going to be douchebags are take your money.

    If someone backs a kickstarter, they should understand this. If they don't and they get burned... it's pretty much their own fault.

      This. Some will be good, some will turn out dreadful.

      I think most people understand the first three, but the fourth - where there was never any good-faith attempt to produce the game at all, which is what this looks like - is a different matter and should be dealt with harshly. It certainly seems like fraud.

      I don't back many, but I haven't been burned by any kickstarters so far - Exploding Kittens was actually wonderful.

      Last edited 30/09/15 10:16 am

      Some kickstarters are going to raise $89 million dollars on the backend and still won't be finished 3 years later and won't be close to releasing either...

        True, but that's exactly what you buy in to with crowd funded small development........the development. A big game from a AAA dev takes years too, but you don't start getting any news on it until it's mostly completed.

        The customer as the investor is a great idea except most customers make terrible investors.

    Said it before and I'll say it again: If you back a kickstarter then treat your money like you've just gone gambling. Only spend it if you can afford to lose it and get nothing in return.

    If you really want what the kickstarter is offering then research the devs first. Is this their first game? Is this their first kickstarter campaign? Are they well known? Do they have a social media presence?

    Use the answers to these questions to decide if they're trustworthy enough for you to back the project, otherwise it is truly just a gamble.

    Some I do completely trust, the kickstarter for Divinity Original Sin 2 is an example of that...would back it if I had the cash to spare at the moment.

    Looks like contributors backed the Wong project!

      If he had a brother I'd say go after him instead, but that wouldn't be fair... after all, two Wongs don't make a right.

      Mark said he tried emails and phone numbers as per various WHOIS info. I'm wondering if he rang the Wong number.

      Can't upvote because I refuse to register, but this comment makes my day :-)

    Question, what happens if they had died of natural causes, or hospitalized, or even arrested, would the people who funded their kickstarter be told about this?

      That's a good point, no one ever seems to contemplate the possibility that something bad and unexpected just happened to the creator.

    Investors lose on investment. Sounds like real life to me.

      In 'real life,' investors who lose on an investment because the IPO lied its pants off about assets and plans have some legal recourse.

    I've always thought of Kickstarter like an investment in shares, sometimes you lose and sometimes it pays off. It's a risk, and you should use caution but still try to find something fun to back. : )

    But I wonder if in cases like this, where it appears that someone might have deliberately defrauded people, shouldn't Kickstarter or the investors or whoever be contacting the authorities? $30k is a lot of money and if it is fraud then that is actually a crime, right? Imagine if this person does this more than once. I mean, I'm not talking about a developer taking the money and then working on the project and providing updates and then it not coming to fruition for whatever reason, because that happens. It's disappointing, but that is part of the risk. But deliberately defrauding people... I would have thought Kickstarter would at least look into the matter to establish if a crime had been committed, not just fob people off with "oh well, that is the risk you take."

      Investing in shares does not work like this at all. If this was the same, investors would be suing the pants off of Wong. And yes, if this was done maliciously it's certainly fraud. I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often honestly considering the trust based nature of Kickstarter.

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