The Big Question: Do You Support Crowd-Funded Video Games?

Here's a question: have you ever supported a crowd-funded game? Were you happy about that decision?

Mighty No. 9, a game made possible via crowd-funding was released this week and by most accounts wasn't quite the game most hoped it would be.

It would appear that the honeymoon for crowd-funding is over. Would you support a crowd-funded game in the future?

That's a lot of questions around one single topic, but it's a complicated issue. I've heard many say that you should be happy to lose the money you supply to Kickstarters, but I'm not so sure. I've been very cynical about crowd-funded video games from the very start. I've only ever supported one video game this way — one being developed by a close, personal friend. Outside of that I've never contributed to any Kickstarter.

How about you?


    Sure. Have you seen Shantae, Bloodstained and Indivisible?

    Generally, no. But I do re-assess it on a case-by-case basis.

    Things I look for that would make me back:

    - A playable prototype (may also accept significant evidence of preproduction)
    - Realistic project scope
    - Project team details
    - Business plan (supported platforms, publishing strategy, etc)
    - Possibly has additional backing aside from crowdfunding (shows that they've successfully pitched their project before)

    I used to consider developer pedigree a factor, but I think history has shown that to not really be an accurate indicator of successful crowdfunded games.

    Am I asking for too much? Maybe. But I generally want projects I back to be low risk, so there you go.

    Edit: I should add I didn't back Mighty No. 9 because I thought they didn't scope the project properly.

    Last edited 22/06/16 11:37 am

      I agree with all those but I think developer experience must be a factor. The only game I have backed it Divinity Original Sin 2 - the first Original Sin game was a success, Larian are experienced and reputable, and the second game is basically similar with some added features.

    We Happy Few has been almost exclusively a positive experience for me. Crowd funded games *can* work, but plenty will still fail.

    I used to when the Double Fine Adventure game was still kicking off the surge of interest but after a few months I stopped because it became too hard to pick which games were worth the money and those that obviously didn't have enough experience behind them to deliver on the promise. It's been about half and half since then with respect to games that delivered and those that are either still going or on indefinite hiatus but I knew the risks so I can't complain.

    It's been great to see successful games come out that would have otherwise languished from lack of a publisher but crowd funding games is just too risky for a person like me who doesn't have a head for business and doesn't know how to pick a successful project. I'll buy finished products I like though because that gives them money that hasn't already been burnt for development and means they can hopefully go on to their next venture.

    Only the once, with Bloodstained since they had the physical Wii U version as an option.

    Otherwise I've never really felt compelled to, both because most of them only deal in digital distribution which doesn't hold much value to me, and a general sense of distrust when it comes to game development. May as well hold back and see how things pan out, especially since they'll only drop in price as time goes on.

    Closest I've ever come otherwise was jumping on the Elite Dangerous beta when that opened to the public, and shelling out for the lifetime expansion pass along with it just before it was discontinued (I'm a sucker for deadlines I guess). Though that was at a point when the kickstarter had been over for a good long while and there was lots of impressions around of the game in progress, so there was a lot more to judge by than there would have been at that initial point.

    I tend to support game developers rather than games. If there's a developer or studio that I'd like to see do well, then I'll be more inclined to throw them some money, even if the game itself isn't always something I'm super excited about.

      That's a good point actually, I'd be more inclined to support a developer on their Patreon than back a particular game.

    Star Citizen is the biggest warning to potential backers. If you had jumped on the bandwagon early in the expectation that you were getting a modest game within a reasonable time frame, you'd be scratching your head because now your backed project has morphed into an everything-including-the-kitchen-sink behemoth with no end in sight.

    Crowdfunding simply isn't the best choice for games, because games are necessarily artistic endeavours at heart, which have to be squeezed into the constraints of a business proposal. Take away the constraints by handing over money in advance, and things get dicey. Management then has to step into the role of the publisher by ruthlessly setting and managing budgets and deadlines. This is something that a lot of creative types seem to struggle with. I'm looking at Molyneux and Roberts as recent high-profile examples.

    I Kickstarted STRAFE. The game has taken way too long to come out. I most likely wont Kickstart a game again.

    If I did it would only be the cheapest reward to get a download of the game, which isn't that much cheaper than just buying the game when it comes out, so there is just not much point.

    I don't support major publishers using it as a pre-order system or to gauge interest.
    I've backed a dozen or so game projects with different levels of return.

    Sure, I'll support a crowd-funded game by buying the finished product, if it ever gets finished and is any good and suits my tastes.

    Kickstarting games? No. Not any more. It'd have to be a very rare gem with some extremely compelling rewards to convince me to put money behind that kind of gamble.


      I've only Kickstarted games that would have almost no chance in hell of making it in the real world way. Bloodstained (because IGA and Vania) and Shenmue III (just couldn't not back this one) are my only high profile ones, but stuff like Drift Stage, Distance - they deserved some help, and I've enjoyed testing these games along the way.

      People who use Kickstarter as a form of pre-order and don't do research before they put their money down for a complete flop, well, they kinda deserve what they get if it all falls apart.

        For Shenmue 3, my alarm bells went off when I saw how little money they were asking for. Sure they said they'd save money by using an existing engine, but $2 million looked off by an order of magnitude to develop the type of game people would want.

        Of course, it turned out that they had other sources of funding that are probably going to cover the majority of the costs, so it certainly looks more like a marketing exercise.

          Either way, it's Shenmue III. Even if it's a travesty, as a fan of the first two, I almost had to back it... it was an enigma for so long, I was way too curious to pass it up, haha!

            The game will probably turn out okay. I just found the Kickstarter to be deceptive. They presented it as a 2.5 year project, so even if you discount all other costs they would have only had $800k per year for wages if they'd only had $2M to work with. That wouldn't have supported many developers, and even less when you factor in the other costs of the project (Kickstarter's fees, taxes, fulfilment of Kickstarter rewards, office rental, software and hardware costs, etc).

    I haven't done so yet. Initially because there were no proposed titles that especially appealed to me, and lately because I've grown to mistrust the practice.

    The closest I came was with the DCS WW2 project. However I declined as I sensed it was going to be a debacle from start to finish. The project was lead by Ilya Sevshenko, a masterfully inept project leader. He vanished two years ago without so much as a whoopsie daisy.

    I've backed the Friday the 13th game, mostly because i'm mildly Jason Voorhees obsessed, and theres some sweet digital art to be gotten, as well as the names involved include several people involved with the original films. the E3 showing was abysmal though.

    I'd like to, if I had the money, but I'd probably fund YouTubers like Jim Sterling before I touch a crowd funded game.
    is the first time i have ever crowdfunded a game, its still in development.
    i have to say im pretty pleased with the way these guys have been handling it. always sending through updates every month. even thrown in some extra content because they were ahead of schedule.
    i received a redemption code by email 2 weeks ago which i didnt cash in due to forgetting and laziness. then reveived an email this morning saying "hey, we notice you didnt redeem the code we sent you, here is the link and here is the code."

    not sure if i will do it again, i dont have a reason not to, but i think i was definitely lucky with this one.

      I'm so hanging out for that game. I REALLY hope it comes out.

        i mean this is their sales pitch
        Airship Syndicate was founded by four industry vets formerly of Vigil Games - the house that Darksiders built. Led by visionary comic artist Joe Madureira, we are working with a handful of talented contributors located all around the world

        so im hopeful and optimistic. but you know, i could also be very wrong. ha ha

        i mean this is their sales pitch
        Airship Syndicate was founded by four industry vets formerly of Vigil Games - the house that Darksiders built. Led by visionary comic artist Joe Madureira, we are working with a handful of talented contributors located all around the world

        so im hopeful and optimistic. but you know, i could also be very wrong. ha ha

      Never even heard of this before, but looks good!

    In my mind donating to a crowdfunding campaign for a game is the same as preordering or buying early access to a lesser extent. I don't actually get a game for that, and because there's so much variation in what makes a game good (and so much subjectivity when it comes to things like "tactile movement" or "versatile combat") it's hard to back a game that not only has a dev with business acumen who can actually complete the project, but will be a good game years down the line when I've potentially changed my own taste in video games & the game has gone through many different iterations of its development cycle.

    I think it's too risky, I think I'm very happy to wait until games come out and see them and go "oh that looks like a cool game I'll grab it" and if that means paying more for it than I would've had to if I backed it on kickstarter I am very happy to pay more for assurance that this game exists and looks good.

    No I don't believe in it. I am being asked to give money to a project with no financial return. Sony funding Shenmue and that business man funding Kingdom Come are going to be receiving financial benefit why can't we as minority shareholders. We are only alleviating risk for the developer. I may change my mind but at the moment money is way too hard to come by to hand money away out of the goodness of my heart.

    I backed Stasis and the whole experience was excellent.

    Yes, I would still back a game kickstarter.
    I understand the risks and it definitely depends on who is behind it,
    The details of their plan.
    The backing levels are also a good idea if they have a small idea of what they are doing.

    Shadowrun Returns trilogy and Battletech, as well as some Pinball tables.
    I will keep backing games I want if the people making it have a proven success record.

    The only kickstarter I've supported is Bloodstained, took me a while to get on board though, I did the slack backer option they had recently. This is the only start up I've supported though, generally I'm opposed to it. We already have enough issues with publishers pushing pre-orders hard and releasing unfinished products, kickstarters just add fuel to the fire.

    Honestly i still want kickstarter to do better but right now theres too many people taking advantage of the donation and just plain leaving afterwards.
    Hell i would one day like my game to be kickstarted but i don't want people to start thinking "oh hey all kickstarted games are shit" because of some bad people.
    The indie developers have proven they can do the job with the money but others are either overestimates or con artists. Perhaps kickstarter should make a sign of proof before kickstarting like a Trailer or Demo or hell both. Something that has Merritt

    I see it as a bit of a gamble, and I'm just not big on gambling.

    For every Mighty No 9 there is a Yooka Laylee, Shantae and Bloodstained. I just got in the mail my HDRetrovision SNES Component Cable. Now those guys kept their backers updated all throughout the journey. I think Kickstarter is a great concept which while being stained for now by Inafune has some great games coming down the pipeline.

    Star Citizen $2000+ into it so far and 4 other kickstarters I've backed and a fair few Early Access games.
    Way I see it sure they might screw them up - but each game that is successful pushes the Publishers to think harder about their games and be less lazier.

    Wow, I'm kind of surprised by how many people have voted yes. Then again, I wonder how many people, who don't care about crowd-funded games, would both to enter into the pole, too.

    I kinda see crowd-funding as It's like pre-ordering a pre-order, with the added wrinkle that it might not even get released.

    Last edited 22/06/16 6:17 pm

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