Monday, August 20, 2012

Musings on Kickstarters

Kickstarter is a crowd funding site for projects, whereby users pledge cash in return for the promise of future goods or perks. Besides having provided great fodder for exam questions in my web apps they are a great idea for raising funds for a project that doesn't have a major corporation backing it, or where you have a great idea you don't want an investor to own your life. IMHO Kickstarter pledgers fall into 3 categories:-

1. Rabid fan - "take my money, I love you guys"-type selfless donators for a project/cause you believe in without any regard for the returns.
2. Pre-orderer - your pledge is essentially a pre-order for the products the project is manufacturing.
3. Producer types - I imagine these are the higher pledges where you get corporate level sponsorship (i.e. your logo on the product or your product in the film). Essentially you are taking a risk on a pledge much like a Hollywood producer.

I tend to view myself as firmly #2, though would dabble with #3. I've friends who are in Camp #1, and good for them. Personally I wouldn't pledge $1, much less $100 to a kickstarter unless I felt I was getting a -very- good deal or it was the noblest of causes. I personally don't like the "give us money, we give you nothing but thanks" model. If someone gave me $1 I'd feel obliged to do something. In the case of the movie projects I don't see why the pledger can't appear in the end credits (aside from the fact they'd be a little longer).

The Scot in me hates money for nothing. I would love to see a kickstarter model that allows the pledger to share some of the reward to your microinvestments. It is a bit rich to take $300,000 off fans to make a profit (which I'm sure most of the Kickstarters will do in the fullness of time).

(Interestingly a lot of rich individuals/corporations are using kickstarter with a view to funding their projects, which is a bit crappy given they can probably fund them with their own ill-gotten gains. Not cool).

As to the kickstarter's I've pledged to, there are only 2:-

1. Journey Quest. I think I pledged about $25 for this, which included a DVD of JourneyQuest: Season 1, an HD download of JourneyQuest: Season 2 Uncut, and a word I coined in Orcish from my girlfriend's name. I've received no DVD (but they cheekily IMHO tried to ask me for $10 shipping several months after my pledge had gone through), no download, and it's unlikely my orc word will pop up. However "Lord Stuart Kerrigan the Reasonably Just" takes up 2 lines in the 2nd to last title card.

2. Reaper Minis. I've found that the bulk of high-quality fantasy miniatures I find on the web are reaper minis, with an amazingly large selection. Currently they're porting a lot of these over to plastic and expanding their plastics range. A pledge of $125 nets about 150 miniatures currently, with more added as they achieve targets. So far $1.1 million has been pledged. Expect Customs to await my parcel with eager hands...

I probably would've pledged to Gamers 3 but $30 for a DVD of a movie they plan to release on youtube on DVD. Dead Gentlemen may be cool, but it is a business and doubtless makes profits on its movies, so I'm not sure for the need to keep Kickstarting every project.

I'll buy it in a UK store/mail company fellas....


Katie said...

They don't make money. Not much anyway. Unless something has drastically changed in the last couple of years, DG uses the Kickstarters to make enough money to pay cast and crew. Barely. Last I knew, every single one of those guys and gals has a full-time day job apart from DG.

I don't particularly disagree with your sentiment, just sayin'. I donated to the Carmageddon Kickstarter as a "preorder" deal, and I've donated to some Kingdom of Loathing/Asymmetric stuff partially as a "fanboy," but mostly because I like what they produce, and I get more of it this way.

I'll be seeing some of the DG crew in September at a friend's wedding, so I'll ask how they're doing. And possibly see if I can get some schwag (and no, my past affiliation doesn't get me squat for free. Dammit.).

Stuart said...

Hey Kate,

Given they partner with Paizo, the 2nd largest RPG company, and have a huge range of merchandise, DVD releases and re-releases, not to mention YouTube ad revenue I'd find it hard to believe someone isn't making cash somewhere.

However they got my cash the first time. :)