I tip my Diet Dr. Pepper back with glee as I laugh like a comic villian with joy that the great and glorious American insitution has finally taken the long arm of the law and punched crowdfunding straight in the gut with fiery justice and American zeal. The Federal Trade Comission has taken it upon itself to bring justice to The Forking Path, a company which literally stole money from its backers. The glorious American insitution has issued a judgement that the founder of The Forking Path is not to create any additional misleading crowdfunding campaigns and, if the money he owes the backers comes out of thin air (as in if he is hiding it), he'll need to pay it back. Which is a beautiful thing.
Except the backers are still screwed over, except for the glorious Cryptozoic Entertainment, the master minds behind HEX, stepped in and took the rights for the project and produced the actual game. Wait, what am I rambling about you ask? Well, a company called The Forking Path created this amazing Chulutu-tastic board game concept which was basically Lovecraft and Monopoly married together like a fine Moscato and a slice of pumpkin pie. Backers funded beyond 300% of the original asking for making this a real thing, as in producing a physical product, and shipping it out. Well, it seems that the founder somehow lost all of the money, first by claiming that Hasbro was like no you can't do this (which wasn't true), and then just I don't know blowing all of it.
Backers were left high and dry with no recourse and it proved that giving random people online stacks of cash isn't going to always produce what you ask for. Crowdfunding can make dreams that no one thought possible true as it takes the decision of if this is or isn't good and puts it in the people's hands. Yet, at the same time, you have to look at who is driving the ship. With The Doom That Came to Atlantic City, there were a lot of people hurt because of the actions of those who ran the campaign. Lee Moyer and Keith Baker were the ones who created the game, from my understanding, and trusted The Forking Path with creating it. It didn't pan out, so Cryptozoic stepped in and created the game once the cancelation came through, going so far as to even give out free copies of the game to backers.
Now, the chapter is closed in one of many crowdfunding failures, but it's an important step in the right direction. The only thing that can keep crowdfunding honest is accountability and with the fear of the FTC snorting its nostrils down the back of your neck if you're looking to try and mislead people into a project, it's a glorious thing. While this is a slap on the wrist, obviously no one is going to back someone who had a failure such as this, and the backers are still out of their cash, it's a step in the right direction of keeping crowdfunding something that's reasonable and helpful to a large community out there that wants things that traditional companies won't make.
Of course, this is about misleading people into a product that never surfaced, not about a product that doesn't meet expectations. As anyone knows in my long crowdfunding rants, I feel like Star Citizen is going to be a huge disappointment, not because it isn't going to surface, but because there is so many people heavily invested (with their donations) into the game and you're not going to please all of them, especially considering how the design spec has changed so drastically from the start of the Kickstarter till now, but that's another discussion for another day.
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