Yet Again with Crowdfunding Failure

By David Piner -
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Some people think every time a Kickstarter fails I get a smile on my face, but it’s quite the opposite. Clang just went down and with it half a million dollars, over two years since the crowdfunding campaign ended. This one is, how do I say, odd. A big name in the Internet and cyber culture, Neal Stephenson was the creator of the project.

He raised over half a million dollars for his historical swordfighting simulator and now, now there isn’t a game, what there isn’t fun, and they’re out of money and time. So it’s being shelved. Those who request refunds early on may receive them, but obviously there isn’t enough money there to give everybody their money back.

The community is begging for what’s completed to be turned open source, but such a demand is apparently too much to ask right now. Who knows. Neal isn’t to me someone who would take the money to run and I sort of believe it got all spent, but I do think the backers should get what their money had paid for.

You know what though, people don’t care. They just don’t. They want to just throw their money at projects and not care at all about it. It’s just money wasted. Who cares. They’re all shepple that just go whatever, take my money, if you do or don’t give me something, then I’m okay with it. I’m okay with whatever. Here, take some more money.

You know those horrible shitty restaurants in your downtown area that when you roll into them they charge you $25 a plate for food that’s not as good as the Olive Garden? You know those places are funded by the same attitude that players have in just throwing their money away at a Kickstarter.

It’s a great analogy. These investors go into these resturants funding what sounds like a great idea - southern asian fusion, we’ll do spring rolls with BBQ chicken inside, it’ll be awesome. Who knows maybe people get high when they come up with these ideas. I don’t know, I don’t care. The point of the matter is they’re like oh 40k will open the place.

They get through the remodeling the “cheap” property they’re renting, getting up to code, and they need to dip back into the investor’s pockets for some more, who are like this idea is so solid! It’s gotta work!

So, at this phase, either they run out of money and the investors don’t double down. This is the case with Clang, but for other restaurants they keep going and they do reach open (or early access for this analogy). There is this huge surge of people rolling into the restaurant and everything and it seems a success, but when the luster dies down then so do the sales.

Now the investor is in this mode where they want to make money back. The restaurant isn’t bringing in customers, because it doesn’t offer anything new, and what is there isn’t exactly what people want. Unless it is, then you have you know a Broforce. Otherwise, you have stagnation.

I talk about this a lot and I know it’s probably getting old for a lot of you, but consumers need to be educated and I don’t think we’re doing a great job of educating what crowdfunding is and why it’s not great for games. The idea is that to rent a venue there is a set cost or to manufacture x number of units of something there is a set cost. It has to be prepaid, as in, they need to buy the units before they can produce them so the idea is that they crowdfund the first batch and make enough money for a second to sale for a profit and there is a fixed fee for this. For local artists there is a cost to rent a venue, so if they can pre-sale enough tickets, then they’re golden.

Anyway, the key critical idea here is that for games, there isn’t a fixed price. The sky is the limit on funding and to get it out the door? Who knows. Neal’s game ran into the issue that the first run wasn’t good, so it crashed and burned, which is fine - but it does highlight the risks.

If you haven’t, go read Snowcrash. It’s like the nerd version of those books you had to read over the summer. It might not be your cup of tea, but our entire nerd pop culture is based off of it.

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About The Author

David "Xerin" Piner
Get in the bush with Xerin every week for his column, Respawn, as he analyzes the hottest trends, buzz topics, and absurdities in MMO gaming. In addition to his ongoing war against early access titles.

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