For those unaware, Kickstarter is a global crowdfunding site to help ideas come to actuality. In this day and age, indie development and low budget teams are on the forefront of opportunity. There has never been an easier time to support projects you believe in and Kickstarter is part of that movement. Projects like Undertale and Exploding Kittens are examples of serious wins for developers and consumers alike that I am proud to have been a part of.
That being said, I Kickstarted multiple projects since early 2015. I will bring up two examples of purchases I made as well as how I felt about the process both pros and cons.
The first project I backed that I want to talk about is Epic PVP: Fantasy which is a card game to play with others. The backing to product process was overall smooth. Sure there were delays. I was actually recommended to back this project from AEG who has made some reputably fun board games themselves. Having a known developer back this project was huge. I got the product and it felt and looked great. I felt special knowing I backed an honest fun product. Overall I found the game mediocre in fun factor myself but the quality of product for what I paid was solid.
The second project I backed that I want to talk about is Pencil Dice. The concept was charming. Each edge of the pencil (not smooth for the snarksters out there) had a different quantity of dots so a pencil doubled as a dice. Seemed really cool to me. I was hesitant how cool it would be though so I tested the waters with a $1 payment. Thank god I did.
Look up the “producer” Ken Whitman online right now. I’ll do it for you: Angry People #1, Angry People #2, Angry People #3. To summarize Mr. Whitman quickly, he is a con and has been for other projects. His conning style dragged people along into feeling bad for his setbacks. He claimed the prototypes out of China were not to quality standard amongst other lies. To put in perspective this campaign ended 2 years ago and there are still lack of updates on seeming progress. It is an unfortunate example of an unfortunate reality for crowdfunding in general. There are going to be scammers and failures.
What I especially learned from the Pencil Dice experience was that Kickstarter unlike common retail companies today simply do not have the ability to compensate for backed projects that just completely fail to deliver. You could lose your money for nothing and this is something to seriously consider when backing projects you believe in.
I recently got conned into buying a new $250 HTC Vive from the Amazon website. The reason I felt confident going forward with the hindsight likely scam was because I trusted Amazon’s policies to protect their customers first. Kickstarter’s infrastructure is such that as long as Ken keeps circlejerking with fake updates and “setbacks” he is good to go. Even worse it was a “KICKSTARTER STAFF PICK.”
Ultimately I love to support indie development, especially since I look to be one in the future. At the end of the day, sometimes safe > sorry. You might not get the super crazy limited edition credits bundle but at least you can be more confident where you put your money. I am currently looking forward to my latest kickstarted project approaching delivery which is Yooka Laylee. Stay alert friends.