To kickstart or not to kickstart?

Suppose you have a really good idea, and the means of bringing it to fruition, but you lack the funding to get started. That is where Kickstarter jumps in.

Kickstarter is a website that allows anyone to pitch their ideas to the masses in hopes that people will be interested enough to “back” a project. “Backing” is the term they use for when you give money to the project.

All kickstarters have a monetary goal which needs to be reached for them to complete the project. They entice backers by offering goodies depending on how much money you throw at them. For instance, if you donate $20, they’ll give you early access to the game once it is near completion. However, if you donate $50, they’ll give you early access, an extra copy of the game, and your name in the credits.

The more you donate, the juicier the incentives get. Once the project goal is met, you can still donate, of course, as there are usually “stretch goals” offered.

“Mighty No. 9,” was a project started by the veterans who crafted the original games in the hit “Megaman” series. Its goal was $900,000, but by the time the funding was ended, it pulled in $3.8 million. The extra money went toward building in new modes for the game and making it accessible on more gaming consoles than originally planned. “Mighty No. 9” is still in development but the developers have been very open about its progress and have kept in touch with the backers. “Might No. 9,” so far, seems to be a Kickstarter success story. They pitched an idea that people loved, it was backed and then some, and it seems to be shaping into what everyone wanted.

Then, there is the other side of the spectrum as seen in the project “Yogventures,” a game by a popular group of Youtube personalities called “Yogscast.” The game surpassed its $250,000 goal by bringing in $567,665 in 2012. Yogscast had no experience in game creation, so they hired a studio, “Winterkewl Games,” to help them shape their idea into an actual game.

According to their Kickstarter page, the game was estimated to be available in December 2012. This was missed, and the game was made available in a beta state in early 2013. A beta is access to a game while it is still in production, mainly to test for bugs and other issues, so they can be fixed before an actual release. Then, in early 2014, Winterkewl went dark and the game stopped getting updates. A few months later, Yogscast announced the cancellation of the game, and that 13,647 backers would not be getting their money back.

Instead, Yogscast sent backers signed merchandise and copies to another game “TUG.” Kickstarter is an interesting world, but a gamble by the very definition of the word. You are giving someone money to deliver on their promises.
Sometimes it works out better than expected, and sometimes you are left feeling like a chump.