Kickstarter Is Not a Preorder Store

26 December 2019 | 44 Comments

In a recent post on Facebook, creator James Hudson posted something that I think is worth sharing and discussing (I checked with James to make sure this is okay). I don’t know the exact impetus for his post, but I’m guessing it’s the result of Kickstarter backers pestering him about the Tidal Blades project.

I agree wholeheartedly with James. He starts with a really important distinction between a Kickstarter campaign and a preorder store. I’ve used this definition on a previous post: A true preorder is “when a creator completes the manufacturing of a product, and then they start to accept orders for it. In that case, customers are simply ordering something that already exists, reserving their copy until it’s ready to ship.”

Conversely, products funded on Kickstarter haven’t entered production. They’re typically in the refinement process when the campaign launches, and the success of the campaign can impact the timeline (as can a number of other variables).

Here’s what I noted on my open letter to backers a few years ago in regards to the nature of delivery estimates for Kickstarter projects:

It’s the creator’s job to accurately estimate the delivery date to the best of their ability and then keep backers updated on the progress. However, I think we could all help each other by removing the concept of a project being “late” from our crowdfunding vocabulary. The word “late” has a strong element of shame to it, and there’s nothing shameful about taking your time to make something well instead of rushing it and delivery something subpar.

The very essence of funding something on Kickstarter is that the thing doesn’t exist yet. There’s so much that happens between then and the moment that it arrives on someone’s front door, and the best we can do is ESTIMATE when that moment will be. If it’s delivered after that date, it means the estimate was incorrect, not that the project was late. I think this is tough for a lot of people because sometimes we count on something showing up at a particular time or a project is delivered way after the estimated date.

These may sound like excuses to a backer who is eager to get the reward they paid for. Creators are happy that you’re excited about the product, and we want to make the product as awesome as possible for you, and sometimes that takes extra time. If we’re not keeping you updated about that process, that’s a big problem. But that’s rarely the case.

If you’re driven to pester, bully, and threaten creators who are actively updating backers and showing progress…well, please stop acting that way (and if you can’t, please stop backing Kickstarter projects). That’s not a healthy way to treat a fellow human being. There are better ways to convey your passion for the project.

I’m saying all of this as someone who hasn’t used Kickstarter as a creator in over 4 years. I have no stake in this other than my desire to see amazing creators like James continue to use the platform in innovative, exciting, and inspiring ways.

How does all of this resonate with you? Can you name a Kickstarter reward you treasure that was delivered after the estimated delivery date (and after you received it and discovered how awesome it was, have you thought at all about how the delivery timeline was a little different than the original projection)?


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44 Comments on “Kickstarter Is Not a Preorder Store

  1. I am late to this discussion, but I am preparing a Kickstarter of my own this week, and I found the comments informative. I will now make a comment that no one will ever see, but it’s going to help me crystallize my own thoughts. ;)
    I believe, and I think this is the consensus, that transparency is key. I believe that most people are rational so long as they have enough information to come to an accurate conclusion. If you withhold the data necessary to keep the backers aware of the problems, you can’t be surprised when they make decisions and write comments based on incomplete knowledge.
    That said, I also think that the most unpleasant voices are not just a minority, but a very specific minority. These aggressive, self-interested complaints originate, to an almost staggering degree, from people under 30. Unsurprisingly, there is ample research demonstrating how empathy and delayed gratification are some of the last cognitive developments, so it might behoove all of us to take a breath and look at the content and clarity of the unpleasant messages and recognize that a lot of this comes from…well…children.

    There were a lot of good points made in the comments, in particular I agree with it being a bad idea to run concurrent kickstarters when understaffed, and that delivery dates are often wildly inaccurate. I don’t necessarily believe it is due to creators duping backers, but just a failure to fully account for potential issues. The delivery dates for new creators often seem to be based on ‘best case’ or wish fulfillment rather than practicality.

    Heck, I backed a game Called ‘Seals of Cthulu’ that I received just today, and it had an original delivery estimate of February 2019.

    Which brings me to the other issue, which is what Mr. Hudson in the original post was also illuminating: the delivery is an estimate, often from someone with little experience. Despite all the warnings and caveats on the Kickstarter site and disclaimers on the pages, a vocal minority obstinately insist that it is some kind of contract that has to be fulfilled within the timeframe, and any failure is a betrayal. Again though, I submit that this group on any kickstarter is likely under the age of 18 and has some impulse control issues.

    Also, I think as creators, people can try to see the positive…these people wouldn’t be upset if they weren’t excited to play the game. Perhaps there’s a way to engage that empathizes with this and defuses some tension?

    1. I agree with the gist of your post although I know some “children” over the age of 30 as well (not to bash the younger generation which has been done since time immemorial). I’ve received kickstarters from companies with good track records over a year late and am still waiting on one originally “due” Dec 2016.

  2. Even though I agree with the idea that Kickstarter should not be treated as a pre-order store… This idea breaks down the moment you look up what the law has to say about reward-based crowdfunding. Sadly, it has very little to say. Since the JOBS Act, focuses on other forms of crowdfunding and the EU Crowdfunding Service Provider regulation (that is not in effect yet) does not even mention reward-based crowdfunding. Because of that, in the EU at least, people, controlling institutions, accountants, etc. need to categorize reward-based crowdfunding somehow and for the government, it is much more beneficial to categorize it as pre-order since then creators will have to pay all the taxes – VAT, sales tax, etc. (you don’t have to pay VAT for a bank loan)

    The correct answer is that reward-based crowdfunding is both pre-sales and funding mashed into one since it has elements of both. Yet, since lawmakers do not wish to look at it that way, we are forced to use already established laws on e-commerce, consumer protection right, etc. that force us to operate as if we are doing pre-orders solely. At least if we wish to be crowdfunding board games legally.

    I personally think that until all those old farts and twats in the EU and idiots like Trump are going to be in power… This is not going to change. The people in power don’t use crowdfunding or care for it themselves.

    1. Just because someone says it isn’t a preorder system doesn’t make it so, but legally, neither visa versa for the moment.

  3. I love this so much. Taking the time to research and/or listen before commenting has been fruitful for us on both the publisher and the backer side of KS. It’s a hard discipline that doesn’t fit with our culture of immediacy, but quality does takes time. I (Marc) backed several Kickstarters for staff holiday gifts this year, and EVERY ONE of them has still failed to deliver as of 1/7/20. But it’s OK. They’re learning the ropes and protecting my investment. Mustering a little empathy has been something we covet from our community, but try to keep forefront when on the customer side as well.

  4. I agree with a lot of the comments here – and while I appreciate the original point about Kickstarter not being a pre-order, it’s important to note that saying something does not make it true. What I mean, is that in this case, a substantial proportion of backers do see Kickstarter as a pre-order when it comes to board games (whether that can be rationally justified or not). Just as we, as designers, have to design things with the user’s expectations in mind, so it goes for running a Kickstarter. We can try to design the Kickstarter to set expectations for backers – and hopefully educate them too to some degree – but ultimately one has to be prepared for the fact that many backers see the transaction as a pre-order in the traditional sense, with all the entitlement that comes with that.

    So, it’s good to preach this message and educate where possible, but one cannot ignore the reality of those user’s expectations. Communication is a huge part of addressing that – but understanding the likely context of much of that communication is key too; that some proportion of users will be frustrated by any delay, of any duration.

  5. In many ways the break point seems to come between effort made to honestly estimate a delivery time and the rewards for so doing or not. Jamey has in previous entries in this very blog suggested that estimating a delivery date in the following year will negatively effect funding. Its hard to estimate timelines and there are rewards for underestimating but not for overestimating or even estimating correctly, so inevitably timelines will be underestimated.

  6. I generally back it and forget it, for the most part. This keeps me from getting bent out of shape over something I have zero control over. I check in from time to time to read the updates, but I try to avoid reading the comments. The comments tend to contain a whole bunch of misplaced entitlement which drive me crazy. If you have a suggestion or request for the game, great. If you cannot handle rejection without spewing negative comments, not so great. If you expected a KS game to deliver on time for an important event, you should have a backup plan.

    I have backed 154 projects of which the vast majority are game or gaming related. Most of them have been late. Only one has not delivered (a video game) and is probably dead. A few have been bad or average. Most have been good. Some have been great. That is the risk you take by backing a Kickstarter, in my opinion. You are guaranteed nothing in return. I agree it is not a store or a preorder. I will agree that honest communication is key to building a backing for your brand and your reputation. Jamey’s handling of the Scythe KS project, as well as his online presence supporting his company’s games and his personal customer service has made Stonemaier games virtual instabuys for me. This could happen for me with other KS creators, but it does not matter to me if it does not. Yes, lack of communication is bad, but if the delivered game is good and well produced, I will still back that creator again. Not everyone can be Jamey.

  7. I backed a game and I got an email it was sent it but it didn’t arrive (I think it got lost on the mail) but the creators were so kind and send me another with my specifications and it arrive very fast. It’s one of my favorite games and I’m very thankful with Meromorph Games they are an amazing team.

  8. Well, the question becomes then, if it’s not a pre-order, what is it? Why is it marketed like a pre-order? Why does the terms of service and exchange relationship enact between the parties like a pre-order?

    And if there’s still insistence that it’s not a pre-order, why aren’t creators and Kickstarter themselves following the far more complex and onerous laws and regulations regarding all those other forms of transactions? (E.g. Investments, loans, donations, etc)

    I’m a creator myself (as well as a frequent backer), but this recent push for a different perception worries me immensely. I understand the desire to “have your cake and eat it too”, but if it gains momentum… Well, I’m not looking forward to a regulatory agency noticing and agreeing with the sentiment, when it will then be followed by the enforcement/suddenly much higher costs and barriers to entry.

    Unreasonable/aggressive comments and demands do suck, and it’d be better if there was a more mutually respectful culture, but this feels like it might eventually be like amputating the foot to get rid of an itch on your toe.

  9. Kick Starter may not he q preorder but being late is being late. Creators underestimate time needed to create because if they told the truth they wouldnt get as many backwers. Of anything creators should over estimate so that if they deluver early the backer is happy. Doesn’t seem that difficult.

  10. When the retail version of the game is in stores months before KS backers get their copies, people have the right to complain IMO.

      1. There are a few things to bear in mind here:
        1) What is the money being used for? If it’s just to cover production, manufacturing and fixed costs that’s one thing. However plenty of crowdfunding projects also cover the time of the creator, to pay themselves a wage. It lets them quit the day job, stop taking on other freelance work and so on. If the funding pays for 12 months of that and we are 3 months late on the project at some point, the chances of ever seeing that project (or at least in good time) shrink significantly. If a time overrun means a budget overrun, it’s not an insignificant problem.

        2) Good, regular communication is just as often used to disguise project issues as going radio silent. Certain projects have communicated plenty of regular updates, while knowing that they don’t have any plan to deliver (for example the last Super Dungeon Explore Kickstarter). The fact is there are bad actors in this industry as well as incompetents or people that just don’t have the wherewithal to successfully deliver. You can go on as much as you like in graphic detail about why you are falling behind schedule but will definitely deliver next month. But no matter how open you thing you are being, backers won’t necessarily believe you. Because you could just be spinning a yarn. Especially for first time creators- expecting that trust when others have hapilly abused it in the past, and there is no evidence to point at that you’ve delivered a project and so are legit… people take a risk when they put their money up and put a lot of trust in you, but it’s understandable they begin to question things when the delivery date comes and goes and they don’t have the thing. Because as far as they know, you could be a scam. They don’t (and can’t) have the same knowledge that you’re acting in good faith that you do.

  11. I backed Burning Suns from Sun Tzu Games. The creator, Emil, had the most horrific experience because the manufacturer he chose dragged their feet for literal YEARS! Unfortunately, he didn’t have the funds to start over with someone else and despite his constant updates he took a LOT of heat. After 5 years (!!!) of waiting, 4 years after the supposed delivery date, the game arrived on my doorstep. ***It was worth the wait.*** The game is in my top 5 of all time. I’ll agree that (some!) people need to take it down a notch but somehow the internet always brings out the worst. As long as they haven’t run off with your money and you eventually get what you paid for all that is required is patience.

    1. I also ordered Burning Suns on Kickstarter. Emil Never Gave Up and the game did finally arrive – quite impressive.

      1. yup. admittedly, the ships are not the best minis i’ve ever seen and the dice are absolutely sub par but everything is functional and the game is still a lot of fun. part of me is glad i didn’t spring for the extra minis for the extra races cuz those backers got fulfilled even later. but, all that being said, the creator kept hounding the (really crappy) manufacturer, kept updating the backers (even if some updates took a while. the guy is in the military and got shipped out not to mention he had a kid in the interim) and (i think) learned his lesson. at the same time, i’m sure the mfr. showed him excellent prototypes and promised more than they delivered (much more). so, i would say, give people a little bit of slack ESPECIALLY if it’s really just one dude making a passion project. Emil had nowhere near the resources of someone like FFG but he did fulfill his promise and as i said, i’m glad he did. Burning Suns is just plain fun.

          1. ooh, let’s play sometime!!! also, Emil had a good portion of copies destroyed in shipping. someone basically drove a forklift THROUGH one of the pallets and ruined a lot of the packed boxes. that’s one thing that neither he, nor any other creator, could have counted on. mistakes happen, but it did mean he had fewer extra copies. fortunately, he printed enough to fulfill all the backers (i think) but he definitely had fewer for after-fulfillment sales.

  12. One recent KS that comes to mind is Tang Garden – which in January 2020, when it is likely to ship, will be 1 year late. The creators have learnt lessons from problems arising in that KS, so that their follow up KS – Iwari – will also be shipping in January. But the wait will have been worth it IMHO, for the quality of what we will receive. But there have been a lot of very critical comments both in the KS comments, and on BGG, about the failure to deliver, and how no-one should ever back a game by that company again. KS can bring out both the best and worst in backers…

  13. I’ve backed maybe a dozen and a half Kickstarters and I learned quickly not to rely on the first time estimates for delivery. That’s just the way the real world works. I’ve actually gotten one or maybe two kickstarters early but most are at least 6 months past the first delivery estimates with quite a few being 1 year + for delivery.

  14. William: Those are great questions. Yes, I think it’s smart for creators to share somewhere on the project page how certain stretch goals will impact the schedule. I recall Cody doing this well on the first Xia project.

    As for capping funding, I actually didn’t know that Kickstarter offered that option. I think most creators would be hesitant to do so, though, and honestly, for many products (games included), increasing the quantity doesn’t increase the creator’s time much at all, nor does it impact manufacturing all that much.

  15. Totally agree with you. Though I would also be interested in hearing what you have to say about transparency as far as how scope creep affects timeline. If they expect to ship a game in 12 months, but theybhage a large number of stretch goals and expansions planned, should they make an effort to communicate how long those add one will take as well?
    I’m not usually worried about Kickstarter timelines. Creators work hard. But I had one notable experience with an expensive product that wildly overshot it’s initial goal and we ended up waiting years longer than initially predicted. Which is ok… But it was never communicated.

    1. In that vein, it would also be interesting to hear your thoughts on potentially capping funding. I’ve never seens someone do this, but I believe Kickstarter let’s you set a cap. It seems like this could help keep scope manageable for smaller teams.

  16. I do understand that delivery dates are estimates. However, proper project management could go a long way to improve those estimates. Especially, a little bit of risk Management would a help a lot.

    1. I also feel that the KS projected timelines can often feel a bit inaccurate from day one and that part of this is because creators are afraid to put a true estimate in the project for fear that people won’t back it if it’s projected to take 2-3 years. To the point that now I just automatically add 6-9 months for certain projects, because even standing out side of the process, it’s easy to see that not enough time has been allotted. I love positive thinking, but being realistic is very beneficial, too. “Under promise and over deliver” is a motto I use in my day job and it fits really well here.

      I would much rather know up front if you believe your undertaking is massive and going to take a significant time investment, rather than have a 9-12 month projected timeline that ends up taking 3 years to complete due to unrealistic goals and projections….more so for an experienced KS creator. Dark Souls The Board Game was like this…and it looks more and more like Horizon: Zero Dawn will be the same way. Both from Steamforged Games.

      Awaken Realms, on the other hand, does a fantastic job with very large and very successful projects with split shipping timelines and projections, as well as amazing communication explaining what they’re going through for obstacles and keeping everyone informed of what’s going on. Too much communication is never a bad thing.

  17. My main problem is posting things like this on Facebook and issuing no KS updates for 2 months while at the same time complaining about the KS platform in the comments section. If you are going to use a platform you need to stick with it and not expect your customers to follow you to whatever platform is more convenient for you as a creator.

    1. I respect your opinion, Jim, but as a fellow backer of Tidal Blades, I disagree. There are consistent updates on the project page. Sure, James posted this note on Facebook around 7 weeks after the last update, but if he didn’t have any other updates to post on Tidal Blades, there’s plenty of information among the 54 updates that leaves me confident as a backer that he’s communicating and that the project is progressing.

      1. I think there is an important lesson to learn here: Even if you don’t have news to share just communicate this fact.

        I would suggest a regular schedule for updates. Roxley does a great job here.

        After all, your backers are important stakeholders. They can make or break your current and possibly your upcoming project.

        A proactive information strategy can save you a lot of work here, I think.

      2. Jamey, I am not sure 9 updates in 13 months since the project funded in November 2018 is what I would call consistent. That’s not even one update a month. It also means there were 45 updates during the 24 day campaign. Let me be clear I have no problem that the project is late, many are, but communicating that fact needs to be handled well.

        I agree with what Alex said, regular communication is important even if that means there is no news. I get most of my KS news from updates, I don’t have time to read all the comments or follow every company I back on social media so regular KS updates for me are a vital part of that communication between creator and backer. In my opinion, those 9 updates are not enough. If you read the October update it says once the plastics are approved, production can begin and at that time he can setup timelines for the rest of fulfillment. So based on what he has said in his latest update am I to assume we still don’t have timelines for the rest of fulfillment? Are we still on track for Jan/Feb delivery as mentioned in the September update?

        What James is telling me as a potential future backer of one of his campaigns is that he’d rather complain about the KS platform and some of his backers on Facebook. He could have used the same 30 minutes to write that Facebook post to instead provide a brief update that gives a quick status of the project to all of his backers even if there is no news or the project schedule is delayed again.

      3. Jamey,
        Is it reasonable to say 7 weeks (Almost 2 months) is a long period to go without any comments? I’d suggest a minimum monthly update even if the comment is boring and says “still on track”. It shows the creator is engaged and still has their finger on the pulse.

        Outwardly, backers can’t know the difference between “creator engaged, all proceeding” versus “dropped the ball, everything falling apart, and I just don’t feel like fessing up, so I’ll hide in a hole”. Both valid interpretations of silence. And very easily solved with a quick update.

        1. Well, I’m not saying that James’ project updates perfectly follow my personal best practices. Rather, I’m saying that there’s nothing about the information available in the updates that would make me think the project isn’t moving forward, especially not to the point that I would feel the need to post about it publicly.

          1. And that’s why your personal best practices are something others should strive for! Stonemaier Games (aka you) are very good and well nuanced at what you do. It shows and is appreciated.

  18. I agree on all points made here, but I feel there are two distinctions that should be pointed out where backers (aka. partners/investors in the project) should be heard and listened to.

    1. When there is little-to-no communication coming from the project about milestones, hurdles, projected plans and changes. This is VERY frustrating for backers who have invested their time and interest in a project. No…not as much as the designer/publisher who is running the project, but it’s still worth listening and responding to the feedback from those who are simply asking for more information, in MANY (note that I did not say ‘all’) cases. Effectual communication that conveys reason for delays, owns up to mistakes made, etc. are important (!), but sadly I often see lackluster updates, which either contain little to no information about reasons for the delays or a new projected timeline; or, as in in one recent case with a big game, spend 3-4 paragraphs beating around the proverbial bush about the subject and STILL having no real info. This can be upsetting, to say the least, when you e spent $200, $300, or more and just want to learn more about what’s being done. That should not be too much to ask, especially when you see some of these companies starting more projects on KS before another of theirs is filled, bringing me to the next point. Please not that this is not granting carte blanche for backers to treat anyone involved in the project with any sort of disrespect, but constructive comments and criticism should be heard and if prevalent enough, responded to.

    2. If the KS team/publisher is not large enough to apply ample, or is some larger project cases, dedicated resources to multiple projects, then DON’T RUN PARALLEL PROJECTS. Kickstarter’s rules are a little vague about this and can be read and interpreted multiple ways, so that adds to our confusion about what’s acceptable; but if you’re already behind and projecting delays on a recently completed KS campaign, then a new one should not be started until you’ve reached a point where you can effectually put your team resources behind the new one while maintaining a healthy project timeline for the previous. When you start to see KS after KS from a company, with little communication, or considerable (>3 months or so) delays on previous ones, it starts to feel fish and then the ‘ponzi scheme’ comments are inevitable. Either be realistic and up front with the projected timeline in the KS and don’t project something that’s unreachable with your currently available resources, or if the project was massively successful – prioritize hiring one or more people to help, or don’t start the project until the previous project load(s) is/are lightened by being in a manufacturing/delivery state. I argue, if a publisher using KS feels the need to run project after project, with delay after delay in order to keep money flowing, then they’re doing it wrong and should consider a different model.

    In ALL cases, effectual communication is KEY. From the project team as well as any comments made by backers. Monthly projects updates should be a minimum, but they should have some meat to them. Not 4 paragraphs of fluff that run around the subject of a delay. I feel that truly getting to the problems causing delays and stating ways they will be addressed is so helpful and informative and will build a fan base of people who, like Stonemaier Game’s fans, will instant back future purchases. We do this because we trust Jamey to give us honest communication as well as to deliver something with stellar quality.

    At the same time, commenters should be clear and concise in their comments without being entitled and demanding. This is not a hard thing to do. Comments about wanting a refund, never backing the company again, etc. do nothing to add to the conversation. Requesting details when you feel there is either a lack of updates or lack of real content in an update, can be written in a manner that’s easy to be entreated and more likely to be responded to from a good project team.

    That’s my two cents on the subject. Hope it engenders some good discussion.

  19. Agree with some of the prior comments the key to all of this is communication. When a creator says “will post an update by the end of the week” and then doesn’t bother posting again for a month, that’s a problem and they have invited the criticism and bad blood.

    One project I’ll call out is Moonshiners of the Apocalypse. They labeled a version as “deluxe” and then many backers (myself included) thought it was of poor quality and even inferior to the base version. They constantly went dark not replying to comments nor posting updates. Then when they did, it was of the form “we learned this and that, BUT…”. And then proceeded to shift blame. To me, it showed they learned NOTHING and were doomed to repeat their mistakes on a future product because they refused to be honest with themselves where the fault was caused. Trying to get them to reply to issues became an exercise in publically shaming them into a reply by posting “you haven’t replied…” comments, and often they would just reply they were so busy and would take care of the issue in a few days, or a week.

    My point in this is that many game developers could do a FAR better job at communicating if they’d only put in a slight effort. I’ve seen it time and again, they are engaged and communicating while the campaign is raising money, and then lose interest in the Kickstarter platform immediately thereafter.

    By the way, I -am- a backer of Tidal Blades, and have not had any issues with the progress of that campaign. Are they late? Yes. Do I feel mad? No. I know they’re working through issues and the game will be better because of it.

  20. I agree with this comment 100% as I did before with James Hudson. The important caveat is: a Kickstarter campaign that is actively communicating.

    I’ve backed projects that took a year and a half beyond initial estimates and was satisfied the entire time due to the communication.

    Other projects I’ve been dissatisfied they were a couple of months past initial date, but because there was almost zero communication it created stress and anxiety over what had happened.

    That’s the key – regular, open communication. Just as a CEO must do for shareholders, the Kickstarter campaign must do for its backers. Not just “new due date is X” but “we are now delayed until X date, here is why .. shipping, production issues, etc..”

    1. I have two outstanding projects back in 2011 and 2012, both film projects. However, in the intervening years both have always been sending out regular updates about their progress, arranging for in-progress works of the film to be seen by backers, and so I’m never in any doubt that although they are several years past their due “date”, they are still being worked on.

      The 2011 project film is now complete, and although they expected to start shipping DVDs/BluRays in November, that’s been delayed a little and an explanation as to why has been sent to backers. The 2012 project has had several other rounds of funding (to fund more special effects and sequels) but they are still working on all parts of the films and have kept backers regularly updated – they even launched a new website this week with backers names on it, and hopefully it means the first film will be finished in 2020.

      So those, I’m not worried about. It’s when creators go silent for years at a time that you fear the project is just abandoned (which is yet another film project I backed in 2015, there’s not been any updates for 2 years now… I expect it’s dead, because all polite queries on progress have been met with silence).

  21. Jamey,

    I’ve been directly part of or have advised in several dozen projects and one of the things that I tell creators is expect bad behavior and to a greater or lesser degree, ignore it. Focus instead on making the best product and on those individuals that bring positivity to your campaign. Estimates are all we can do, even after nearly a decade of KS’ existence as there are far too many variables in the process.


  22. As a designer, whether it be games or products, you are usually building something from scratch and, as such, there isn’t always a definite timeline on completion (especially if you have a brainspark that takes you into uncharted territory). I feel like this isn’t always understood by the general population, who are so used to paying for a set service and receiving it immediately (ie. pay $X to have your taxes done).

    I recently backed the Sleeping Gods KIckstarter from Red Raven and the updates following the completion of the campaign have been fantastic! Ryan has shown us behind the curtain into his development process, as he continues to work through the design of the game. This has me eager and excited to play this game, but I also appreciate the work still being done to get it completed.

  23. Jamey, James:
    Backers shouldn’t expect a preorder system – I 100% agree with James on all points he and you have made. But the opposite should also be true. Companies shouldn’t treat Kickstarter like a preorder system. Too many companies out there who are well established (Queen & CMON are good examples), have plenty of revenue, a good market presence/recognition, and can easily launch a new game with their own preorder system. They have no real need to be launching games on a platform designed to help creators launch products they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to launch.

    1. Meanwhile I’m sure they sit on a lot of inventory. Kickstarter wouldn’t be a good preorder system anyways. You would get an initial set of presales, but beyond that, let’s say you double your order and that’s a total miscalculation. You’re now sitting on a ton of inventory that may never sell through.

    2. As a quick follow-up/addition to my comments above, the unfortunate consequence of this is that it dilutes the impact that real indie, first-time publishers have on the market. The high quality renders, videos, and layouts that the big publishers have cost thousands of dollars to produce. The expectation this puts on the first-time makers is tremendous. Even I find myself clicking next when it’s not “pretty.

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