So the Kickstarter for The Doom That Came To Atlantic City has gone pear-shaped amidst accusations that Forking Path had used most of the kickstarter funds to fund the founder’s living expenses rather than on the development of the game.
It’s a reminder that backing any crowdfunded project is a risk which funders need to assess based on how nuch they trust the people behind the project to deliver. Sadly it’s also likely to be used by people with vested interests in the old-fashioned big-publisher driven model to discredit the whole concept of crowdfunding.
I’ve backed a lot of Crowdfunded music projects over the past few years, including Marillion who pioneered the whole concept a decade ago yet seldom seem to get the credit for it. I’m happy to pay £25-£30 months in advance for the deluxe edition of an album from the likes of Marillion, Mostly Autumn or Fish because I trust those artists to deliver. It’s the same with games; I trusted the Evil Hat crew to deliver on FATE Core, and they did.
Traditional publishing (or record companies) are not going away. But neither is crowdfunding, especially for things that have a lot of fan support but seem too risky to appeal to the bean-counters.
Arguments rage over whether Kickstarter is a pre-order mechanism or more like an investment in a startup. Certainly the bands I’ve mentioned above have all sold their projects as pre-orders. But, as the failure of TDTCTAC shows, there are elements of risk and trust involved. Back enough projects and you risk getting burned occasionally. But provided enough of them do deliver, I think it’s a risk worth taking.