Thursday, October 22, 2015

Crowdfunding - "Good or Bad?"

As you likely know I just got through watching AlphaOmegaSin's Youtube video regarding Square Enix's crowdfunding/Kickstarter ambitions. My opinion about said topic respectfully mirrors that of Alpha's in that I think "Triple A" companies have no business turning to fans to fund a game especially when they can stand on their own two feet as a company. Square Enix, in particular has done, and is doing alright for themselves. They still have the money to publish, and produce 'Triple A' games. For them to ask fans to give them money for translations of Japan only video games is almost robbery, in my opinion. Translation, as tedious as it may be is nothing like making a game from scratch. It's not. Even if they were using a service like Kickstarter to create a game from the ground up I'd still not back them in their efforts, because time is the most uncertain thing in this world. We don't know what the next minute, or even second holds for us let alone the future outcome of a Kickstarter that is basically a gamble of time and money itself. Time has shown that Kickstarters, and crowdfunding are indeed a gamble. Even when some studios meet their goals the games still never come to fruition. That 'Red Riding Hood' indie game comes to mind.

On the flip side of the same two-sided coin that is crowdfunding I do find that there are some instances where said business practices could be acceptable, but only in the right circumstances. I feel that some indie developers could use the services to get their foot in the door, and justifiably so, but only if they don't over extend their hand for handouts that are beyond what they need. We all know that indie developers often times gamble more of their own time, and money than 'Triple A' developers because they want to make a name for themselves. They are truly out to impress, and they lay it all out on the line to become the next best 'Triple A' developer. The fact that their motivation is to impress the gamer, and not to milk them for their money via DLC, or micro-transactions makes the crowdfunding for an indie project a more reliable gamble, if you will. While it's still not a certainty I'd be more comfortable in throwing my money at a development studio whose priorities are geared towards impressing, and giving it their all than I would a studio in the 'Triple A' market who sees dollar signs, and is more concerned with making the most income out of each release.

As it is the crowdfunding, and Kickstarter programs are a double edged sword. They could be bad, and they could be good. I have seen it go both ways as I've mentioned before. In fact I've seen certain developers abuse the system in recent industry news articles. The recent headlines about the "Shenmue 3" developer begging for more money to get the project done speaks for that fact. I think there needs to be a set of rules, and regulations applied to those who seek to use such crowdfunding resources. I think that once they reach a certain dollar amount in donations, and have claimed they could deliver a game at said goal that they should be held to their word. If they fail to deliver they need to be made to pay back all the supporters they took from. The crowdfunding as it is is too easily abused, and people really need to be aware of what's worth investing in, and what's not. Definitely stay in touch with the latest industry news regarding development studios, publishers, and the reputation associated with each. Think of it all as a stock market investment, but one you will only get a return from if the game boasted about is produced.

I'm going to close in saying what many wise gamers have preached before. Vote with your wallet. Your paid money, or the lack thereof can change things for the better, or for the worse. If the industry thinks they can get away with cheating you out of money for less they will. Don't readily buy into hype, or developer dreams that aren't certain. Also do not support businiess practices that have more possible negative outcomes than positive ones. Play it smart gamers, and we can bring about an industry revival. The power is in your hands!

2 comments:

  1. i look on this trend as a sign of the times. i'm opposed to the idea of crowdfunding in the first place. how can you mooch money from people who you don't know? i look on them as brazen beggars. those who counts on this bullshit are as repulsive as people making a killing through microtransactions. and the purposes they are soliciting for money for mostly don't deserve it. i mean if they wanna make a game then do it with their own goddamn money!

    anyway what's wrong with the shemmoo3 money-raising? i read they started collecting money on crowdfunding and i haven't followed ever since.

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    1. I'm not particularly for crowdfunding myself as the developer, and publisher continue to make sales after the launch of the game. It is definitely like begging. As far as Shenmue 3 goes they are asking for even more money to reach their goals. They are really taking advantage of the fans.

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