About a year ago, crowdfunding was the big buzz word. If you had talent but wanted to remain independent or you just weren’t big enough to make it to the desk of a major studio, developer, publisher or manufacturer, you would head to Kickstarter (or maybe Indiegogo) and put a call out to your audience and see what they could do to help get your project going.
Early on, there were some huge successes with millions of dollars going into funding. But then, you couldn’t escape it. If you were an entertainment writer of any kind be it movie, music or gaming, your email box didn’t go a week without hearing about “the next big thing… that just needs crowdfunding” and quickly that frequency has continued to increase.
If somehow it was possible to ensure that the projects being put on Kickstarter and then publicized everywhere were of a certain quality, this wouldn’t be an issue. But the more I hear about and see the bad ones, the less likely I am to check out the good ones. Now instead of going and browsing Kickstarter on my own, I only head over if someone has directly recommended one to me and that has to be someone I trust the opinion of.
This is especially evident in the gaming category. You have one or two higher profile titles and everything else is derivative and unoriginal fluff.
In some ways, Kickstarter is becoming the Apple App store. Going into the games section, there are tons of clones of Angry Birds, Candy Crush and every other popular game out there. Someone must be very upset they didn’t get the copyright on the ______ Tycoon franchise as in just the first page, I saw multiple titles with Tycoon in there.
And the biggest problem of all of it is that the projects aren’t getting funded. There are some projects weeks in that don’t even have $100 to their credit yet. If you can’t get a group of either collaborators or even friends or family to give you a few bucks at the start to help give you a boost in numbers, what makes you think total strangers will?
The more that don’t get funded to fulfillment, the fewer people are going to invest the time in to in the future. There are only so many times you can get people hyped for a product knowing it might not come through in the end and have them fall short of happening.
It also doesn’t help when some projects do get funded and end up being flops after the fact. While there have certainly big success stories for Kickstarter funding, sometimes the end result doesn’t live up to expectations or hype. The perfect example is the Ouya.
Sadly, the Ouya never made the big impact to the gaming market that people expected from it. It may have been the timing, coming out during a console launch year, but after it ended up being released, it has become almost an instant nonentity for gamers. The more products that start on Kickstarter and flop, the less likely it will be for people to take new ones seriously.
Kickstarter is too easy for people to get on. I know that sounds counterintuitive to the premise where anyone can get funding for anything but this is what hurts it in the end. With a dropping success rate, the site doesn’t have the cache it did only a year ago and other platforms that have more viable and sustainable funding methods like Subbable are going to be the ones that serious creators head to in the future leaving Kickstarter more of a internet version of the Island of Misfit Toys.