Transparency in crowdfunding: The real cost of making indie games

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chameleojack
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Transparency in crowdfunding: The real cost of making indie games

Postby chameleojack » Thu May 21, 2015 5:17 am

I just read a very interesting article, googling 'Yooka-Laylee', about how virtually every successful Kickstarter project conceals the true cost of making their games to the detriment of truly 'indie' prjoects. The main point is that the most successful Kickstarters are heavily hyped projects that already have financial backing, so they can offer the public a perception of garage-project videogame budgets by asking for less, receiving much, MUCH more, and provide more decadent stretch goals than are possible on paper. This makes people think every Kickstarter should cost 500K and anything asking more is a scam, when in fact games are much more expensive than popular campaigns imply.

I am curious what you guys think? Has cowdfunding turned from Vox Populi trendsetting to consumer padding of corporate pockets without QA or claim to false-advertising? Yes, I know Playtonic has been comperably transparent, especially about already being fully funded and at the beginning of full production at the time they launched their campaign (albeit on a smaller scale at the time). Here is the original article:


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Moonray
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Re: Transparency in crowdfunding: The real cost of making indie games

Postby Moonray » Thu May 21, 2015 9:10 am

Someone sent me this yesterday. Aside from the fact that the whole thing reads like a jealousy article (specifically when they cite their own game) I actually think they've ignored a major factor in why big name kickstarters do better.

Trust.

Kickstarter, much like Steam Early Access, has earned a reputation for having pretty bad projects on it. There are so many projects that under deliver, or simply don't deliver. When you're asking for people's money to help fund development of a game you're asking them to trust you with their money. When a big name comes and says they're making a game and they're using kickstarter to fund it people are going to trust them over the newcomer who might not have a clue what they're doing.

But there's also plenty of examples of unknown indies getting a great success out of kickstarter. It all comes back to the trust thing. If an unknown indie appears trustworthy from the presentation of their kickstarter, people are more likely to back. Now obviously there's other factors, like if the game even looks worth playing, but I think trust is one of the major reasons for people backing or not.

I do think it's unfair for them to lump Yooka-Laylee into this category because Playtonic have been really open about the fact that they already have the funds to make the game & that the Kickstarter is to help with extra content/features. Also, someone mentioned to me that the Bloodstained devs had also been honest about having access to large funds (from publishers I assume?) should the kickstarter be successful but I've not looked into that myself.

The short version: No I don't think the big names "hiding" the true costs is the problem. I think the large amount of bad indie games on Steam Early Access and Kickstater has caused people to be wary & more cautious of where they put their money & the 'celebrity' names in gaming are by default going to provoke more trust.
Last edited by Moonray on Thu May 21, 2015 9:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Taylor
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Re: Transparency in crowdfunding: The real cost of making indie games

Postby Taylor » Thu May 21, 2015 9:14 am

Interesting read; however, the author angered me by erroneously 'exposing' Playtonic's initial goal as 'too small'...

She claims it would be "IMPOSSIBLE" to make the game on a £175k budget, but if she did her research (or simply read the Yooka-Laylee Kickstarter before publicly crying about it), she would have known that Playtonic has already got enough money to make the base game.

It was no secret that the Kickstarter goal (and stretch goals) were there to improve the game and add aditional content that would otherise be too costly and time consuming.
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chameleojack
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Re: Transparency in crowdfunding: The real cost of making indie games

Postby chameleojack » Thu May 21, 2015 9:42 am


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Taylor
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Re: Transparency in crowdfunding: The real cost of making indie games

Postby Taylor » Thu May 21, 2015 10:55 am

Taylonic Ltd.

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chameleojack
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Re: Transparency in crowdfunding: The real cost of making indie games

Postby chameleojack » Thu May 21, 2015 11:22 am


Sacaldur
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Re: Transparency in crowdfunding: The real cost of making indie games

Postby Sacaldur » Thu May 21, 2015 11:26 am

But the problem you're discussing about highlights a point: not everyone reads the campagne description well enough. Someone who is going to write an article about kickstarter campagnes and the required budget really should have done so, but the regular people might miss these informations as well. They could start to believe development has to be so cheap, since there are games made with this little bit of money.
It's certainly not the fault of the playtonic games guys, but this misconception can still be or become a problem.

By the way: playtonic games also stated at some point salaries below industry average. (And at least in my opinion, 10k$/month is a lot of money.)
The point about the trust is very important as well. I already heard about a case with a campagne of stolen images and something (portable version of an old console, like N64 or something) that wasn't done after the funding.

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DarkTone
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Re: Transparency in crowdfunding: The real cost of making indie games

Postby DarkTone » Thu May 21, 2015 11:38 am

Agree with a lot of what Moonray says.

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chameleojack
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Re: Transparency in crowdfunding: The real cost of making indie games

Postby chameleojack » Thu May 21, 2015 11:54 am


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Taylor
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Re: Transparency in crowdfunding: The real cost of making indie games

Postby Taylor » Thu May 21, 2015 11:57 am

Taylonic Ltd.

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chameleojack
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Re: Transparency in crowdfunding: The real cost of making indie games

Postby chameleojack » Thu May 21, 2015 12:14 pm

Miss you!

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zeo
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Re: Transparency in crowdfunding: The real cost of making indie games

Postby zeo » Thu May 21, 2015 12:22 pm

Polygon is a horrible 'news source', take anything written on there with a truckload of salt. I'm not clicking on that link.

I can comment on what you have written though. I thought the whole point of indie is that you don't really know what you are doing in a financial sense but you have a good idea. If Yooka-Laylee asked for 175k but gets 1,6m... of course they aren't going to know what they will be doing with the money 'right this second'.

I think its a very different ball-game when a bunch of newbies come along and make a platforming colectathon (A hat in time), and the guys that created the pinnacle of the genre with more than 120 years combined working at a AAA developer do it. Kickstarter is all about consumer faith, and these guys obviously have a lot of it (with good reason).


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