… Well, if you really want to.
I apologise in advance. This is the second tech/game head post in much less time than I would have liked. But what can I say… I need more material. Um… no. I mean, it is something that has come to my attention recently. Yeah, that sounds better.
If you (or your kids/friends) don’t play a lot of computer games, you may not have heard of ‘Kickstarter’. (Although it is a system being used in several branches of the entertainment industry now).
Essentially it is a bit of a piss take. Or a method of supporting talented people that don’t have industry backing to achieve their potential. Unfortunately, it is roulette to find out which is which.
Ok, explanation time. Kickstarter is a method for innovative people with a crackin’ idea to obtain financial backing from the public. They don’t have to jump through the industry hoops to get the funding. And don’t have to sign away the homestead just to get the backing to float their dream. The idea is floated on the interweb. And us, the public, can choose to wack them a bit of cash to support their dream. And lots of little contributions can (and already have, in many cases) completely fund the development process to achieve the innovators goal, and bring us something pretty damn funky, that we otherwise would not have access to… And more importantly, for me, big business didn’t even get a look in. The little guy supported the other little guy. And suddenly the second little guy has a working business model and can go head to head with the bigger players on a certain level.
So why should you bother? Times are hard. Why should you fork out your hard earned?
Yeah. I thought that.
What do I get?
But isn’t that a little mercenary? If you see an idea that you think is pretty cool, could you not spare a couple of quid/bucks/rupiah to help someone who could be like you, or your next door neighbour to achieve their dream? It is very little to you. But a few hundred people feeling the same could provide the lacking funds to bring us the next innovation that we can’t live without.
But seriously? What do I get?
Ok. In most of the cases of the kickstarters that I have seen, if you chip in early on, you get the end product when it is finished. You also get to play with it at each of the stages of it's development. And to have some input into what works and what doesn't during the development process. Ok, this is more of a software (games) thing. It's not so easy for you to play with the test version of a vaccuum cleaner that will challenge Hoover or Dyson for the market leading brand name. But nearly all of the kickstarters I have seen… they will reward those that had faith in them, once their dream is achieved.
I know right? What a fantastic idea! The little guy gets financial help from hundreds of other little guys, as long as s/he comes up with something interesting. (Not the 'we get something for it' bit. The 'we give a little, they get to achieve their dream' bit).
But sadly, in this day and age, if someone comes up with a cracking idea involving altruism… some cunt will come up with a plan to exploit it. Welcome to the games industry.
Ok, that comment may be a bit harsh. But as soon as someone spots ‘free cash’, the twat badgers emerge from their dens. Loads of talentless wannabes throw their amateur renditions into the pot. I applaud their ambition. Bit every other bugger took the time to learn their trade before trying to get paid to do it. But as you can wack up a kickstarter for your hobby project, why bother to get good at it first? People may be gullible enough to give you cash for your inability.
Also, there are groups/companies that are funding their projects though kickstarter schemes and then completely failing to deliver (to the proposed schedule). Overly ambitious project planning I can understand and, to a certain level, forgive. But then (after the kickstarter period) is complete, charging a full release price for ‘early access’ to a product that is WAY behind the development schedule and completely failing to deliver the experience that their ‘envisioneering’ has promoted is just WRONG! The building industry cannot get away with two out of four walls, a couple of windows and a stack of lumber and tiles that will one day be a roof, and saying 'Thanks for your funding. Here is some of a house. Tell you what… give us some more money, move in, and then tell us how you think we can improve your living experience'.
Releasing stuff before it is actually working, charging people for ‘early access’, and using them as unpaid alpha testers is, in my humble opinion, immoral and completely wrong.
Ok, (back to the kickstarters) they pay less for the game and still get the full version upon release… but the companies are still charging people to do the shit that they should be paying for.
Hell, if someone offered you a half price bar of soap… saying that “it’s not quite a finished product yet. Try it, and when we have got it right… You get a free bar!”… And then it kinda burns and doesn’t really get you clean, you’d be a pissed. Especially when, upon you getting a bit miffed about it being really crap soap, they said “Well, we did tell you it wasn’t ready yet. But when it is, you still get a free bar.”
So, yeah. Kickstarters are a really bloody good idea. But an idea that is being abused. But don’t let this put you off. Just give it careful thought and consideration before you actually give them your cash.
Yes, you may be getting stuff earlier and cheaper than if you waited until it was a finished product (and when it is, you get yours free). But they have to finish it before you get anything worthwhile… And finished and neatly packaged toxic waste is still just a box of toxic waste. Just sayin'.