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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Crowdfunding Delay Rant

   Am I the only person who is really just fed up with the delays of virtually every Kickstarter / crowdfunding program out there? I have backed or am currently backing seven different games-related Kickstarters. Here's the performance record of those that have funded:
  • Blackwater Gulch:  5 months late. 6x over goal. Funded April 15, 2012, Est. delivery June 2102, Actual receipt November 2012.
  • Ogre: Designer's Edition: 11 months late. 46x over goal. Funded 5/11/12, Est. Delivery November 2012, Noe promised on 10/19/13.
  • Empire of the Dead: Requiem: 2 months late. 18x over goal. Funded 3/26/13, Est. delivery June 2013, Now estimated "end of August and throughout September" 2013.
  • Steampunk Cthulhu Playing Cards: 2 months late. 1.5x over goal. Funded 3/19/2013, Est. delivery June 2013, now estimated "within a few days", August 2013.
  • 28mm Steampunk Inspired Heavy Weapons & Carriage: 3 months late. 12x over goal. Funded 5/5/13, est. delivery June 2013, partial fulfillment August 2013, remainder (including mine) expected in September.

   5 out of 5 late, so far. One I only donated a dollar, because my funds were otherwise occupied (All Quiet on the Martian Front). The last, the new Space: 1889 rules, is still going on, although it has also surpassed its funding goal bya wide margin. I hope this does not mean it too will be delayed by 2 to 5 months.

   Crowdfunding can be a really great way to get new designs and ideas and toys produced that might not otherwise ever see the light of day, and that is a great thing. But something is going terribly wrong when so many projects are delayed significantly. And I think I know where the problem is: stretch goals.

   Yep, the stretch goals. While they are undoubtedly very cool, they are also additional work for the creators. This work takes additional time, obviously. And when the creators just go nuts with the extras because of an overwhelming response to the project (like, say, Ogre, or EotD:R), then you get a significant delay in shipping out product. So, that's the problem. What's the solution?

   I see two options. Option 1 is just not to do stretch goals. While this may mean fewer backers (we all like the extra goodies, I am no exception to that), it should mean fewer excuses - er, reasons - for delays. Option 2 is what I would prefer to see happen: finish and ship the original project as soon as possible, then send the extras along in a reasonable time frame. And define that time frame with each stretch goal. For example: "Stretch Goal $300K: Solid Gold Widgets to replace the Original Cardstock Widgets - two months after delivery." So we can get started, and then get the extras later; after all, being extras, they aren't integral to the product, right?

Okay, /rant.


Chuckaroobob said...

I hear your pain, here's my record:

Ogre Designer Edition: pathetic.

Judge Dredd Pat Wagon mini: still waiting, I think my Pat Wagon is 9 months late. They don't usually bother mentioning this vehicle in the updates since it is so overdue.

The other 2 KS I've backed are very recent, so hope springs eternal.

Laughing Ferret said...

I go in on these assuming the expected delivery is wrong. Most have dates much too soon to be realistic. I think it's a case of better to ask for forgiveness than permission. Some I've even seen expected delivery dates earlier than when the funding time expires, so i know that it must be wrong.

From my experience, any creative project is going to take longer than expected. But hey, it's faster than CalTrans (or whatever your local state road construction might be named).

Mantic's Kings of War did it right in my opinion (Dreadball too): Initial Game first release was pretty quick, then they divided the stretch & add-ons into two subsequent releases. Martian Front, still waiting for surveys! But the quality of the product progress is excellent, so if it does take longer, I'm ok with that.

Anne said...

I understand your frustration, particularly when it is with a big company. They should have enough experience to adequately forecast a date of delivery.

I'm very picky about who I'll back and how deep I'll go in. All mine except one have delivered on time and I've never gone in for more than $85.00. Any more money than that and your paying me interest dividends. I won't make exceptions no matter how good the deal looks nor how much I like the product.

Andrew Saunders said...

I am very wary of these as they have your money and then hit you with big delays, even the biggger companies like Mantic have issues with time. so before I spend I think about if i really need it or am I following all the hype.

Eli Arndt said...

Speaking from experience, a lot of the delays on these projects are caused by working with outside talent.

I know that the sculptor for my project took the absolute longest possible time I allowed.

Then, there are unforeseen delays that can occur like how my miniatures needed a serious amount of work to make them production ready.

In many cases, these are the same sorts of delays that companies would normally face but they don't have a pre-order looming over their heads and/or haven't revealed the releases ahead of time so we're none the wiser.


J Womack, Esq. said...

Eli, I understand that the delays are not wanted by anyone, and especially are liable to occur with small companies or first-timers, such as yourself. But 5 for 5 is just a little too much to not be frustrating.

Edwin King said...

I know it's frustrating, but I can assure you the Steampunk inspired canon is on its way. I was one of the lucky ones in the first batch and it arrived this morning.

It seems perfectly servicable, with only slight warping to the rocket tube.

J Womack, Esq. said...

Have you seen the video demonstrating the effect of some very hot water poured onto the rocket tube? It snapped virtually back to just right. I was kind of amazed.