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?