Don't get me wrong, crowd funding is a good thing - mostly. I'm very much in favour of anything gives people the power to decide what they want and help get it done.
I'm going to be mostly talking about the RPG and table top gaming market here and maybe I'll rant a little and it will go off topic.
It seems to me Kickstarter is to tabletop gaming products what MySpace was to 'indie' music a few years back - it made a few things big early on and now everyone is doing it, and what's more everyone who's doing it is expecting/hoping to get as big as the ones who got big from it early on - which they won't, because everyone else is doing it, thus cutting out any advantage you might have gained from it.
I've supported a couple of Kickstarters and even worked on one - and I've gotten some good stuff out of it. But it's reached a stage now where it's starting to wash over me - 'Will you help share my project on KickStarter?', it this decade's 'Will you listen to my band's demo track on MySpace?'.
And being a creative person I also hear 'You should do a Kickstarter!' from time to time too - ah yes a whole new medium via which people can ignore my ideas (I'm guessing if you were in band during the peak of the MySpace fad you'd have heard 'You should put a demo track on MySpace' equally as often)
Ok here's the thing; the more a medium get used by more people, the less original the things that come out if become.
Open a new tab, goto KickStarter now and search for 'Zombies' - go on, this text will be still be here when you get back - By now you should have an open tab full of page after page of minor variants on an over-used, overrated (and quite frankly these days) boring theme. Zombie films, zombie board-games, zombie T-shirts, computer games, mobile 'apps', books, card games, comic books and oh-look 'indie' bands - many of the projects you'll see have failed to be funded - and rightly so - because there are too many of them. None of these are original ideas, none of them! If you worked on one of these and are reading this, I'm not even sorry - you're not as creative as you'd like to think.
Here's something I want you all to do before starting a KickStarter for your new idea: search for similar projects, and if more than a few pages worth come up - don't do it! You haven’t latched onto something popular that'll make you money, you're following a trend, a fad and you are not being creative.
Oh don't put words like evolutionary, revolutionary, all-new, next-gen and so on into your description, because chances are your project is not any of them, that's up to other people to decide - which I think is the point of crowd funding in the first place.
PS to all owners of the other crowd-funding sites popping up now because of the popularity of KickStarter - seriously stop it, you are meta-bandwagon-jumping!
~The ravings of a single mad Goblin is bad enough, but such a power-hungry, malice-filled creature as Mortis can never hope to be understood~
Ah, but if you remove all of the "zombie" themed games, do you mind what's left? ;) Is the lack of creativity which is the problem? Is it the "fatigue" many pledgers speak of when trawling Indiegogo and Kickstarter?
There seems to be quite a few "resurrection" projects which look destined to failure due to not recognising very simple copyrights issues, but hopefully pledgers are wise enough to judge these things+.
Like many folk I've been receiving quite a few emails from Paizo about their various projects and I certainly feel that larger companies shouldn't really be involved in Ks because in theory they should already have credit or assets which they can infest. I've been on a bit of Kickstarter distrust campaign since I first heard about them, although now I appreciate the "community empowerment" angle more. I mean forums can really sway opinions on products - well, at least if the lobbying and promoting is effective. But given time, maybe people will only back what they know and the bigger firms will win out over the smaller companies and entrepeneurs. I personally believe that Ks actually threaten the traditional marketing model and also a few folk have pointed out to me that when it comes to pre-orders you have consumer rights which you don't have when you're a pledger (Tenkar's Tavern covers some of this).
I had a little exchange with T&T Liz D over Kickstarters, where she, quite rightly defended Flying Buffalo by basically saying that their company was "evolving" to meet the new rules of the market place. Apart from the odd perk, I just couldn't see much that couldn't have been produced through Print-On-Demand book sites (which I acknowledge is different for production costs of say, plastic figures) Liz, like others, pointed to wages per hour and commission costs, which makes me laugh when myself and a thousand other artists draw the odd map for $40. Why should customers pay upfront for an annual wage which should be coming from profits or a bank loan? But hey. One of the nice things to come out of all this was the acknowledgement that Kickstarters provide opportunities in the face of chronic adversity. Personally, I'm not a fan of Kickstarters, I hate the urgency, the pleading, and the nonsense people come up with to claim that this is the only way of doing things and if you don't bid now this opportunity will be lost forever - especially since the kickstarter I hear about are usually a glossy reinvention of something I already own or like. People are usually quite taken aback when I say I don't want to spread the word about their latest crowd-funder. If you think online shopping threatens bricks n mortar shops, I'm guessing that niche industries can be devastated by the chaotic gamble of kickstarters. Sometimes if you succeed as a game publisher you run the risk of not being able to meet massive demand - the expansion (if the goal runs over) may be much faster than a simple stock/orders and storage/production problem that most companies might encounter at the end of their first year.
At DragonCon in London Livingstone and Jackson just shrugged when they were asked why didn't they pledge towards a Fighting Fantasy kickstarter, and then they said something about "vanity publishing", which I felt was telling. In the UK, at least, I reckon there's still a deep seated suspicion of crowd-funding - to some of us they look like chancers and over-night scams.
I think Mortis is also right, that as they become "the norm" the lack of creativity is also soul-destroying for regular backers.
Looking at Hasbro/Wizards and Paizo, in the long run, the only winners will be the larger more stable companies who run Kickstarters based on already popular products (who have the money/credit to start with!).
Before I read his thoughts I want to say;
Companies like Heresy. A few people struggling due to workloads who otherwise make lovely models off of their own backs... They deserve the support. I'd rather go buy a load of models I don't need from the companies I love than throw mindless money at the promise of a few shitty pledge models.
Why be hipster about your hobby?
"I got this zombie game before anyone else, I'm awesome!" No. No you're a sheep, a pawn.
I made my own damn game besides, and it's better.
Mankinds first mistake; Questioning why those around him, are dying.
As soon as they are popular, everyone gets on them, There are some small people on there trying to get funding but there are also many bigger companies now, obtaining backing and funding for there games before they start, like Mantic. I am not saying it is good or bad but if you can get your entire new project funded before you really start on it then it makes your life a lot easier that the olddays of producing a new game, testing it and hoping it sell to recoup your costs.