Crowd-funding is undoubtedly one of the biggest changes to happen to the world of gaming in the last few years. Gone are the days where an average gamer had no input into the development cycle of brand new games. Now, anybody can use their hard-earned cash to help realise the dream of certain developers, and thanks to this, companies such as Kickstarter have flourished.
In most cases, it has been a resounding success, giving us fantastic games such as FTL: Faster than Light, and The Banner Saga. However, despite these successes, it does not mean that crowd-funding is necessarily always a good thing.
Perhaps one of the most dangerous aspects of these schemes is that, largely, the ideas are from relatively unknown people who want to be able to achieve their goal. We should be able to help these people, however, is it really possible to trust these people? They are complete strangers to us, yet we are willing to send them our money out of complete faith. There is no guarantee that they will succeed, such as with the project “The Doom That Came to Atlantic City“, that raised more money than they actually needed, yet was still cancelled due to mis-management with the money that had been given to them.
More recently, the project for a game called Areal has come under scrutiny after other companies declared them to be lying, and after it was discovered that all of the money was strangely being sent to one mysterious person. (This case is still ongoing, and updates can be found at VG247, which has all the details on the ever updating mystery.) These two projects alone suggest the danger inherent with crowd-funding, and possibly show that the risk may not be worth it.
Another problem that is beginning to appear with crowd-funding schemes is that others apart from the people who actually need the money are beginning to use it. For me, the schemes should be for companies or people who want to make something, but actually don’t have the money. They should not be used by established companies, such as Double Fine, who have already made many successful games, yet felt the need to use crowd-funding for Broken Age. In some cases, it may be true that these companies are actually short of money, but is it really fair to ask people to pay for what they probably could have paid for themselves? This may be just me being cynical, but it seems like certain projects are being set up to take advantage of the goodwill of others, even though they could have made their project without the help of crowd-funding.
While I do believe that the idea of crowd-funding is largely a good one, gamers must remember that it is based on trust, which can sometimes be betrayed, and that there are issues with the schemes. I am not saying that we should all stop giving our money to these projects, however, what i am saying is that we must proceed with caution. Not all of these schemes are a good investment, and sometimes, giving mkney to these projects is the equivalent of giving money to a Nigerian prince via e-mail.