Kickstart or Kickstupid: A Word of Caution About the Crowdfunding Craze

Kickstarter is revolutionizing how we go from idea to full-fledged start-up. Accessibility is at an all-time high. Bright minds who, perhaps, don't have the business savvy to hang with industry sharks now have just as good a chance as any. But so does the perpetual failure who just can't seem to get it right – and doesn't know when to quit. The scammer who wants a quick buck and a fast getaway can slide his hand into the cookie jar, taking cash from optimistic individuals who believe that crowdsourcing is an infallible system. By all means, use Kickstarter, but be realistic... maybe even a touch skeptical.

I’m a pessimistic person. Scratch that. I’m a realist, which usually translate into a glass-half-empty image. I respect optimistic people to no end. Some of my best friends are (fatally) optimistic, in fact. I’m sure they get the warm and fuzzies from believing in people, and embracing the honor system. I don’t, however, especially not with my cash money. This brings me to the crowdfunding phenomenon, arguably led by Kickstarter.

Recommended Videos

 

My particularly sunny (read: “gullible”) husband introduced me to the concept. Apparently entrepreneur Mark Siwak started a campaign to save financially-blighted Detroit. His idea? Z-World: a zombie-themed amusement park. It is a novel idea, if nothing else, but how profitable could the blazingly popular zombie meme be in the long-run? Probably not profitable enough to pull Detroit out of its slump. But let’s focus on the now: would such a project even get off the ground? Or would the developer cut and run? The latter is my primary concern. In no way am I calling Siwak a swindler, but there have been, and will be those types who prey on the faith of others. And with the lack of any safety net, who’s to stop them.

 

Case in point: Sean Westphal. In April, this guy started a campaign to fund MYTHIC: The Story of Gods and Men.  Supposedly, with a number of experienced Hollywood-types, ol’ Seany commandeered Little Monster Productions. Goal for the action game? $80,000. Amount donated for 83 folks? $4,739. From the handy little breakdown on the page, the bulk of the donations were around $10  a piece, but one was in the $2,500-$5,000 range.

 

Demi God status, ya’ll!

 

Yeah, totally, except our boy cut and run with the proceeds. Quick internet sleuthing uncovered that the promotional images were stolen from a former employer, and that, in fact, Westphal was merely an office manager.

 

The take away? Research (and research again!) before you donate. Never underestimate the internet. And finally, you will never – ever – be a Demi God.

 

I’m not a total grouch. I’m really not. I know that betwixt Love is Art,  and The Move, there are some real gems. Much has been said about the Ouya, which promises boundless gaming, operating on Android, at a modest price point. I love the organic, grass roots effort, as do many others. The Ouya project has raised over $8 million through Kickstarter’s brand of venture capitalism. Obsidian has the chops to ease the concerns of many. As a result, its RPG Project Eternity has soared past goal, almost quadrupling what the company was seeking. Double Fine Productions, with Psychonauts to its claim, successfully solicited upward of $3 million for Double Fine Adventures.

    

Kickstarter is revolutionizing how we go from idea to full-fledged start-up. Accessibility is at an all-time high. Bright minds who, perhaps, don’t have the business savvy to hang with industry sharks now have just as good a chance as any. But so does the perpetual failure who just can’t seem to get it right – and doesn’t know when to quit. The scammer who wants a quick buck and a fast getaway can slide his hand into the cookie jar.

 

Now, go forth into the great expanse of Kickstarter, but carefully, please.

 

What say you? Would you ever contribute to a Kickstarter project? Have you? What gems or flops have you come across?

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


GameSkinny is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 Continues a Unique Exploration of Mental Illness
A close-up of Senua from Senua's Sage: Hellblade 2
Read Article Fallout Theory Explains How Stimpaks Work
Three stimpaks on a table in Fallout.
Read Article Honkai: Star Rail Needs to Slow Powercreep — or Turn It up to 11
Acheron after a massive attack in Honkai: Star Rail
Read Article Fallout 4 Theory Claims the Mannequins Are Evil
Smiling mannequin in Fallout 4
Read Article Assassin’s Creed Shadows Easter Egg Teases Iconic Weapon Return
Yasuke and Naoe from Assassin's Creed Shadows
Related Content
Read Article Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 Continues a Unique Exploration of Mental Illness
A close-up of Senua from Senua's Sage: Hellblade 2
Read Article Fallout Theory Explains How Stimpaks Work
Three stimpaks on a table in Fallout.
Read Article Honkai: Star Rail Needs to Slow Powercreep — or Turn It up to 11
Acheron after a massive attack in Honkai: Star Rail
Read Article Fallout 4 Theory Claims the Mannequins Are Evil
Smiling mannequin in Fallout 4
Read Article Assassin’s Creed Shadows Easter Egg Teases Iconic Weapon Return
Yasuke and Naoe from Assassin's Creed Shadows
Author
Imayen Etim
Imayen Etim is a freelance writer and GameSkinny contributor based in Gainesville, Florida. She can be contacted at imayen.e [at] gmail.com