Are Kickstarter game development budgets expected to cheap?

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Old 12 December 2012   #1
Are Kickstarter game development budgets expected to cheap?

I happened upon a blog concerning game development cost expectations on Kickstarter and it got me thinking........
Is Kickstarter driving down the value of game development skills and devaluing realistic development budgets?
http://www.binarytweed.com/2012/12/...or-old-men.html
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Old 12 December 2012   #2
Some quotes:
" No Country for Old Men


A combination of Kickstarter and indie games culture are driving down the price of development to the point where creating indie games is the preserve of the young, the reckless, and the rich.

Recent Kickstarter campaigns have highlighted that there is a great unwillingness to crowd-fund an indie game with a realistic budget. Accusatory disbelief of development costs has been bandied about in comments on numerous articles around the inforweb.

We've seen projects like the quite-simply-great
Spud's Quest be lauded for being the right price (5,000), and also Fist Of Awesome being funded for a similar amount. These games were both in a substantially completed state upon going to Kickstarter.

There are two things that concern me about these observations:
  • Decrying salaried studio staff as expensive drives down the value of game development skills;
  • The Kickstarting public expect games to be nearly-finished and have a token amount to bring them to market.
"

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Old 12 December 2012   #3
The more Kickstarter becomes a viable alternative to regular funding/IP development, the more certain industry folks are going to raise their heads and attempt to sling mud at Kickstarter.

Nothing surprising there, I'm afraid.

This is fairly normal behaviour for any industry that is unwilling to alter its business-model to better suit genuine consumer desires or preferences, and that instead ties its product development strategy to certain "past best practices" - repeating, quite exactly, whatever made money the year before, and in the years before that.


In English: The regular game industry thought that it could continue to make Billions of Dollars of revenue every year from publishing sequel-after-sequel of often very, very similar and derivative games.

It even killed off many popular game genres like Point-And-Click adventures and Space Sims to make higher profits from more brainless games like Military-Themed First Person Shooters.


Now Kickstarter has arrived on the scene, and suddenly tens of thousands of gamers - especially older ones who are adults now, and earning their own money - are putting serious amounts of money into games that are NOT developed, funded or endorsed by the big game industry.

Obviously, the highly profits-oriented Game Publishers are starting to get worried about this.

Especially the fact that Kickstarter is in its infancy still - give it 2 - 3 years, and we may see even higher amounts than now being pledged to support various indie game projects.

The regular Game Industry, of course, sees the emergence of this new funding model as a clear and present threat.

What if Kickstarter-funded games turn out better, more original, more interesting, more innovative and genuinely creative than the stuff the regular game industry makes?

Unfortunately for them, buying Kickstarter.com and putting a forced end to all this "crowdfunding" isn't a viable option.

10 other crowdfunding websites would instantly spring up in its place. And people would migrate to those alternative sites instantly.

So Crowdfunding cannot, realistically, be killed or controlled by the regular industry.

And that is a serious problem, because the industry is so used to killing off any and all practices it doesn't like, that it must feel a bit like the Titanic in Ice-Berg waters.


With all this in mind, I wouldn't be surprised if I see 20 more articles/blogposts/opinion pieces crying about Kickstarter spoiling this and that with its funding approach....

My 2 Cents...
 
Old 12 December 2012   #4
I would think though that those budgets would be not as expensive as others due to that they can be more efficient--sometimes. Like some of the AAA games are ridiculously overpriced and that's due to wasting time where work gets done but thrown out because of changes in decisions.
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Old 12 December 2012   #5
Originally Posted by DePaint: The regular Game Industry, of course, sees the emergence of this new funding model as a clear and present threat.

[...]

With all this in mind, I wouldn't be surprised if I see 20 more articles/blogposts/opinion pieces crying about Kickstarter spoiling this and that with its funding approach....


Hi all,

Deejay here, original author of the blog piece. I saw the referrals to my blog, so I thought I'd come over here and chat to you. Thanks for taking an interest!

DePaint: I should clarify that the opinions expressed in my post aren't from the viewpoint of the "regular game industry", rather as an indie developer. I spent two years making a couple of games, and losing a lot of money in the process. I didn't have a publisher, and it was entirely self-funded.

I'm concerned that friends I've made that have 'proper' games jobs will soon find their jobs harder to keep, and lower in pay. Secondly I'm worried that the de-valuation of skills caused by Kickstarter and the "indie image" mean that my dream of being able to make games and support my family will be impossible.

You're quite right about it being evolution and a threat to traditional publishers. I just really don't want to see a future where the games industry is like the music industry - bankrupting those with a passion to create something original.
 
Old 12 December 2012   #6
There seems to be no shortage of funds for pre-production storyboards. Go figure.


Originally Posted by RobertoOrtiz: Some quotes:

Recent Kickstarter campaigns have highlighted that there is a great unwillingness to crowd-fund an indie game with a realistic budget. Accusatory disbelief of development costs has been bandied about in comments on numerous articles around the inforweb.
""
 
Old 12 December 2012   #7
The only issue will be that kickstarter can raise only so much capital for a company because crowd-sharing will invariably reach its limit unless a millionaire investor decides to invest in a game in that method. AAA game titles that boast higher end visuals may throw out money by the bucket full because of decision changes in the process of development, however, the amount of artists required to work on a game released with AAA visuals is much greater than any indie game has ever matched. This leads to higher amounts of investments being required, which means crowd-sharing would be hard pressed to pick up the amount needed.

In reality a model might exist in the near future where both normal type of investments and crowd-sharing and used to fund the development of gaming, which would have great benefits in that it would allow normal people to have a greater stake in their AAA titles, and hopefully get something out of its success, while the game developer will be getting what it needs to complete their game.
 
Old 12 December 2012   #8
Quote: "But Notch made Minecraft by quitting his job," I hear you cry. Yes. That is all very well and good for a man with no mortgage, no family, and no children. How exactly is one to create an indie game when one has responsibilities? As any parent will tell you, spare time does not exist. Making your family live in poverty for your dream is not reasonable, responsible or fair. Asking for crowdfunding will elicit the same outraged responses of "you want to pay yourself? To pay your bills? You should be living in a shoebox to make this!"


Well you had the kid, the mortgage and the family. That is just part of getting married with kids and a house. It is a sacrifice. And if that means giving up your dream to make a game then so be it but if you are smart and work hard there are ways to do it. I see the plight but there are ways to do it. How much TV, Video games, newspapers, etc do you read or watch. You'd be suprised how many hours you can find.

Quote: If this trend continues we will fast approach the horrible state that music is in. A great many people spend their lives trying to 'make it', virtually none succeed, and even those that have moderate success normally rack up huge debts. The industry is polarised into original creative works that bankrupt their creators, and AAA sure-fire hits that cost vast sums to make but have all the originality of mechanically-recovered reformed ham.


Why are they racking up huge debt? It costs no money to practice at home or a garage. When you got it down it doesn't cost much to rent equipment to make a track, not anymore.
I think some artists, musicians in general go out to be rich and "make it" There are many musicians who don't "make it" but make a living doing music. The problem with music is the big boys are losing money and taking less risks. Playing it safe and have a smaller pie, while smaller folks are quickly no longer needing the big guys. And if they work it like a business and play it smart they can make a living. Being rich and famous should not be the first goal. Being able to feed yourself and make a living is a little more realistic.

I like Dave Chappelle's quote "If I can make a teacher's salary doing comedy, I think that's better than being a teacher.
"If I can make a teacher's salary doing comedy, I think that's better than being a teacher. "
Can you find a way in music to make a teacher's salary or more? Yes.

As far as the indie game prices, I'm sure the folks on kickstarter would love a bigger budget but have to work with what they can. I don't think it cheapens things. It just makes it possible for people to make their games, they can't help but do it on a budget.
 
Old 12 December 2012   #9
I wonder how much it cost him to develop that game of his. Mine's not as successful, but I'm certainly far from rich. I don't have to get rich to continue making games, but I think if I work hard enough eventually I'll derive some sort of sustainable wage from it.

I find a lot of his statements strange. For instance, he brings up a need for good salaries and job security, but forgets that these indie guys are essentially entrepreneurs. What person starting out on his own like that is going to have job security - or even a positive net income? If they had that, there wouldn't be any risk, and there's always risk when working for yourself or starting a small business.

Originally Posted by AangtheAvatar: Well you had the kid, the mortgage and the family. That is just part of getting married with kids and a house. It is a sacrifice. And if that means giving up your dream to make a game then so be it but if you are smart and work hard there are ways to do it. I see the plight but there are ways to do it. How much TV, Video games, newspapers, etc do you read or watch. You'd be suprised how many hours you can find.


Right, the guy's going on about it as if normal people can't have hobbies and talking about "payoffs" as if money is all that matters. You write a game, it's unsuccessful (such as mine), you learn from that and write another. I got a lot from the experience, just because it wasn't cash doesn't mean I should give up.

Last edited by trancerobot : 12 December 2012 at 03:54 PM.
 
Old 12 December 2012   #10
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