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[Column] General: Pausing before Pledging

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,614MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

There is no question that "The Rise of Kickstarter" is one of the biggest stories of 2012. In our latest Devil's Advocate, we take a look at recent changes in Kickstarter and why, just maybe, pausing before pledging is a good idea. Add your thoughts in the comments when finished reading.

There are a number of games, single-player or otherwise, that get their release dates pushed back in the AAA game space. If you take note of those timeframes, make smart comparisons to indie titles, and add some extra time just to be generous, you should come up with the realization that an MMO is probably not going to hit its targets all that accurately unless you've got some seriously talented people working themselves silly for you.

Read more of Victor Barreiro Jr.'s The Devil's Advocate: Pausing Before Pledging.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

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Comments

  • Dreamo84Dreamo84 Niagara Falls, NYPosts: 3,437Member Uncommon
    Very good read

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  • Dreamo84Dreamo84 Niagara Falls, NYPosts: 3,437Member Uncommon
    Also, it's very true that there is just a massive trend especially on this website of people bashing every single game and company out there. There's so many mmos that I do not play but I always try to look at least somewhat objective and find things good about the game.

    I've often joked that quoting stock prices and quarterly earnings reports is the real MMORPG meta game now. Very little constructive criticism and far more emotional rants and half assed predictions.

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  • gravesworngravesworn charleston, WVPosts: 324Member
    You are one of the best article writes this site offers, keep it up!
  • barezzbarezz Granite City, ILPosts: 140Member Uncommon

    The reasons why EA is making those decisions?  Ok I'll take a stab at it.

    Because TOR, at its foundation, struggles to hold player's attention.  Players get bored along the road to 50, or they get bored after hitting 50.  The  clas sstory is great, but everything else in that game, PvP, crafting, RP support, the economy, evry other system is second rate at best.  Players get bored, and they move on.  EA/Bopware took TOR F2P in an attempt to make more money.  They will benefit in the short term from renewed subscriptions for former players to get "free" coins, and some players will make purchases in the shop.

    In the long term, I imagine that TOR will end up like Age of Conan, plugging along with a small team, limited resources, and doing the best they can.

  • RocknissRockniss Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,034Member
    I wonder how many people actually like mmorpg's. It takes a good chunk of time to get to know any particular mmorpg you might be playing. At what point do you stop and ask yourself, " Do I even really like playing mmorpg's ?" I would say if you find that your someone that is complaining a lot, well.... You might not really like mmorpg's. I have to say that for what an mmorpg is, SWTOR isn't a bad game at all. So many people are WoW conditioned. WoW was my first mmorpg. I didn't know what one was until I played wow. I played, I liked, I was told it was an mmorpg, therefore I decided I must like mmorpg's. It sparks interest in the genre, I wind up on these forums and reading news on mmorpg's, just waiting to get that engaging feeling back that I had with wow, hopefully this next big triple A title will provide. After a few attempts GW2, SWTOR, ..... I think I'm just realizing that feeling I had, that engaging feeling, was just a one shot deal. Wow happened to be marketing at the right place (ESPN) at the right time, it got first dibs and I proceeded to spend my time in Azeroth becuase I couldn't wait to see what's next for my adventure. I hate to say it, but 4 years and 4 expacs later, I feel like any game I play, I've been there and done that.

    What's an mmorpg anyhow? Ask yourself that (we should openly define that anyhow) and then ask yourself if that's what you like, and then ask yourself as you define an mmorpg, how does SWTOR, GW2, TSW, WoW, Eve,..... and so on and so forth fit into the equation.
  • GdemamiGdemami Beau VallonPosts: 7,865Member Uncommon


    There are 2 people starting Kickstarter campaigns.

    1) Those who fail or failed already as business.
    2) Those who want to milk some money from gullible/stupid people.


    Donations, like all subsidies, making non-viable projects viable at the cost of healthy business environment.

  • victorbjrvictorbjr Quezon CityPosts: 185Member Uncommon

    Not sure if anyone will get to read this comment, buy Unsubject has a great post on Kickstarting MMOs that came out recently. 

     

    http://unsubject.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/kickstander-path-finding-and-kick-starting-round-2/

     

    More to the point, he found info that puts into doubt whether Pathfinder will succeed as an MMO. Food for thought, is all.

    A writer and gamer from the Philippines. Loves his mom dearly. :)

    Can also be found on http://www.gamesandgeekery.com

  • MumboJumboMumboJumbo LondonPosts: 3,221Member
    Originally posted by victorbjr

    Not sure if anyone will get to read this comment, buy Unsubject has a great post on Kickstarting MMOs that came out recently. 

    http://unsubject.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/kickstander-path-finding-and-kick-starting-round-2/

    More to the point, he found info that puts into doubt whether Pathfinder will succeed as an MMO. Food for thought, is all.

    > I’m curious that this extra funding will mean that PathO is delivered faster AND bigger,

    I'm guessing an earlier growth cycle means a general release which is bigger and faster by timeline comparison?

    >They also detailed how the money they’d received from the first Kickstarter had been spent – it was all gone, with only 90% of the original $308k in pledges being received and about half of all money collected spent on wages. How easily all that money was spent certainly raises a query about what would have happened if PathO had only raised the US$50k they initially asked for

    I don't know what they would have produced on that budget but they aimed for "great results" x7 ~ 350k. The thing is more backers means more value per pledge, so are stretch goals over the finish line or somewhere around the finish line in ks campaigns?

    >Crowdfunding appears to have shifted things to the point that it’s now considered acceptable to pay-for-beta years before the beta is actually ready and THEN serve as a QA service. If you don’t like what you see at the time the title launches, too late – your money was spent a long time ago.

    See:  Founders Packages or the current trend of pay to play alpha/beta - A marketing strategy to make good money, but develop unfinished products?

    Also the beta is "closer to delta" except with feature stubs; the early access (cheaper than general release), "crowdforging" association proffered.

    >And of course PathO faces the same challenges that every MMO – and indeed, every video game title – does

    100% true and even more so for mmorpgs. But many threads here at MMORPG.COM fed up with Publishers not taking risks!! image This looks like a good horse to put some money on... still odds are tough.

    ==

    Great list of KS MMORPGs - It's a boost for innovation in the mmorpg genre, pitching -> players. But locking your cash in mmorpgs is very risky as the publishers know too well. Tbh, what I've seen of Pathfinder Online, surprised MMORPG.COM is not more behind it. The 2nd KS it's v v tough target but could be very good the earlier it can be released, if the target is reached.

    More info: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1675907842/pathfinder-online-a-fantasy-sandbox-mmo FAQ

  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHPosts: 7,187Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Fendel84M
    Also, it's very true that there is just a massive trend especially on this website of people bashing every single game and company out there. There's so many mmos that I do not play but I always try to look at least somewhat objective and find things good about the game.

    I've often joked that quoting stock prices and quarterly earnings reports is the real MMORPG meta game now. Very little constructive criticism and far more emotional rants and half assed predictions.

    That is a load of nonsense.  People are critical of these MMO's for good reasons.  There is a lot of constructive criticism on this board if you take the time to read it.   Most posters list very legitimate reasons why they are critical.  

    MMO's are a lot different than your normal console game.   People expect to play and have fun with it well beyond the normal month or 6 weeks spent on a console game, yet these developers rarely provide even that much gameplay to occupy a player lately.  So yeah, SWTOR was fun for a console game, yet it was sorely lacking for a MMO.  You should learn the distinction.

    All these recent AAA titles have introduced nothing that adds to the genre.  We are still in the copy Wow phase, adding trival fluff that really adds little to gameplay.

    As to kickstarter campaigns, I just find them rather ridiculous for a MMO.   Even an Indie MMO will be going back to Kickstarter multiple times to even get close to finishing a MMO.

  • ZekiahZekiah Aurora, COPosts: 2,499Member

    Money donated to Kickstarter programs should be considered a monetary loss until proven otherwise.

    Period.

    "Censorship is never over for those who have experienced it. It is a brand on the imagination that affects the individual who has suffered it, forever." - Noam Chomsky

  • BurninatorXBurninatorX rancho cordova, CAPosts: 25Member
    Originally posted by Gdemami


    There are 2 people starting Kickstarter campaigns.

    1) Those who fail or failed already as business.
    2) Those who want to milk some money from gullible/stupid people.


    Donations, like all subsidies, making non-viable projects viable at the cost of healthy business environment.

     

    Dont forget about people who just dont want to go through a publisher. Some people want full control and freedom over their games develpment, pricing, etc. Not to mention that some things are a niche market idea, where it would do good in that niche market but publishers arent willing to take the risk. That or they just dont think its worth the time if its not going to make millions. Plus publishers often push developers into making rushed decisions or things not being as intended to meet deadlins.

     

     

    Look at Minecraft, theres no way any publisher would have touched that game with a 10ft pole, but now its selling by the millions and Notch gets plenty of offers to buy out his company. Your statement is just like saying that no unsigned musician is good because they couldnt get/dont have a record deal.

     

     

    Go look at Chivalry: Medieval Combat if you think no good games/ideas come out of crowd funding.

  • BurninatorXBurninatorX rancho cordova, CAPosts: 25Member
    Originally posted by Zekiah

    Money donated to Kickstarter programs should be considered a monetary loss until proven otherwise.

    Period.

     

    All things paid for should be considered a monetary loss untill proven usefull/entertaining.

     

     

    Period

     

     

    I like your logic

  • ZekiahZekiah Aurora, COPosts: 2,499Member
    Originally posted by BurninatorX
    Originally posted by Zekiah

    Money donated to Kickstarter programs should be considered a monetary loss until proven otherwise.

    Period.

     

    All things paid for should be considered a monetary loss untill proven usefull/entertaining.

     

     

    Period

     

     

    I like your logic

    Um no, actually most things are sold in their final and completed state and you know what you're buying.

    "Censorship is never over for those who have experienced it. It is a brand on the imagination that affects the individual who has suffered it, forever." - Noam Chomsky

  • GdemamiGdemami Beau VallonPosts: 7,865Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by BurninatorX

    Dont forget about people who just dont want to go through a publisher. Some people want full control and freedom over their games develpment, pricing, etc. Not to mention that some things are a niche market idea, where it would do good in that niche market but publishers arent willing to take the risk. That or they just dont think its worth the time if its not going to make millions.

    Yep, that is category 1).

  • erictlewiserictlewis Cottondale, ALPosts: 3,026Member Uncommon

    There is only one game on kickstarter that I believe will ever see a finished product.  And that is Star Citizen, now that game made wing commander, and yea a not so good movie.  But I beleive we will really get something out of it.

    I see a lot of crud on kickstarter, and I honestly believe they will never see the light of day, for instance greedmonger, the guy heading it up is not even a programmer of any sort. 

    The way I look at kickstarter, if you got the cash to spend and you are willing to loose it then that is your choice.  I only funded Star Citizen. 

     

  • MumboJumboMumboJumbo LondonPosts: 3,221Member

    >"but the idea that they're [Pathfinder Online] honest with the development phase is refreshing."

    Here's an update on the "Beta + Crowdforging process": What To Expect From Early Access Beta

    - The idea that mmorpgs CAN release earlier in development and mitigate some risk (albeit some players might not like the looks of an early game and form a negative impression), is overall a good sign for mmorpgs of the future + devs can base development around the players more.

     

  • KonfessKonfess Dallas, TXPosts: 952Member Uncommon
    Good Job. and a tip of the hat to Shava.

    Pardon any spelling errors
    Konfess your cyns and some maybe forgiven
    Boy: Why can't I talk to Him?
    Mom: We don't talk to Priests.
    As if it could exist, without being payed for.
    F2P means you get what you paid for. Pay nothing, get nothing.

  • BurntvetBurntvet Baltimore, MDPosts: 2,941Member Uncommon

    I threw a few bucks at the Wasteland 2 KS, for a simple reason: that particular game is almost assured to come out and be more or less what people expect it to be.

    One of the original creators of Wasteland came out said (in effect), "If I/we get this much money, we can make and release Wasteland 2 (no BS), if we get a little more, we'll make it better/bigger." Check. I liked Wasteland back in the day. Have at it, here's a few bucks.

    But for most of the other ones, and especially for the MMOs because of the larger pricetags, the money they want is for demos or sales models or to get into alpha because they ran out of money.  That is not a good reason at all to back these kinds of efforts (which are the vast majority). Those kinds of games do not inspire confidence and realistically have little chance of ever making it out the door. There is a reason most of these can't get straight up investors. BEcause investors want more than some vague plans.

    But people still "fall for it".

    Maybe it is aimed at younger people who are less critical of a sales pitch when they hear it.

    From what I have seen, the "bad" KS efforts far out number the "good" ones, and it is not even close.

     

     

  • BurntvetBurntvet Baltimore, MDPosts: 2,941Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Ozmodan
    Originally posted by Fendel84M
    Also, it's very true that there is just a massive trend especially on this website of people bashing every single game and company out there. There's so many mmos that I do not play but I always try to look at least somewhat objective and find things good about the game.

    I've often joked that quoting stock prices and quarterly earnings reports is the real MMORPG meta game now. Very little constructive criticism and far more emotional rants and half assed predictions.

    That is a load of nonsense.  People are critical of these MMO's for good reasons.  There is a lot of constructive criticism on this board if you take the time to read it.   Most posters list very legitimate reasons why they are critical.  

    MMO's are a lot different than your normal console game.   People expect to play and have fun with it well beyond the normal month or 6 weeks spent on a console game, yet these developers rarely provide even that much gameplay to occupy a player lately.  So yeah, SWTOR was fun for a console game, yet it was sorely lacking for a MMO.  You should learn the distinction.

    All these recent AAA titles have introduced nothing that adds to the genre.  We are still in the copy Wow phase, adding trival fluff that really adds little to gameplay.

    As to kickstarter campaigns, I just find them rather ridiculous for a MMO.   Even an Indie MMO will be going back to Kickstarter multiple times to even get close to finishing a MMO.

    I completely agree.

    And also on the bit for MMOs.

    When they need millions and millions of dollars to have any chance of getting anything resembling a decent (even stripped down) MMO, a few hundred K here and there is not going to get it done.

    I can see KS being useful to resurrect some of the old abandoned game franchises many of us liked over the years (Wasteland being the example in my case) but for MMO funding, I will be shocked if any KS mmo comes to release without being a game like Mortal Online (which is about half a step above Dark and Light).

     

  • BurninatorXBurninatorX rancho cordova, CAPosts: 25Member
    Originally posted by Zekiah
    Originally posted by BurninatorX
    Originally posted by Zekiah

    Money donated to Kickstarter programs should be considered a monetary loss until proven otherwise.

    Period.

     

    All things paid for should be considered a monetary loss untill proven usefull/entertaining.

     

     

    Period

     

     

    I like your logic

    Um no, actually most things are sold in their final and completed state and you know what you're buying.

    So you know exactly how a movie or CD is going to be the whole way through the first time? you know how a game will be the whole way through and how long its going to take you before you play through it? You don't know what you're getting in those instances. You also dont know how effective something with a use is until you get home to use it.

     
  • BurninatorXBurninatorX rancho cordova, CAPosts: 25Member
    Originally posted by erictlewis

    There is only one game on kickstarter that I believe will ever see a finished product.  And that is Star Citizen, now that game made wing commander, and yea a not so good movie.  But I beleive we will really get something out of it.

    I see a lot of crud on kickstarter, and I honestly believe they will never see the light of day, for instance greedmonger, the guy heading it up is not even a programmer of any sort. 

    The way I look at kickstarter, if you got the cash to spend and you are willing to loose it then that is your choice.  I only funded Star Citizen. 

     

     

    Theres several games that have been funded and made since kickstarter started. Just go take a look at Chivalry: Medieval Warfare. That game is tons of fun and was in steams top 10 selling titles for weeks after release.

  • AkumawraithAkumawraith Fort wayne, INPosts: 335Member Common
    Originally posted by Gdemami


    There are 2 people starting Kickstarter campaigns.

    1) Those who fail or failed already as business.
    2) Those who want to milk some money from gullible/stupid people.


    Donations, like all subsidies, making non-viable projects viable at the cost of healthy business environment.

     

    Then there are poeple like Chris Roberts as RSI who have become legends in the gaming industry, have watched the gaming industry go to crap and decided it needed a face lift. He started developing Star Citizen outside the coorperate shell and managed to not only gain nearly 7 million in crowd funding and kickstarter funding but also interacts with his community.

    You cannot bunch all kickstarters together. some have set goals and honest foundations. Then you have the ones who are out to scam, milk and pander the gamers or whoever else and thats where all the bad press comes in.

    I am glad Chris Roberts has used the kick starter and crowdfunding programs to set an example. As a 250 dollar founding donator for Star Citizen, I am proud to support a game designer that has a proven track record in the gaming industry.

    As for an MMORPG to watch out for that was on the kickstarter list.. im looking forward to Citadel of Sorcery.
     

    Played: UO, LotR, WoW, SWG, DDO, AoC, EVE, Warhammer, TF2, EQ2, SWTOR, TSW, CSS, KF, L4D, AoW, WoT

    Playing: The Secret World until Citadel of Sorcery goes into Alpha testing.

    Tired of: Linear quest games, dailies, and dumbed down games

    Anticipating:Citadel of Sorcery

  • GdemamiGdemami Beau VallonPosts: 7,865Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by Akumawraith

    You cannot bunch all kickstarters together.

    Sure I can because that is a principle of Kickstarter.


    If game developer is promising and their project having solid business potential, there will be no issue to find an investor. So what do you need additional money for?

    If you still ask for donations, there is something wrong either with your business plan or you just want that new sports car that your contract does not cover. There are only two options possible, the ones I pointed out.


    There is a fundamental issue of difference between donation and investment. Investment includes expectation or liability of gain. It creates pressure on companies and individuals to produce what you, as a consumer, want to buy, something you like and keeping the business financially viable.

    With donation, this liability is lost. You can create whatever you want, regardless of your ability, or rather inability in this case, to deliver promised product, regardless of your business skill, regardless of your commercial viability, regardless if anyone is going to like your product, and that is because there is no obligation for money spent. This is very bad for business.


    You turn something non-viable and deemed to never see the light of the market and you make it released, unsuccessful final product.

    Even with legit investing methods, vast majority of newly established business close down within first 3 years of existence, and Kickstarter only supports even higher failure rate because if the your business fails, your donors paid for it, not you.

    How much sense does it make to support such attitude? None.

    I can understand the argument that you want something new on the market, to fill the hole, something you are missing but Kickstarter is not the way because the only result is the opposite - you get even more products you do not like.


    As for Chris Roberts or anyone in fact, buy their game once it release, buy 20 of them but do not spend a dime before it is done. That is the only way to make developers to make games YOU like.

  • IcewhiteIcewhite Elmhurst, ILPosts: 6,403Member
    Originally posted by Fendel84M
    I've often joked that quoting stock prices and quarterly earnings reports is the real MMORPG meta game now. Very little constructive criticism and far more emotional rants and half assed predictions.

    You learn, after enough years on forums, to not take those kinds of arguments at all seriously.  See: Subscription-based Ad Numerum, X-Fire hours, etc.

    Let 'em babble and play with their crystal balls, if it makes them happy.  If kickstarter is how they wish to spend their cash, more joy to 'em.  Speculation in the MMO Futures Market seems about as likely to pay off as speculating on a Power Ball ticket, but...

    Mama Leona, the psychic palm reader, stays out of jail because she can sell it as Entertainment every time the bunko squad comes around.  Kickstarter only has to sell it as a charity to the FTC.

    Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  • SpottyGekkoSpottyGekko RotterdamPosts: 3,845Member Uncommon

    I've no doubt that 98% of KS funded MMO development efforts will fall flat on their faces. Unless they happen to raise 30M or 40M dollars via Kickstarter...

    Now, it IS possible that your small team of inexperienced but brilliant developers will manage to do what nobody else in the mainstream game industry has managed to do in the last 14 years, i.e. produce a AAA-quality MMO with a total development budget just a million or two dollars. It IS possible, but the chance is extremely remote.

    Single-player games will fare somewhat better, because their funding needs are orders of magnitude smaller than MMO's, and the SPG's can successfully be aimed at niche markets. There's also no need for the developers of SPG's to worry about the organisational and logistical complexities of ongoing support and development of a running MMO.

     

    The one thing that Kickstarter may be good for is helping a development team to develop a demo AND demonstrate strong support for their game design. That might enable them to find a publisher or solid financial backer. However, that will most likely mean that they will have to give up varying degrees of control over the development process, as well as the content of the final product. You get nothing for nothing...

     

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