The Travesties of Kickstarter
Evan Harvey, Guest June 19th, 2018, 9:00 pm
The First Travesty
Many projects on Kickstarter present the consumer with an idealized product in the beginning they hope to achieve. One of the first problems presented by Kickstarter is the aspect that, for the most part, there is nothing you can really do to effect development of the product and there is no guarantee it will live up to any expectations the developer creates around it.
The creator makes a fancy presentation about all the wonderful things it will do to help you and the others willing to donate to the cause. They constantly throw out buzz words in order to entice the user that this is going to be something that changes their life, and perhaps the creator does have genuinely good intentions, but there have been too many products that simply don’t live up to the expectations thrusted upon it.
There are numerous examples of failed Kickstarter projects even though they made their goal and for some even produced the product. One example of this revolves around the game Mighty No. 9 which had been in development for over five years before its release. It had reached its Kickstarter goal very early when it was created, but in a Kotaku article, “After a series of frustrating delays,” it goes to give the developers point of view of why the game had turned out so badly, going on to say “I’m kind of loath to say this because it’s going to sound like an excuse and I don’t want to make any excuses. I own all the problems that came with this game” (Klepek). The release had turned out to be an absolute disaster, many consumers had felt duped by the words and façade displayed by its creator because this interview revealed they knew the quality of game they were going to produced yet instead abused the hype built around the project and made it out as something it’s not.
The Second Travesty
The second largest problem is that projects can be created, receive revenue from unknowing consumers, and they can produce no product while simultaneously never returning the funds. Easily one of the most controversial issues of Kickstarter and rightfully so, there is a constant stream of products that are either revealed to be Scams, or are in an endless cycle of apparent development that can end with the product being deemed a failure, scrapped by the developers, and never be heard from again, rendering all investments made from sources useless.
Generally speaking, yes there are many developers that don’t intend to for their projects to never be fully realized, but there are others who abuse the system of Kickstarter to scam people out of their money and for the most part nothing in their policy covers events like these. Take for example, an article produced by digital trends about the many scam projects that have shown up on Kickstarter.
One of the projects was produced by a company known as Elio Motors who launched a project to make a fuel efficient three-wheeled electric vehicle. The important part is the product must be just believable enough to get people to believe it’s possible to make at some point but never tell them what is truly happening behind the scenes. According to the article, the company “The company was certainly good at one thing: Raising money from casual investors, to the tune of $17 million for its first crowdfunding round, including over 65,000 that reserved a model ahead of time . . . burned through its investment money in only a few short months, primarily on suspicious soft expenses easily summed up as ‘paychecks’ . . . now obvious there will never be an Elio scooter” (Carpenter).
On the opposite end of the spectrum you have projects like the Star Citizen whose projects grows even higher and higher without an end in development in sight over its seven-year span. Its cost and greediness has only raised even higher, most recently as noted by ScreenRant with its “27,000$ bundle of starships and unique in-game content to high-end investors” (Morrison). Remember, this is for a project that hasn’t even been released and it has the audacity to ask for even more money when at this point in its life its more likely to fail than to ever to succeed.
All In all there are many other, more reliable sources of crowdfunding with stronger regulations that enforce certain criteria for like certain backer guarantees and insurance for higher investors.
Carpenter, Nicole. “The 5 Biggest crowdfunding failures of all time.” Digital Trends, https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/biggest-kickstarter-and-indiegogo-scams/. Accessed 19 July 2018.
Klepek, Patrick. “Mighty No. 9’s Designer says “I own all the problems that came with this game.” Kotaku, https://kotaku.com/mighty-no-9-s-designer-says-i-will-own-all-the- proble- 1782382706. Accessed 19 July 2018.
Morrison, Matt. “Star Citizen is really pushing the Patience (and wallets) of its community.” Screen Rant, https://screenrant.com/star-citizen-legatus-pack-bundle/. Accessed 19 July 2018.
VentureBeat. Venture Beat, 2018, https://venturebeat.com/. Accessed 19 July 2018