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Crowdfunding & Accountability

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The past ~10 years has led to a barrage of developers who would never be given the time of day if they stepped into a legitimate production office, but who then turn to crowdfunding websites begging for millions of dollars to create their dream. A few impassioned paragraphs, a dose of nostalgia, a slick 2 minute trailer of a game that doesn't actually exist, and a plea to the fans that they "are going to do things differently". That's all it takes for people to start opening their wallets and pouring in seed funding. With very few exceptions, all of these projects have failed horribly or are on the verge of being shuttered due to wild mismanagement, arrogance, and greed.

What no one wants to admit is that in any normal company, when you are working on a project of this size (let's say, >$2MM), you still have to constantly answer to your superiors/investors no matter how amazingly talented or famous you think you are. Everyone hates producers but this is basically the one check they have to ensure things don't spiral wildly out of control with the designers, artists, creative directors, etc. This has completely gone out the window with crowdfunding because there are no actual investors or superiors. There is a recurring theme of people thinking they are "investing" in these games when they donate, but it's no different than dropping a dollar in the tip jar when you get your morning coffee — that money is gone and will never be seen again. And no, you are not entitled to a refund if you did it on Kickstarter or a company like it.

Once these campaigns conclude, and if they are successful, you are left with teams of arrogant game designers who not only think they are infallible, but also savvier in business than any Fortune 500 CEO. Despite literally begging thousands of average people for money because they couldn't find legitimate investment, these developers for whatever reason are under the impression that they have no obligation to provide transparency, timely / substantial updates, or any number of things that would be reasonably expected of someone in their position. Instead, they abuse the good will of fans who want nothing more than to enjoy the next great game, promising things they know they can't deliver barring some act of God. After all, at the end of the day they know they already have your money. The only reason these projects keep popping up is specifically because there is no accountability, which Kickstarter spells out very clearly in their ToS.

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I often see people on this subreddit claiming that the majority of users only want to shit on upcoming games and complain about everything. I'm not going to lie there's definitely a small subset of users here that partake in that behavior. The vast majority however are just tired of the bullshit. They are tired of these crowdfund devs promising the world and then running half a decade late and millions of dollars over budget, with little to nothing to show for it. Yes, making an MMO is a monumental task. Which is precisely why it's so naive to think that some random guy who is donated $1,000,000 – $2,000,000 on Kickstarter is going to be the one to break the mold. What makes it substantially worse is that most of these games have a small base of rabid fans that will take any legitimate criticism as a personal affront, and launch into endless tirades even after the company's doors have shuttered.

This post will be downvoted into oblivion but on the off chance anyone reads this far here is the takeaway:

You are pissing away your money when you give to these projects. Projects that actually have a chance of success do not have to resort to begging and gimmicks. Investors like making money, it's the entire reason they exist. They are well aware when they see a project that has the potential to make them an ROI, even a small one. If there isn't a single investor on the planet willing to put their money behind a project, that doesn't mean every single investor on the planet is misguided, it means the project either isn't viable, or is not capable of being produced by the proposed party.

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