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What if you can't deliver your Kickstarter-funded project?
What if you can't deliver your Kickstarter-funded project?
September 4, 2012 | By Eric Caoili




What happens when you have to delay or abandon a game project that was crowdfunded on Kickstarter? Do you have to refund all the money you received? How are developers held accountable?

Kickstarter updated the Frequently Asked Questions portions of its site on Tuesday to answer those questions, and emphasize that it's not responsible for making sure creators complete their crowdfunded projects -- that responsibility rests solely on developers.

The company boasts that it doesn't guarantee the completion of any projects -- the FAQ reads: "A Kickstarter where every project is guaranteed would be the same safe bets and retreads we see everywhere else. The fact that Kickstarter allows creators to take risks and attempt to create something ambitious is a feature, not a bug."

Though Kickstarter cannot guarantee that developers will finish their games and fulfill all rewards, the site's Terms of Use requires creators to refund backers if they can't deliver -- so those backers do have a legal recourse if they never receive what was promised to them for their pledge.

Game makers are also expected to post a Project Update (which is emailed to backers) if they run into any problems that would delay or cancel their titles. If it's become impossible to complete your game, Kickstarter suggests you talk with backers to offer refunds, detail how their pledges were spent, and do whatever you can to satisfy donators.

Kickstarter notes that it's making efforts to improve accountability and fulfillment, as it's now requiring creators to list an "Estimated Delivery Date" for all rewards, and has brought in more staff to combat fraud and other guideline violations.

However, the company says it does not intend to screen projects based on whether creators can complete their projects: "On Kickstarter, people ultimately decide the validity and worthiness of a project by whether they decide to fund it."


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Comments


Jeremy Reaban
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Well, does NCSoft have to refund the money I spent on City of Heroes which they closed down only a year after going free to play?

I'm not sure how that is any better than trying to make a game and failing. If they knew the game didn't have a future, why did they take people's money?

Sean Scarfo
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Um, its called CASHING OUT. They needed money to stay afloat while they attempted to secure other funding. Obviously, that didn't happen.

Mark Ludlow
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I'm not sure how they are similar scenarios. City of Heroes already existed when people started paying for it, and the EULA would have stated that NCSoft reserved the right to shut the server down at any time so people knew it may not be forever.

A Kickstarter project is like booking tickets to a show. At the time you purchase the tickets, the company has every intention of putting on the show, however, something may go wrong in the meantime (such as the venue becomes unavailable, or their lead actor gets sick, etc.) and they become unable to put it on anymore. The new rules just make sure that people who paid for the tickets aren't left empty handed because of it.

Michael Rooney
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The most similar situation would be pre-ordering CoH and it never coming out. You got the product you paid for. Why would you expect a refund?

A S
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People need to take responsibility for their actions.

While it may not be immediately obvious, what you are doing on Kickstarter or Indiegogo or any of those sites is angel investing. They dress it up in gamification and you win prizes for contributing certain amounts, but you have absolutely no guarantee of getting anything, and the responsibility for due diligence is entirely on yourself. It's an entirely different transaction from a shop purchase.


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