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Star Citizen turns to Kickstarter after crowdfunding site troubles
 Star Citizen  turns to Kickstarter after crowdfunding site troubles
October 18, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

October 18, 2012 | By Eric Caoili
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Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts and his studio have launched a Kickstarter campaign for Star Citizen after facing difficulties with running a crowdfunding campaign outside of the platform.

The servers that Roberts' Cloud Imperium set up for its custom crowdfunding site collapsed due to traffic, and made it impossible for would-be pledgers to donate money to the campaign for several days. So the studio has decided to turn to a "stable and scalable crowd funding platform" in Kickstarter.

But just last week, Roberts told Gamasutra that he preferred to avoid the platform: "The problem I have with Kickstarter is that it's better than the publisher setup, but it's still another party. Essentially you bifurcate your audience." He argued that having a single site that fans visit, instead of both a Kickstarter page and the official hub, simplifies developers' relationships with players.

"I'd rather have one site that I can theme, like the idea of [Cloud Imperium subsidiary] Roberts Space Industries," he added. Roberts then admitted, "The downside is that they've had a lot of time to work through the kinks. Our site's gone down quite a few times because there are too many people visiting it."

Kickstarter is seen as the standard for crowdfunding among game developers, but more and more studios are experimenting with running campaigns outside of the platform -- Introversion has already managed to raise over $270,000 through its site, while Infinite Game Publishing attracted $5 million in preorders earlier this year.

Cloud Imperium will continue to raise money for Star Citizen's development through its standalone site as well, and those who previously pledged donations should not be affected. Even though Roberts was vocal about his Kickstarter criticisms, he notes that the crowdfunding platform's team was "quick to offer help and have been great as we put together a solution."

Despite these problems, the campaign has already managed to raise around half of its minimum funding goal of $2 million since announcing the space sim last week. He is also seeking funding for the PC game from private investors.


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Comments


William Cunningham
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makse sense. Kickstarter is a pretty stable platform, but there are others. I go over these in an article I wrote on How to Crowdfund: http://crowdfundingnow.blogspot.com/2012/10/how-to-crowdfund.html

Maria Jayne
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This to me, looks like a money grab, get every penny you can with no outsiders getting a cut. When that well is dry, move on to kickstarter and see if you can get some more, It's the smart thing to do really.

As far as needing a unified website to communicate with fans, none of the other projects that I helped fund continued to communicate with me via kickstarter after it ended. If you care enough you'll register for their newsletter or on the official forum, if you don't you just need an email to all your contributors when the game is ready for them.

Michael DeFazio
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So cynical...
"get every penny you can with no outsiders getting a cut. When that well is dry, move on to kickstarter and see if you can get some more "

If I were to raise capital for any business or project, I would want as many people as possible to hear about it and give them the opportunity to invest, wouldn't you ? (and who are these "outsiders" you speak of... are they like the underpants gnomes or something?)

You must be lots of fun at cocktail parties (a money grab... for a PC only title... really?)
Truth be told I'm not into the space sim genre, but from watching the video, you can tell that this is Chris's passion project (I mean all the stuff about thrusters and physics... you don't model all that just for a quick cash grab)

Best of luck to him... seems like he will be able to deliver given what I've seen from his video thus far.

Aleksander Adamkiewicz
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If you are insinuating fraud on Chris' part, you better have some evidence to back it up...

Ron Dippold
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I think this was more naivete than cynical money grab. He's just not that kind of guy . Scalability is HARD, but nobody realizes that till it crushes them.

I'm quite sure he would never have gone to Kickstarter (and given up 10% of his funding) if he hadn't had to admit that Amazon has a better infrastructure than anything he can cobble together.

Maria Jayne
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@ Michael

"and who are these "outsiders" you speak of... are they like the underpants gnomes or something?"

I thought it was common knowledge all crowd funding sites took a cut of every successfully funded project on their sites. In this case, kickstarter was the outsider, try and keep up, it's only mentioned seven times in the article you're frothing under.

"I would want as many people as possible to hear about it and give them the opportunity to invest, wouldn't you ?"

What i said...."It's the smart thing to do really" however firing all your guns on day one leaves you empty, hence why I suggested getting private funding first allows them to keep more of the cut before they go to the underpants gnomes.

"You must be a lot of fun at cocktail parties"

I'm hilarious fun, can't you see it in my avatar?

Michael DeFazio
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@Maria

...fair enough, the "outsiders" are KickStarter... but why is this a money-grab?...a money grab implies some sort of fraud:

"money grab - Obtaining money from someone without returning anything of real value. Requiring someone to pay a fee out of purely greedy or opportunistic motives."
--source:
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=money%20grab

--I mean if you've got the marketing muscle and infrastructure to handle online donations then go for it... (why pay someone else a cut to do it?) ... if that isn't in your wheelhouse (as it appears Mr. Roberts bit off more than he could chew) then get someone else to do it and give them a cut.

I guess seeing this comment alongside all the negative comments you left in the Project Eternity Thread
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/179461/Obsidians_Project_Etern
ity_is_the_mostbacked_video_game_Kickstarter.php#.UIFBMsXA-Qo
...inspired me to respond, geez have some faith other people aren't trying to scam you all the time.

Edit: Here's an "apology" video from Chris Roberts about the whole ordeal:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=-zN5q7sBKm
c#
he seems to have a good attitude about it

Benjamin Quintero
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This is such an "I told you so" moment.

There is a strong likelihood of failure now that he's done the exact thing that he was hoping to avoid; splitting his fans by collecting half on his site and half on Kickstarter. Just no good at all =(...

This is makes the whole thing look really sloppy for him. I really do hope he makes it, but I wouldn't hold my breath either...

Michael DeFazio
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I know some projects (Wasteland 2) took Paypal from their website as well as through Kickstarter... there is something wrong with that? (I'm honestly asking, if I discover it through one avenue or the other does it matter? why? (I heard they get "skimmed" less for direct Paypal payments... less transaction costs)

Likelihood of failure? Seems like he's halfway there...

$1million + on his page:
http://www.robertsspaceindustries.com/star-citizen/

and ~$78K on kickstarter with a month to go

If I were a gamblin man, I'd say he'll hit his goals ($1.5 mill through kickstarter & personal site combined) guess we'll see.

Benjamin Quintero
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Like I said. I hope he makes it. But he came out very vocal against doing exacty what he is doing now. So it doesnt reflect on him as well as what most devs do which is have kickstarter and then paypal for those who dont/cant use amazon payments. Ive never understod his beef with 3rd party crowdfunding and his argument against it just felt like a weak excuse than a legit complaint against that system. Migrating contributors to your own site is as easy as posting a link.

Trent Tait
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We have Chris to thank for a lot of innovations in the space sim genre. I'm normally reasonably cynical but Chris has always seemed to me like the guy who just wants to make his dream space game, and has the ability to do it.

I'd like to add that I didn't even know about the game until this article. THANKS!

Jane Castle
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Haters gonna hate......


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