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'Kickstarter is starting to wear itself out. Itís a numbers game.'
'Kickstarter is starting to wear itself out. Itís a numbers game.'
February 14, 2013 | By Frank Cifaldi

February 14, 2013 | By Frank Cifaldi
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    29 comments
More: Indie, Business/Marketing



"Kickstarter is starting to wear itself out. Itís a numbers game."
- Gas Powered Games founder Chris Taylor reflects on his failed Wildman Kickstarter campaign at a conference in Europe (as reported by Venture Beat).

Speaking just after he cancelled the campaign four days shy of its end date -- and just before today's announcement that Wargaming has acquired the studio -- Taylor lamented that Kickstarter backers have lost their enthusiasm as they wait for bigger projects to get released.

ďPeople had spent a lot of money on other Kickstarters and were waiting for those games to arrive,Ē he said. ďWe also started just after Christmas, when people had already spent money.Ē

Wargaming acquired Gas Powered Games for an undisclosed sum. The studio joins recent acquisitions from the World of Tanks maker that include FEAR 3 developer Day 1 Studios and MMO middleware provider Big World.


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Comments


GameViewPoint Developer
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Players back the games they want to play and leave alone the ones they don't, simple.

Dave Smith
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not necessarily. If the games they want to play fail to launch or aren't what the players wanted, will they continue to back kickstarters? I dont know, but time will tell.

GameViewPoint Developer
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I think it's fair to say that the model will evolve, and players will start to know who are the developers worth backing or not.

Maria Jayne
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Personally I had money for a kickstarter and I still do, but Wild Man wasn't something I was happy to donate to. I may have bought the finished product, but I had no faith it would be good before I could see it.

The last and only game I enjoyed from Gas Powered was Supreme Commander, it's been a long time since that was released. They don't have a proven track record of making games I enjoy.

I'm aware people donate as if being charitable, personally I donate because I want the game they are making. If I don't want the game, there are better charities that need donations than people making video games.

Robert Boyd
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People pledged over half a million dollars to a project with a dubious chance of a success from a studio that had just fired off most of its workforce. That's not a sign of kickstarter slowing down; if anything, it's the opposite.

Michael Kolb
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I definitely agree, as a backer, and we would have to see other projects that set such a high goal not being funded before you could run with the quote he said.

Lance Thornblad
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Agreed, and the layoffs came four days into the campaign. Terrible timing, to say the least.

David Paris
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Agreed. He wanted a lot of money for a project that just didn't look that sexy. I think the mistake is in thinking you can simply fund full large games this way. Getting millions for your game idea is a fluke, not a reliable occurance.

Kyle Redd
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@Robert

Well... to be clear, the layoffs did not happen until well after the Kickstarter campaign began (and not until after it was obvious it would fail). At the beginning, no one had any idea that GPG was in trouble.

Taylor probably has a point. Had the Wildman campagin been launched a year ago, it probably would've succeeded, riding the wave of enthusiasm coming off the success of Double Fine and inXile.

I think it simply has a lot to do with timing. Wildman was pitched as a RPG/MOBA hybrid, but right now, gamers have DotA 2, Diablo III, League of Legends, and Torchlight II to satisfy their desire for those types of experiences. Meanwhile, quality 2D turn-based RPGs have been M.I.A. for a long while now, so when projects like Wasteland and Eternity came out, backers embraced them for satisfying deeply pent-up demand. Same with point-and-click adventure fans being served by Double Fine Adventure (and now Dreamfall Chapters).

Robert Boyd
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"Well... to be clear, the layoffs did not happen until well after the Kickstarter campaign began (and not until after it was obvious it would fail)."

The layoffs happened during the first week of the kickstarter.

Scott Woodbury
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I hope Wargaming does well for GPG and Chris Taylor. I don't disagree with his comment but since I was a backer I think there is still plenty of room for good games to be made. Saturation seems to have an impact, we can only support so many projects. I did forgo other genres and other projects to support Wildman and now that it's canceled I will be looking to support others.

I think Indy Devs and Backers need to find a balance for price point, funding requirements and number of games the market can sustain. There will always be a peek and vally in the process and Wildman is a clear case where it has support from industry peers but failed to have a large enough impact to the masses. Perhaps better timing would have made the difference

Ian Fisch
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I think the problem here was his kickstarter campaign.

He didn't properly explain the idea behind Wildman until late into the campaign (with help from us backers who actually rewrote the body of the kickstarter).

He also asked for $1 million without showing anything more than concept art. If you want that kind of money, you need to show a lot more than that.

Arthur Souza
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This. The project failed, this project was not good enough to get 1 million dollars without showing anything, that's all.

Joseph Cook
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Yep.

I've backed some games Kickstarters, I haven't backed others. I wouldn't hesitate to back another interesting pitch. I read the pitch for Wildman, didn't understand it, and by the time he had clarified everything about the pitch the entire Kickstarter had devolved into begging for saving the company, instead of focusing on the pitch itself. At that point I was no longer interested, and no longer confident that they would be able to deliver to what they promised if they did meet their goal.

Cosmo Ray
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That's interesting, I didn't know the backers had rewritten the body text. The problem was definitely with the campaign. I've loved almost every game that's come out of GPG but the video really failed to inspire or explain what the game was or how it would distinguish itself from similar games in the genre. The text should really supplement and reiterate key information already enticingly conveyed in the video, as the vast majority of potential backers will never read it.

Kyle Redd
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I don't think just having concept art had anything to do with it. Keep in mind that Double Fine Adventure, Project Eternity, Wasteland 2, and Planetary Annihilation had no more to show than Wildman did, and they did just fine.

Duong Nguyen
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The biggest problem with GPG kickstarter is they didn't engage the audience. They just released more content ( videos ) preaching to the choir, who already probably contributed. Kickstarter is like any other form of advertisement, you need to engage the undecided and get your message out there to those who haven't even heard of GPG. Look at the kickstarters which succeed, they constantly upsell and hit different mediums to draw in more funders.

David Marcum
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I've noticed that, for the most part, if a high profile game doesn't gets the funding needed from a kickstarter campaign, the response from the campaigners is that kickstarter is in trouble. If they succeed then kickstarter is a tough but effective way to secure the funds. But you need to earn it by running a good campaign.

There are some exceptions to the sour grapes response of a failed campaign, but as a general rule, I think it's the most common. And they will eventually be right - it will peak and become less a funding machine. Granted also it would be embarrassing to be the lead of a high profile failed campaign. And let's face it, in business, humility is respected and punished, so many of the leads probably felt that they had to leave that virtue behind.

Aaron Fowler
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KickStarter is not wearing itself out. There are still plenty of games that are getting funding like crazy. Some campaigns were even launched after the Wildman campaign and surpassed Wildman's funding within a couple of days. I don't hear about any of those campaigns complaining that KickStarter is wearing itself out.

We need to stop pointing fingers and making up excuses. We need to be honest with ourselves. Then and only then, can we move forward.

Andrew Grapsas
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Wildman... was a horrible pitch. I mean... seriously? "You're a WILDMAN!" Woooo! It's not Kickstarter's fault the game didn't inspire the masses to break out their wallets.

Paul Grayston
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The sad truth is that the people that really lose out in all of this are the real indie teams, small groups of four or less people who do not have a AAA title or titles under their belt, people that don't have big business backers and publishers they can turn to, but are being squeezed out of the kickstarter system by all of these other AAA studios who see a potential pie and they want some.

I think, in fact I would love to see a new category on Kickstarter called Indie where they only allow small real indie teams to list.

if I want to throw my money at a AAA company for a game I will do it via a shop, if I want to back a struggling inde team and help them get their game out I will use Kickstarter, at least thats how it should be.

Robert Boyd
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If you segregated indie kickstarters & kickstarters from more established studios, it would end up doing more harm than good. The success from these bigger studios has driven a lot of traffic to kickstarter (some of which spills over to smaller teams) that just wasn't there a couple years ago.

Mac Senour
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This reminds me a lot of the David Crane Kickstarter situation.

Ian Fisch
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Wildman was 1,000,000x more legit than the david crane one. Just saying.

Justin Sawchuk
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The problem with the pitch was no one had any idea what type of wildman was at least not from watching the 4 minute video.

James Coote
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Well, I backed Wildman for $2, because I wanted it to succeed, but I wasn't all that interested in the game itself, and I can't afford to stretch to $45 anyway

I don't want posters and t-shirts, I want people to succeed, and I for one, will continue to treat kickstarter as a crowdfunding platform and not a pre-orders platform, even if that is what it has become

Johan Wendin
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No Chris, Wildman just wasn't that interesting. Your infinity-tech would have been a better candidate for the kickstarter.

Kris Morness
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I'm sad to see some of these comments. I backed Wildman and was hopeful it would have been funded, but it fell short. And I imagine the project might move forward now. If anything, the Kickstarter campaign succeeded in getting him enough press to get a publisher to buy.

Chris Taylor has been responsible for several of my favorite games over the years and he's a passionate developer that cares for his people, his craft, and is a hard worker.

Francois Verret
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He nevertheless sabotaged his own Kickstarter campaign. Also, as the man leading the project, he should take the blame instead of laying it on an hypothetical Kickstarter loss of steam.


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