May 10, 2012

Gaming Company Jumping the Shark

Paizo & Kickstarter Jumping the Shark
I got an email this morning announcing Paizo Publishing jumping on the Kickstarter bandwagon and I have concluded that either Kickstarter or Paizo, possibly both, has officially jumped the shark.

From my email announcement: "Goblinworks Inc. is proud to announce our first Kickstarter project for the Pathfinder Online MMORPG. The Pathfinder Online Technology Demo Kickstarter will help Goblinworks finance the creation of a Technology Demo that we can use to show investors what Pathfinder Online will look like. Successful funding of this Kickstarter will also demonstrate the community's desire and excitement for Pathfinder Online."

Seriously?!

Kickstarter was a great way to get funding for your projects.  At first it was used to create either some substantial product or to patronize some artistic endeavors.  Now it is just being used as a way to fund crap without having to have any of your own skin in the game.

Why bother with the true entrepreneurial spirit when you can just appeal to a bunch of folks to throw money at you?  As a potential investor in any Kickstarter project I am going to.....you know what, my whole analogy is flawed from the get-go because people that give money to Kickstarter projects aren't investors, they are donors.  There is an important difference.

With investments you hope to recoup some return on your investment.  With a donation you are freely giving your money away.  Investments carry some risk, which is why you expect a return, but with donations you are parted from your money forever.  Isn't there a saying about being parted from your money?

Sure...if you donate X amount of dollars you can get Y benefit from the project.  Is that any different than getting a book-bag for donating to Public Television?  Yes, you might get to see your favorite product come to market and if they are successful you might even get a "free" copy!  That isn't an investment....that is a pre-sale....on a product that might not even come to fruition!  No refunds because you donated to the R&D.

This brings me back to this particular Kickstarter project.  It isn't even for a real product!  They want you to "invest" your money so they can do R&D for a demo game.  Not a real game product, but a demo.  If you toss money at these guys they will gladly take it so they can try to put something together to sell to a third party that will then....possibly....maybe....sell the finished product back to you.

It's like venture capitalism without the capitalism.

Think about it...what is the upside here?



Special thanks to WebdesignHot and VectorOpenStock for their free graphics I used in my illustration.



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