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Jason Clement

Polygon: Big Indie Kickstarters Are Killing Actual Indies

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http://www.polygon.com/2015/5/19/8624665/big-indie-kickstarters-are-killing-actual-indies

 

I don't usually post about Polygon articles, but this is a pretty great read about how the big indie Kickstarters are deflating actual costs to make their Kickstarter a success, which is ruining peoples' perceptions of the actual costs to make a game in the process.

 

I've known about this before (and I'm sure some of you do as well) but the op-ed does a good job of breaking everything down as to why it's a bad thing for smaller indies who really are using the money as a workable budget and don't have pre-existing funding from another source.

 

If anything, hopefully this will help Kickstarter implement some kind of necessary disclosure that Kickstarter campaigns will need to comply with beforehand, but that will probably kill some of their momentum in the process and they'd be sabotaging themselves by doing so, so... who knows what will happen.

 

Anyhow, what are your thoughts on this?

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I just read this and the article was full of some really great info. Pretty eye opening. I know Jason saw but I asked Jools Watsham (Renegade Kid) about this since I know his Cult County Kickstart failed to reach $500K+ and possibly was a victim of the skewed idea of video game development costs these larger indie Kickstarters create. His answer? 

 

https://twitter.com/WildCardCorsair/status/600722443846557696

 

Personally I would love to see Kickstarter at least encourage companies to disclose any other funding sources but in the end I highly doubt they will and it'll be up to the developers themselves. Here's hoping though, cause if we start losing smaller indies due to this, then the Kickstarter platform itself will be a failure of what it originally set out to do.

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I am sorry, but the large developers seeking a smaller portion of their much larger budgets from crowd funding isn't killing the crowd funding for smaller indie panhandling.  The flooding of the crowd-sourcing market did that all on its own.   I have always had a particularly skeptical view when it comes to digital panhandling for video game development, but these skewed numbers from Polygon to "show how costs can escalate" do a lot more harm than good.  

 

 My biggest qualm with their article begins with their 'estimated cost' including the average developer salary of $60,000.  This is a problem.  An indie developer that seeks to meet or exceed the average salary (for 2 or more employees) in the industry is already sabotaging themselves. You aren't likely to attract quality coders at the much more reasonable $30,000 a year, but if you're pinning your hopes of fully funding a project on Kickstarter you really are doing a disservice by attempting to pay yourself $10,000 more than the median household income in the US.   

 

I get it, people have to eat and need a place to live.   If your plan is to have 10 full-time employees that you want to pay $60,000 per year, then you need to be looking at business loans because that is what you are running.  You shouldn't expect people to fully pay your way to where all you see is upside without having to adhere to some business norms.  That's not how the real world works.  For generations small business owners mortgage their houses and savings in hopes that their businesses take off.  They put it all on the line.   Many SBOs do not even take a salary the first year or two and, when they do, take a fraction of what "managers" in that same industry will earn.  You may not entice a ton of developers to join your cause at a more reasonable $29,000/yr, but you can offer a profit-sharing model to help compensate on the back-end since "video games are different, it's all front-end cost." 

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I am sorry, but the large developers seeking a smaller portion of their much larger budgets from crowd funding isn't killing the crowd funding for smaller indie panhandling.  The flooding of the crowd-sourcing market did that all on its own.

1-Hot-Fuzz-quotes.gif

 

Can't say too much after that seeing as all my points were basically said already, haha. So instead, GIF.

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I am sorry, but the large developers seeking a smaller portion of their much larger budgets from crowd funding isn't killing the crowd funding for smaller indie panhandling.  The flooding of the crowd-sourcing market did that all on its own. 

 

I don't think that larger developers are killing it either, but they cause confusion when people think that 1/6 of the total cost of the game is all it takes to make that game. All they have to do is be a bit more forthcoming about the real costs and this problem wouldn't be a problem. Or at least less of a problem.

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I am sorry, but the large developers seeking a smaller portion of their much larger budgets from crowd funding isn't killing the crowd funding for smaller indie panhandling.  The flooding of the crowd-sourcing market did that all on its own.   I have always had a particularly skeptical view when it comes to digital panhandling for video game development, but these skewed numbers from Polygon to "show how costs can escalate" do a lot more harm than good.

 

I'm not sure panhandling is the right term to use since with Kickstarter, you are still receiving goods for what you pay (down the line) unless you pay for the generic "thank you" tier that everyone seems to include in their campaign, but I do agree that the flood of indies using crowdfunding definitely makes things harder for individual developers to stand out in the process.

 

I do agree with your point on salaries, however; I was actually pretty surprised when I saw that some were trying to pay themselves $5k a month. It's not that they don't deserve salaries like that, it's just that when you're working with something like a mostly unknown and unproven indie dev, you really have to make every dollar count since you're largely only making money from every game you put out (which could be every 6 months, ever year, or even every two years or more) unless you have a publisher or investors backing you. Something closer to $30-40k/year (instead of $60k) would work ultimately better for everyone involved and still be a reasonable amount to make and live on. It all depends on what they can do, how fast they work, and how well they work, I suppose.

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Polygon gonna Polygon

 

Didn't they said consoles were dead earlier this month? They're almost as bad as Kotaku :o

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