I do love me a good MMORPG on the PC. But, when you’ve been gaming for years you begin to crave something new. However, it seems many of the top games are simply re-skins of the same game. Why is that? Well, according to Kotaku.com producing a game has gone from just $1-2 million in the 1980s to $20 million being a pretty average cost. Wow! That is a lot of money. It’s cheaper to stick to the tried and true. Because of this, many developers have turned to crowdfunding to help mitigate these costs. However, I’ve seen some negative consequences with crowdfunding campaigns. The wait can be unbearable! Also, many times those running the campaign are not very good at communicating. While I could name other reasons I dislike crowd funding, kickstarters, and trailblazer attempts at paying for an upcoming game, my biggest gripe? I’ve had my money wasted.
Today’s thinking to help mitigate these costs is to go to the public. If they want the game, they will put money into it, right? While I agree this makes a lot of sense on the surface, I’ve been noticing a major problem with using crowd funding as a way to help pay for the costs of developing an AAA game. You have let the cat out of the bag. There is a huge and wonderful idea for a game and you, as a gamer, want it made. Now. So, I can be patient. Somewhat. But, when I get excited about a game like Star Citizen and it is now a good 4 years later with no end in sight for its actual release, I start to chafe a bit. Actually, I’ve lost interest entirely because people begin to question if such a game will actually be made available to those who could not put tons of money into it early on.
Star Citizen is not the only game I’ve followed. Chronicles of Elyria is another simply fantastic concept I am just dying to get my teeth into! Another little game I started following I want to play is Hero’s Song. However, both are good examples of the developer team not maintaining good communication with its followers. COE seems to be getting much better at this and I do see John Smedley of HS working this in more and more, but it goes to show you a major issue that pops up. People want to know what their money is bring used for and see a solid update at least once a week. Radio silence can be damaging to a crowd funding campaign.
None of the above alone is what totally turned me off to crowd funding campaignes. The incident that accomplished this was my investing, with my mother no less, into Land Mark. Quite a few I know invested in this game because we were told it would be directly connected to the coveted EverQuest Next at the end of 2013. On march 16, 2016 two and a half years later, we got this post from Day Break Games informing us that, after much review and consideration, Daybreak is discontinuing development of EverQuest Next. Now while they officially released LandMark this past June, it was not the game we were told it was going to be. I am sure there will be those that totally love playing it, but for me…I feel like I wasted not only my money, but my mother’s who was highly interested in EQ Next.
Money. It always seems to cost so much money to get things done and producing games is no different. The costs involve so much more than just paying the people developing the games, but those who run the websites, promotion teams, and many other details I won’t attempt to fit here into my little piece. Because of the costs, crowd funding has become quite popular. While it can help bring in funding and generate a lot of interest, we’ve seen some problems with the process. Long time frames, lack of good communication, and failure of other big names can really put a damper on a game’s chance of getting full funding in this manner. I am not saying we should never embrace this method, but I do encourage these issues be dealt with to help any particular game make it out of the crowd funding arena and into the actual hands of a player.
Until the next one.