A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about how the Kickstarter program is being abused to foster never-before-heard levels of evil against the human race. I still hold that opinion and while I think the vast majority of the Kickstarters out there are absolute shit, from time to time someone gets it very, very right and when they do, we all win.
Here’s an example: lately, a bunch of old-school video game developers have been climbing on the Kickstarter bandwagon get their dream games funded. Each developer’s game, their “magnum opus”, remains fully-formed in their mind and stays there because they knew they’d never be able to write and complete it to their standards unless they were able to fund them with their own dollars. In the days before Kickstarter existed, they were absolutely correct: none of these titles every stood a chance of seeing the light of day. Now, these people are able to bring their visions to life in ways they never would have been able to.
Part of the problem (and when I say part, I mean 90%) is dealing with publishers. Let’s not make any mistake about it, people: publishers are not your friends in most cases, at least not the big ones. Most of the video game publishers out there couldn’t possibly care less about gamers. All they think about is money and where the board of directors’ next $50 million is coming from. This is not conducive to creating great games because the shareholders get so wound up over profits and their new summer homes in the south of France that they force the developers to release games before they’re finished, demanding tighter and tighter deadlines, and causing the developers to cut portions of their games out in order to hit ridiculously short-sighted release dates.
Ever wonder why the first premium DLC sometimes comes out 2 weeks after a game hits the shelves. That’s why. With companies like Electronic Arts forcing brutal release schedules, it’s no wonder so many games have been released half-baked in the last few years. (It’s also no wonder that Electronic Arts just got voted “Worst Company in America” by The Consumerist for their second straight year.)
With Kickstarter and other forms of crowdfunding, developers are able to create these games on their own schedules and with their own vision, which means we don’t have some mamby pamby “gaming” executive (who was probably an executive for a sporting goods store or bakery before they got into the gaming world) forcing changes, moving release dates and not providing sufficient testing. The developers, who are gamers themselves, are able to create the visions they’ve had in mind in their own way and on their own terms.
So the next time you see a Kickstarter for a game you’re interested in, kick in a few bucks. Help out real developers and let’s show those corporate pic publishers that they’re not really needed and if they don’t change their ways, we’ll band together and drum them right out of the industry.
Three down (Riccitello, Zeschuk, Muzyka), a bunch to go…