Kickstarter Campaigns are always a huge gamble, with developers balancing how much they need at a minimum to develop the game, and knowing that if that goal isn’t reached they will get none of the funding pledged by users. It’s worked for industry veteran-backed projects like ToeJam & Earl or Yooka-Laylee, but developers new to the industry have a harder time securing funding for their projects. This week, an independent videogame developer called 2Awesome Studio just went through a brutal prank which misled them into believing that their project had been fully funded.
The studio was in its last day of the funding window, and needed 7,000 euros to reach its minimum and receive funding. During the last hours of the campaign, a miracle backer named Jonathan came in and pledged the rest of the €7,000 needed to fund their game, Dimension Drive. The studio put out some heartfelt tweets, asking the fan to identify themself and thanking everyone who backed the successful project. Unfortunately, Kickstarter quickly notified the crew at 2Awesome Studio that the last-minute pledge was a false bid, and with it removed from the Kickstarter project, they had failed to fund their game and would receive no crowdfunding.
With only a third of Kickstarter projects ultimately keeping their promises after securing funding, the honeymoon period of crowdfunding seems to be over as gamers look more carefully at projects before opening their wallets. Dimension Drive did a good job in securing the first 23,481 euros, but a 70% funded game will still receive the same funding as a 99% funded game – and that is a flat zero amount.
We recently discussed the downsides of crowdfunding games, the most obvious example being games like Godus which quickly achieved funding but failed to deliver on almost any of the gameplay goals. It’s easy to forget that games on Kickstarter aren’t just a gamble for the consumers, but the developer as well. If a game doesn’t reach its minimum funding amount, the studio gets nothing, but it likely won’t be funded unless they’ve already invested time to make the game attractive to consumers.
Making the staff at 2Awesome Studio believe they had secured funding is a brutal joke, and the mysterious eleventh-hour bidder name Jonathan has faded back into the shadows of the internet without a word – albeit now with a suspended Kickstarter account.
2Awesome’s own Alejandro Santiago was crestfallen after discovering the news, and had this to say:
“We honestly do not know what to say. We are quite devastated in the team right now. It has been a roller-coaster night for us to be honest. […] It has been a exhausting month for us. We have been working really hard to make our campaign a success, and right now we are speechless, demoralized, you name it.”
Countless games go through Kickstarter fundraising periods without achieving success, but the manner in which Dimension Drive fizzled out on the last day is something no developer should have to go through.
What do you think about Kickstarter campaigns for videogames, Ranters? Do you trust developers to deliver on their promises? Do you think this will lead to other copycat pranksters?