Saturday, October 6, 2012

Are RPG Kickstarters Going to Go the Way of the D20 Implosion?

I got into reading comics when DC raised their prices from 35 cents to 50 cents. The DC Explosion promised 25 pages of comics for 50 cents - and it fell flat on it's face. DC rolled their prices back to 40 cents (still a jump from 35) and cancelled a shitload of titles and called it a day. Thus was the DC Implosion.

Remember the early days of 3e? Slapping a "D20 Logo" on something was a license to print money. That is, until the glut of mediocre and worse "D20" products started sitting on hobby store shelves without moving. Everyone was making something for "D20", and far from everything was worth the money.

Fast Forward Games was probably the worst offender of pushing out tons of stuff of middling quality at best (as well as various D20 / OGL violations that required destruction of stock).

In the end, the glut of mediocre crap hurt the RPG Industry worse than any holy roller ever did back in the days of TSR.

Today, we have Kickstarter and Indiegogo. There are new RPG products and projects popping up on one or the other on nearly a daily basis. I blog about them. The good, the bad and the ugly and everything in between.

The thing is, there's a glut ready to form. Customers are being overly saturated by the "pre-order that is not a pre-order" that crowd funding of RPGs has turned into. We're going to hit that point and worthy projects are going to die on the vine as supporters of these projects start realizing they are paying for stuff months or even years before the project will bear fruit. Some might never bear fruit.

I suspect that early next year, it's going to take a lot more work to get an RPG project successfully funded via crowd funding. Up to now, it's been almost as successful as the "D20 Compatibility Logo" was in the early days of 3e, but I suspect the luster is wearing off.

Delayed projects, projects from folks that no one has heard of, projects rebooted as something new when they failed to fund the first time, overly ambitious funding goals, the use of kickstarter as a "pre-order" substitute and a simple over saturation of crowd funding by companies both large and small is going to make for very wary consumers.  It will also result in a smaller pot of money those consumers will be willing to put into an ever growing assortment of Kickstarters and the like.

The signs are all there. The free ride is going to come to an end. Those seeking your hard earned cash via crowd funding are going to have to work harder to prove that they deserve it.

Actually, that isn't a bad thing as all. Let the fuckers implode. In the end, the survivors should have worthwhile offerings. Heck, I may even have funds to support them at that point, as I damn near flushed out from the current glut ;)


  1. Hard to say. I think that the unknowns are going to have a harder time of it and that companies and individuals who fall on their face or fail to deliver in a timely fashion may find that the well is plentiful the first time but burn me once shame on me type of thing going along. Also depends on the fanbase. For example, while I personally will not Kickstart another Necromancer or Autarch game, I'm sure that other people will have no problem with that.

  2. I've always said how Kickstarter means top-quality product to all fanboys. Kickstarters don't guarantee anything.


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