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“Kickstarter is starting to wear itself out,” says Gas Powered Games boss

Wednesday, 13th February 2013 01:54 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Gas Powered Games boss Chris Taylor has said Kickstarter is starting to lose the power it gained in the wake of Double Fine Adventure’s incredible campaign last year.

Speaking at Casual Connect Europe in Hamburg this week, as reported by VentureBeat, Taylor said Gas Powered Games’ Wildman Kickstarter was poorly timed – too close to Christmas and in the wake of other big crowdfunding drives. But that wasn’t the only problem.

“Kickstarter is starting to wear itself out. It’s a numbers game. Someone has lightning in a bottle,” he said.

“This business is really, really tough. It’s turning into a lottery business, unless you work 12 hours a day, seven days a week, and study gaming for decades,” he added.

“Now, it’s tough. It’s like going to Hollywood and saying I want to make films. You have to compete with James Cameron.”

Taylor said things have changed since a time in the 1990′s when developers could “could burst in the door of a publisher” and get a contract, and if they blew the budget, it didn’t even matter.

“That has locked itself so tight. Consoles are going to just hit the wall. The guys who wrote these big checks — that’s just gone,” he said.

“I have almost been driven out of business. I am still in business. I know everyone in the industry. They didn’t help me. It’s about whether you have a blockbuster that can ship 10 million units.”

With just four days to go and over $500,000 of its $1.1 million target to raise, Gas Powered Games cancelled a Kickstarter for Wildman. Taylor is now looking at alternate methods of saving the independent developer.

Thanks, GamesIndustry.

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11 Comments

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  1. RPRezo

    Kickstarter is fine: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/redthread/dreamfall-chapters-the-longest-journey

    It’s sad that his project failed, but asking for more than a million bucks was simply unreasonable. Right now there are less than 10 games that made such money on Kickstarter. And this games have bigger names and better ideas behind them.

    #1 1 year ago
  2. DSB

    How was Project Eternity a better idea than that?

    It was about as vague a pitch as you could get, right down to the title.

    I think it is a bit like herding cats. New ideas have a much bigger mountain to climb, and nostalgia or fad projects don’t. Should’ve called it Total Zombie Minecraftman Annihilation.

    I hope examples like FTL become more common, instead of simply legacy projects.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. salarta

    Claiming that Kickstarter is “starting to wear itself out” sounds to me like Taylor trying to find an excuse for interest in the project not being as high as he hoped it would be.

    As someone that didn’t back Wildman until I heard how badly the company needed it, and only then just barely, I can say that until I made myself watch the whole video introduction, the whole concept looked unappealing to me. First impressions are important, and the very first impression they gave of the project was one of “Okay, I’m playing what is essentially a caveman, so what? Why should I care about clubbing things over the head as a caveman?”

    What they needed to do was get the most impressive media up there immediately (it’s up there now, it wasn’t at the start of the campaign, and many people aren’t likely to check back on the page if their first impression is a lacking one), and do a better job of expressing how the game would work. The BEST part of their concept in my opinion, which is buried in the midst of that video I didn’t want to watch, was the RTS angle of attacking a fort, taking it for yourself and getting new technology out of it. There were no diagrams on the main page to get this idea across. By all initial appearances, it looked like a generic hack and slash even though anyone that looked deeper would have known there was more to it than that.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. UuBuU

    I think developers need to get realistic and stop looking at Kickstarters like Project Eternity as an example of what they might get. ~It’s a rare exception.

    To get anywhere close to that amount, you really have to get the timing spot on, generate hype before the campaign even begins ~ and have an idea that’s either new and extremely compelling or that hits the nostalgia button hard.

    In my opinion, Wildman just looked decent ~ not extremely compelling or exceptional.

    It’s a shame that projects like that fail, but at the same time, failures are healthy for kickstarter in the long run. It shows that the site isn’t just an easy cash-grab.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. AmeriToast

    I think he is just angry his pitch did not work. He thought he had a great project and was probably hoping for a project eternity or SC kind of backing. In all honesty, it just didnt appeal to me and thats why I decided not to back it. Seems like he is trying to make up an excuse and say that kickstarter is no longer an option. The truth is, it is when you have a product other want. If you have a great idea for a game and pitch it right and not ask for an extreme amount of money you can make it. The money is there and the people will make sure its made if it is something they want.

    I have backed 3 kickstarters and all have made their target and then some. I choose what I believed to be quality games to fun and others agreed with me and we got it done. Those three were Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, and Star Command (The PC one).

    #5 1 year ago
  6. cartina

    As a person that support a great amount of kickstarters, I say that this is just bad excuses and he was asking for too much.
    He did not present a million dollar game. I wasnt even compelled to support it when I heard about their “situation”, quite the opposite.

    #6 1 year ago
  7. e13

    Maybe he would have better luck being more vague. I wasn’t too keen on his idea, but I supported my first ever kick-starter because its “Chris Taylor”

    And now he canceled it.. feel slighted

    #7 1 year ago
  8. hives

    @2 – Well… PE is oldschool RPG, people do not get games like this every day. And Wildman is supposed to be action RPG, which aren’t so rare, don’t you think? That’s why Project Eternity and Wasteland 2 or Star Citizen are successful. They are representing “dead” genres.

    #8 1 year ago
  9. silkvg247

    I backed it, looked decent but not mind blowing :)

    I don’t think KS is burning out at all. If the idea is good and people want it, then it’ll succeed.

    I think the real skill is knowing what people want. In either case it doesn’t hurt to pitch your idea, and if it fails, you know you need to revise it or do something else. As far as I know it costs nothing to list on KS, so in a way it’s a tool that you can use to gauge worldwide customer interest, for free. To me that’s invaluable.

    I am thinking of using it soon for a gauntlet rehash I’m making.. scary though. The internet is scary. People are mean.

    #9 1 year ago
  10. RPRezo

    @2 But I didn’t just say better ideas, did I? I also said bigger names. And Project Eternity made it’s money not because of an idea itself, but because Obsidian Entertainment is, pretty much, the biggest company that went to a Kickstarter yet.

    Still, you are wrong: it’s idea was better. And “better” doesn’t mean “more original”. Idea of a serious story-driven oldschool RPG is more compelling than “something action-y about boring cavemen”. Not because it’s “retro” or “nostalgic”. But because good story-driven rpgs are awesome.

    And another thing: I can’t remember a Kickstarter that had MORE information about it’s game, than Project Eternity. Granted, they didn’t release it all from the start, but throughout the campaign there was more information about the world and classes and systems and team than I could bother to read.

    And the last thing: FTL is not some unique exception. There are a lot of kickstarted games with no nostalgia or big names behind them. But the thing is: projects like FTL don’t ask for a whooping 800 grand.

    #10 1 year ago
  11. DSB

    @8 I guess it depends on the perspective. Action RPGs are common as dirt, but they also haven’t moved an inch within the last ten years in spite of several major releases.

    I think it’s time someone actually tried to move the genre forward, and I thought Wildman was a pretty good idea for it, by mixing in some Warcraft 3, and making the gameplay something you actually had to care about.

    I agree though, those projects were funded based on nostalgia, I’ve backed some for the same reason, but I wish Kickstarter could be more ambitious than that.

    @10 Thing is, Project Eternity was funded within a day, based on that vague pitch, so that really makes the aftermath pretty irrelevant. Kneejerk response is kneejerk.

    Looking through the updates I see even more vague information about classes and elements they’d like to put in the game, but very little about what they actually intend to do, or what it’s actually about.

    Wildman had a lot more info, but I think salarta is spot on in his criticism. It wasn’t front and center, and you had to read the posts to actually see that.

    #11 1 year ago