Thursday, February 7, 2013

Thoughts on Kickstarter

I must admit, I'm something of a Kickstarter junkie.  To date I've backed seven projects and so far I've  received my products from Kings of War and Dreadball by Mantic Games and Evil Baby Orphanage by Wyrd Miniatures.  That leaves Chibi Dungeon Adventures by Impact! Miniatures which should ship in April and Impudent Mortal's Gaming Terrain by Walt Langhans which was due last month but he has had some major issues arise in getting everything together.

I'm also backing Wild West Exodus by Outlaw Miniatures and the Pro Studio Brushes by Games & Gears.  Both look like solid projects and I look forward to their completion.

So now that you've seen how much I like what can be available on Kickstarter, let me tell you a few problems I have with it as it applies to the gaming industry.

I hope some day to own a game store and when that happens, I foresee Kickstarter funded projects being something of a hindrance to the profitability of the retail side of the store.  When people can pledge $500 to a project and get a ton of stuff, there is no reason to spend that money at their FLGS (Friendly Local Game Store for those not in the know).  When the game company is able to sell almost all of the products for the next few years, making the money before they even produce them (Dreadball is a great example), why then, unless the game completely takes off and people are clamoring to get their hands on it, would people wait to buy it from a retail outlet?  Internet retail stores have hurt the brick and mortar games stores hard enough by selling product at 15-25% off retail but now you have Kickstarter which provides a direct to market product for the customer.  It's really a hard thing for the FLGS to keep up.

The gaming market really seems to be the only one that is really hurt by this, though.  Comics sold through Kickstarter most likely would not be carried by Diamond (the best known comic book wholesaler) so they wouldn't be seen by the few comic stores still open today.  The music industry gets to deal with pirating and many of the artists on Kickstarter would never be sold by a major label anyway.  The rest of the markets like photography and technology or theater and dance don't have too many chances of upsetting the retail industry.  The gaming industry and by this I mean board games, card games, miniature games and role playing games are directly affecting the retailers that would normally make them viable.  This is good for the game designers but bad for the people who would ordinarily be selling the games and trying to drive the sales by providing a place for gamers to play said games.

If you must back a Kickstarter project, I recommend this one

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