Many years ago if you had an idea for a product, game etc, the only way you could make it real was getting a loan out from a bank, creating a business plan and then having a go making it yourself. But who needs all that pesky hard work when you can just ask people for money and then sit back while all that sweet, sweet coin rolls in. Okay so I’m being cynical about the entire process, and crowd funding sites have done a lot of good, creating games, items etc that otherwise would’ve stay dreams, but it’s not without its problem.
For those who don’t know what crowd funding is, it’s the process of some one coming up with an idea such as shoes, a game, a book, a statue of Robocop etc that they need money to build. Crowd funding sites, like Kickstarter, Indiegogo and gofundme were set up to help people achieve their goals and in return, you could get what ever it was that they were creating. There are different pledge levels offering different rewards, with stretch goals if you reach your target and then some.
I’ve mostly done it for comics and games, and for the most part I’ve been happy with the results. It’s basically just an extended pre-order but there are risks involved. While there is an estimated delivery date, in my experience those are about as accurate as a stormtrooper. Some can take over a year to produce any meaningful results, or change the plan with little regard to their original mission statement. Is this frustrating? It sure is, but I guess it can’t be helped. Then there is shipping delays, product delays etc. Some times, on very rare occasions, the product doesn’t even ship, leaving you out of pocket.
That said there is some thing to be said about helping some one achieve their dream by way of crowd sourcing, and seeing your name show up in the “thank you” section is a bit of a treat. But then there is also the soul crushing lows when some ones project will not be funded, and despite what you think is a great idea that the world needs, there is little you can do except to feel their pain.
If you are on the fence about whether you should give kickstarter a go, it can be pretty cool, if costly venture. Think of them as financial time bombs that go off when you least expect them too. I backed exploding kittens, and got two copies of the game for half the current price. But I’m still waiting on things that I was told would be in my hands in 2014 so I guess back at your own risk. That said without crowd funding I wouldn’t have had a chance to play some great games such as Tavern Fame or read books like Mae and Blast Furnace by Ryan Browne. And if I hadn’t read Blast Furnance, then my life wouldn’t be complete. Only you can really decide if you have the funds and time to give crowd sourcing a go, but some times, it’s worth the risk.