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Report RSS Pitfalls of alphafunding and crowdfunding

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Sometimes, alphafunding and crowdfunding just seems to be badly overrated these days. Why, you would ask. Personally, thinking of these major reasons:

1. Crowdfunding basically works like debt; you ask gamers to fund your game first, but you receive money in advance rather than invest your own funds in making a product and then getting paid for (profitting from) it after it is all finalised and released.

2. Alpha-funding is paying for partially finished games. Pros? You get at least some part of the game you paid for, so it cannot really turn full vaporware on you. Cons? Developers can take it in direction you do not want it taken, vide Godus that became a mobile game without any warning or consideration for PC gamers, or suddenly jump from the alpha version to the "final" version without any actual polishing done, for instance Reign of Kings or Life is Feudal.

3. Crowdfunding is also sometimes used to rip gamers off and milk them as much as possible. Never occurred? It did actually: the infamous work of digital interactive gaming art, Planetary Annihilation, is the "finest" example of this behaviour. The first editions of Planetary Annihilation were so overpriced that the ripped-off backers are still fuming about it.

4. Alpha-fund limbo; yes, games developed for so many years it becomes increasingly doubtful whether they will be fully released at all - or just wanna beat Duke Nukem in terms of secret or imaginary development time. Godus comes to mind again, in this regard, as the completion meter of Godus does not go forward anymore. On a side note, there is also Overgrowth, which is still actively developed, yet its development time is around 8 years which probably can make your head spin when it comes to think about it. As you can see, sometimes alpha-fund developers can take their sweet time completing their game, just because they are too insecure or too greedy to hire a few additional staff members to make it come along substantially faster.

It just feels like more and more developers hide behind the indie buzzword just to deliver shitty games and stop caring about bugs or final quality, never feeling responsible for their "indie" works or being aware that their games are actually products that are supposed to possess some decent quality, or use crowd/early access campaigns in an ultra scammy manner ending up with some good yet really badly marketed game.

Focusing on more than just negativity of alphafunding/crowdfunding, there still seem to be some great gems out there that are shining brightly, such as Space Engineers, Medieval Engineers, and Kenshi. Speaking of non-indies, e.g. Pillars of Eternity crowdfunding campaign also delivered what it promised and received great community reviews. So the point of crowdfunding/alphafunding games is not entirely lost... not yet at least.

INtense! Staff

I really do like the idea of alphafunding, but there does perhaps need to be some more structure around it. Game dev is difficult - and good or bad I think you need to be committed to a release. Alphafunding has allowed some devs to get the upside then not deliver to their fans which is very dissapointing.

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feillyne AuthorSubscriber

It would probably suffice to put any questionable early access game to post-early-release vote, and then to have it either out of alphafund (temporarily so it can come back later, or to be rated as a full, completed game) or taken down entirely. However there is no way to tell whether Valve would do anything like that.

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I think that Early Access should have never gone mainstream.

IIRC, I first saw it with NS2, and thought it was a great idea (and still do), but when I saw that Valve was gonna allow Alpha/Beta-stage games on Steam, I thought it was a bad idea (and still do).

The idea behind it is great, but people are just too ignorant to understand the differences between buying a full game and buying a still-unfinished game.

People don't comprehend that buying an Early Access game is pretty much an investment. I see a lot of people just wanting it to be cheaper than launch day (and complaining when it isn't...).

There are only 2 instances in which one should buy a game during Alpha/Beta stage:

1- If the game is already worth it.
2- If you have confidence in the Devs.

If I had a Gaming PC back when NS2 was in Alpha, I would have bought it, because I trusted the Devs.

[Back to the mainstream part] With NS2, it was "closed off" (Only people following the development on their website/ModDB knew about it, and this kind of people aren't ignorant in this subject (at least the greater majority)), but taking this to the biggest store of PC Games, where a lot of people are, to put it gently, laymen, was a bad idea.

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feillyne AuthorSubscriber

Well, going mainstream just means it is more likely to be abused. If only distribution platforms had some early access regulation or quality control by buyers themselves (not just the Greenlight voting, but also a secondary one to act as a backup plan), this would not happen.

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A great example of crowd-funding is Prospekt. Prospekt is a mod made from heavy crowd-funding, and the result was quite dissatisfying. Richard had admitted to milking the fanbase just for money and not for the mod, as anyone could have made such a mod without extraneous funding.

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