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Month: August 2013

Are Stretch Goals Right For Your Crowdfunding Campaign?

crowdfunding Indiegogo Kickstarter

You have all seen them. You may have backed a crowdfunding project because of them. But the question remains, are they good for your business? Kickstarter has finally written a blog post on the topic and it pretty much meshes with how I have always thought of them.

For a typical stretch goal a creator will promise to release their game in additional formats or add extra functions if certain funding goals are hit. But expanding a project’s scope can change the creative vision and put the whole project at risk. We’ve seen stretch goals leave some projects overwhelmed, over-budget, and behind schedule.

Many Kickstarter projects end up significantly overfunded, and creators often use those funds to improve the project’s end product. More funding might mean higher-quality materials and other improvements that thank backers with a better-made thing. For other creators overfunding means the project turns a profit. Both are great outcomes. Stretch goals, on the other hand, trade long-term risk for a short-term gain. Tread carefully.

This is pretty much how I have always looked at stretch goals. While they may seem like a good way to spend that extra money or attract additional backers, if you do not plan them out correctly, they can be a bad thing for your project. I would personally like to see that extra money just go toward general polish on the game rather than extra features that may or may not work out or that may or may not ever get completed.

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Sorry Humble Bundle. You May Have Gone Too Far.

Humble Origin Bundle? Ummm. I think Not.Not too long ago, I joined in with Good Old Games to question the direction the Humble Bundle has been going recently. When they started out, they were all about cross-platform play without the annoyance of DRM. Over time, they have slowly abandoned both those ideals in favor of grabbing more high profile games from much larger studies than their indie origins.

While I had continued to support them through the years, buying every cross-platform bundle and a couple non-linux bundles, I think I may have reached a breaking point with this latest bundle. While they have often done Steam-only bundles, which violates their original DRM-free ideal, at least Steam is a service that many gamers love and support. Additionally, Steam has made great strides to make Linux a viable platform for both gamers and game developers. But this recent bundle makes a mockery of even that.

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No GameStop Is Not Ripping You Off With $90 Xenoblade

Xenoblade Chronicles

Over on Kotaku, gamers are complaining about a little known retail practice that was uncovered by some GameStop customers, the retail markup. Under this scam, retailers will take a product and raise its price over the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Why would companies do such a thing? Because the market allows for it. Because people are willing to pay the price for it. But this isn’t a scam. This is business and a regular aspect of any business dealing with rare and collectible consumer goods.

What is happening over at Kotaku is that the writers and gamers are complaining that GameStop is selling used copies of the rare Wii RPG Xenoblade Chronicles for $90 rather than the normal below retail price of most games. What is really rankling the feathers over there is that people are reporting that the copies GameStop is selling used are very near to new condition complete with unused Club Nintendo codes. This has led many to believe that Gamestop is removing the shrink wrap of new copies in order to sell them as used at an extreme markup.Why that would be an indication that the game is new is not clear. Not everyone who buys a game new will redeem the included codes, especially if they are already a member.

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Oklahoma Game Developers Oppose Senator Coburn’s Support For Violent Game Research Bill

Originally Published on Oklahoma Game Developers.

Oklahoma Senator Tom CoburnToday, Oklahoma game developers sent its letter to Senator Coburn regarding his co-sponsorship of S. 134 Violent Content Research Act of 2013. This bill if passed would require the National Academy of Sciences to perform studies into the connection between violent games and violent actions. The primary issue with this legislation is that the bill’s sponsor has shown a heavy bias against the games industry which leads us to believe that any studies resulting from this bill could be tainted by his bias.

Senator Coburn has many times come out against the funding for such studies and it is unclear why he would support a bill that could potentially waste tax payer money as well as dilute the valuable research that can be done outside the influence of bias.

The below letter was sent to Senator Coburn as well as members of the media based in Oklahoma and throughout the US.  

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Tropes Vs Women In Games Sparks Much Needed Dialog

 

Say what you will about Anita’s arguments, her bias, or whatever. A lot of people have. In fact a lot of people have said some very despicable things about her person too. But despite all that commotion, one thing is for sure. These videos of her’s are sparking a much needed dialog in the games industry.

This latest video is the third and last video of her dissection of the “damsel in distress” trope as it is used in games (the first to are posted below). It is the third video in a much larger series of videos that her overwhelmingly successful Kickstarter promised to produce. Where the first video highlighted the use of the trope in early games like Mario, Zelda and Double Dragon and the second video showed its use in more modern games, this latest video shows that the trope is so pervasive in gaming culture that even indies tend to over use it.

The important thing to come from this, and frankly the whole point to the video series, is that it has sparked a much wider discussion of the portrayal of women in games. Everywhere on the internet, except the comment section of the videos as those are closed, people are talking about the problem of tropes in games. While some people are attacking Anita herself, others are focusing on the message. What does the overuse of the damsel in distress trope say about game designers and story tellers in games?

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Good Old Games Trolls The Humble Bundle Over DRM

Just a humble reminder: we don't usually sell games in bundles, but when we do, they're always DRM-free. #NoDRM #SubtleAmIRight

Earlier this week, the Humble Bundle announced its latest offering, the Humble Deep Silver Bundle. This new bundle is the latest entry in the Humble Bundle’s recent history of abandoning its original ideals to sell higher profile games. When the Humble Bundle started, it had a few ideals it stood for, pay what you want, cross platform, DRM-free and helps charity. These ideals held true for a couple of years, but then they reached a point where two of those ideals didn’t matter as much.

At some point, the Humble Bundle guys decided that cross platform and DRM-free were simply optional. Some early bundles had some tech demos or games that weren’t available for Mac or Linux, but the majority of the games were. Then they started introducing entire bundles that were Windows only. Not only that, but many of those games were also tied to Steam. Meaning, you couldn’t play those games without Steam DRM on your computer.

Well, the folks over at Good Old Games took to Twitter to gently haze Humble Bundle for its abandonment of its DRM-free ideal. It wrote three tweets. The first tweet was written as to allude to the Humble Bundle but not name it specifically.

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