I’m most familiar with Kickstarter even though it’s yet to launch in the UK (the autumn, I’m told – seems like they’re running tight on time) but the premise is very clear; if the project fails then supporters don’t spend their money.
Isn’t IndieGoGo the same?
Step forward the controversial James Desborough and the The Machinations of the Space Princess project which promises Sexy, Sleazy, Swords and Sci-Fi. It asks for $1,000 and at the time of posting has raised $125 with 52 days to go.
There’s a catch. If this project fails, Desborough intends to keep your money anyway. This is made clear in a note at the very bottom of the page;
All funds donated will be used whether the project hits its target or not! If you’re donating, you’re actually donating! Whatever amount up to $1,000 is raised will go on art from Satine. Past that number we’ll start to reveal and trigger stretch goals and the money will be split 50/50 between art and payment to me for my time/effort (and driving lessons!)
I don’t know the IndieGoGo system well enough to know whether he can do this. I don’t mean “should”, I mean “can”. I’ve been part of failed IndieGoGo campaigns before any PayPal has always refunded my money.
It might be that Desborough will be disappointed.
There’s something to be said for reserving funds for the artist. In this case it’s Satine Phoenix who may have committed resources and time to the project already.
One basic question is – to funders of the failed project get access to this art? Another is; should they?
The decision to keep (or try) any funds raised is symptomatic of a larger issue in the crowd funding approach to roleplaying games. Many of these projects, on IndieGoGo or Kickstarter, are projects in which the publisher fully intends to begin anyway. The crowdsourcing attempt starts as a way to gauge public interest and, of course, earn some up front cash.