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Made in us
Noble Knight of the Realm





Texas

Measured Marketing principles can be applied in every business and one of the most important aspects is to carefully weigh the data to make sure it is not being 'spun' to show you what you want to hear or to bolster your side without really digging to the core.

If companies perceive to be marketing to a character flaw (FOMO), then that is not unethical unless they are purposely advertising to a group directly suffering from the disorder (how can you measure that??) Indirect marketing happens all the time, but certainly unethical marketing does too.

Case in point, a few years back the anti-smoking campaign lambasted us with the 'terrible' statistic that convenience stores are targeting minors in higher than average numbers in urban areas. However, an intelligent person (or a good marketing person used to unraveling 'spin') knows that there are simply more convenience stores in urban areas, so the pretext of 'more marketing in urban areas' is not really true - just a cause/effect relationship by the sheer numbers - not a purposeful target. However, HOW they market (cartoons, flavored cigs, etc.) IS questionable and stop-smoking advocates to have a right to question theses tactics.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/05/23 13:29:05


My Novella Collection is available on Amazon - Action/Fantasy/Sci-Fi - https://www.amazon.com/Three-Roads-Dreamt-Michael-Leonard/dp/1505716993/

Check out Cavern Quest Warriors - KS page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mdsw/637658982?ref=hrvixe&token=c90a87c6 
   
Made in us
Tzeentch Aspiring Sorcerer Riding a Disc





Orem, Utah

 OrlandotheTechnicoloured wrote:
 odinsgrandson wrote:
- If a company starts up a project that they likely will not be able to fulfill, that is unethical. I believe that this has happened in a few cases on Kickstarter (whether through deliberately misleading or through willful ignorance mislabeled as optimism).


I don't think it becomes unethical until the project creator runs a project thinking they won't be able to fulfil it (even if in reality the chances are vanishingly small), not to say it's not rubbish for the backers who get stung

Edit: or when they do realise it's all gone wrong they don't return whatever money is left



I can see your point. I kind of think that a lot of people lie to themselves, and after they convince themselves of a lie, they present it to the world and feel like they've been honest.

This happens a lot, and it creates quite a lot of grey area between optimism and dishonesty, and I think it is hard to say exactly where a particular failed project would fit.

As for returning the money- I find that's seldom an option when it really matters (if they had money, they'd be able to fulfill, right?).

 
   
Made in us
Fixture of Dakka






I never in a million years thought I would see Kickstarter, and Ethics used in the same discussion.... Well played!



At Games Workshop, we believe that how you behave does matter. We believe this so strongly that we have written it down in the Games Workshop Book. There is a section in the book where we talk about the values we expect all staff to demonstrate in their working lives. These values are Lawyers, Guns and Money. 
   
Made in ca
Fresh-Faced New User




Kickstarter sucks because it's a race to the bottom that only previously established and successful miniatures gaming businesses can really afford to compete in. People just trying to get their foot in the door are encouraged to basically price themselves out of the market with things like free global shipping, free add ons, free exclusives, free this and free that... The consumer demands no less and become offended when the Kickstarter does not offer them a below market value, exquisitely detailed, immaculate and edge cutting product. The costs of running a Kickstarter add up quickly and the margins for the producer just tank into the red more often than not that it's completely unworth it to continue... But since promises have been made, they have to forge on regardless... Some businesses need to take out loans in an attempt to fulfill pledges, which defeats the entire point, and still can't deliver on time or even to all backers... There have been businesses that commit fraud to deliver to backers. There have been people that were ruined financially by these Kickstarters. Long time members of the community have their reputations destroyed and so on and so forth. It's actually a really bad system for people just trying to get in to the market, because even if a producer can actually get through it all and make zero profit on their product... The odds are they have already reached their entire audience, all of the potential consumers have likely bought it already and they're going to have a hard time selling more units.

There are exceptions of course, but knowing people that have gone through to process (buy Hoarders pls), it's just not worth it. You're better off using your disposable income to finance a sustainable game with regular releases or take out a loan and just pound the pavement looking for sales. Honestly, if I see a Kickstarter that looks promising, I just keep it in mind and wait until it's on shelves or stocked in their online store and then buy it, because you're doing the producer a bigger favor that way.

Before a game producer can start counting their money, they have to dole it all out to Kickstarter, printers, manufacturers and shippers. The guys actually creating the product make the least amount of up front cash on it. It's kind of sad. Support your small producers and try not to fleece them too hard, they're what makes the hobby special.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/05/27 15:39:44


 
   
Made in ca
God-like Imperator Titan Commander




Halifax

It's also worth noting that GW got its start as a retailer, with the Warhammer products designed to sell models. My brother used to work at a hobby shop and part of the marketing strategy, and still is, is organic word-of-mouth. That's something almost necessary for a big successful Kickstarter, so if you're starting small you need the KS less than the exposure.
   
Made in us
Tzeentch Aspiring Sorcerer Riding a Disc





Orem, Utah

Auman wrote:
Kickstarter sucks because it's a race to the bottom that only previously established and successful miniatures gaming businesses can really afford to compete in. People just trying to get their foot in the door are encouraged to basically price themselves out of the market with things like free global shipping, free add ons, free exclusives, free this and free that... The consumer demands no less and become offended when the Kickstarter does not offer them a below market value, exquisitely detailed, immaculate and edge cutting product. The costs of running a Kickstarter add up quickly and the margins for the producer just tank into the red more often than not that it's completely unworth it to continue... But since promises have been made, they have to forge on regardless... Some businesses need to take out loans in an attempt to fulfill pledges, which defeats the entire point, and still can't deliver on time or even to all backers... There have been businesses that commit fraud to deliver to backers. There have been people that were ruined financially by these Kickstarters. Long time members of the community have their reputations destroyed and so on and so forth. It's actually a really bad system for people just trying to get in to the market, because even if a producer can actually get through it all and make zero profit on their product... The odds are they have already reached their entire audience, all of the potential consumers have likely bought it already and they're going to have a hard time selling more units.

There are exceptions of course, but knowing people that have gone through to process (buy Hoarders pls), it's just not worth it. You're better off using your disposable income to finance a sustainable game with regular releases or take out a loan and just pound the pavement looking for sales. Honestly, if I see a Kickstarter that looks promising, I just keep it in mind and wait until it's on shelves or stocked in their online store and then buy it, because you're doing the producer a bigger favor that way.

Before a game producer can start counting their money, they have to dole it all out to Kickstarter, printers, manufacturers and shippers. The guys actually creating the product make the least amount of up front cash on it. It's kind of sad. Support your small producers and try not to fleece them too hard, they're what makes the hobby special.




Interesting. So you're saying that Kickstarter is actively bad for small businesses.

The trouble I feel with this is that there isn't a great alternative in the market right now. Game Stores used to be interested in stocking games made by local people, but they really aren't anymore (because they don't sell particularly well- there are just too many good options). Kickstarter is a huge force for word of mouth/viral advertising these days, and it isn't super easy to get into the game store without it (although obviously it isn't good enough by itself). Of course, using Kickstarter will also keep you out of the local game stores, but it's not like they were going to stock your game anyway.

What I mean to say is that the comparison to how Games Workshop got their start doesn't hold up, because the market is in such a different place than it was in the '70s. I don't think that the method GW used would work as well to start up a game right now (in part due to GW's own domination of the market, so gamers aren't so starved that they'll get into whatever miniatures game comes along). And I think that Kickstarter offers a lot of help to get the word of mouth going.




I think there was some market correction after the first wave of Kickstarters lost money. The biggest one is that no projects offer free shipping anymore, and projects rarely offer break downs of everything they offer (with older Kickstarters, backers could cherry pick their rewards much more). Kickstarter has never been particularly kind to tabletop miniatures games, so creators focus mainly on board games (often with many expansions).

When the high profile Kickstarters stopped doing some of those things, smaller Kickstarters followed suit.



The statistics of Kickstarter are:

- Approx 80% of funded projects will deliver late.

- Approx 9% of projects fail to deliver entirely.

- There is often no way to tell if Kickstarters generally make a profit or not- since few companies release that kind of information. I mean, we know that Reaper Bones made a profit, and that Super Dungeon Legends cost more than they raised, but we don't have enough information to actually turn it into a percentage.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2019/05/29 23:38:53


 
   
Made in ca
God-like Imperator Titan Commander




Halifax

There's plenty of information out there once you get into the KS community, which definitely much more slanted towards board games than miniature games.

Here's something I found interesting: http://www.mechanics-and-meeples.com/

Also: https://stonemaiergames.com/kickstarter/insights/insights-from-my-projects/

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/05/31 19:30:47


 
   
Made in us
Tzeentch Aspiring Sorcerer Riding a Disc





Orem, Utah

- There have been quite a few Kickstarted tabletop miniatures games, but very few of them really took off. I think that the long wait between the funding excitement and late delivery creates a situation where the community isn't excited enough about the new game to spread the word around.

And while the backing numbers look impressive, miniatures board games are built on local communities. If you're the only one at your local store with Wrath of Kings, you won't be buying any more of it.

At this point, the big head start from a Kickstarter starts working against it. Gamers got all of their stuff at once- they aren't interested in the 'new releases' and don't see those as a promise of support for the game.

Tabletop wargamers are a fickle bunch. If we think that support for our games is slipping, we abandon the game. And when the remaining fans can't find an opponent, they'll quit- putting the game into a very short death spiral.



On the other hand, board games are 'complete' products. You don't need to find anyone else who has bought into the game in order to play it (and it is a lot easier to convince people to simply sit down and play than it is to convince them to buy a $50-$2000 army).

The result is that companies can sell board games on Kickstarter- even when there will almost definitely be no post Kickstarter support (even when a game is 100% Kickstarter exclusive- there can be no long term support for a game like that).




*It should be noted that a few Kickstarted miniatures games have been successful enough to turn out regular support (like Arena Rex). And it remains to be seen how much longevity Sonf of Fire and Ice will have.

 
   
Made in ca
God-like Imperator Titan Commander




Halifax

There's also been some interesting developments, like KS discouraging the use of renders, and instead asking people to use photos of prototypes and pre-production models instead.
   
Made in us
Tzeentch Aspiring Sorcerer Riding a Disc





Orem, Utah

Does Kickstarter discourage renders of minis?

As I understand it, they have an issue if you create a mock up that makes it look like you have a finished product already.

I think backers tend to prefer that some pre-production models be shown, but I don't think that's always viable or even useful (showing us a resin cast of your mini isn't actually more helpful than the render).

 
   
Made in ca
God-like Imperator Titan Commander




Halifax

That was my reading of the update, though I could be wrong. My KS was done by that time so I didn't give it much attention.

You get it from both sides though. Show a render and people doubt you have an actual game in production. Show a prototype or pre-production QA copy and they have the usual complaints people have before they see a model in hand.
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut





CMON can use it if they like. Honestly, it allows them to take risks on IPs and ideas with better production values than would be possible otherwise. You'd see a lot more cardboard stands in the market without Kickstarter making it so every one of these things isn't betting the company.
   
Made in gb
Wicked Warp Spider





I've long regarded GW as a bunch of Kants so they can't be that unethical

Likewise using KS as a pre-order system by larger companys is maybe a tad short sighted as given the likes of CMON are squirting out at least 2 a year the whole FOMO is fading as there will be always another one along soon, and once the KS hype dies down going back to the trad distributor and retail model might be an uphill struggle (I'll admit I've got a fair few KS boxes sitting unopened but besides Wastelands 3 I've not backed anything for about 2 years)

"AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME...SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED." 
   
Made in us
Veteran Inquisitor with Xenos Alliances






I think there is the danger of creating false expectations of kickstarter projects when pre-established companies use it as a vehicle for pre-orders. The idea of this system is that you're contributing to see something that doesn't exist get made. There is suppose to be an element of risk to this and these companies should be securing normal financing. Every established company that uses this shrinks the available opportunities for other kickstarters. How many times do you hear "I'm not gonna back that because I've already backed" something else... often enough.

When pre-established companies or companies that already have complete product use this platform people develop unrealistic expectations of how quickly these things can get made.
   
Made in pl
Regular Dakkanaut




I don't know if CMON using KS is ethical, but I know it's another (small, perhaps inconsequential) move to shoulder he customer with all the burdens of running a business, which is inherently bad for me as a customer.

As for the argument that KS never stated it's only for plucky small businesses, it might not have, but it's been heavily implied in all their marketing, using our innate drive to support the underdog. You can't expect people to be happy when they are "sold" one vision for the platform, and then they see it being used by a different group that is perceived (rightly so) as not needing said platform.
In essence, it's seen as gentrifiction of KS, and no one likes the rich guys muscling in, we see too much of it IRL.
   
Made in us
Focused Fire Warrior




United States

This was in the most recent update for the Battletech Kickstarter talking about why they did Kickstarter rather than funding it themselves with the money they already have. I thought it was interesting.

Generally speaking, the manufacturer’s mold cost for a single miniature is around $2,000. That doesn’t seem too bad, right? Except, for our purposes, a miniature is never sold just by itself. So for the Star in the Clan Invasion box, that’s around $10k for just the molds. However, to create that mold, you’ve got the start-to-finish artist redesign cost, and then a “solid” CAD created from those orthographics, which moves the individual cost for each miniature to around $4,000. And we still haven’t even touched the cost of overhead, writing and developing, and layout of all of the paper elements in a box, much less the printing costs of those elements and the cost of the plastic itself. It all starts to add up quickly.

But again, as I said, we’ve got a handle on the Clan Invasion box. It was always going to come out next year and—I believe—do just as well, if not even better, than the Beginner Box and A Game of Armored Combat. However, those hard costs mentioned above—specifically the mold costs—create a hard barrier across which we cannot pass to make redesigns more quickly and get these new, high-quality plastic miniatures onto your tabletops in faster waves.

For example, if we wanted to produce the Clan Invasion box, plus two Star Packs (a total of 15 Clan ’Mechs), and an Inner Sphere response of say two Lance Packs (a total of 8 Inner Sphere ’Mechs), mold costs alone for those 23 ’Mechs would be in the neighborhood of $46,000. Once you figure in the other costs of redesign and CADs, it would approach $100,000. And again, that doesn’t cover any of the other costs that will pile on top of that ultimately doubling and tripling as you move it onto a store shelf and have to take into account all associated costs.

We could bear that cost…over the span of four to five years.


TL;DR: Using kickstarter is allowing them to produce in the next two years, what would normally need 4 or 5 years just to develop. Without kickstarter we would be getting a 5 model box set. With kickstarter we are getting a 5 model box set, and expansion sets bringing out a total of 90 miniatures with new updated plastic sculpts.
   
Made in us
Posts with Authority






The only time I consider Kickstarters 'unethical' is when it is for something that will only be released via the Kickstarter - not for KS Exclusives included with a bigger project, but when the project as a whole will only be available through that window.

Other than that... Kickstarter is picking up where banks and distributors used to be. Financing and initial distribution.

I blame Alliance far more than CMoN.

The Auld Grump

Kilkrazy wrote:When I was a young boy all my wargames were narratively based because I played with my toy soldiers and vehicles without the use of any rules.

The reason I bought rules and became a real wargamer was because I wanted a properly thought out structure to govern the action instead of just making things up as I went along.
 
   
 
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