Much is being made about the hubris and the ethics of the Youtube gaming community, lately. First there was the informal survey that discussed developers or publishers paying Youtube content creators to promote their games, which especially decried those that do not disclose sponsorship to their viewers. Then there was YogsDiscovery, an only-revealed-when-discussed-among-other-Youtubers project where developers would pay a percentage of sales that were measured after YogsCast would create a video or series on their projects.
Well, public perception isn’t getting any better. Kickstarter project Yogventures, the Yogscast’s first attempt into making a video game that received more than $567,000 in funding in May 2012, has been cancelled. More than double their requested amount of money was raised, and no tangible game was produced. It was half the responsibility of the fans to know what they were getting into, but the response from the Yogscast team is downright deplorable.
“As you may have heard, Winterkewl Games have stopped work on Yogventures – but this is actually a good thing,” Yogscast co-founder Lewis Brindley somehow argued in an email to backers. “The project was proving too ambitious and difficult for them to complete with their six-man team.”
The email went on to confidently deflect blame, remarkably crafting this tidbit (emphasis mine);
Although we’re under no obligation to do anything, instead we’re going to do our best to make this right, and make you really glad you backed the project!
Well that will certainly make those almost 300 people who threw $200 or more towards the project (including 5 each at $5,000 and $10,000) feel better! To be fair, though, they will be sending out physical rewards for a game that won’t exist as best they can outside of personalized in-game items (because the game failed, of course). Additionally, backers will receive a free Steam Early Access key for the game TUG, but nothing more.
Wow. It’s clear that Yogsventures certainly went over the six-person team’s heads, to the point where nobody was updating the Kickstarter page for almost a year. Why I’m angry about this news is because it puts an immeasurable amount of distrust not only in Kickstarter projects as a whole (Potato Salad continues to bring the legitimacy of the crowdfunding platform at that site to new lows), but to the cult of personality that Youtube fandom creates.
$250,000 was all that was asked to create Yogsventures, a game that featured randomly generated worlds, full mod support, a crafting system, an in-game physics engine and a fully shapeable terrain? With a six-person team of inexperienced developers? There’s no way that the project would be created with nearly that much money, let along even double that. No rational group of people would come together to fund such a project.
Then why did it get started in the first place? Because of the cult of personality. Fandom makes even the tamest of people a bit egotistical purely based off of the sheer amount of positivity surrounding them. Why else would someone say that they are “under no obligation to do anything” about hundreds of thousands of dollars spent to create absolutely nothing, directly to the people who gave them their money? It’s the same line of thinking that says you should be able to get away with getting paid to promote content on your Youtube channel without informing your viewers. However, its the same fandom that solely got them the money in the first place.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t follow a person or a group’s project that haven’t done exactly what they intend to do ever before. For example, Shovel Knight is an excellent case where developers wanted to make a modest, easy-to-develop action platformer with industry professionals. The community saw the project for its merits and its modest goals and not for its fandom, and thus it received more than 4 times its funding. The game got bigger, took a bit more time to develop, but it turned out to be one of the best games of 2014 so far.
In conclusion; Yogsventures levels of Kickstarter failures are less common than success stories, but they are devastating for all involved. Think about where you’re putting your money towards before you can never see it again. Is it the success of the game that you want to see thrive, or is it the creators?
The views expressed in this article explicitly belong to the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of, nor should be attributed to, GameSided as an organization.
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