Molyneux: Kickstarter is destructive

3 min read


Peter Molyneux is one of the grandfathers of gaming, although lately he’s become more of that crazy uncle that no one likes to talk about. He and his studio 22cans funded Godus with Kickstarter and Steam Early Access, but he says that developers should be wary of following his example – sound advice no matter which example we’re referring to.

Speaking to TechRadar, Molyneux explained that going with Kickstarter ended up being detrimental to the project, leading to overselling and other issues.

What I’ve learned is that doing Kickstarter and Steam Early Access, before you’ve got something which is defined and playable, is a hugely risky undertaking that can be very destructive to the final quality of the game. And if I had my time again, I wouldn’t do Kickstarter at the start of development, I would do it at the end of development or towards the end of development. I’m not saying I would never do Kickstarter again, but if I was to do Kickstarter again, I would say ‘look, we’ve done half the game, you can download this demo, you can play the game. You know what the game’s going to be, now we’re going to take it from this point to this point.
[…] There’s this overwhelming urge to over-promise because it’s such a harsh rule: if you’re one penny short of your target then you don’t get it. And of course in this instance, the behaviour is incredibly destructive, which is ‘Christ, we’ve only got 10 days to go and we’ve got to make £100,000, for f**k’s sake, lets just say anything’. So I’m not sure I would do that again.

I’m glad he has seen the error of his ways, and I think it is a big issue for developers who are trying to crowd source their ideas. In a bid to get money from a range of backers, people end up promising a wider range of things. It doesn’t make the project any better and often ends up diluting the original goal of the campaign. Just look at that potato salad Kickstarter – nothing had to change, it was perfect as it was and got a ton of support. Perhaps it wouldn’t have if the campaign had expanded to include a full course meal.

I don’t trust Molyneux the same way we all did back in the day, but it’s good to see him coming out with decent advice for other developers. Build your concept thoroughly and ensure that you know what you’re pitching for before you take to the internet to find money. Without a clear idea of what you’re doing, you’ll get pulled by the tide of people and questions, and lose any sense of your own ideas and dreams.

Last Updated: December 3, 2014

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