Friday, May 25, 2012

Kickstarter the wave of the future, or at least the future of the past?

Kickstarter seems to be the new hotness, either for new products, like Zombiecide, or re-releases of old ones, like OGRE (and soon to come Car Wars). 

There's a lot of junk on Kickstarter, as with anything where you can ask for money, there will be a lot of trash, but some gems.  What kinds of possibilities does this offer us, and can Kickstarter and similar services likely to follow lead to a more meaningful connection between gaming consumers and producers?

Businesses like sure things.  They don't like big up-front fixed costs.  No one wants to dump a lot of money into something and have it flop.  Kickstarter gets around that problem - figure out how much it will cost, let people pony up the money up front - if there's not enough interest, go on to something else.  If there is enough interest, you've got your first big batch of advanced orders already locked in.  Sounds good from a company perspective.

And from the customer perspective?  We can potentially get products we would want to buy, even niche ones that would not be practical to distribute through normal mass channels.  

As said, there's a lot of junk, and doubtless scams.  But I see great possibilities for this as an extra channel for producers with established track records.  Steve Jackson Games for instance, the company behind that OGRE project, a much-loved company with decades of rep, creators of iconic games like OGRE, Car Wars, GURPS, and others.  Let's look at the company whose products are covered most often here on the blog, Games Workshop and think about some things that could potentially be done.

  • Reprinted versions of the old Slaves to Darkness/Lost and the Damned books
  • Updated versions of the same
  • A line of Squat miniatures
  • Re-releases of OOP figures
  • Runs of metal versions of figures for those who don't like Finecast
  • Updated Necromunda, Mordheim, Blood Bowl, etc.
  • What codex needs the next update?  Get enough pre-orders and they get cracking.
A lot of these may not be worth GW's troubles on their own, and would be risky moves for the normal way of trying to do worldwide distribution.  But if they can get a guaranteed profit up front, it removes the risk and gives them a potentially nice side income stream.

What do you think?  Can you ever forsee GW going down a similar route, taking more direct customer feedback (backed by money) on what to produce?  Any other old stuff from other companies you'd like to see brought back?  What sorts of things would you plunk down money in advance for?


  1. I WISH GW would use Kickstarter or something like it to get a new Necromunda, Bloodbowl or Squats (or any OOP fig line) up and running. But, like much of their business ideas, they'll just do their own thing, continue to do their own thing and to hell with what the rest of us think. :)

  2. I hadn't even thought of it from that perspective but yeah from a business sense they couldn't lose really. I would gladly pony up for reprint of Rogue Trader and Astronomicon for instance.

  3. @Dai - Even something like Wargames Factory's Liberty and Union league might work for others.

    @Minitrol - Yep, I'd love to see some reprints of more of the old stuff.

  4. Warhammer Quest = a million bucks


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