Kickstarter Is "Not a Store," Introduces New Rules

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Kickstarter Is "Not a Store," Introduces New Rules

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The crowdfunding website implements restrictions on projects to ensure backers understand the risks.

Given the sheer amount of projects being advertised on Kickstarter this year, it's easy to forget that most of these games and products, well, don't actually exist yet. Kickstarter must be concerned that their crowdfunding site is being viewed as an online shopping mall; as a result, it has introduced a number of submission requirements designed to remind backers that giving money to a project won't necessarily guarantee a finished product.

All Kickstarter projects from now on must answer the following question: "What are the risks and challenges this project faces, and what qualifies you to overcome them?" Answers will be displayed in a new section on the project's page to help users determine if a project's creator has seriously considered all the potential issues they face in finalizing their product. It also serves as a reminder to users that products are still works in progress, so they should think twice before handing over cash to a project that promises the world.

Hardware projects are also being subject to a number of restrictions. "Product simulations", such as media that shows what a product might do once it's completed (as opposed to functional prototypes), are no longer allowed. This includes the use of product renderings, presumably so that backers won't interpret these images as the real deal. Kickstarter also introduced a ban on offering multiple quantities of a product as a reward, since it "can imply that products are shrink-wrapped and ready to ship".

It's worth noting that the restrictions on hardware projects do not apply to videogames, but it will be relevant to items such as game controllers and game consoles.

"Products should be presented as they are. Over-promising leads to higher expectations for backers," Kickstarter advises. "The best rule of thumb: under-promise and over-deliver."

Source: Kickstarter

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I thought this was the most obvious thing in the world. Kickstarter is to gather funds to develop a game. Not to publish one.

It's actually saddening that these new rules are needed in the first place. Just shows how blatantly stupid some people are.
It is however true that the mass of projects with the actual product as part of the rewards opens a legal can of worms ... After all Kickstarter does require project creators to refund rewards they can't fulfill ...

I would have preferred a ban on those rewards (or at least requiring them to be properly worded ("if successful" -> product) but restricting the use of preview material goes a tad bit too far, imho.

One of these days someone a little less scrupulous is going to make a cubic shit ton (aka: millions) off of one of these crowd sourcing sites with nothing but a cool sounding idea and maybe a pretty picture or two and leave a lot of pissed off people out in the cold. Hell, it may have already happened and I simply haven't heard about it.

Honestly, all you'd really need is an idea that seems plausible enough, a little bit of exposure from the media, someone with a little credibility in the appropriate field wouldn't go amiss, and a bit of momentum. You have all those and you could walk away a millionaire with plenty of time (maybe a year or longer) to drop off the radar before anyone even has the first clue they're getting screwed.

That being said, these new rules are probably for the best.

FEichinger:
It's actually saddening that these new rules are needed in the first place. Just shows how blatantly stupid some people are.
It is however true that the mass of projects with the actual product as part of the rewards opens a legal can of worms ... After all Kickstarter does require project creators to refund rewards they can't fulfill ...

I would have preferred a ban on those rewards (or at least requiring them to be properly worded ("if successful" -> product) but restricting the use of preview material goes a tad bit too far, imho.

I think that banning products as rewards would be a lot worse than benning renders of products. The Ouya wouldn't have been funded if lots of people hadn't paid for a console, but bought posters or T-shirts instead. In a way I can't see how Kickstarter would work if you didn't offer the product in return as if you were interested in a cool pen then you'd have to contribute $30 to get it made, and then another $30 for the item when it's built. That makes little sense.

I can't really argue with the new rules, they make sense, (except maybe the last one, banning the promise of multiple copies of something as a reward) but generally, I don't think that they are really needed.

First of all, Kickstarter is not really popular, in the "mainstream crowd" sense. It's not attracting millions of uninformed visitors from facebook and twitter, pretty much anyone who ever backed something on it, is already a hardcore enthusiast of that given issue. In terms of gaming, the kind of gamers who backed Planetary Annihilation, or Project Eternity, are typically PC veterans who spent the last decades on gaming related websites, and are already sick to death of disclaimers and cynicism about how Kickstarter will rip off all of us.

The biggest projects are usually the ones that were supported by big names behind them. Obsisian, Dounle Fine, Neal Stephenson, or Brian Fargo are about as likely to vanish with our pile of money in a county that we don't have an extradition treaty with, as they were until now to vanish with a publisher's pile of money.

And even running out of money and failing is unlikely, they know that would piss off enough people to bring a class acttion lawsuit on them, so they would rather try to finish it from their own pocket, or by dealing with publishers.

The kind of projects that are likely to be scams or failures, are so small and irrelevant that they won't affect the bigger picture anyways.

Ronack:
I thought this was the most obvious thing in the world. Kickstarter is to gather funds to develop a game. Not to publish one.

Please remember that cups of tea and coffee and Mcdonalds require wording on the cup stating that it contains hot water.

The reason for this is because somebody spilt some on themselves and decided to sue the company for not providing such a warning at the time.

I guess what I am getting at is: Never underestimate the limits of human stupidity.

thenumberthirteen:
I think that banning products as rewards would be a lot worse than benning renders of products. The Ouya wouldn't have been funded if lots of people hadn't paid for a console, but bought posters or T-shirts instead. In a way I can't see how Kickstarter would work if you didn't offer the product in return as if you were interested in a cool pen then you'd have to contribute $30 to get it made, and then another $30 for the item when it's built. That makes little sense.

That's why I said either ban it entirely, or require it to be worded in a way that doesn't imply a pre-order.

Currently I believe it's legally possible to sue the project creator for a refund, if the project fails and the product was included in the rewards. I doubt that's intended - from a project creator's PoV.

Captcha: slippery slope
Indeed, it is.

This is a very smart move on the part of Kickstarter, they're dealing with problems before they happen

FEichinger:
It's actually saddening that these new rules are needed in the first place. Just shows how blatantly stupid some people are.

I don't think it's really that much about stupidity, or if it is it's a universal stupidity that almost every human is susceptible too. Remember the part of your brain that you live and operate in for almost every moment of your life is basically designed to spare processing power as much as possible and make you guess on situations rather than rationalise. For example if you don't initiate the 'think slow' part of your brain, the part of your brain you use for most everyday life is the part that believes if a bat and ball cost a dollar and ten cents and the bat costs a dollar more than the ball then the ball costs 10 cents.

It's not about being smart
http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/frontal-cortex/2012/06/daniel-kahneman-bias-studies.html
it's just how your brain works. In fact the research they're talking about in that article shows that the smarter you are the more likely you are to make irrational purchasing decisions in places like this

Which is why we believe that things which cost £1.99 are much cheaper than things that cost £2.00. Its not smarts, almost every single being on earth would point out they're basically the same price. It's just our brains are imperfect rationalisers

And Kickstarter is pretty much the same thing. Everyone knows that there's no guarantee a product will be completed, that it could easily not turn out the way you think it is, that you've got to be able to trust the people doing the selling. But all the same, the way the site presents it to you, you're brain will be tricked into treating it as if it were an actual product.

In fact I believe it's an old sales/con technique to get people to consider options on a hypothetical which subconsciously reinforces the idea that the hypothetical actually exists. So when people say 'if our stretch goals reach here we'll add in two new quests, or we hope to be able to do such and such' they don't mean it, but they're tricking your brain into believing the product exists because to deal with the 'what if we add this' question, you have to accept the hypothetical situation that the base product exists.

So Kickstarter are just sticking a great big label on to tell people that these products cost £2.00 not £1.99. It'll keep the question of 'will this come to light' on top of the bran whilst looking at everything else and it will help people make more rational decisions. Not because they're stupid and need help, but because they're people

EDIT: Actually I need to highlight a phrase in that article, because you're probably thinking something along the lines of 'yeah but you and I are smart and are aware of the problem, and so we can deal with it, if other people can't it's because they aren't thinking about the problem'

Research shows

"people who were aware of their own biases were not better able to overcome them."

So you and me knowing what the mistakes are, doesn't actually help improve our purchasing decisions, as much as we think it does

[redacted]

Yeah, that was a fail on my part.

Legion:

Please remember that cups of tea and coffee and Mcdonalds require wording on the cup stating that it contains hot water.

The reason for this is because somebody spilt some on themselves and decided to sue the company for not providing such a warning at the time.

I guess what I am getting at is: Never underestimate the limits of human stupidity.

Actually, she didn't sue the company because "the coffe was hot", but because she suffered third degree burns (the worst kind of burns), that it required skin grafts, due to the McDonald's operations manual ordering their coffee to be made dangerously hot, and she won because there were already 700 other compaints of similar injury before her that McDonalds ignored, and because McDonald's quality assurance manager testified that "McDonald's coffee, at the temperature at which it was poured into Styrofoam cups, was not fit for consumption because it would burn the mouth and throat."

http://www.caoc.org/index.cfm?pg=facts

Then after the lawsuit, McDonalds continued to keep it's dangerous (but pactically cheap) coffee production system, while downplaying it with a technically accurate "coffee is hot, duh!" disclaimer to avoid further lawsuits.

I guess what I am getting at is: Never underestimate corporate evil.

Legion:

Ronack:
I thought this was the most obvious thing in the world. Kickstarter is to gather funds to develop a game. Not to publish one.

Please remember that cups of tea and coffee and Mcdonalds require wording on the cup stating that it contains hot water.

The reason for this is because somebody spilt some on themselves and decided to sue the company for not providing such a warning at the time.

I guess what I am getting at is: Never underestimate the limits of human stupidity.

Whoo, thanks for that. I was starting to regain hope for humanity for a second there.

Leviano:

Mahorfeus:
I remember Valve mentioning that they were working on integrating some kind of sign language into the game somehow.

So, you know. Half-Life 3 will be a Kinect exclusive, featuring everybody's favorite mute theoretical physicist!

Eh?

That, my friend, would be my first ever post fail on this site.

Nothing to see here folks. :/

Mahorfeus:

Leviano:

Mahorfeus:
I remember Valve mentioning that they were working on integrating some kind of sign language into the game somehow.

So, you know. Half-Life 3 will be a Kinect exclusive, featuring everybody's favorite mute theoretical physicist!

Eh?

That, my friend, would be my first ever post fail on this site.

Nothing to see here folks. :/

I liked it, people today lack reading comprehension skills.

I approve, it should help to protect a few of the less gifted individuals.

Today's Headline: Kickstarter does something it should have done in the first place, users bashed as stupid.

Makes sense, although I did put 119 dollers into the OUYA, so I hope that arrives by March (the time they said it would) Considering it blew past it's goal by a LOT!

Ronack:

Whoo, thanks for that. I was starting to regain hope for humanity for a second there.

Well, if it helps, the truth of the matter had more to do with a beverage being served at near-boiling temperatures, not simply "hot."

I don't know about you, but I don't consume my food or drinks at near-boiling temperatures. I also don't expect even my "hot" food and beverages to be served to me at those temperatures. Other food and drink is safe to consumer at the time of purchase. It was not so much about it being hot, as it being excessively hot, to the point that it caused severe third degree burns. Do you consumer food which causes severe, third degree burns? No? Then this isn't really an issue of a woman being stupid.

Mcdonalds tried to play it up as "lol stupid woman" because it was in their interest. It's no surprise the company with deep pockets and PR guys on call would be the side that people cited, because "lol ignorant people."

Entitled:

Legion:

Please remember that cups of tea and coffee and Mcdonalds require wording on the cup stating that it contains hot water.

The reason for this is because somebody spilt some on themselves and decided to sue the company for not providing such a warning at the time.

I guess what I am getting at is: Never underestimate the limits of human stupidity.

Actually, she didn't sue the company because "the coffe was hot", but because she suffered third degree burns (the worst kind of burns), that it required skin grafts, due to the McDonald's operations manual ordering their coffee to be made dangerously hot, and she won because there were already 700 other compaints of similar injury before her that McDonalds ignored, and because McDonald's quality assurance manager testified that "McDonald's coffee, at the temperature at which it was poured into Styrofoam cups, was not fit for consumption because it would burn the mouth and throat."

http://www.caoc.org/index.cfm?pg=facts

Then after the lawsuit, McDonalds continued to keep it's dangerous (but pactically cheap) coffee production system, while downplaying it with a technically accurate "coffee is hot, duh!" disclaimer to avoid further lawsuits.

I guess what I am getting at is: Never underestimate corporate evil.

That pisses me off, and I'm not sure if it's because I've only ever heard that story with the perspective of the woman being stupid and entitled, or because I didn't even bother to look up whether it was true or not. Well I can be pissed because of both, I suppose.

As far as this goes it will only make things better. Just because you can probably trust Tim Shafer to deliver, doesn't mean you can safely drop five grand on Joe Shmoe working in his garage and expect the same level of integrity. Transparency is never a bad thing.

FEichinger:

thenumberthirteen:
I think that banning products as rewards would be a lot worse than benning renders of products. The Ouya wouldn't have been funded if lots of people hadn't paid for a console, but bought posters or T-shirts instead. In a way I can't see how Kickstarter would work if you didn't offer the product in return as if you were interested in a cool pen then you'd have to contribute $30 to get it made, and then another $30 for the item when it's built. That makes little sense.

That's why I said either ban it entirely, or require it to be worded in a way that doesn't imply a pre-order.

Currently I believe it's legally possible to sue the project creator for a refund, if the project fails and the product was included in the rewards. I doubt that's intended - from a project creator's PoV.

Captcha: slippery slope
Indeed, it is.

You are not a consumer but an investor so standard consumer rights don't apply. The terms an conditions of Kickstarter only require any remaining money to be refunded. So if a major project fails and they have spent all the money then there is no way of getting it back, unless you can prove deliberate misinformation or fraud. Thats the whole point of the change is to make clear you are taking the risk with your money as an investor. Just like any other investor not all things that you put your money into will pay off, but unlike all other investors you get none of the profits.

TizzytheTormentor:
Makes sense, although I did put 119 dollers into the OUYA, so I hope that arrives by March (the time they said it would) Considering it blew past it's goal by a LOT!

I'd count on any project like this running late. I'm not saying it'll fail, just that dates like these are usually estimates and often arbitrary.

At any rate, I feel as though this is an honest attempt to protect the money off the investors and to retain the companies credibility in regards to game creation. The more games they "Start" that don't make it to the shelf, will reduce the level of future investors for projects etc... This could lead to an overall reduction in kickstarter's level of effectiveness and would reduce the number of ideas and use of kickstarter as a whole.

The McDonalds case is somewhat humorous considering my local mcdonalds actually serves me chips that are legally too cold to be served as hot food.

Anyway, Kickstarter has been treated too much as a pre-order machine for 'great games' they don't result in companies going bust due to a lack of sales (or immediate sales in the case of Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines), instead of something to fund IDEAS.

That being said, I would expect at least something of a working prototype before funding anything (why I didn't find Planetary Annihilation, it's just nothing. All the people funding it clearly haven't seen SupCom yet think the game will be the best thing ever without knowing a thing about it).

I also tend to fund things I would actually buy (or am actually buying), such as models or new board games.

Protecting your users from stupid people is always a good business model.

Entitled:

Legion:

Please remember that cups of tea and coffee and Mcdonalds require wording on the cup stating that it contains hot water.

The reason for this is because somebody spilt some on themselves and decided to sue the company for not providing such a warning at the time.

I guess what I am getting at is: Never underestimate the limits of human stupidity.

Actually, she didn't sue the company because "the coffe was hot", but because she suffered third degree burns (the worst kind of burns), that it required skin grafts, due to the McDonald's operations manual ordering their coffee to be made dangerously hot, and she won because there were already 700 other compaints of similar injury before her that McDonalds ignored, and because McDonald's quality assurance manager testified that "McDonald's coffee, at the temperature at which it was poured into Styrofoam cups, was not fit for consumption because it would burn the mouth and throat."

http://www.caoc.org/index.cfm?pg=facts

Then after the lawsuit, McDonalds continued to keep it's dangerous (but pactically cheap) coffee production system, while downplaying it with a technically accurate "coffee is hot, duh!" disclaimer to avoid further lawsuits.

I guess what I am getting at is: Never underestimate corporate evil.

There's a lot relating to that case you left out.

Firstly, yes she did win, but over a course of appeals, McDonald's whittled the original $640,000 that Stella Leibeck was awarded to a much smaller confidential settlement outside of court. This was due to the fact that Leibeck was the one who spilled the coffee on herself when she stuck the coffee in between her legs and decided to mix in her sugar and cream, which is not the fault of McDonald's. Had she mixed her coffee on a flat surface the 3rd degree burns would have been avoided. Yes, that McDonald's location received 700 complaints, but realistically speaking one McDonald's serves way more than 700 people a day. Meaning most people who buy coffee let it cool before consuming it.

Seriously, when people drink something that's as hot as fresh coffee, they stop instantly in reflex. Sticking a coffee between your legs while sitting in your car runs the risk of coffee burns much higher.

Second, in a U.K. case that mirrored the Leibeck v. McDonald's case, the lawsuit was thrown out due to the field judge effectively saying that people generally let their coffee or tea cool down before drinking it as well as either milk or cream that is added significantly cooling the tea/coffee down. Tea and Coffee are made at a temperature that ensures the best flavour. Therefore serving coffee at a lower temperature would lower the quality of the product significantly.

Leibeck won that case with the media behind her. Leibeck also wanted just the hospital charges covered. Her lawyers went for 2.7 million. Corporate evil is one thing, but the greed of lawyers is on another twisted scale.

But all that falls under tort law.

Kickstarter is a much different beast.

P.S. I wonder which idiot is the cause behind strollers coming with the warning, "remove child before folding"?

AzrealMaximillion:
P.S. I wonder which idiot is the cause behind strollers coming with the warning, "remove child before folding"?

Presumably the same one that caused "Do Not Eat This Air Mattress" and "Do Not Leave the Driver's Seat When Driving With Cruise Control".

Another fun one: The grocery store I work at has frozen pies with the warning "Do Not Turn Upside Down" on the bottom.

OT: It's spectacular how many people will throw money at things they don't understand.

albino boo:
You are not a consumer but an investor so standard consumer rights don't apply. The terms an conditions of Kickstarter only require any remaining money to be refunded. So if a major project fails and they have spent all the money then there is no way of getting it back, unless you can prove deliberate misinformation or fraud. Thats the whole point of the change is to make clear you are taking the risk with your money as an investor. Just like any other investor not all things that you put your money into will pay off, but unlike all other investors you get none of the profits.

Actually, no. Not in the case of rewards. That's the point:

Project Creators are required to fulfill all rewards of their successful fundraising campaigns or refund any Backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill.

Reward tiers which include the product are thus rewards they cannot fulfill, even though the campaign was successful, simply because the product didn't get produced - for whatever reason.

I'm not saying they're required to refund, if the product isn't produced, per say. I'm saying that, if the product is included in the reward tiers, it opens a loophole for any of the backers to sue the hell out of them for not fulfilling said reward as per th Terms of Use Kickstarter presented.

BrotherRool:

-Snip

"people who were aware of their own biases were not better able to overcome them."

That article was an interesting read but that one quote in particular interested me.
They said that they ran the tests but didn't actually describe said tests nor did they give the exact statistics of said tests. As opposed to the MIT test with the ball and the bat, it seems like they made a generalization without listing the full information surrounding the tests or admitting that they made a generalization.
What I'm interested in is whether or not there are any outliers. People that performed significantly better or worse on said tests.

The way they stated it leads you to assume that this was the same for everyone, and implies that biases are inescapable. Leading you to forget that the interpretation of the results from the test itself could be biased.

I feel like it would be best if they posted the raw statistics themselves as opposed to making a generalizing statement.

This already sounds to me like a debate that is going to have scientists and philosophers arguing over for years to come.

Also, what would be interesting to look into would be figuring out whether or not people who are aware of their own biases able to deal with and correct mistakes that they are called out on better that those who aren't as aware?

While I have funded a few things on kickstarter I have always viewed it as an investment with the hopes it will pay off but no guarentee it will

Well they do desperately need to establish some standards, and most of all a legal team that can go after people who don't deliver (no they haven't got anything like that in place now).

This is what confuses me about the whole kick starters thing. They call it an investment but your not really getting the traditional reward of investing (a share in the profits/company). For the most part your getting a pre-order with some kind of swag bonus. So to me it seems to operate as more of a store front for ideas rather than any kind of investment and thats why I stay clear of it. Well apart from I don't have any money to waste on other peoples dreams I have enough of a problem affording my own and my wifes dreams.

Mr.K.:
Well they do desperately need to establish some standards, and most of all a legal team that can go after people who don't deliver (no they haven't got anything like that in place now).

I don't think that Kickstarter needs to directly go after people who don't deliver. If any user wants to sue, they are free to do, but Kickstarter should only be the channel throgh which creators interact with audieces, but shouldn't make it's own judgements about the results.

Legion:

Ronack:
I thought this was the most obvious thing in the world. Kickstarter is to gather funds to develop a game. Not to publish one.

Please remember that cups of tea and coffee and Mcdonalds require wording on the cup stating that it contains hot water.

The reason for this is because somebody spilt some on themselves and decided to sue the company for not providing such a warning at the time.

I guess what I am getting at is: Never underestimate the limits of human stupidity.

Interestingly enough, it's actually not because of that. McDonalds was heating their coffees to higher than they should have been by guidelines and rules. One customer, a lady in a car, sat her coffee between her legs and drove out of the drive-thru. The lid (shit as they are) wasn't on properly and the boiling liquid scalded her badly. The incident caused a small investigation and McDonalds reduced the temperature to what they should have been.

The warning now is simply to help cover their ass should it happen again somehow.

Ronack:
I thought this was the most obvious thing in the world. Kickstarter is to gather funds to develop a game. Not to publish one.

Spot on. They need to emphasize the "develop" part of that.

So, in an effort to protect stupid people, companies that actually CAN deliver finished goods in a reliable fashion to individuals willing to fund for them are getting punished.

Thanks KS. Thanks for nothing.

I'm so glad this came after I funded the Reaper Bones KS. From the sounds of it, their KS wouldn't be allowed under the new rules (since it hinged on delivering finished products).

Ah well, so much for brief Kickstarter addiction. I ONLY fund for a finished product (and only give money to companies reliable enough to produce them such as Reaper or Obsidian), so KS won't be getting their cut from me anymore under these new rules.

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