Kickstarter isn’t a store. You help fund an idea, where many projects offer rewards for various levels of funding, but at the end of the day, pledging to a project is not the same as pre-ordering a product. Failure is a very real possibility, and while Kickstarter’s ToU now require project creators to either deliver the rewards or refund the money, that is often little consolation for the backers. Unfortunately, that was exactly what happened recently the case with the board game The Doom That Came to Atlantic City.
I haven’t followed this project from the beginning, since it’s not a mobile tech project, but looking back at updates and whatnot a picture emerges of the situations. Over a year ago, the project raised $123,000 to make a board game, with an estimated delivery date of November of last year. That didn’t happen, and the project was delayed. As late as early June of this year, the project was apparently still moving forward, but a few days ago, a project update declared the project dead. The project creator has posted two (1, 2) long posts with apologies, explanations, and promises to refund everyone, which have been met with responses varying from understanding to people filing legal complaints. If the project creator is to be believed, he will eventually refund everything, but refunding $123,000 when the money is outright gone isn’t going to be easy. Kickstarter and Amazon alone took 10% off the top, and that money certainly won’t be returned from them.
This is a board game, so it’s obviously not directly related to what we cover on Pocketables, but I wanted to post it as a reminder that backing Kickstarter projects has risks. I post Kickstarter projects on here fairly often, since there’s a lot of great mobile tech-related innovation going on there, so I think it’s an important point to make. Kickstarter’s ToU can demand the project creator refund the money all it wants, but extracting money from someone who has none isn’t going to happen quickly.
So, keep that in mind when you decide whether or not to pledge to a project. I personally have stopped backing projects because I prefer buying projects that actually exist, and it’s up to each individual potential backer to decide whether to do the same.