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Comic for: September 22nd, 2014
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Kickstarter: "Sub-section 3"
Posted: Monday September 22nd, 2014 by

As some of you may know, another high-dollar, high-profile Kickstarter projects has ended in cancellation, leaving backers, after two years of expectation, with little more than a prototype to show for it. 'Clang' was to be an arena-based, one-on-one multiplayer sword fighting game, headed by sci-fi author Neal Stephenson. The game was canceled after developer, Subutai, ran out of money and failed to secure additional funding to finish the game. Stephenson blames himself, in part, citing his focus historical accuracy over sufficient fun. He also says that he and the development team contributed their own time and money to the project as well and, having done so, absorbed significant financial loss. [more info]

It's a tale of woe to be sure. But as a person who backs Kickstarter projects when he can, it's something I prepare for before ever submitting a pledge. I have never contributed to a project expecting it to fail, but I've also never jumped in on a project for more money than I could reasonably afford to lose.

All the while Kickstarter sat high atop their perch collecting money while making it clear that every project was a risk. As a company they would not and, indeed, could not intervene when a creator shafted its backers. I get this, from a legal stand point it would be a nightmare. And if Kickstarter had to ensure every campaign or take steps to punish failed creators, their cut of the successful contributions would be prohibitively high. That being said, Kickstarter recently updated their terms of use to cut through legal jargon and simplify language to say, "If a creator is unable to complete their project and fulfill rewards, they've failed to live up to the basic obligations of this agreement. To right this, they must make every reasonable effort to find another way of bringing the project to the best possible conclusion for backers". "Every reasonable effort" meaning the creator must explain where the project stands, show how the money was used, and maintain communication with backers. As before, creators much offer refunds on unfulfilled rewards or explain how remaining funds will be used to finish the project in an alternate form. [more info]

So what happens if the creator fails to comply? Kickstarter warns that backers might possibly take legal action.
Ooookay. So nothing. It means nothing. Backers of unsuccessful, or worse, predatory campaigns are still on their own to try to get something out of the money they've offered.

I've wall of texted long enough here, so I don't want to make it longer by getting all wordy with my feelings on the pointless move by Kickstarter. So I'll leave you with the mental image of Ted still sporting last Friday's "what the f@#k ever" bedazzled jeggings. I think that sums it up well enough.

Kickstarter does nothing and still gets headlines. Woody yawns and backs another project that he took the time to vet himself.

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