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The Great Kickstarter Scam
December 27th, 2012 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Jason Scott blogged about the inevitable changes of Kickstarter here. I found one passage particularly fascinating:

I am positive, as much as I am willing to be, that someone somewhere has rented an office and begun the careful, involved process of building a backstory and a history for their non-existent endeavor. This endeavor will come at you with the warm, smiling pitch of the talented grifter, with an answer for everything and a dream that’s just this side of crazy and therefore that side of compelling. They’ll have domains, a website, a phone number. They’ll give you a feeling of being at the start of something great. And you are. You most certainly are.

This got me thinking. What form would The Big One take?

The Big One, in this case, is the Kickstarter project that generates more than a couple million dollars with the owner immediately retiring on a tropical island. Money matters. This project, the “Videogame History Museum” helped a couple guys move their arcade cabinets across the country and hasn’t done anything else since it was successfully funded on September 1st, 2011, but it was only funded for $50,000. Diaspora* is an old fan favorite of a failed Kickstarter project (coupled with the audacity of their request for more money via e-mail a few months ago) but that was just for $200,000.

Looking at the projects that were so enthusiastically funded, the first two that come to mind are the Double Fine Adventure and Ouya video game console. In my opinion, why they really took off is what will make The Big One successful: they tapped into the righteous fury that nerds feel when something was taken from them.

(And I do feel that it will be a general set of nerds, dorks, geeks and spittles that fund the killer scam in a couple years. I mean, you are probably aware what web comic geeks will fund just on their own. It won’t be sports fans: without an official license from the NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA you aren’t getting far. Though I suppose there could be a Kickstarter project to do something with the Stanley Cup after hockey ceases to exist forever in two weeks.)

Did the Double Fine Adventure take off because people loved Tim Schafer’s games that much? I remember hearing for years how disappointing the sales were for Psychonauts and Brütal Legend. (Though Schafer has claimed that Brütal Legend has sold more than a million copies.) I think why the Double Fine Adventure campaign did so well was because people were sick that they couldn’t buy adventure games anymore. That was a perfectly fine genre that entertained people, but got marginalized due to the fact that you couldn’t make a five-million copy seller. I don’t believe it was because people were sick of the games or because there was suddenly something intrinsically wrong with pointing and clicking to advance a story and solve puzzles.

Ouya is another example, and I feel that it was a reaction to the locked-down systems of Windows 8, the 360, the Wii, the Playstation 3 and the iOS app store. Video game enthusiasts tolerate these models, but were clearly ready to support something open. To the tune of over $8 million in Kickstarter funding. The millions that the Double Fine Adventure, Wasteland 2 and Ouya generated has to have opened some eyes. Some fradulent eyes. Hell, on those occasions where I have described Kickstarter to someone, their first question is, “Why doesn’t someone make a fake one and run off with the money?”

So the idea is to protect ourselves, and to do that, well, personally I’m no longer supporting new versions of games I liked on the Atari 8-bit computer. Ha! Ha ha ha!

Ha ha ha hahaaha!

No. I Paypalled $100 to jumpman-jr-returns@kickstarter.com and that doesn’t even exist yet. No, instead I am going to try to predict what I think the scam to end all scams will be:

1) Firefly. Well, it’d have to be that, wouldn’t it? A show that Kickstarter’s target audience enjoyed that was stolen waaaaay too early by those damnable suits at Fox. Sssss! How they snake and slither! The problem in bringing this show back in order to take $10 million to the Cayman Islands is that you’d need to get the rights, which you can’t, and then the actors and actresses, which you won’t. So this won’t happen, though it is the web at its most vulnerable. At its softest underbelly.

2) The 3D Printed Assault Rifle. While typing this blog post, I’ve had to shut my window twice to drown out the sounds of gunfire from the spree shootings going on, and nobody lives in my town. The pasty dickhead’s nightmare of the government coming for your guns will pretty much happen in the next four months, because after shooting up kids someone will top it by shooting up the players during the fifth inning of a Yankees game, then a bunch of babies. At that point somebody WILL be coming door to door, individually, for your guns. It will be like the beginning to Inglorious Basterds, except that instead of cutting away to people living in-between the boards, Uzis will be in closets going like this: o_0;;;;;;;;;. Oh, and per household, the Basterds version will involve fewer guns. At that point a 3D Printed rifle project will be launched. (Though I assume Kickstarter themselves would not give the “go-ahead” for a 3D weapon, it’s the sort of thing I could see on IndieGogo, the “Gobots” of crowd-funding.)

3) A motorcycle-like piece of transportation. An open source motorcycle-like machine, delivered to your place, for a few thousand bucks that you could then totally mod? And give the finger to Big Oil at the same time? I mean, you played Rocket Jockey, you know how much fun it would be to have one of these.

4) Rocket Jockey 2. Whoops, that’s me and only me giving my life savings toward it. Don’t do this one at me.

5) Something Involving Movies. By this I mean that film is the one thing, beyond video games and music, that nerds feel they had taken from them, though in this case, they never really had it to begin with. I do know that running those anti-piracy ads at the start of theater movies has brought people to a slow boil. I could see a charismatic individual setting something up to fund indie filmmakers, distribute their stuff on-line and otherwise shape it so that the greedy pits running Hollywood (just “Hollywood”) don’t get a cut. I think this is where we are weakest and would most want a big change, one that results in some guy sitting on a mountain of money that forms his own private island.

Anyway, if you use any of these ideas, tell them you don’t know me.

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Twitter: @icecreamjonsey


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