Thursday, 29 November 2012

Through the Breach Kickstarter: A Second Opinion

Good Thursday everyone!

So just prior to my bed time last night the Through the Breach Kickstarter went live and I think I need to give it a (mad) doctor's second opinion.

So the Kickstarter itself an be found here. And while I welcome you all to each make up your own mind about this, here are my thoughts.

I'm not a happy scientist.

I don't want to bitch and moan, so I'm going to try and avoid that.

What I will say is that I personally believe that the pledge markers are too steep in my opinion for what you get.

The first reward mark is at $60 (+22 for shipping outside the US) so a combined total of $82.

In today's market that is equal to £52.20.

The reward you get for this is two soft cover guides (one for players, one for GMs).

Here is where my issue starts: I used to play a lot of World of Darkness RPGs by White Wolf, each core book would come in a single package, hardback and cost only £20 despite being thick enough to kill someone with a solid hit to the head.

In this situation however, if I want a hardback I have to pledge $125 + $33 for P&P ($158 total) that's £96! Oh yes I also get the soft copy books and a fate deck, but for me that's just too high for my (already stretched) wallet.

The second issue I have, and while it is tied to the first issue I believe it deserves it's own section. And this is an issue I have with Kickstarter in general:
The hard copy book is a Kickstarter exclusive.

Let me just leave that there for a moment.

Unless I put in nearly £100 within the next month I can NEVER get hold of a hard copy unless I buy one off eBay for an even further inflated price.

Ok yes this is a whine, but I believe that as a consumer I should be able to buy the same products as the next person at a later date. Or failing that, I should be able to buy that by itself without having to pay for things I don't want.

This is the attitude that Kickstarter is encouraging, charge a lot of money for stuff that is only available to the exclusive few and if those of us who can't afford to splash £100 during the most expensive time of the year, well we can just suck it .

The hard copy version of the book should be a general release, it is what myself and many other long term RPGers expect as standard now.

I have other issues, mainly that I disagree with a successful company using Kickstarter to find projects, especially when that company already has Capital.

It is my opinion that Kickstarter is designed for up and coming companies who don't have investors and shareholders to use to help them get off the ground, not for companies such as Wyrd and Mantic to use to fund or part-fund a project in advance.

The way I see it, if a project is good, then the end sales will (normally) reflect this, but in this case we are seeing a company receive over $30,000 directly from the consumer before any of these consumer's know if it's any good, and I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of these backers are doing so because of fear of losing out on the exclusive books and sculpts.

Don't get me wrong, I understand the principles of Capitalism and making money, and I like what Wyrd generally do (I wouldn't be a Henchman who gives up his own time to encourage new players to join in the game if I didn't). I just look at this and I have to wonder if Wyrd are working in the best interest of the community or if they're on the downward slope that lead to Games Workshop becoming the despised company it is now.

I seriously hope that the above is not the case, and I am just being an over reacting nub.

Anyway, stay safe everyone, see you breachside.

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley


  1. Good thoughts that pretty much mirror my own - which I have blogged about at Is it bad form to plug your own blog in the comments of someonelses? Roll on Maliquest I say

  2. I have paid dearly for RPG books before so spending 65 for 2 books is just fine to me that is only 32.50 per book I do not think it is fair to add in shipping cost. I have recently had to start paying for shipping on everything and honestly it does suck but that is the nature of the beast. As for the higher level stuff I pledged 225$ but I get 2 copies of both books and 3 minis and the Doll (which is way cool) and a fate deck! I do not think this is completely out in left field for this price. As for them using kickstarter I like the idea it lest me keep up with the games as it progresses and it makes me the gamer feel included in what is going on something GW would never do.

  3. I pledged the $60, though I thankfully don't have to worry about the added shipping costs. I agree with you about being unhappy hearing that the hardcover is a Kickstarter exclusive, though I guess the way it's worded, they may be able to come out with separate hardcover books that are not Kickstarter exclusive down the line. The Kickstarter exclusive one talks about having both books combined into one volume.

    I'm going to be keeping an eye on the Kickstarter as it goes on - I'm very curious to see what they're going to offer as Stretch Goals.

    As for established companies using Kickstarter, I agree it's not what the program was intended for initially, but Wyrd is hardly the first company to use Kickstarter. It's just becoming a new way of business, and I'm honestly okay with that. If I wanted to see how the product was prior to purchasing, I could wait until the normal release date. Yes, I might miss out on extras (though not in the case of the $60 offering), but that's the choice I can make.

  4. I think ultimately it all comes down to perceived value for money.

    Currently I don't percieve this as good value and I will not be backing.

    If however my home situation was different and I had higher disposable income, or if I lived in the US and didn't have to worry about shipping, then this would probably be a different story.

    I should also say, my concerns over the use of KS by established companies, I think this comes from my belief in traditional business.

    In one respect it's great that the general public can back what they want and allow things to get published that normally would perhaps slip through the net.

    On the other hand, years of working in customer service (in one way or another) as well as being involved in many different gaming circles has taught me one thing:
    The customer is NEVER right and the idea of essentially allowing any mouth breathing Donald the opportunity to have a direct involvement in a product that is supposed to be purchased on the mass market scares me.