Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Good Lawsuit

I’ll be honest; I have never donated a cent to anything on Kickstarter.

Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter are now the “In” way to get funding for game developers. Upcoming games like “Star Citizen” and “Torment: Tides of Numenera” are getting millions of dollars from fans, but nothing from me. I just don't trust the concept of it.

To me, Kickstarter is dangerous because I don’t know who I’m giving money to and what’s really been done. Basically, what’s to stop the developers of these games to take the money and run? In the U.S, it seems the answer to that question is a lawsuit.

In America, the state of Washington has filed a lawsuit against Altius Management, a company who had a successful Kickstarter program for the game “Asylum Playing Cards”. In October 2012, Altius exceeded its initial goal of $15,000 by more than $10,000 but more than 18 months after the Kickstarter, nothing has come of the project. The lawsuit seeks restitution for backers who had donated money to the program.

I hope it will succeed.

Now I’m not saying the people behind Altius Management went out to cheat the general public, but they got the money they say they needed for the game and nothing came of it. If the game didn’t come out, then the money ought to be returned to the people who gave it to them. Kickstarter itself has in its Terms of Service a statement that the project creator is legally obligated to fulfill rewards when their project is successful or to offer refunds if they cannot deliver said rewards. Problem is, till now the refund is entirely voluntary.

So this lawsuit, if successful, might be the best thing for Kickstarter in the long run. It will give a clear message to the public that people seeking their money will return the money if the project failed for whatever reason.

To me, that’s reassuring. So much so, I might look into giving some of my money too. 

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