Re: Elite: Dangerous - and the return

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Re: David Braben's Elite: Dangerous - Kickstarter!

Post by Thargoid »

Selezen wrote:The interesting thing about ED's kickstarter failing is that it means none of us have to pony up for the pledges. It also means that the successful author kickstarters pledges will now be seriously profit, thereby covering some of the things that Drew, for example, would have had to pay for themselves (KS kickback, editing etc).

So in some ways, the ED kickstarter failing could be beneficial to the production of the side media. Frontier's other pledge rewards were mostly game related, including copies of the game and so on, that they will make back in sales and so on anyway since each of the thousands of people who pledged for copies of the game would now be spending about the same amount on commercial copies of the game anyway. So the only change in the profit model would be that the game's income would come after the release of the game instead of before.

Given the condition that ED is in now, I would be surprised if there's a lot more financial input (paying devs etc) that's needed to make the game releasable. It looks like it could be in an alpha state already (at least for the physics, rendering and combat models) so a year and a half could be a bloated estimate. I don't know.

I just get this feeling that Frontier wouldn't be going this far into a marketing and publicity process without having something "on the shelf" or at least very nearly on the shelf. It's a method that the company I work for uses with update releases - get a working release ready then assess the market for viability before carrying out the final phases of development (polishing it up and adding the shiny goodies).
The problem there is if the KS does fail, then FD wouldn't technically be under any obligation to promote the written novels, and indeed may find it more difficult (or at least less financially viable) to do it without the over-arching umbrella of promoting the whole game. Plus it would depend on timings as to how the game universe developed.

I could see though that if it does fall through then the authors who have the funding behind them could end up with "private deals" to pay for their license to the game (ie same things as now, but directly rather than via KS).

Here Drew is in good shape, as he still has the option to kill off his KS without obligation if it does look like E:D isn't going to fly via KS. However quite how other projects may deal with it (especially those who have already closed where money has been taken) could get "interesting".

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Re: David Braben's Elite: Dangerous - Kickstarter!

Post by cim »

Thargoid wrote:They would of course be FD themselves, supporting their own kickstarter and so ensuring its success.
Hmm... if it was that direct, it would be against Kickstarter's stated rules(last question), and for a project this high profile probably difficult to get away with unnoticed.

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Re: David Braben's Elite: Dangerous - Kickstarter!

Post by Thargoid »

Presumably Braben is the creator of the project - it wouldn't stop anyone else at FD supporting it.

Or family and friends for that matter.

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Re: David Braben's Elite: Dangerous - Kickstarter!

Post by cim »

Thargoid wrote:Presumably Braben is the creator of the project - it wouldn't stop anyone else at FD supporting it.

Or family and friends for that matter.
Mmm... the account name is Frontier Developments, and I'm not sure the rules about paying yourself would allow paying an employee to pay Kickstarter to pay you to pay the employee's future wages either...

It certainly wouldn't surprise me if they had some suitable slightly more independent investors lined up just in case, though.

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Re: David Braben's Elite: Dangerous - Kickstarter!

Post by ClymAngus »

You know I'm not seeing any main problem with this situation. Ok worse most horrible cynical NASTY scenario;

A company has an idea, they have the cash to fund it. But they DON'T. They put it on kickstarter.

Thus using kickstarter as a hub for the hype, pre-product advertising AND to offset some of the creation costs.

Shock! Funding is looking a little slim (even though a substantial dent has been made in the start up cost)

11th hour rescue by the production company under an assumed name that fling the rest of the cash at the project. It's a fairytale ending.

a) kick start get good press and their cut.
b) the production gets free press
c) the thing gets made. At a fraction of the actual cost.

So even with the most cynical, underhanded double dealing usage of Kickstarter and manipulation of the audience.......
It gets made..... You know what? I don't really have a problem with that. :D

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Re: David Braben's Elite: Dangerous - Kickstarter!

Post by Selezen »

Yeah, I did wonder if FD would stump up the cash to finish off the KS (under an assumed name obviously) if it looked like it was falling short.

Great that a community rep has signed up with SSC - more evidence that FD are taking this game seriously, I think, and more hints that ED will happen whether or not the Kickstarter succeeds.

Thargoid, I think FD / Braben have committed in writing on the KS that the novels will be supported. Whether or not the KS fails, there is evidence in everyone's mailbox that the novels will happen.

I can't see it being worth getting into a legal argument about from FD's perspective since they are going a long way towards trying to make themselves look good in the community regarding ED.

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Re: David Braben's Elite: Dangerous - Kickstarter!

Post by DaddyHoggy »

Surely using "outside investors" and/or "quietly funding themselves" will still have to be done through the pledging system they have set-up? Are they going to have a team of people pledging tens of thousands if not 100s of thousands via the £30 get a copy of the game pledge level?

I still can't believe all the £20 pledges haven't gone yet...
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Re: David Braben's Elite: Dangerous - Kickstarter!

Post by Disembodied »

ClymAngus wrote:So even with the most cynical, underhanded double dealing usage of Kickstarter and manipulation of the audience.......
It gets made..... You know what? I don't really have a problem with that. :D
Absolutely ... we get a game we all want (or think we want, at least), and nobody dies or even gets ripped off.

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Re: David Braben's Elite: Dangerous - Kickstarter!

Post by xzanfr »

Selezen & others wrote:Yeah, I did wonder if FD would stump up the cash to finish off the KS (under an assumed name obviously) if it looked like it was falling short.
I think this is the most likley outcome - the description mentions:
E:D kickstarter wrote:We’re using Kickstarter both as a means of test-marketing the concept to verify there is still interest in such a game that extends beyond the individuals who regularly contact me about the game
This has been my first pledge on a kickstarter project so I'm pretty new to it all - is there anything stopping them from doing this? I can't see why not ... it's a little underhand but in the end everyone wins.

It's also suprising how few people on the kickstarter comments that have played oolite - I found oolite from a simple google search for "elite" which brought up the wiki and consequently this site, so you'd have thought that a few more would have done something similar.

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Re: David Braben's Elite: Dangerous - Kickstarter!

Post by Cmdr James »

DaddyHoggy wrote: I still can't believe all the £20 pledges haven't gone yet...
Personally 20 quid isnt a big deal to me, but Im not keen on promising to pay for promises. I dont really like the kickstarter model, its just like microinvestment, without actually having an investment -- so thats a preorder then. It might be a great deal, or maybe Ill wait 3 years and itll be a turkey, or just never be finished.

This whole thing just feels very odd to me. Im expecting the game to be like 20 quid then 5 a month for an online subscription, plus odds and ends for ingame upgrades. Cant help feeling paying up front is a mugs game. If Im wrong, well Il be picking up a game at retail price whenever its done, after about 2 decades of waiting ;)

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Re: David Braben's Elite: Dangerous - Kickstarter!

Post by Wolfwood »

They have already said that there's not going to be online subscription for Elite. Once you buy it, you can pay it for as long as you want to. Extra cost will come in the form of expansions and - I'm guessing - DLC.

They have also explained why they need to pursue this model: publishers aren't interested in funding production for a game that has not had a predecessor in a couple of decades - space sims just haven't been released in a long while and publishers are unwilling to take the risk of bringing them back. As such, you are not pre-ordering it, you are helping to make it reality.
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Re: David Braben's Elite: Dangerous - Kickstarter!

Post by Commander McLane »

I can understand and even share the sentiment, though.

For starters, there are enough people among the backers on Kickstarter who are confusing their pledge with a pre-order. It seems to be a quite common misunderstanding, even if Kickstarter clearly states otherwise (but then again, who reads readMe's anyway :wink: ).

In fact it is a micro-investment. You can for instance lose it completely, if the creator you've backed fails to deliver. Every backer is a small venture capitalist, except that venture capitalists expect, demand, and get a return on their investment. On Kickstarter returns are given out in the form of the various goodies specified in the pledge level descriptions. So you might say, that's the same as with venture capital.

But there is one crucial difference: for 'proper' venture capital, you get a share in the company you're investing in. This means among other things that you have the right to a permanent return in form of a yearly dividend (or whatever it may be called). And it means that you can sell your share any time, and get your money back (more precisely: the value of your shares at the time of selling; this may be bigger or smaller than your initial investment), if you decide to pull your investment out.

On Kickstarter, on the other hand, you're not allowed to invest in companies, only in projects. So there's no shares (however small), and your return is a one-off goodie. In exchange for that goodie, your money has changed hands permanently. You cannot ever demand it back. It now legally belongs to the project creator, not to you anymore. Thus, basically it is a sell-and-buy transaction (or a pre-order, because the product isn't finished yet).

This ambivalent character of the transaction that takes place on Kickstarter is where its oddity lies, I think.

I don't find the described ambivalent character of the transaction intrinsically problematic. Take for instance Drew's Kickstarter: it's a project that needs some capital which Drew hasn't got; I want to support this project, because I'd like to see it happen, and I don't expect to get anything in return; neither can Drew expect to make any financial gain from it; it certainly wouldn't happen without support; Kickstarter is only the means to organize the support, I'd be equally happy to put some money into Drew's bank account. In summary: it's a recreational fan project, and as long as people agree with it and support it, I see nothing wrong with it.

However, it becomes more problematic when a for-profit company asks for micro-investments via Kickstarter: Frontier Developments expect to make a profit with their game. An on-going profit after the game is finished and released. They allow me to invest in the project, but not in their company. My investment legally becomes their property, which they are allowed to make profits from, without sharing these profits with me in any way, shape or form, except for a one-off goodie. I do find this somehow dubious as a business model.

Basically, when done by a for-profit company, it becomes a sort of faux-capitalism: as a backer on Kickstarter, you're asked to become a capitalist by investing money which you may lose completely, but in return you don't build your own capital and fortune, but somebody else's. You get nothing out of it for yourself, except a one-off goodie. It can be seen as a way of tricking the masses of their money, so that the few can keep the capital gains of that money for themselves.

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Re: David Braben's Elite: Dangerous - Kickstarter!

Post by Thargoid »

True, but if you do simply look at it as a single one-off payment for the goodies that you are promised for the level you pay for, then it simplifies somewhat. In most cases it's just buying the end product as you say, plus perhaps some other fringe benefit like a party invite, multiple examples of the item or enhancement/variation to it.

If you think of it that way then things get clearer. After all if you buy a Big Mac, you don't expect to get a share dividend from McDonalds (no matter how regularly you eat there).

The only real issue I see here is that you're buying a product that doesn't yet exist, but on the view to bringing it about. There the issue would be for projects that don't have a tangible end product to buy, but even there something tangible would generally need to be included into a pledge level offer.

As you say it's an investment in a project, not in a company. So for most cases it is indeed a pre-order, albeit one that's enhanced with additional stuff usually for higher level pledges. I don't think anyone has ever thought that by throwing cash into KS they were due any long-term shares?
Last edited by Thargoid on Sun Dec 09, 2012 6:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: David Braben's Elite: Dangerous - Kickstarter!

Post by Disembodied »

Commander McLane wrote:Basically, when done by a for-profit company, it becomes a sort of faux-capitalism: as a backer on Kickstarter, you're asked to become a capitalist by investing money which you may lose completely, but in return you don't build your own capital and fortune, but somebody else's. You get nothing out of it for yourself, except a one-off goodie. It can be seen as a way of tricking the masses of their money, so that the few can keep the capital gains of that money for themselves.
This is true - but it's also worth remembering that Frontier Developments, although they are a for-profit company, are also the artistic creators here. Any game which might get produced will be the result of their design, skill, craft and labour. "Investors" will also be able to enjoy their one-off goodie for an indefinite amount of time once they have it - and without all the little "investments", they probably wouldn't have got the goodie at all.

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Re: David Braben's Elite: Dangerous - Kickstarter!

Post by drew »

A few answers regarding E : D...
Michael Brookes wrote: Creator Frontier Developments 2 minutes ago

@ Drew Wagar

- "Are some or all of the systems in the original Elite going to be present in E:D (e.g. Lave, Diso etc) ?"

Maybe :-)

- "Will you be able to buy different ships, as in Frontier?"

Yes.

- "Will you be able to buy other assets as such stations, multiple ships, asteroids, planets?"

Probably not, but not finalised yet.

- "What ships are planned to be in the game from the start?"

Not decided yet.

- "What weapons are planned to be in the game from the start?"

Not decided yet.

- "How sophisticated will the trading mechanism be?"

Player actions will affect the stock market - see tthe shared universe comment in my single player post.

- "Will there be a Cobra Mk4?"

Yes, but only I can fly it :-)

- "Who is writing the music for E:D?2

Not decided yet.

- "Is there a minimum/recommended spec for a PC required to run E:D?"

Not yet.

- "Will you be able to play E:D without an internet connection?"

We're currently looking at a shared universe, that makes no connection at all difficult (but not impossible).

- "Will E:D be fan mod-able (e.g. Homeworld, Quake etc) ?"

That's something we'd like to support, but will probably be a stretch goal.

Michael
Cheers,

Drew.
Author of the Oolite Saga, the officially licensed Elite: Reclamation and Elite Dangerous: Premonition
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