John Comes - Planetary Annihilation: The Journey of a Kickstarter

Discussion in 'PA: TITANS: General Discussion' started by felipec, December 18, 2015.

  1. xankar

    xankar Post Master General

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    Except it was never seen as "beloved game engine". Most people hated the thing. There was never anything to look beyond for.
  2. gmase

    gmase Well-Known Member

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    Buhh
  3. SXX

    SXX Post Master General

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    Most of time it's hard to determine "value" of many things that huge percent of money goes into, like game engine features. Or gameplay features that looks great on paper, but hard time to implement properly in gameplay like: planet collisions, smashes and orbital units, etc.

    I don't really disagree with what @veep posted and I wish this can be done differently, but I don't see it's feasible.

    Unfortunately in real world most of game developers work exactly same way: sell promises, pre-orders and try to make as much money as possible off people that are able to spend more than average. Probably there is some better way to do that's all, but blaming Uber for doing exactly same thing as almost everyone doing is kind a meh...

    This isn't article for gamers, but for other game developers and it's really nice article because it's contain numbers which is rare. Fact that someone react on it with "you did it for money only" is just prove the point that general audience not going to understand how game development works.
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  4. SXX

    SXX Post Master General

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    BTW SC is good example of well done project from PR standpoint, but unfortunately there is zero guarantee that developers that good at PR can deliver value for money. So if it's fail in some way then it's will just prove that publishers was totally right about not touching that genre.
  5. Killerkiwijuice

    Killerkiwijuice Post Master General

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    But the trailer is the thing that showcased the game. Without it there would be no game and no backers.

    Therefore the trailer was worth $2 million.
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  6. cdrkf

    cdrkf Post Master General

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    I disagree, it shows there's at least '100 million of value' in the genre- irrespective of if it fails or not.

    Publishers wouldn't back a space game before elite or star citizen as it was common knowledge the genre was dead and therefore no worthwhile return was possible. SC shows that there is money in it. Sadly for rts, PA (and other recent titles like grey goo) kinda proves the consensus though that it's a niche so return is quite limited.
  7. perfectdark

    perfectdark Active Member

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    In fairness it's more like the director releasing a director's cut and then expecting you to buy the DVD again. Sure, you could watch the original you already own, but the director's cut has 5 minutes of new material!
  8. SXX

    SXX Post Master General

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    There is problem with ratio between possible funding and product quality customers expect. On Kickstarter Uber get $2M while pitched product cost $9M and likely even more money were needed to make a better game than PA currently.

    Star Citizen developers got $100M already, but promises they selling can easily require 2-5 times more money. So publishers can easily be right that investment in genre simply don't worth it. There is tons of genres with much more predictable ROI.
  9. wpmarshall

    wpmarshall Planetary Moderator

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    We have been here countless times before and have heard said in every possible variation. Let's move on i think.
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  10. perfectdark

    perfectdark Active Member

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    I thought the director's cut analogy was pretty original actually.
  11. Corgiarmy

    Corgiarmy Active Member

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    Kickstarter is a very interesting way to fund a video game from a business perspective. As a business person, there are a few reasons I do not like this transaction:

    The major one being, Kickstarter will issue a 1099-k to the IRS (US Tax Agency) and Kickstarter fund are taxable in the year they are received. There will be an offset for deductible business expenses, but any profit will be taxed up to 35% (plus any state/local income & sales tax). This creates a timing issue for the business because the Corporation needs to incur as much in deductible expenses as possible in the year in which the Kickstarter funds are received or pay taxes on the funds. Whereas you had an investor their contribution would not be taxable.

    I am not accusing uber of this, but I could see a company releasing the game early (for early access and the full release) because of the need to further fund the company. A loan could be an option but you won't be able to pay it down until the game is released and any interest is cutting into your future profits (plus the whole liability thing if the game is a dud).

    Edit: I guess Uber could have sold sponsorship to raise money:

    Glad we don't have the KFC Fighting ChickenCom, IBM planet laser, and Gazprom Metal Extractors.
    Last edited: December 21, 2015
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  12. jables

    jables Uber Employee

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    SupCom budget was more than 11.5, but less than 20. FA added on top of that.

    Overall, considered a success by THQ, though a small one. We sold over a million if you include Supcom and FA.
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  13. SXX

    SXX Post Master General

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    Thanks for inside! Weird why Chris Taylor shared different number then. :confused:
    Maybe he didn't want to shock anyone too much...

    This is very important detail and explain everything.
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  14. SXX

    SXX Post Master General

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    I think it's why guys from Double Fine created their new crowdfunding platform for Phychonauts 2 that allow micro investments as well.
  15. Corgiarmy

    Corgiarmy Active Member

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    This doesn't change the fundamental tax rules on revenue recognition. However, a 1099-k with $1.9 million is a major red flag if not reported on an income tax return. Without the 1099-k the IRS has no idea what the company received in funding unless they audit the Company's books.

    Edit:
    So I reviewed Physhonauts 2 structure.

    It does allow for some equity investments which would be a tax free transaction. The rules regarding this type of investment don't begin until 2016. And the issuing company must report the following to any investor/potential investor:
    • The price to the public of the securities or the method for determining the price, the target offering amount, the deadline to reach the target offering amount, and whether the company will accept investments in excess of the target offering amount;
    • A discussion of the company’s financial condition;
    • Financial statements of the company that, depending on the amount offered and sold during a 12-month period, are accompanied by information from the company’s tax returns, reviewed by an independent public accountant, or audited by an independent auditor. A company offering more than $500,000 but not more than $1 million of securities relying on these rules for the first time would be permitted to provide reviewed rather than audited financial statements, unless financial statements of the company are available that have been audited by an independent auditor;
    • A description of the business and the use of proceeds from the offering;
    • Information about officers and directors as well as owners of 20 percent or more of the company; and
    • Certain related-party transactions.
    The big items is the tax returns! US corporation must file schedule 1120-E which will provide all of the officers compensation, benefits, and related transactions. Plus all the fans get to see how much the company makes or losses. Interesting! Can't wait to see where the crowdfunding money goes :D.
    Last edited: December 22, 2015
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  16. tatsujb

    tatsujb Post Master General

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  17. Neumeusis

    Neumeusis Active Member

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    Hello !

    Thanks for this article, it is a very interesting read :)

    I hope Uber will continue to move on !
    And if a new interesting project shows off, i'll probably be around to help a bit in my way !

    Regards,
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  18. Abaddon1

    Abaddon1 Active Member

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    My two cents on kickstarter is that one of the biggest problems (with games in particular) is that there's no way to give every detail about what you intend to do. Anything left unsaid just leaves it open for each individual to fill in the blanks in their heads and then get mad when the end result doesn't match what they thought.
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  19. philoscience

    philoscience Post Master General

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    Interesting article. It confirms my long held opinion that kickstarter is not the sweet deal for developers it seems to be. As @scathis says in the article you get freedom at the pitch but you pay for it at release. We've seen first hand the incredibly level of entitlement and misunderstanding that hounded the developers every step of the way. Crowd-funding results in customers that are almost impossible to please as they do not understand development and want a game they way they see it, no compromise. Any deviation whatsoever means you've "scammed them". Private funding in contrast means you agree on a vision with a funder and the public doesn't get any whiff of it until you release it. They might meddle with the vision along the way out of concern for profit but at least they do so with some understanding of the mechanics of game making. I always felt that Uber was plagued by an over-burdening of way too many promises, needing to fill out every single little feature regardless its gameplay impact at the sacrifice of depth and polish. The physical goods and custom commanders alone were a massive time and money sink that would have otherwise resulted in a much richer game.

    In the end they did a great job considering nearly any choice they made was sure to be met with total hysteria.
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  20. Abaddon1

    Abaddon1 Active Member

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    Though on the other hand, I might disagree that kickstarter projects lock in the final version of the game more than other platforms. I think its just that any changes need to be made openly, transparently and with community input, even if the input itself is of minor importance. A mock version of a potential kickstarter backer update along the lines of
    "Hey all, just wanted to let you know that, as often happens in design, feature X we talked about is turning out to be much harder to implement/design/order than we had initially intended for reasons A,B and C and for us to implement it as planned would eat into the budget of time and money for other core features. We have a couple of options for how to proceed, Option 1 (e.g. feature tweak:different than promised but easier to implement), Option 2(e.g. feature as promised, but worked on at a lower level and thus delayed until problems can be resolved) and Option 3(e.g. feature removed entirely resources re-directed) and wanted to get your input so made a poll so you can vote on the change".

    It allows for a change of direction on certain promised features, and pushes the blame for the end result decision on what the kickstarter community wanted. The hardest problem I would expect would be to identify the sticking points early enough and know exactly what they are to be able to get kickstarter input on them.
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