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Subject: Why not have Kickstarter Exclusives? rss

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Ryan Keane
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People will complain about everything - companies have to make what they feel is the best business decision. Exclusives have proven they can help boost KS sales, so it makes business sense to do them despite the complaints. Some companies decide it's worth it to later make available content that was advertised as KS exclusive and weather the KS supporters that complain. Most may feel the need to honor the fact that they said the content would be exclusive and not make it later available, or only do so through a 2nd KS campaign (is it still exclusive then?), to help maintain KS customer loyalty; but it might also be a business decision that it's better to omit the exclusive content in order to have a competitive MSRP and it's not worth it produce an upgrade pack/expansion with the exclusives.

For non-KS games, expansions and game-play-affecting promos regularly get one print-run and then go out of print, while the base game is still continuing to get new print-runs. It's not all that different from KS exclusives.
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Chris Stanton
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whavoc wrote:

I always get a kick out of the fact that we don't have the wailing and hand wringing about Essen or Gen Con promos,


Probably because most of them are available at a later date in some way or another. Unlike KS exclusives that cannot be gained any other way.

You miss the KS campaign by a day, you don't have the chance to get that item.
You can't make it to Essen, chances are the promo will be in the Geek Store or similar.
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J M
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Excellent and well-thought out discussion here. This is exactly what I was hoping for. Thank you all!

whavoc wrote:

I always get a kick out of the fact that we don't have the wailing and hand wringing about Essen or Gen Con promos, at least to anywhere near the same degree. I'm almost the opposite of the OP's question. NO KS exclusives? I may still back it, or I may avoid the hassle of the next 9-24 months and pick it up cheaper retail after the plethora of reviews are out and I know I am going to really like it. Why gamble on a purchase that will be the same a year from now in retail? whistle


I did exactly what you said with the Kickstarters for Unfair and Manhattan Project 2. Neither had really any "exclusives" or substantial additional content vs what the retail version would contain...and the pledge amount was essentially the full retail price! The value wasn't there for me to outlay cash now on an unknown and unproven product. Better to get it cheaper once it hits the market!
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J M
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Hahaha....as I wrote my last response the side banner on the site was one that had a gold seal proclaiming "Kickstarter Exclusive content"
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Ian Williams
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I've skipped plenty of kickstarters because all they do is improve the retail version. Which is important, don't get me wrong, but if I'm going to put my money down and wait over a year I want something extra for it.

If you're a completionist, I dunno. Maybe try not being one?
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Nicholas Johnson
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I think too many exclusives shows a very strong lack of support for the long term life of the game. They're out to make their money in 1 big campaign rather than aiming to make something that will last. Creating that "buy now BUUUUUY" mentality is just sleezy.

But more importantly, I honestly don't think it helps games that much. Saying "You get this from our campaign at a discount" or just flat out "For free!" has just as good an impact on the consumer as "You can ONLY get this from our kickstarter!". There are so many successful kickstarters that just take that stuff and sell it as promos later. Look at Scythe, look at Dark Souls, look at Too Many Bones, look at some of the most successful kickstarters. Do you think their numbers would really be bigger if they said "All the stretch goals are exclusive!"?
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John Smith
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I'm okay with Kickstarter exclusives, I'm not going to slam them for doing it. If they feel it helps get their game funded, that's their business as far as I am concerned. I think backers should be rewarded in some way, otherwise, why not just wait for retail, unless you want to especially support the developer or project?

That said, I am a completionist. If there are good exclusives I can't get that I am aware of, I may skip the game at retail. I can't complete it, which may bug when I am a completionist.

In some cases, developers benefit from me being a completionist. I have the whole of Summoner Wars, which really wasn't necessary in terms of tons of gameplay, Alliances alone has a lot. But I love the game, so count me in.

So I don't think a developer can moan if I pass on their game at retail if I can't get good exclusives. They are not playing to my completionist weakness! But I wish them well with their funding. Their baby, up to them how they get it over the line!

Stretch goals work for me when I can get them at retail at highish extra cost, so the backers get rewarded with a bargain price and get the game early (and of course, helped the game to be published). Or if the stretch goals are held back a while.
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I am strongly against KS as such. Video game industry shows what preorder culture leads to, and now that is exactly what KS is. People buy games that do not exist, games that are not reviewed, it's a very irresponsible consumerism, and companies are not encouraged to make good games, what they are selling is how the game looks. Since this is a really bad idea for the consumer they offer exclusives, as this taps into our idea of fear of missing out, sure the game maybe bad, but what if it is good and later on some parts of it will not be available? However this is very shortsighted, as it drives the KS sales but alienates retail customers and impacts negatively sales after KS, all in all I believe that the companies get less for a quicker, more immediate gain. Many KS games are not only very expensive at retail but also incomplete. So if you want to be rational and not buy an unreviewed product you get a demo of a game. Zombiecide, Super Dungeon Explore are good examples, they feel like half of the game is missing. Also it creates rifts in the games community with people having different versions of the game, with elitism of those who bought everything, with buyer's bias - it's hard to say a game is bad if you invested so much and waited so long for it... Personally I find KS to be the worst thing that happened to boardgames.
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Jason
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mafman6 wrote:
Your buying hype when buying a kickstarter project.

Big games from known creators or publishers and second print runs can generate a lot of hype, but the majority of the games on Kickstarter never even make it onto the BGG hotness. Many have only a couple posts in the forums once the Kickstarter ends. These projects aren't be backed due to hype.

mafman6 wrote:
To then say "hey you should pay more else you'll miss out on this extra good stuff" is asking the consumer to gamble more money. Your rewarding the risk takers not the consumers who want to look and see if its genuinely worth the money.
To get us to pay just so you dont miss out is an awful way for the market to go rather than getting us to pay for a proven game.

Backers are paying more and risking more than a retail customer. A retail customer is doing nothing to get the game into production. I don't see how it's awful for a creator to reward or incentivize backers.

With that said, I have no idea why anyone would be upset that they cannot purchase the exclusives at retail. Exclusives aren't "extra good stuff." The "extra good stuff" is in the core box or the retail expansions. The exclusives are usually bland (basically, the same thing that's in the retail box) or mediocre-to-bad ideas (unbalanced or not fun).
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Jason
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borsook wrote:
I am strongly against KS as such. Video game industry shows what preorder culture leads to, and now that is exactly what KS is.

How can KS be anything but a pre-order culture? It's about crowd-sourcing funds to actually make the product.

borsook wrote:
People buy games that do not exist, games that are not reviewed, it's a very irresponsible consumerism, and companies are not encouraged to make good games, what they are selling is how the game looks.

In other words, stop crowd-funding altogether?

With board games, the good Kickstarters have prototypes, rule books, and videos showing how the game plays. Some even have PnP files and the game available on Tabletop Simulator (or similar). I don't see how it's irresponsible to evaluate the rules, gauge interest, and back a game. Do you not go through a similar process when buying a game at retail? Do you blindly purchase based on reviewer ratings and BGG rank?

borsook wrote:
Also it creates rifts in the games community with people having different versions of the game, with elitism of those who bought everything

Does this really happen? If so, then I'd recommend finding a friendlier group/community to play games with.

Also, if this does happen, does it also occur for out-of-print games? Promos? Seems like someone doing this would use any opportunity to be "elite".

borsook wrote:
buyer's bias - it's hard to say a game is bad if you invested so much and waited so long for it.

If there's a buyer's bias, then it also applies to retail. We can't trust ratings of games like Feast for Odin, Agricola, or Terra Mystica due to their retail price. We can't trust your ratings of Battle Lore and Descent because you have too much money invested there.
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Boaty McBoatface
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Geosphere wrote:
Some people are completionists and need everything. It upsets them when they don't get it ALL.
I know people (including some with more money then sense) who will not buy a game if it has kick starter exclusives, but would otherwise have brought the whole thing if they had seen it at the time (and when some games cost £700 for the lot they cannot afford it at the time).
 
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Mark Iradian
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atarilynx wrote:

Why are some people so opposed to bonuses offered to those that outlay their money on Kickstarter (and help produce games that might not be produced)?


Because it screws over people who have to worry about shipping charges or currency exchange rates for a product that they never touched before, thus losing out on content if they are interested in the future.

Furthermore, it reeks of the creepy sales pitch for shady companies in those late night commercials, pressuring the consumer to buy it for this "exclusive deal"

Any company whose business models relies on kickstarter exclusives isn't worth praising or defending.
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Chris Stanton
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Something just struck me that I'm curious about.
Does someone's domicile affect how they feel about KS & exclusives (gameplay or otherwise).

Most KS campaigns have free US shipping- it makes sense, that's where the big market usually is.
So the thought is- does this mean people in the US are more accepting of exclusives or is there a greater sense of entitlement?


I think it's also becoming very clear that no one has any objection to KS backers getting extra bling or lower costs. They are taking the risk, they should get something. The only objections seem to be with regards to gameplay exclusives & it might be worth keeping that in mind when reading any comments.
Of course, if people think otherwise, by all means bring attention to that.


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Look on my works ye mighty and despair
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I'm not "upset" by gameplay relevant Kickstarter exclusives. (I'm entirely apathetic about the "get your likeness in the game" stuff). I simply choose not to get those games.

Several reasons for this.

From a consumer perspective, I'm not paying full retail value for a game that is missing content available to other buyers. There's enough other games out there that I simply don't feel the need.

As someone who buys on the secondary market a lot, any Kickstarter game is not just having to compete with recently published games for my attention, but also the old games I haven't yet picked up. Very few manage to.

I assume that any game with a large amount of exclusives is trying to sell itself to collectors and people looking for the next big thing. Quite possibly at the expense of longevity. So I'm not the target market.

I have no issue with Kickstarter exclusives and those who like them. But neither do I feel some kind of obligation to ignore that when making purchasing decisions.
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Look on my works ye mighty and despair
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VaultBoy wrote:

If there's a buyer's bias, then it also applies to retail. We can't trust ratings of games like Feast for Odin, Agricola, or Terra Mystica due to their retail price. We can't trust your ratings of Battle Lore and Descent because you have too much money invested there.


I half agree.

Buyer's bias is less of an issue after the Kickstarter goal is met.

It's before that, when the backers have an interest in seeing the game make its target, that we see buyer's bias. (So more backer's bias really).

It's noticable with ratings and (especially) in the Recommendations forum.

"I haven't played this because it isn't published yet but it suits your needs perfectly".
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David SL
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I think, at least from my point of view, it can feel like you're being 'punished' for not being there when the game was on Kickstarter. I know that's a ridiculous way to feel, but when the exclusives are actually major selling points like better components and nice miniatures it's hard not to feel duped by the big faceless publishers. Kickstarter has become the norm for so many companies that don't need to use it that it's hard not to have those negative feelings leak into other campaigns.

However, I have backed 2 campaigns already this month and have been happy that the exclusives in those are nothing more than nice add ons, they certainly won't affect the game at all for anyone without them.

What worries me more now is when new stuff keeps getting added to the game to keep the Kickstarter going. Root, for example, looks incredible, but the updates with new factions and expansions doesn't fill me with excitement, it makes me worried about the quality going downhill. I'm sure I'm completely wrong as this game looks amazing.

The Monster Lands Kickstarter (ending tomorrow) has done it right, I think. You can pay 30 euros extra to get all the tokens upgraded to wooden bits, or just stick with the original cardboard. That's a fair way to do it, because quite frankly it changes nothing about the game at all.
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C&H Schmidt
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I really don't like when expansions or gamplay add-ons are Kickstarter-exclusive -- it's so limiting!
I might want to get that expansion later in retail, when I know whether I like the game, but now I can't because it won't be there. This is of course a clear marketing ploy where they try to get you to go all-in immediately. I don't appreciated that, so if you do it, I'll probably just not buy your product.

That being said, I have backed Kickstarters with exclusives before -- and of course what usually happens is that those exclusives get sold again during the next Kickstarter, or somewhere else... So they aren't even truly exclusive. I don't care, because I didn't back the game for the exclusives, but everybody who did just got screwed.
So why not say you'll sell the product in the future (e.g. at a higher price) in the first place, then nobody gets lied to, and there are no false expectations.

And those people who say that only Kickstarters with exclusives can be successful, Gloomhaven and Scythe are clear examples for this being false.
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C&H Schmidt
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OK, and now to answer the question in the title, from the publishers' point of view:
Will your game really make more money when you have exclusives (that you after all have to spend lots of resources on to make, but can then only sell that once) or when you still sell all game materials after, just maybe at a higher price than during the Kickstarter?

Many publishers have now, due to demand, decided that the latter is the case.
Lots of people do want to buy expansions after the Kickstarter, so why not let them?
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Jared Bartels
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Geosphere wrote:
Some people are completionists and need everything. It upsets them when they don't get it ALL.


I'm one of them. I'm still willing to pay for your game even if you feel the need to sell it in disparate multiple parts, although I hate this trend of mini-expansions. When you literally won't sell parts of your game to me just because I missed it by a month, though, then I will absolutely not purchase your game and look elsewhere. There are enough good games coming out that I don't have to worry about missing yours. Decreased costs and earlier availability should be the KS backer bonuses - not exclusive content that creates different gaming experiences based on different classes of customers.

Somewhat related, I also quite detest convention promos that I have to chase.
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J M
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borsook wrote:
I am strongly against KS as such. Video game industry shows what preorder culture leads to, and now that is exactly what KS is. People buy games that do not exist, games that are not reviewed, it's a very irresponsible consumerism, and companies are not encouraged to make good games, what they are selling is how the game looks.

Your arguments assume that a company does not want repeat business. Many if not most companies want to offer a good product...not just for repeat business and success, but because of a belief in themselves and the product they are creating. As American Idol has shown, a belief in one's self is no guarantee of success or that what one has to offer is any good at all; we all need constructive criticism to get better.

Also, why would many KS creators offer rulebooks and free demos of their game on electronic platforms like Tabletopia if they were trying to hide a shoddy game with a bunch of gloss? Many are trying to do all they can to get you to experience the game and see for yourself!

borsook wrote:
Since this is a really bad idea for the consumer they offer exclusives, as this taps into our idea of fear of missing out, sure the game maybe bad, but what if it is good and later on some parts of it will not be available? However this is very shortsighted, as it drives the KS sales but alienates retail customers and impacts negatively sales after KS, all in all I believe that the companies get less for a quicker, more immediate gain.

Value has to be offered to the consumer to make them a risk taker and back a Kickstarter. It is not guaranteed...and ever Kickstarter project has a disclaimer at the end saying so. I don't see anything wrong with a KS creator offering a bonus to those that helped them get their product manufactured and to market.

borsook wrote:
So if you want to be rational and not buy an unreviewed product you get a demo of a game. Zombiecide, Super Dungeon Explore are good examples, they feel like half of the game is missing.

I can't comment on either of those games, but I do think that those that don't want to spend their money on something that isn't a "sure thing" should steer clear of Kickstarter.

borsook wrote:
Also it creates rifts in the games community with people having different versions of the game, with elitism of those who bought everything

This does happen, and I think it is pitiful. Anyone who's self esteem is based on how much money he spent on something, or whether he bought something at a particular moment needs to reevaluate himself.

borsook wrote:
with buyer's bias - it's hard to say a game is bad if you invested so much and waited so long for it...

I can't disagree with you there...most people don't like to admit they paid good money for a stinker of a game...myself included. But at least I am aware of that psychological tendency. Saloon Tycoon and District Z are ones I backed that are not good games.

borsook wrote:
Personally I find KS to be the worst thing that happened to boardgames.

I could not disagree with you more. Crowdfunding has brought a level of democracy to the production process of certain products. If a producer doesn't want the hassle and stress of trying to sell her product to a gatekeeper like a company or rich investor groups, they can present the ideas to the people and let the people decide. We can be investors ourselves and vote with our dollars.

More games get produced, and more games get played and reviewed. Is that bad? Companies like Stonemaier Games, Red Raven Games, and others make quality games and are solid respectable companies thanks to Kickstarter.

KS has actually contributed significantly to the recent growth of board gaming!
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Ry Scales
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I hate Kickstarter Exclusives for Kickstarter games that get released to retail.

The two best examples I have are Ghostbusters: The Board Game and Conan

Both have lots of KS exclusives that you can't buy which makes the game be much less. So, somebody will buy the game and if they know about the KS will be sad at a bare bones game, and if they don't know about the KS may then have a negative impression of the game or wonder about why there are rules/pieces that aren't used in the included scenarios.

If you want to release a game to the public, it should be a fully realised game either in the box or available to purchase separately on the official website. If the game is only going to be on KS and KS alone then by all means have all the exclusives you could want.

I have no issue with a game having timed KS exclusives for a reduced price. But, after the game has been fulfilled and shipped any exclusives should eventually be made for sale say 6 months - 1 year after release
 
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Magnus Benzein
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While there will certainly be those that dislike Kickstarter exclusives (and I do believe those that dislike the business model in general are heavily represented here), it's not that easy to create value for the backers without additional content. I also assume that content creators can get better margins on providing stuff rather than go with reduced price.
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Stephen Keller
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There was a game called Yokohama that I was very interested in. The deluxe version with wooden components was a kick starter exclusive. Many people suggest that the wooden components are pretty important (but not actually required) for gameplay.

There is no retail option to acquire the deluxe version. I will never buy Yokohama as a result.

The question is if I'm alone in this sentiment or if my reaction is wide spread enough to affect future sales of this game.
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Maarten D. de Jong
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atarilynx wrote:
KS has actually contributed significantly to the recent growth of board gaming!

That's rather like saying that the Chinese habit of building massive cities which remain uninhabited contributes to the nation's GDP. 'The hobby' was doing just fine the old-fashioned way; it didn't really need Kickstarter for the most part.

In any case... exclusives are all marketing, ruthlessly preying on the minds of those who fear to be missing out on something. It's what gets the bills of those who create Kickstarter projects paid. You're buying into an emotional appeal to 'complete' a set of cardboard and paper and wood and plastic. You rationalise the extra expenses by increasing the odds you'll sell it all off when the day of parting with the unplayable crap finally arrives. My experience with expansions of all kinds is that they are rarely worth their money; in fact expansions strongly tend to deteriorate a game's quality. As a result I really wouldn't bother with exclusives. If I did any Kickstarting at all I wouldn't even consider a project if it had 'exclusives'. I'd rather have the designers work feverishly on distilling every drop of gaming goodness out of their ruleset than having them work on extras which turn out to be bandaids to cover gaping wounds.
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Maxime Tremblay
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I'll try to explain myself the best I can (since it's not my native language).

Kickstarter is a wonderful tool to lunch new game. But KS exclusive just bother me. I won't buy a retail release from kickstarter jf it have many game changing stuff. The problem is that I would usually support a kickstarter with many exclusive if I'm here and not in the north. Sadly, I'm often in north so I miss a lot of them.

If I csn get th stuff at a later date I'm fine, even at a greater price. I often look on ebay to find what I'm missing but I would prefer to support the publisher. Even if the ''exclusive'' cost me a lot, I would prefer to be ''publisher release exclsive'' with a super high price so I can still get them.
 
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