There has been a lot of backlash about Kickstarter lately. People are rightly upset that the things they have backed on Kickstarter are getting canceled and not coming out, but they should be mad at themselves too.
So far my Kickstarter experience has been very good. All the projects I have backed have either been produced, or they are at least making good progress towards their goal. Now every single one of the projects has been late, and sometimes the games weren’t as good as I was hoping for, but that is just part of the risk with Kickstarter.
I think the biggest problem is that people see a game or device that looks really awesome, so to help the developer out they throw lots of money at it. They don’t check to see if this developer has ever made or developed something before, or has a sound business plan in place. They just figure that a person with “a lot” money can make it work.
But in the grand scheme of things the budgets on Kickstarter are very low, and it is easy to blow through those budgets. $400K seems like a lot until you have to buy molds, or pay artists, and if you have never done any of that before, you are probably not getting a good rate on the work that is being done. Soon the project is late and over budget and there is nowhere to really get more funding, and it dies.
Now I am not saying we shouldn’t be upset when this happens, but that is part of the risk when starting any venture. Most businesses fail, and that is a sad truth, and it is sad to see your money go down with it. The promise of something new and exciting makes it is fun to back stuff on Kickstarter, but remember to do it only with extra money that you will not miss (much). I would say never back a project with more money than it takes to get what you want, so in the case of a video game. If the game costs $20, only back it with $20. That way if the project fails you can just write it down as a bad video game and move on.
Kickstarter has produced some amazing things, and I am sure more good stuff is still coming, but remember that it is not all going to work, so spend your money wisely.