Saturday, 3 May 2014

Game Salute

My friend gave me a link to a Kickstarter which had decided to cut down on some extra backer rewards because it lacked the money to publish them. While this by itself was sort of annoying but not huge in the grand scheme of things as far as Kickstarters go, I began digging a bit more. 

That Kickstarter was Rush.(Check link above) It funded on Nov 17, 2012 and it reached a funding of 27,000 out of an initial goal of 7,500. Estimated delivery was April 2013 and the news only just broke May 1, 2014. So as you can imagine, this news was kind of late. Like the game. 

Anyway, I was reading through the comments on the update and I happened to look at the creators profile only to see that Game Salute had created 55 Kickstarters. FIFTY FIVE! Holy crap, that's a lot man. I don't think I've ever seen someone who's created double-digits, let alone 55. 

And the projects were all very very closely spaced together. The last 3 funded April 25, 2014, April 12, 2014 and April 4, 2014 respectively. That's 3 projects within one month. Their earliest project was Jun 18 2012, which was less than 2 years ago. In the span of 23 months, they have created 55 projects. That's 2+ projects a month! How on earth are they possibly producing all this stuff on time? Short answer, they aren't apparently. 

It's at this time that I HAD to look at their fulfillment rate, if only because of curiousity. I've known established companies that would have difficulty keeping up with the pace Game Salute seems to have set for itself. What I found wasn't pretty. Or to be more accurate, I found this, a list of Game Salute kickstarters that were delayed as well as grievances. 

Just to take a few choice snippets from the list, 

Emperor’s New Clothes
Promised Delivery Date: April 2013
Status: Unfulfilled
Overdue: 1 year

Promised Delivery Date: April 2013
Status: Shipping now
Overdue: Almost 1 year

Formula E
Promised Delivery Date: September 2013
Status: Unfulfilled
Overdue: 6 months, so far.

The Card Game of Oz
Promised Delivery Date: October 2013
Status: Unfulfilled
Overdue: 5 months, so far.

Alien Frontiers: Rocket Dice
Promised Delivery Date: October 2013
Status: Unfulfilled, not yet in production according to Game Salute’s chart
Overdue: 5 months, so far, and as mentioned, not in production

Wok Star
Promised Delivery Date: March 2014
Status: Unfulfilled
Overdue: Due now, game not yet at printers, Game Salute says it will take 6-7 months.

I mean, that is a lot of crap that are overdue. And that's not even scratching the surface of their Kickstarters, or even the ones they're loosely affiliated with but aren't under their name (like Nova Cry; etd Aug 2012. Still not out yet) Sure kickstarters have a habit of being late, but one might think that since you're already late on SO many of your kickstarters, the company might want to slow down and stop churning out Kickstarters and concentrate on getting their existing AND DELAYED stuff out to backers. But apparently, that's not going to happen anytime soon. 

And then there's the allegations of dishonesty that seems to plague Game Salute. Not in the fraudulent sense but in the snake oil salesmen way. The biggest issues backers seem to have with Game Salute is their dishonesty in a lot of things. For example in Ruse, where they announced they couldn't produce the additional rewards, a lot of backers asked why they waited till so long and AFTER the base game had shipped before telling them. Or why they had constantly said they would check with the office and get an answer back to them soon before disappearing for a month. 

And then there's Wok Star. Which in their own words says that it's Print Ready and should be sent to Printers within a week or two. This was funded on Jul 17, 2013. It's still not sent to the printers yet. So much for being Print-Ready. When pressed on this, Game Salute had this to say. 

Wow... What do you say to that? There's putting a spin to things and there's PUTTING A SPIN to things. Shit, that's some first-class political speak right there. And that's not even including all the random shit they changed in the project. To be honest, after seeing their idea of 'honesty', I'm not sure I would ever trust them enough to back one of their projects. 

And this doesn't exactly paint them in a good light either, with their need to shift blame to someone else and then staying silent after a rebuttal. Also I like how they try to shift blame by saying they're not experts. If you're not an expert, why would anyone hire you? I doubt you went into the meetings going 'oh, we're not really good at this, but hire us anyway'. I doubt most of their KS would fund if they went with that spiel instead. 

Overall, I think the lesson to take away from this is avoid Game Salute kickstarters like the plague. They may improve in the future, but seriously, why take the risk?