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SqueakyCat

A Discussion of Tiers and Backer Rewards

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There has been some discussion on various threads regarding the 'extras' being allocated to the different tiers. Maybe it's time to use some common sense and logic.

 

At the $20/$25 tier, people are essentially getting the game at half-price (and a free in-game item).

 

At $35, they are also giving a digital collector's book and soundtrack.

 

At $50, they are throwing in the novella and 'fun pack' in addition to the loot in the preceding tiers. This would be the same amount you would spend for a new release (and even less in some cases).

 

These tiers represent (by today's numbers) over 46,000 of the 55,000 currently backing the project. I, for one, think Obsidian is being quite generous.

 

From these levels through the $140, Obsidian is adding even more loot to attract pledgers.

 

From the $140 to the $250/$500, there is little substantive difference except the Collector's hardcover book and the expansion pack and Wasteland 2 (added yesterday).

 

The expansion pack will, no doubt, be available to pre-order at the appropriate time. The very generous offer to provide keys for Wasteland 2 will result in a loss for either Brian Fargo and/or Obsidian with every key that is activated. Steam (according to Notch) receives 30% for hosting a game.

 

http://www.pcgamer.com/2012/07/25/notch-on-why-minecraft-still-isnt-on-steam/

 

For the sake of argument, it we use $40 as the retail price for PE, Steam would receive $12 for every key activated. Since I seriously doubt Steam is able to differentiate between a $20 pledge key or a $5,000 pledge key, the $12 fee would apply to the $20 pledge as well as the higher tiers. I have no idea how much GOG charges to host a title, but it's not free.

 

Alot of people say "it's a leap of faith", which it is -- it's a much larger leap the farther up the tiers you go. For that reason, a very few exclusive perks are given to attract people to commit at a higher level, and they should remain that way -- exclusive.

 

I'm all for offering physical items for sale separately as long as they are different from those being awarded as a "thank you", and the sale of the physical items results in a realistic profit for Obsidian. Since my pledge is a gift, I would happily pay $30 - $40 for a well-made T-shirt with a completely different design than what is being offered on the tiers.

 

If they were to offer a softcover Collector's book for an amount that would result in a profit, I have no problem with that as long as the hardcover remains an exclusive.

 

Honestly, how much is enough? I think they are being very generous whilst simultaneously trying to make sure they have adequate funding to make the game. Physical items are the biggest drag on profitability.

 

Others argue it's not a AAA title so comparisons can't be made. PE represents a chance to be able to actually read and interact with a new world and use my imagination again (sans QTE's and VO) and that's the reason I have pledged at the level I have chosen. To me, it's priceless.

 

 

 

 

tl;dr This simply isn't the thread for you.

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The problem with your otherwise cogent and well-reasoned post is that a lot of people on the internet want everything, for very little, right now. And that's not enough either.

 

I also think that some people are struggling to differentiate between a publisher-led project and this one.

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For me ultimately I want most of my money to go to the devs, and not be tied up in physical items, which I why I kept my pledge digital. That being said you do have the option of donating without asking for a reward, haha I am not enough of a saint for that though :dancing:

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The further up the tiers you go, the greater the leap and you get exclusive mostly vanity rewards. I see it as the lower tiers are targeted to people looking to buy the game early, and the higher tiers are designed more as fundraisers. If you are someone looking to donate, then the higher tiers will appeal. If you are looking to play the game early and do not mind paying the 'day one' price, then you will be better served sticking to the lower tiers. The tiers are in my opinion not designed to be compared against each other.

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Here here my familiar friend.


Fionavar's Holliday Wishes to all members of our online community:  Happy Holidays

 

Join the revelry at the Obsidian Plays channel:
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Remembering tarna, Phosphor, Metadigital, and Visceris.  Drink mead heartily in the halls of Valhalla, my friends!

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KickStarter takes a cut, but the thing is this project is much cheaper to make, and has no middle man publisher taking a cut (after fronting the cash for development), compared to games that are $50. It wouldn't make sense for this game to be released at $50. I also think that high prices have been counter productive to the games industry, and that as Steam has shown if you lower your price greatly the increase in the amount of purchases more than makes up for it.

 

The expansion pack will, no doubt, be available to pre-order at the appropriate time. The very generous offer to provide keys for Wasteland 2 will result in a loss for either Brian Fargo and/or Obsidian with every key that is activated. Steam (according to Notch) receives 30% for hosting a game.

 

http://www.pcgamer.c...-isnt-on-steam/

 

For the sake of argument, it we use $40 as the retail price for PE, Steam would receive $12 for every key activated. Since I seriously doubt Steam is able to differentiate between a $20 pledge key or a $5,000 pledge key, the $12 fee would apply to the $20 pledge as well as the higher tiers. I have no idea how much GOG charges to host a title, but it's not free.

 

Games SOLD, through the store, not hosted.

 

Valve on SteamWorks:

 

"By not charging for this, it's just another way to get more people onto Steam and to enjoy all the games. Our motivations here are pretty clear,"

 

Valve want people to use Steam, they leverage the popularity of their store for profits, not the platform.

Edited by AwesomeOcelot

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Even if I assumed that every point you made was salient and correct, AO, I would still think Squeaky has the right of it. The basic fact, unchanged by fine points along the way, is that Obsidz didn't harm anyone by offering better rewards for higher tiers. There is no compelling argument as to why folks pitching in at lower level tiers should expect the same rewards, or even access to the same rewards, as the folks pitching in at higher tiers. There is a simple remedy for folks who want the more significant rewards: increase your pledge to the higher tier. I'm starting to think Monte's right and it's a simple matter of base greed.

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Fionavar's Holliday Wishes to all members of our online community:  Happy Holidays

 

Join the revelry at the Obsidian Plays channel:
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Remembering tarna, Phosphor, Metadigital, and Visceris.  Drink mead heartily in the halls of Valhalla, my friends!

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Even if I assumed that every point you made was salient and correct, AO, I would still think Squeaky has the right of it. The basic fact, unchanged by fine points along the way, is that Obsidz didn't harm anyone by offering better rewards for higher tiers. There is no compelling argument as to why folks pitching in at lower level tiers should expect the same rewards, or even access to the same rewards, as the folks pitching in at higher tiers. There is a simple remedy for folks who want the more significant rewards: increase your pledge to the higher tier. I'm starting to think Monte's right and it's a simple matter of base greed.

 

If their goal is increasing funding then Obsidian harm themselves with the way the reward tiers are. Obsidian are entitled to charge whatever they want, but I question whose greed is logically questionable.

Edited by AwesomeOcelot

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The point to the thread was to hopefully get people, in general, to think about what they are getting as opposed to what they may not be getting. That seems to be lost on some.

 

As to Steam, none of us know what arrangements Obz has made with them. Maybe they 'host' these kickstarter pledges for free -- I don't know. I was under the impression that PE was going to be for sale at Steam/GOG post-release. But, again, that's not the point.

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If their goal is increasing funding then Obsidian harm themselves with the way the reward tiers are. Obsidian are entitled to charge whatever they want, but I question whose greed is logically questionable.
Obsidian is a company and they're offering a product I personally find reasonable. For that reason I don't think they're any more greedy than a bakery charging more for a bear claw five pack than for a single glazed doughnut. Folks wanting to have the bear claw five pack for the same price as the single glazed are, by my figuring, greedy.

Fionavar's Holliday Wishes to all members of our online community:  Happy Holidays

 

Join the revelry at the Obsidian Plays channel:
Obsidian Plays


 
Remembering tarna, Phosphor, Metadigital, and Visceris.  Drink mead heartily in the halls of Valhalla, my friends!

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I know, because as the quote says, SteamWorks is free, they're going to host these KickStarter pledges for free, as you have been told before and simply ignored. Valve would take a cut from every game sold through its store, but that wouldn't include the pledges.

 

Also I really hope the soundtrack isn't just what's in the game, because you've already been given the soundtrack in the game, it's hardly a reward for an additional $10 to be given something you've already got. A lot of developers do this, because they put the soundtrack in an inaccessible format, they think they can charge for something twice. The same with ringtones, I'm sure someone will rip the audio and make it available. It doesn't seem generous to have North Americans have shipping for free and Europeans to be charged double the usual amount.

 

The expansion and Wasteland 2 have to be on the higher tiers because they do represent lost sales. Some developers like Valve or Flying Wild Hog have given equivalent content for free in the past. It's entirely up to Obsidian what they want to do with their content.

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I know, because as the quote says, SteamWorks is free, they're going to host these KickStarter pledges for free, as you have been told before and simply ignored. Valve would take a cut from every game sold through its store, but that wouldn't include the pledges.

SteamWorks is just an API, it is not a service of distribution. Free API does not automatically mean free service.

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I know, because as the quote says, SteamWorks is free, they're going to host these KickStarter pledges for free, as you have been told before and simply ignored. Valve would take a cut from every game sold through its store, but that wouldn't include the pledges.

SteamWorks is just an API, it is not a service of distribution. Free API does not automatically mean free service.

 

Is there a SteamWorks game that doesn't activate on Steam, even though it's sold in another store? And on the SteamWorks FAQ:

 

We do not make deductions for marketing or bandwidth.

 

They don't have to accept your game onto the platform, also I think a condition is that you can sell the game elsewhere but you have to sell the game on Steam as well. Their goal is to get people using Steam, and to make profits from selling games in their store.

Edited by AwesomeOcelot

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I think the major point is that no one is purchasing a product. And rewards are an effective way to increase the amount of a donation or to cause someone on the fence about donating to decide to do so, but to think that offering rewards to people in a certain way hurts the amount of donations seems odd.

 

The mentality that you're purchasing a product is a bit different from what is actually happening in the Kickstarter process.

 

So thoughts like reward tiers harming the chances of donations or higher donations is just strange to me. Rewards can only really help donations. I can't imagine there are many people who want to donate to PE, but decided not to because they thought the rewards tiers were unfair. And I can't really imagine there are many people who were willing to donate more, but because the rewards for higher tiers are unfairly better they are unwilling to do so. It seems like the opposite would happen if that were true and there would be a lot more higher donations.

 

I'm also not sure offering the game at a lower price than normal is necessary. Yes, games sell vastly more in a steam sale than when they were higher price, but keep in mind that Steam doesn't do 50% or higher off sales unless a game has been out for months if not a year or so. Which means that the majority of people that were willing to buy the game at full price have already done so and deciding to lower it for a sale can only help make more money. Though I'd be surprised to see the final product higher than 40, I wouldn't really blame them. The market is more than willing to spend $60 for a 10-15 hour game with low replay value. A thought which is also pretty strange to me, to be honest, but economically it doesn't really make sense to offer a lower price unless they think their bang for their buck will be higher with a smaller price. It's not really greed unless you consider business inherently greedy, though I know the opinion isn't really uncommon.

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To be honest I thought the opposite. If the $20 tier wasn't limited to 25K, you'd get more overall backers (price elasticity of demand), but the question is would you get more money if that was the case (I think yes, but others may disagree).

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I think the major point is that no one is purchasing a product. And rewards are an effective way to increase the amount of a donation or to cause someone on the fence about donating to decide to do so, but to think that offering rewards to people in a certain way hurts the amount of donations seems odd.

 

The mentality that you're purchasing a product is a bit different from what is actually happening in the Kickstarter process.

 

 

There's another tack to this. The Kickstarter model in itself produces a cognitive dissonance (someone else suggested it and I believe that's right, but I forget who/where), not easily or impossible to dismiss for many consumers. Yes, they still see themselves as consumers rather than "donors."

 

We may talk about fairness and other ethical lines atop business concerns, but it's important to remember that Kickstarter by no means constitutes a legal contractual obligation of any sort between the backers and the business proposer--this much is fact. So why is that?

 

To avoid any legal entanglements, it's in Kickstarter's own interests to absolve itself of any obligation and arbitration regarding failed projects, so semantically, it's simply far easier to shift all risk onto the backers as a donation venue (as opposed to "investment")--this is especially true for smaller and less public projects with inexperienced creators, where the risk of successfully backed ventures failing is quite real. In that case, KS can certainly say, "Sorry, but you donated to them. Tough?"

 

Project Eternity by Obsidian is in an entirely different class--legally, yes, the minutiae are the same--but gamers and the public media view this phenomenon (including Wasteland 2, but this is even bigger in abstraction) as a turning point in the gaming industry. The fact that a major, living, experienced software developer studio is involved has increased the stakes considerably--and does not help with the cognitive dissonance of the KS model at all. Because there is no room for failure. No pressure, Obs! Obsidian is seasoned and knows their numbers, so we expect their budgeting to be sensible. We fully expect the product will be delivered, unlike a bunch of the much smaller indie propositions.

 

And due to this not-unfounded expectation, PE's KS page has essentially turned into a store. I can't say I blame any backer for waffling over tiers by the reward level, since I'm certainly one of them, but then that also means that it's rational for backers to evaluate the tiers with higher expectations of specific and exclusive rewards, since we know the game is going to happen.

 

When higher tiers are diluted (the ones that stand out to me would be the beta key and hardcover collector's book), it makes perfect sense for people "shopping" at those levels to say "If this thing I really want, which I know Obsidian will provide, is going to be dropped from $500 to $250, then does it make sense to stay at $500 when the KS is already successful?" And that is a fair question. For most people, those dollars are still valuable against necessities like rent and bills.

 

That's why it would be better if Obsidian only added new things to tiers rather than move or break out rewards unless those add-on rewards are evaluated in full against their original source tiers; the addition of Wasteland 2 and the expansion are special cases because those are definitely going to be available post-ship, and thus represent lost sales. But those higher tiers with exclusives applicable only to this backer period--the collector's book, extra swag, etc.--such is life in retail that some things are simply exclusive to those willing to part with more money (not necessarily richer).

 

 

(To be honest, I think Obsidian should have gotten rid of all tiers between $25 and $500, where $500 is the first tier to offer backer creation into the game, and then just do add-ons for everything else. But the past is the past, so I think it's better to remain and just do more additions adjusting for relative item value.)

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The KS Collector's Edition does not include the Collector's Book.

Which game hook brought you to Project Eternity and interests you the most?

PE will not have co-op/multiplayer, console, or tablet support (sources): [0] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Write your own romance mods because there won't be any in PE.

"But what is an evil? Is it like water or like a hedgehog or night or lumpy?" -(Digger)

"Most o' you wanderers are but a quarter moon away from lunacy at the best o' times." -Alvanhendar (Baldur's Gate 1)

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You know, Ieo, I don't exactly know what you mean. If you're saying that they shouldn't have offered the tiers that have resulted in the vast majority of their support, I think you're nuts. Stark raving variety of nuts. The problem is how they did the tiers, but no matter how many people complain, they've got a lot of extra pledgers and pledges with their last two updates. Just saying, even with some folks complaining, it's working.

 

Now, I will say I hope they offer the xpac as an add-on, which I hope will tone down some of the complaints

 

However, as for your overall assessment of Kickstarter as a store because Obsidz won't destroy their reputation by dropping the ball, I completely agree.

 

EDIT: Making my points without being an obnoxious ass.

Edited by Cantousent

Fionavar's Holliday Wishes to all members of our online community:  Happy Holidays

 

Join the revelry at the Obsidian Plays channel:
Obsidian Plays


 
Remembering tarna, Phosphor, Metadigital, and Visceris.  Drink mead heartily in the halls of Valhalla, my friends!

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You know, Ieo, I don't exactly know what you mean. If you're saying that they shouldn't have offered the tiers that have resulted in the vast majority of their support, I think you're nuts. Stark raving variety of nuts. The problem is how they did the tiers, but no matter how many people complain, they've got a lot of extra pledgers and pledges with their last two updates. Just saying, even with some folks complaining, it's working.

 

Oh, my little aside was about how they did the tiers, exactly. Basically with a lot of things bundled together, it can be harder to evaluate based on personal priorities, and then on the other hand, Obsidian may feel justified to move a single item of a bundle across borders, which is tricky. Basically my thinking is that the vast majority of folks among those middling-high tiers aren't interested in the complete tier bundle but specifics within. For example, the collector's book, soundtrack, T-shirt. If those were merely add-ons entirely without those mid-high tiers, and Obsidian could charge, say, $80 per book and $30 per shirt and $20 per soundtrack, that may have gotten even more revenue in piecemeal fashion without the need for Obsidian to "massage" tiers with over half the KS period gone. (At least, I know several people who are only interested in the game, novella, and book--multiple copies of the book even.) But that's neither here nor there. :)

 

If the expansion will be an add-on, I'm curious what the price will be. I have no clue what current market trends are for single-player expansions these days that aren't DLC.


The KS Collector's Edition does not include the Collector's Book.

Which game hook brought you to Project Eternity and interests you the most?

PE will not have co-op/multiplayer, console, or tablet support (sources): [0] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Write your own romance mods because there won't be any in PE.

"But what is an evil? Is it like water or like a hedgehog or night or lumpy?" -(Digger)

"Most o' you wanderers are but a quarter moon away from lunacy at the best o' times." -Alvanhendar (Baldur's Gate 1)

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I'm at the $80 tier but I Wan the game and expansion instead of two copies of the game. I think that's reasonable. I also think Tue expansion should be an add on.


Can't wait for Project Eternity!!!!

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Well, if you pledge "enough", it becomes an entirely academic discussion :-

 

Edit: Ninja'ed... that was a reply to Ieo


“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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From an accounting standpoint, it's probably better in terms of maintaining the integrity of the funding structure by sending all backers a unique coupon code that would give $5-10 off the price of the expansion when purchased through the proposed ObsidianStore™ when it's released. Keeps the cash in nice separate pots.

 

Aside, a nice little touch would be to have the option of choosing the Obsidian T-shirt instead of the Eternity one for the tiers with a shirt included. However I do understand it introduces complications in terms of knowing how far back in advance the size of each print run will need to be.

 

 

Of course, my own little niche request remains for an Obsidian cycling cap, but it's a small thing only that can wait to be done outside the KS drive. Just want to get it to ensure that if they're going to do a run of baseball caps (which I have no interest in) they might elect to do the cycling caps at the same time. :)

Edited by Humanoid

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But, for this kickstarter, they only have one pot. They have a pot with kickstarter funds for the main title. They don't need to differentiate those funds outside of that project.


Fionavar's Holliday Wishes to all members of our online community:  Happy Holidays

 

Join the revelry at the Obsidian Plays channel:
Obsidian Plays


 
Remembering tarna, Phosphor, Metadigital, and Visceris.  Drink mead heartily in the halls of Valhalla, my friends!

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The pot thing is referring to the expansion funding. The goal would be to not even have to unseal that second pot until a couple years into the future. If they did offer the expansion as an official addon to the main drive, then it introduces potential issues with that separation. Better then to keep that second pot sealed for now and not take payment for the expansion until its actual release. Backers would still be given an indirect incentive by means of the future discount, but to emphasise, no actual money would be taken yet.

 

EDIT: It would also sidestep the tricky issue of nailing down a definitive monetary value for the expansion this far back. Neither they or we know the scale and costs of that future project just yet, so trying to budget for it now would involve some tricky financial callisthenics that'd give their accountants heart problems. It's one thing to try to account for the impact of pre-selling ~1500 copies of the expansion, quite another to account for potentially 55000+ of them. It's the difference between rounding off $30000-50000 in your game budgeting, which no one would really take issue with, and having $2m-plus in your account that you'd have to worry about.

Edited by Humanoid

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