[Moderator hat on]If this name-calling doesn't stop immediately, there will be consequences. That's a good point. Allow me to clarify what I meant by attempting to defund them.
If this weren't a crowdfunded project, or if the development weren't quite so transparent, then I expect that the project would go more the way of Duke Nukem Forever - at first met with immense excitement from the gaming community at large, then slowly becoming a light-hearted, friendly joke about how it's never coming out, until finally it's rushed out by a third party to an ignoble end. There wasn't a whole forum worth of people following 3DRealms around, trying to get them defunded, before that point.
But it IS a crowdfunded project. If computer game publishers back a stinker like DNF, that's what computer game publishers are for. They have the money for it. But when a company's entire strategy revolves around tricking people into spending large amounts of money on something they'll probably never get, then yes, people should speak out about it.
Or do you also intend to also go around slagging off Gamblers Anonymous for being a forum full of people trying to get casinos defunded? The simple fact is that CIG's entire business model is based on getting people to spend hundreds if not thousands on their game. It's a
micromacrotransaction model for a game that doesn't even exist! With all of the nasty psychological tricks that microtransaction models use to persuade whales to part with large amounts (stolen directly from the gambling industry). Do you really think this is something that people should allow to pass without comment?
I find the efforts of certain people to get backers to request refunds for pledges from 5-6 years ago incredibly distasteful. I think this is bad from a moral standpoint, as your pledge is neither a purchase nor an investment, but more like a donation.
Let me stop you right there. This is a lie. I can totally see why CIG would like to spin that lie that way but donations to the Kickstarter were the exchange of money for goods.
Pledge US$ 30 or more
A digital copy of the finished game for your PC
Estimated delivery Nov 2014
This is a feature of every donation above $30 and therefore means that anyone who donated above $30 is entitled to their money back as CIG has not delivered the goods they were paid for four years after the delivery date they set on the kickstarter. People can claim the scope of the project changed all they like but this was not the deal that people made when they paid money.
Actually, they're not. Kickstarter is not a store, and backers are not consumers.
Here are the Terms of Service that were in place on Kickstarter when the project was launched and funded:
When a project is successfully funded, the creator must complete the project and fulfill each reward. Once a creator has done so, they’ve satisfied their obligation to their backers.
Throughout the process, creators owe their backers a high standard of effort, honest communication, and a dedication to bringing the project to life. At the same time, backers must understand that when they back a project, they’re helping to create something new — not ordering something that already exists. There may be changes or delays, and there’s a chance something could happen that prevents the creator from being able to finish the project as promised.
If a creator is unable to complete their project and fulfill rewards, they’ve failed to live up to the basic obligations of this agreement. To right this, they must make every reasonable effort to find another way of bringing the project to the best possible conclusion for backers. A creator in this position has only remedied the situation and met their obligations to backers if:
The creator is solely responsible for fulfilling the promises made in their project. If they’re unable to satisfy the terms of this agreement, they may be subject to legal action by backers.
- they post an update that explains what work has been done, how funds were used, and what prevents them from finishing the project as planned;
- they work diligently and in good faith to bring the project to the best possible conclusion in a timeframe that’s communicated to backers;
- they’re able to demonstrate that they’ve used funds appropriately and made every reasonable effort to complete the project as promised;
- they’ve been honest, and have made no material misrepresentations in their communication to backers; and
- they offer to return any remaining funds to backers who have not received their reward (in proportion to the amounts pledged), or else explain how those funds will be used to complete the project in some alternate form.
In the best case monetary scenario for a backer, they get a proportion of their funds back. If the funds are all gone, then a proportion of zero is zero.
But it seems like, in SC's case, the majority of funds are going to internal and external developers to make a game. Some projects fail, despite the best efforts of everyone involved, and most people accept this.
CIG have never attempted to make the game they promised. Almost immediately after the kickstarter CIG started making a different game, completely different in scope from what was pitched. Therefore it's not a valid argument that some projects fail. This is not a case of CIG attempting to make the game they pitched and failing, they were making a completely different game. So sorry, but it's perfectly acceptable for people who kickstarted the project to ask for their money back. If there is a moral failure here, it is on the part of CIG. They pitched one game and then started making a different one with the money.
This might have a bit more merit, but I still think that, even if you trigger that project-not-delivered procedure from Kickstarter's ToS above, they would be able to point out that the funds are being used to complete the project in an alternate form.
I also find it bad from a practical standpoint, because the money from Kickstarter pledges from 2012 has long since been spent, and by requesting a refund now you would essentially be diverting funds from new pledges - likely whales - into your own pocket. In a perfect world, they're not donating to cover your refund, they're donating because they want the game made.
I can use that same logic to deny every single refund for every single product. And I'm sorry but it's morally bankrupt. If you ask someone for money in return for goods or services, you must provide those goods or services. If you can't, you must return the money. You can't simply say "but it means that other people have to pay you back!"
Again, Kickstarter is not a store, and pledges are not pre-orders. If you're unwilling to take on the financial risk of backing a project and getting nothing out of it, then restrict yourself to pre-orders from actual stores that have actual return policies.
Even if the store does hold your money, they're not going to turn it over to the publisher or distributor of your product until they have it in hand. And if they did, they'd have every legal right to go after the publisher to recoup the cost of refunding you your money.
To speak to your analogy, this would be like someone going into a GA meeting, declaring that casinos are a scam, handing out pitchforks, and marching them to casinos to demand their already-gambled money back. The casinos are rightly going to laugh them out the door.
No it isn't. Those people spent money and received a service in return. They had a chance to win. Now suppose instead that the casino had rigged those machines to pay out much less than they said they did. Wouldn't the gamblers be entitled to some money back? Hell, let's take malfeasance out of the equation. Suppose those machines had a design flaw which meant they paid out less, wouldn't the people who gambled on them be entitled to some or all of their money back?
CIG took money claiming that they'd have a product released four years ago. Whether that wasn't true because of poor management or deliberate deception is irrelevant. They have failed to deliver the product they promised four years ago. It is completely anti-consumer to claim that they should be allowed to get away with it.
The service they paid for was a chance that the campaign creator's project might be realized. If risk wasn't involved, there'd be no need for Kickstarter to be involved.
You are the one who asserted that CoD:IW has delivered on everything SQ42 promised. That's the assertion I'm challenging. I have not asserted anywhere (at least in the past year or two) that SC/SQ42 is/will be fun to play in either its current or eventual final form. Even if it gets released, SQ42 isn't going to deliver on everything SQ42 promised. This isn't just me having no faith in CIG. Features have already, officially been cut from what the Kickstarter promised. The most prominent is how drop-in/drop-out coop got completely canned years ago. Private servers (which means mods) have been moved to an after release thing, which probably means never, given CIG's attempts to make the base game.
I'm not judging CoD:IW against the actual SQ42. I'm judging CoD:IW against the promised SQ42, since that's what it's being compared to, and that's the comparison I take issue with. It feels a lot less like a modern Wing Commander or FS2 - which is the SQ42 pitch - and more like that one UT2K4 level where you fly the space fighters. Battuta picked up on a few features that IW might have done better than FS2, and I'll defer to an experienced designer's eye on those, but as a whole I found the space combat incredibly underwhelming.
You didn't find the flight model and space combat mission design incredibly simplistic compared to even original, unmodded FS2?
It's got better turret/subsystem interaction than core FS2, and the ability to swap between 'plane' and 'VTOL' flight modes gets rid of the worst part of FS2's fighter/capship dynamic - the long, boring resets where you get distance to make your next run. And capships defend themselves much more actively than in (say) FS1. The fighter-on-fighter dynamic is pretty weak, the missions are fairly narrow in scope, and it's short on challenge and content, but as a AAA for-the-masses space shooter goes it's really good.
I don't care about weird nuances of who believes what about which product, I just wanna say IW is a good-ass game and you can play it right now if you're looking for an expensive, cinematic, space-legs story.
Okay. I'll concede that your earlier comparison probably wasn't intentionally mocking and disingenuous.
I still don't think CoD:IW fits the comparison you made. It may do what it set out to do quite well, but the second you start trying to hold it up against a spiritual successor to WC or FS2, even an unmade one, I'll take issue. I'd want something with much deeper space combat to fill those shoes. I guess that's a matter of personal preference.