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Questionable Kickstart Cancelled

The goons on The Something Awful Forums have uncovered some, let's say irregularities in this Kickstarter proposal for a strategy RPG called MYTHIC: The Story Of Gods And Men to be created by a developer called Little Monster Productions which claims to be comprised of Activision/Blizzard veterans. An examination of their presentation makes it apparent that some of the art assets being presented as part of this project were lifted from other games, casting strong doubts on the claim that this project was nearly complete, and they just needed USD $80,000 "in order to secure the motion capture animation team and studio time for the games sound track," in spite of previously saying "animations will be done via motion capture thanks to some friends at Disney/Pixar" (the people who bragged about not using one frame of motion capture in Ratatouille). This seems to have derailed things, as the creators have cancelled the kickstart after attracting $4,739, which will not be collected since the "project" failed to reach its target. Thanks Joao via the redditors on Reddit by way of the roshambo upgraders on the RPS forums via the tasteful folks at PC Gamer.

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40. Re: Questionable Kickstart Cancelled May 7, 2012, 20:14 Closed Betas
 
kickstarts are a fad, already those looking to exploit, they all are here TOO exploit, and it will get worse... Keep your money in your pockets, quit paying for other peoples dreams, they have investment firms for a reason... If they can't get funding thru them, then they should not have jobs...  
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39. Re: Questionable Kickstart Cancelled May 2, 2012, 09:35 Beamer
 
Agrajag wrote on May 2, 2012, 07:04:
Beamer wrote on May 1, 2012, 14:40:
There's no provision in kickstarter that says your product has to come out.

From the Kickstarter FAQs:

If you are unable to fulfill the promises made to backers, cannot complete the project as advertised, or decide to abandon the project for any reason, you are expected to cancel funding. A failure to do so could result in damage to your reputation or even legal action on behalf of your backers.

That means prior to your funding being successful. Once it's successful and the money changes hands and both fees and taxes are collected Kickstarter doesn't give a shit. You can't "cancel funding" that has already been distributed, you can only cancel one still in progress.

None of the other verbiage is meaningful.
 
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http://www.deathwishinc.com
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http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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38. Re: Questionable Kickstart Cancelled May 2, 2012, 07:04 Agrajag
 
Beamer wrote on May 1, 2012, 14:40:
There's no provision in kickstarter that says your product has to come out.

From the Kickstarter FAQs:

If you are unable to fulfill the promises made to backers, cannot complete the project as advertised, or decide to abandon the project for any reason, you are expected to cancel funding. A failure to do so could result in damage to your reputation or even legal action on behalf of your backers.
 
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37. Re: Questionable Kickstart Cancelled May 2, 2012, 03:54 Dev
 
Krovven wrote on May 1, 2012, 21:43:
MisterBenn wrote on May 1, 2012, 19:43:
I also wonder whether the larger studios will try to get in on the act in some way.

I can only hope that EA or LucasArts would do this with Dungeon Keeper and Outlaws.

Highly unlikely. Even the highest video game kickstarter with a few million isn't anywhere close to what EA would need to spend on something like dungeon keeper.

Ironic too. There's enough EA fanbois and DK fans they'd hit even a $5 + million goal pretty fast on kickstarter.
 
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36. Re: Questionable Kickstart Cancelled May 1, 2012, 22:25 nin
 
painless42 wrote on May 1, 2012, 21:08:
Just give me my cardboard and no one gets hurt!

Kickstarter-OGRE

Kicksarter-Zombicide

Nice to see Steve Jackson getting some love!
 
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35. Re: Questionable Kickstart Cancelled May 1, 2012, 22:16 theyarecomingforyou
 
Krovven wrote on May 1, 2012, 21:43:
I can only hope that EA or LucasArts would do this with Dungeon Keeper and Outlaws.
Yeah, but only after sequels to Tie Fighter and Grim Fandango!
 
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34. Re: Questionable Kickstart Cancelled May 1, 2012, 21:43 Krovven
 
MisterBenn wrote on May 1, 2012, 19:43:
I also wonder whether the larger studios will try to get in on the act in some way.

I can only hope that EA or LucasArts would do this with Dungeon Keeper and Outlaws.

 
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33. Re: Questionable Kickstart Cancelled May 1, 2012, 21:08 painless42
 
Just give me my cardboard and no one gets hurt!

Kickstarter-OGRE

Kicksarter-Zombicide
 
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32. Re: Questionable Kickstart Cancelled May 1, 2012, 21:03 theyarecomingforyou
 
I'm quite surprised how much attention this has attracted. It's already made its way onto BBC News.  
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31. Re: Questionable Kickstart Cancelled May 1, 2012, 20:59 SandPeople
 
xXBatmanXx wrote on May 1, 2012, 11:18:
I remember thinking this one looks supspicious when it was announced. oh well. Just the way it goes. Hay whatever happened to the Phantom Console system?
I have fond memories of Phantom/Infinium Labs, mostly because they gave out some nice t-shirts (glow in the dark, no less) one year at E3. I still wear mine, so do 2 other people I gave 'em too.
 
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30. Re: Questionable Kickstart Cancelled May 1, 2012, 20:54 Dev
 
CommunistHamster wrote on May 1, 2012, 10:19:
Naysayers of kickstarter now have a small shred of evidence.
Of what? Everyone knew (or should have) that there are crap (and/or scam) projects on kickstarter. Fortunately, a lot of people seem to have a clue. Also, things like no funding unless it hits the goal are countermeasures against crap projects.

This is more evidence that people do homework to unmask scams than anything else.
 
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29. Re: Questionable Kickstart Cancelled May 1, 2012, 19:43 MisterBenn
 
There was always going to be a rush on kickstarters, anyone would love to receive all the budget before starting. The biggest studios around would kill to be able to derisk their projects upfront!

The biggest risk as I see it is not outright con artists, it's the possiblity that many of these projects may not arrive at a decent product at the end. Normally you know that your project has to release something marketable at the end otherwise it's a disaster for everyone involved. That's a great motivator! With the kickstarter, by the time you start the cash is unconditional - so you need the people to have great skill, integrity and organisation otherwise who knows what crap you will end up with. It will genuinely be interesting to see how these all turn out. Done correctly the kickstarter could be a wonderful idealistic trend, but so many projects have been launched and I can't believe all of them will leave people happy.

I also wonder whether the larger studios will try to get in on the act in some way. Someone with the rights to a sequel that people have clammoured for for years might agree to undertake it but only if the cash is kickstarted up front. "You want a turn-based Fallout sequel in the original style? That's too niche to justify as it stands but if you can kickstart 2M we will make it."
 
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Playing: Path of Exile, Pandora: First Contact
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28. Re: Questionable Kickstart Cancelled May 1, 2012, 18:35 Beamer
 
Creston wrote on May 1, 2012, 18:01:

Because if you're going to make it hard to detect, you're going to have to actually, like, you know, have an actual PROJECT you're working on, and you're going to have to show updates to that project throughout the projected development window, and basically... work on the actual project.

Which is typically a helluva lot more work than scammers really want to do.

No you don't. Spend 20 minutes making a design document and do some sketches.
You could put this together in less than a day
And you could mock this up in Flash in the same amount of time

Yes, afterwards people expect updates. You either give them haphazardly or not at all. You have the money, what are people really going to do? Plus I'm barely getting acceptable updates from the people I've funded, and more importantly these guys that were caught weren't planning on giving updates. They were just trying to get money. I'm saying there are less obvious ways to get it.

Anyone that thinks the DA will get involved hasn't been scammed on ebay or Craigslist. The former is pretty common - I once sent two records in one package since the same buyer bought them. Only one tracking slip, so the guy told ebay I hadn't sent it. I had to eat that $250.
Obviously this is on a different level, but not all that much. Kickstarter gets people from all 50 states, so who is going to prosecute this? Who has jurisdiction? Who will do it when the damages are going to probably be <$50 per person? How do you prove that the person actually intended to rip people off and wasn't just a well-meaning idiot that poorly planned?
 
-------------
Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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27. Re: Questionable Kickstart Cancelled May 1, 2012, 18:01 Creston
 
Beamer wrote on May 1, 2012, 17:35:
Obviously there's a big difference, I'm saying it's hard to prove that difference.

If enough people complain about it, it goes to the state for investigation, and it becomes the DA's job to prove it, not mine.

And anyway, my point isn't "OMG, everyone is going to scam this!" my point is "if you're going to scam this why make it so damn obvious and scammy? Why not make it ambiguous and hard to detect?" ASeven, read.

Because if you're going to make it hard to detect, you're going to have to actually, like, you know, have an actual PROJECT you're working on, and you're going to have to show updates to that project throughout the projected development window, and basically... work on the actual project.

Which is typically a helluva lot more work than scammers really want to do.

Also, it's hard for people to sue for their $20 back individually, and it's not like it'll be a class action lawsuit.

Nobody would get their money back, but seeing a guy flee to guatemala with his 15K in scammed money because the law is hot on his ass would satisfy my desire for vengeance.

Creston
 
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26. Re: Questionable Kickstart Cancelled May 1, 2012, 17:35 Beamer
 
Creston wrote on May 1, 2012, 15:51:
Beamer wrote on May 1, 2012, 14:40:
Creston wrote on May 1, 2012, 14:18:
Beamer wrote on May 1, 2012, 13:08:
I don't even get why these guys did this much of a scam.

Just discuss an awesome idea, show some concept art, put the figure low by saying you have some personal financing, and get $10k-$20k of free money.
Then say the project fell through. No one can really do anything to prove otherwise, and I don't believe there's any accountability.

It's still fraud, and thus you can still get criminal charges filed against you. So yay for running from the FBI for 20K?

Creston

It isn't entirely fraud. There's no provision in kickstarter that says your product has to come out. The risk is that a product won't come out.
It doesn't sound like a hard system to game. These guys clearly committed fraud by making lots of untrue claims. But if you were to not make those claims, how is it fraud? Let's say you get the $20k and use it to buy some computers and ipads to develop, then the money is gone and you fold the company. What are you accountable for, bad planning? How is it any different from any of the other companies that have had kickstarters, taken the cash and are no longer moving forward with the project?

There's a huge difference between trying to do a project and failing, and obviously from day one never actually intending to do anything and just taking the money and running. Even legally.

The FBI does not take kindly to that latter one. Now whether they'd investigate when the total damages would have been < 5K is doubtful, but risking becoming the target of an investigation for that kind of chump change would be really stupid.

Creston

Obviously there's a big difference, I'm saying it's hard to prove that difference.
And anyway, my point isn't "OMG, everyone is going to scam this!" my point is "if you're going to scam this why make it so damn obvious and scammy? Why not make it ambiguous and hard to detect?" ASeven, read.

Also, it's hard for people to sue for their $20 back individually, and it's not like it'll be a class action lawsuit.
 
-------------
Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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25. Re: Questionable Kickstart Cancelled May 1, 2012, 16:30 theyarecomingforyou
 
Anybody that contributed money to this project DESERVED to be ripped off. The video was pathetic - it was so obviously dodgy. I still hope the people behind the scam are prosecuted for it.  
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24. Re: Questionable Kickstart Cancelled May 1, 2012, 16:12 Lobster
 
Surprised it took this long.

People are awful.
 
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23. Re: Questionable Kickstart Cancelled May 1, 2012, 15:51 Creston
 
Beamer wrote on May 1, 2012, 14:40:
Creston wrote on May 1, 2012, 14:18:
Beamer wrote on May 1, 2012, 13:08:
I don't even get why these guys did this much of a scam.

Just discuss an awesome idea, show some concept art, put the figure low by saying you have some personal financing, and get $10k-$20k of free money.
Then say the project fell through. No one can really do anything to prove otherwise, and I don't believe there's any accountability.

It's still fraud, and thus you can still get criminal charges filed against you. So yay for running from the FBI for 20K?

Creston

It isn't entirely fraud. There's no provision in kickstarter that says your product has to come out. The risk is that a product won't come out.
It doesn't sound like a hard system to game. These guys clearly committed fraud by making lots of untrue claims. But if you were to not make those claims, how is it fraud? Let's say you get the $20k and use it to buy some computers and ipads to develop, then the money is gone and you fold the company. What are you accountable for, bad planning? How is it any different from any of the other companies that have had kickstarters, taken the cash and are no longer moving forward with the project?

There's a huge difference between trying to do a project and failing, and obviously from day one never actually intending to do anything and just taking the money and running. Even legally.

The FBI does not take kindly to that latter one. Now whether they'd investigate when the total damages would have been < 5K is doubtful, but risking becoming the target of an investigation for that kind of chump change would be really stupid.

Creston
 
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22. Re: Questionable Kickstart Cancelled May 1, 2012, 15:19 ASeven
 
CommunistHamster wrote on May 1, 2012, 15:18:
Beamer wrote on May 1, 2012, 14:40:
How is it any different from any of the other companies that have had kickstarters, taken the cash and are no longer moving forward with the project?

Please name some of these "target reached" kickstarters that took the money and ran. I have not heard of them.

It's Beamer, don't mind his ramblings.
 
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21. Re: Questionable Kickstart Cancelled May 1, 2012, 15:18 CommunistHamster
 
Beamer wrote on May 1, 2012, 14:40:
How is it any different from any of the other companies that have had kickstarters, taken the cash and are no longer moving forward with the project?

Please name some of these "target reached" kickstarters that took the money and ran. I have not heard of them.
 
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