Failed Video Game Underlines the Perils of Using Kickstarter

Neal Stephenson announced that “Clang,” his sword-fighting video game project launched via Kickstarter, is dead in the water. In 2012, the author of sci-fi classics Snow Crash and Cryptonomicon raised $526,000 on Kickstarter. Stephenson originally set out to create a game that was more engaging than existing sword-fighting games, but ultimately realized that while innovative, the end result was not fun to play. The game and some pledge rewards were not delivered, which frustrated some backers.

Kickstarter_Logo“I’m dissatisfied with how sword-fighting is portrayed in existing video games,” Stephensen originally said. “These could be so much more fun than they are. Time for a revolution.”

A year ago, he announced that the group was looking to raise more money as the first $526,000 had already been spent. At that time he asked people to be patient. However, on September 18, Stephensen announced that the project was dead.

“The prototype was technically innovative, but it wasn’t very fun to play,” he said. “I probably focused too much on historical accuracy and not enough on making it sufficiently fun to attract additional investment.”

“Clang” received mixed reviews from its backers. Some demanded a refund, while others understood that they invested their money with knowledge of the risk. Crowdfunding sites rely on backers interested in putting money into project development, not necessarily investing in the traditional sense. And Kickstarter does not guarantee compensation.

“As Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites become more mature, the tension between those backing projects as early adopters and those backing them purely as passion projects remains,” reports Quartz.