"When you ask for half a million dollars when you really need $5 million, it becomes impossible for games with realistic budgets to survive."
Game designer Katie Chironis points out the dangers in asking for less than you need on Kickstarter.
Now that Kickstarter's an established platform for turning fans into funders, a number of game developers have used it to launch campaigns aimed at justifying outside investment in their projects rather than directly funding development.
These well-meaning campaigns can set deceptively low fundraising targets, and game maker Katie Chironis argues in a recent Polygon op-ed that this may ultimately undermine the platform by warping backers' understanding of how much it really costs to make a game.
Koji Igarashi and Inti Creates' Bloodstained Kickstarter is a great recent example: the campaign set a (quickly surpassed) fundraising goal of $500k to cover the cost of manufacturing discs and stretch goals to help Igarashi "expand his vision for this game."
However, Igarashi and his team will likely spend ten times that $500k figure or more in the course of development, and other development teams who actually do want to make a full game for $500k may have trouble attracting funding alongside "big indie" projects with deceptively small budgets.
"Kickstarter is actively distorting people’s understanding of a sane budget," writes Chironis. "The ecosystem is being poisoned for projects that need to raise their actual, workable budget for a game."
Chironis uses both publicly-available Kickstarter data and her own anecdotal experience as part of an indie team which successfully Kickstarted a game's development to make a strong argument, which you can (and should) read in full over on Polygon.