Being let down all the time is...a let down.
Kickstarter is a great place for people to financially support those with a great idea and a prototype, but need a little assistance to make that idea a reality. This is why I signed up for the platform in 2012. Five years later and I'm sick of the bullshit that seems to emanate from the projects I back.
Of the 39 projects I have contributed money to, 10 are delayed (some are delayed by about a year or more). Good thing I'm not holding my breath. Let's take a look at those projects, starting with the oldest.
This game, by Cloud Imperium Games Corporation, was successfully funded on November 19th, 2012. I backed at the $37 tier (Digital Scout) for:
- a digital copy of the finished game (PC)
- RSI Aurora spaceship ready to fly
- 1,000 Galactic Credits
- exclusive access to the Alpha + Beta
The estimated delivery date for this was November 2014. Of the unfulfilled projects I backed, I am the least sore about Star Citizen because 1) I can play the Alpha when I get a PC (I have a Mac) and 2) there are regular updates. Not just, "Oh hey guys, here's a wall of text and a pic or two", it's actual gameplay and something I can interact with.
I think the CEO got overly ambitious but at least it's not No Man's Sky-tier of fuckedupness.
Mighty No. 9
This game, by comcept, is currently the laughing stock of the gaming world and a cautionary tale for game developers looking to create a Kickstarter for their game. It was successfully funded on October 1st, 2013. I backed at the $60 tier for:
- a physical game box (Western/Japanese style)
- printed retro-style game manual (English/Japanese)
- exclusive in-game golden hero (backer-exclusive color variation of Beck, the game's hero)
The estimated delivery date for this was April 2015. I just got the physical rewards a week or two ago. The Nintendo 3DS version? Still waiting for it. I have a Switch now...
Sa: The Umbrella Reimagined
This umbrella, by Justin Nagelberg and Matthew Waldman, was successfully funded on December 1st, 2014. I backed at the $69 tier for:
- one Sa (early limited special)
The estimated delivery date was March 2015. Since being successfully funded, backers have gotten
updates essays twice a year about why shipping has been delayed two years. Basically, because the umbrella is so different that factories have to be taught how to work on components. Factories is plural because they've gone through a couple because of shutdowns. Who the hell knows when I'm gonna get this thing.
- 2017/09/14 update
- another essay, but with TL;DR version!
- fully functioning prototype
- noticed weird things with prototype, fixes for those things is in progress
- shipping has been pushed back to Winter/Spring 2018
To quote a backer, "Great to see that after nearly 3 years you nearly have a working prototype".
The Light Phone
This phone, by Light, was successfully funded on June 27th, 2015. I backed at the $25 tier for:
- The Light Book. It documents the process of building the Light Phone and includes photos, drawings, and essays. It will cover the entire story from ideation to insights into the manufacturing process.
The estimated delivery date was June 2016. I messaged the founders last month about the book and this was the response:
Not yet. We would like to include our entire journey of the Light Phone and we believe that there is more to come. We will email backers when we plan to release the book. Thank you for asking!
I'm not sure how much more of "the journey" needs to be documented but I hope I get it before the end of 2018.
Das Keyboard 5Q
This keyboard, by Das Keyboard, was successfully funded on July 30th, 2016. I backed at the $139 (early bird) tier for:
- one Das Keyboard 5Q for $90 off the $229 retail price.
The estimated delivery date was January 2017. I have a regular Das Keyboard (Mac version) at home and I love it. What drew me to the 5Q was the ability to write scripts to mod the keyboard. You can create light shows, make certain keys change color due to a specified event, and so on. Super customizable! Anyhoo, people are pissed off because the company makes keyboards for a living and we still don't have ours.
- Typhoon Hato damaged a factory in Hong Kong
- no injuries
- raw materials and critical production equipment were protected from damage
- 5Q pilot production will begin in a couple days
- full production schedule for the end of September
- Kickstarter fulfillment in October, barring any pilot production issues
- solder quality for mechanical switches failed QA
- incorrect product packaging
- National Day in China for the first week of October
- production will start the week of October 30th
With each update, backers become less enthusiastic or get angry. I think it's safe to say that the Das Keyboard team isn't going to make another crowdfunded product for a long time, if ever. Earlier this summer, I joked about getting my 5Q in time for Christmas. At this rate, that looks to be the case.
TMA-2 Modular Headphone System GOT IT
This wireless headphone system, by AIAIAI, was successfully funded on December 15th, 2016. I backed at the $65 tier (early bird) for:
- H05 Smart Headband
The estimated delivery date was May 2017. AIAIAI's TMA-2 is a modular headphone system which means if something on my headphones breaks, I can just replace a module or two and not the entire thing. I already own the TMA-2 so what I paid for was the headband to make my headphones wireless.
The latest update said this was going to ship at the end of this month. We shall see.
I'm tired of using Apple's shitty ear buds and I've gone through two aux dongles already.
- mass production has been moved to September 11th
- Kickstarter orders (1436 of 'em) will ship out September 18th - October 6th
- I've already confirmed with them that orders will ship in order of pledges (I'm backer 46)
- mass production started but minor things needed to change on assembly line
- 7-10 day delay
- headphones are shipping
(hope to update this post in a couple days)!
- headphones are shipping
- I got it! 5 MONTHS LATER
This social network and eBook, by Manton Reece, was successfully funded on February 1st, 2017. I backed at the $10 tier for:
- PDF and ePub versions of the book, plus early access to Micro.blog
These are some of the book topics:
- how to adapt blogging tools like WordPress and Tumblr to work with microblogs.
- the important role of cross-posting to Twitter, and the best tools out there.
- tips for integrating a microblog into an existing weblog.
- architecture for microblogs, with a behind-the-scenes look at how Micro.blog was built.
- overview of the latest IndieWebCamp and W3C proposals for indie microblogging, such as Webmention and Micropub.
- Manton's personal stories on why it matters so much to preserve content on the Internet.
The estimated delivery date was March 2017. Like Star Citizen, I'm not sore about my eBook reward being delayed. Manton is creating an entire social network by himself and managing a Slack group for backers. I haven't setup this blog with micro.blog yet either so it looks like we're both delayed, haha! He's actively working on finishing the book though.
Jack: Make Any Headphones Wireless
This Jack adapter, by Podo Labs, was successfully funded on February 25th, 2017. I backed at the $25 (early bird) tier for:
- one Jack adapter
The estimated delivery date was June 2017. The latest update promises that I'll get this by the end of October at the latest. You might be wondering why I backed two Kickstarters that are headphone-focused. I like music and I'm beginning to despise wires. Should the battery on my H05 run out, I can attach a cable to it and that cable to the Jack. I'll have to stuff the cord in my bag or someplace but it'll still be wireless!
- 2017/10/06 update
- Delays of course, but the team makes it seem as though they were blindsided by a Chinese holiday. This isn't their first KS and from the comments, they have a history of making promises they can't keep, having tons of delays, and announcing new projects before the current one is fulfilled.
- "Production" unit shown doesn't match prototype, and while understandable to a degree it's disappointing.
Steadicam Volt GOT IT
This smartphone stabilizer, by The Tiffen Company, was successfully funded on March 5th, 2017. I backed at the $139 (early bird) tier for:
- Steadicam Volt for $60 off the planned $199 retail price
- Steadicam Volt Stabilizer
- 5x magnetic and 1x starter balance weight
- 2x batteries
- battery charger
- Micro-USB cable
- quickstart guide
- carrying pouch
The estimated delivery date was June 2017. Because retailers like B&H received Steadicam Volts before backers, we all get a premium carrying case for free. Not bad, but I expected to get the Volt before this month so I could get awesome beach footage of my kids. It's now the middle of August so that plan was ruined. When companies show prototypes that are super close to the finished product and show they have years of experience doing things, and yadda x3, I expect to get rewards in a relatively short timeframe. Like the Das Keyboard, this is not the case here. Apparently, shipping is supposed to start this month.
- shipping warehouse is overbooked
- shipping will start on the 11th
- everyone should get tracking information shortly
- I don't have tracking info
- I got it! THREE MONTHS LATER
This film, by Craig Rippon, was successfully funded on April 21st, 2017. I backed at the $25 tier for:
- Black Heroes Matter t-shirt
- movie ticket code for advance online screening
- my name listed in the "Thank You" section of the film
- link to the 2nd trailer for the film when it's completed
- BLACK INK computer wallpaper
The estimated delivery date was May 2017 (for the t-shirt, not the film) and Craig has been unresponsive.
- 2017/10/11 update
- Craig has been dealing with a LOT of family health issues, one of which is serious.
- The company he was working with to get the books didn't honor the apparent discount agreement they had. Maybe time ran out for that?
- The film should be out in February.
I was a bit miffed when I didn't hear anything for months but not anymore, Craig can take all the time he needs.
With the exception of Star Citizen and Indie Microblogging (and as of October 11th, Black Ink), all this has been rather annoying. Honorable mention goes out to Massdrop for the MiTo Canvas XDA Custom Keycap Set I've yet to receive. The drop completed on February 1st, 2017. I paid $72.97 (shipping included) for the Bauhaus Icon Modifiers and Betas. This is what it'll look like:
The estimated ship date was June 2nd, 2017 and the new one is now October. Kanye shrug I plan on putting these awesome keys on my existing Das Keyboard...I just noticed I'll need to purchase additional keys for my number pad.
The moral of this story? It used to be that you could pledge for something on Kickstarter and expect to get the product on or damn close to the promised delivery date. I love the idea of supporting promising businesses but I think I'll just wait until whatever product is available on Amazon before parting with my money. Who wants to be constantly let down all the time? Not me, not anymore. 🕸