Now Sony's admitted to partnering Shenmue 3, that Kickstarter is a big problem - High-Def Digest Forums
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Old 07-17-2015, 04:51 PM
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Default Now Sony's admitted to partnering Shenmue 3, that Kickstarter is a big problem

Ahahahahahahaha.. no shit.

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No story from this year's E3 has been bigger than Sony's Earth-shaking (or at least Twitter-rattling) three-hit combo announcement of The Last Guardian, the Final Fantasy 7 remake, and Shenmue 3. It was exciting. Hell, it felt impossible. But when all the screaming and crying died down, I found one question fluttering around my head, refusing to leave.

Just why the hell is a mega-corp platform-holder advertising Yu Suzuki's Kickstarter?

There were options, but none of them sat right with me. Was Sony simply giving the Shenmue creator a massive platform on which to announce his fundraising campaign, in exchange for console exclusivity? It seemed probable, but if Sony knew the PR value of the project, why wasn’t it getting behind it wholesale, with a real publishing deal and real publisher money? And speaking of money, how was the requested two million going to be enough to sequel two previous titles whose combined development cost 24 times that?

Or was Sony planning to use Suzuki’s (inevitably bountiful) Kickstarter money to part-fund the game, putting in the other half of the cash itself? If so, that felt rather cheap, but there was no mention, either on stage or on Shenmue 3's Kickstarter page, that that would be the case. Indeed, Suzuki's team's game was introduced as "very much their project", and the game's video presentation even ended with the director stating that ‘the fate of Shenmue is in your hands now’. That sounded pretty clear. This was an indie project that would legitimately live or die on public donations. But it still felt weird.

Today we discovered the truth. That truth lies somewhere between the above two possibilities, and rather uncomfortably so, for me. Sony is indeed partnering on the development of Shenmue 3, with an undisclosed budget. But it felt the need to take a large chunk of public money before it committed.

“Sony and PlayStation is definitely a partner in this game,” says Sony’s director of third-party relations, Gio Corsi, “and it’s going to be run through third-party production. We’re going to help Ys Net get the game done, we’re going to be partners on it the whole way, and really excited to see this thing come out in a couple of years”.

It turns out, as Corsi goes on, that Shenmue 3’s Kickstarter was a test to see just how committed players are to the series. Everyone said they wanted it, but did they want it enough to prove that with money as well as forum posts?

“We said ‘the only way this is gonna happen is if the fans speak up. We thought Kickstarter was the perfect place to do this. We set a goal of two million dollars, and if the fans come in and back it, then absolutely we’re going to make this a reality.”

There's little doubt that Sony is helping to pay for Shenmue 3. If a decent chunk of the company's own money wasn't on the line, why would it desire that fan commitment? So working on the basis that Sony is paying, why was it deemed acceptable to run the Kickstarter as it was run, and only reveal this partnership after public money had been accrued via some very large personal donations? I could start throwing around a lot of strong terms here, but – if only because I don’t know exactly how the balance of funding will play out - I won’t. I’ll very carefully draw the line at ‘misleading’, and leave it at that.

The Kickstarter page makes no mention of external partners at all, let alone one with the power to “make this a reality”. Instead, it implies a staunchly independent, self-sufficient development, discussing the two million dollar request as a complete budget requirement:

“The real challenge now is to deliver a sequel that we will all be satisfied with after 14 years of waiting. After much research and planning, we set the funding goal at this level believing it will make possible a fulfilling Shenmue experience.

“With regards to development of the game, we have an experienced team, deeply connected with the Shenmue franchise. With modern tools, experienced professionals, and the community of Shenmue by our sides, we have set ourselves up for success.”

Here’s where I start having a real problem with the way this has been run. Because however I spin it (and believe me, I’ve spun it like a tumble drier), I keep coming back to the same bottom line. Individual members of the public have paid up to ten thousand dollars of their own money for a game they were led to believe had no other funding options. A game they were led to believe needed that money in order to happen. And that’s not okay.

In a way, yes, Shenmue 3 did need that Kickstarter to succeed, but only because Sony made that the case. It made that the case by making the public pass a test before it offered its own support, a test that it knew would cost the public hundreds and thousands.

Beyond the obvious financial issue, there’s a matter of philosophy here too. Because at its heart, Sony’s ‘build the list’ initiative - its pledge to make community-requested games happen, and the initiative that led to Shenmue 3 happening - is a program inherently tied to the taking of commercial risks. It is a program designed to let gamers voice their wishes for long-wanted, seemingly impossible projects. By definition, those wishes will not be for ‘safe’ games.

No-one is going to request another Killzone or Uncharted, because those games are going to happen. They’re proven, megaton hits, and Sony is going to keep making them until they stop being. By committing to ‘the list’ Sony openly committed to risky projects. That’s an admirable position to take, but it’s admirable in no small part because the responsibility for financial success or failure rests with the company taking it. Not the public. Not for $10k a pop. Not when the invitation of that money is presented unclearly at best, and with an air of the misleading if we’re going to be more critical.

More infuriating is the fact that there was an obvious, easy, inoffensive way to handle all of this. By limiting donation tiers to a single, flat, $50 rate, Shenmue 3’s Kickstarter could have been turned into an elaborate pre-order system, the same level of player commitment shown without anyone being extravagantly out of pocket, and the backer rewards becoming an extra special pre-order bonus, with added goodwill.

Sony says that it needed a Kickstarter to prove that people are serious about Shenmue 3. Fine. For the sake of argument, I’ll buy that. But this is Shenmue 3. It was always going to be funded, whether endorsed by a platform holder or promoted by a single, kanji tweet from Suzuki. Once word got around, it would have been over-funded in a day regardless. And at a lower cost of entry, even more might have bought in, especially if all parties had been open about what was going on.

Like I said, I don’t know exactly how much money Sony is stumping up now that we’ve thrown our wallets through its hoop and passed the test. If Shenmue 3 is being made on the cheap, it’s possible that Sony’s contribution might be as small as a like-for-like match. But that still raises the awkward question of how, if the overall budget is going to be so comparatively small, Sony didn’t just commit to covering the whole thing. But the worse, and possibly more likely, option is that the near three million already raised in public funds is a mere token drop of what Shenmue 3 is going to cost, rather than the budget so many donators believed the game needed to exist.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Kickstarter is for developers with no other funding options. Shenmue 3 has had other options ever since Sony first started to think about it (as it transpires, in 2013), and whatever the platform-holder is now going to pay into the project, it can probably afford it somewhat more comfortably than some of the rest of us can our donations.
http://www.gamesradar.com/sony-now-a...aste-my-mouth/

For the gamer! We just stole yo money on something we would of made anyways on our own dime! ahahahahaha
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Old 07-17-2015, 04:58 PM
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Uhhh... We've known Sony's been a partner for a month now? Why are you posting month-old articles on things we've already discussed in other threads?

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David Houghton on June 17, 2015
Someone must be rattled over PS4's NPD win.
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Old 07-17-2015, 05:02 PM
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i still think that the entire kickstarter thing is shady but we knew sony was partly funding shenmue 3, no?

this does not make sense
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Today we discovered the truth. That truth lies somewhere between the above two possibilities
*edit* i actually read the article, yeah we knew
http://www.kotaku.co.uk/2015/06/16/s...make-shenmue-3
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Old 07-17-2015, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by michealo View Post
i still think that the entire kickstarter thing is shady but we knew sony was partly funding shenmue 3, no?

this does not make sense


*edit* i actually read the article, yeah we knew
http://www.kotaku.co.uk/2015/06/16/s...make-shenmue-3
Ya, I read it too. Not just the part I bold.

Truth is Sony was going to make this game and has had fans pitch in to make it. LOL. That's hilarious.

@indy.. new article for me. Didn't see it post anywhere. oh well... Sony has it's fan's paying to make games it was already going to make.

Yummy.
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Old 07-17-2015, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by miDnIghtEr View Post
Ya, I read it too. Not just the part I bold.
No, you didn't.

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Truth is Sony was going to make this game and has had fans pitch in to make it. LOL. That's hilarious.

@indy.. new article for me. Didn't see it post anywhere. oh well... Sony has it's fan's paying to make games it was already going to make.

Yummy.
Except, no that's not at all what happened. Which you would know if you had actually read the article you claim to have read.

Sony ISN'T making the game, and it wasn't "already going to make" the game without it. That was the whole point of why the unveil went down how it did, Shenmue 3 was too big a risk for Sony to sign-on and help market (possibly fund) the game without some sort of safety net.

The article you quote literally points that out:

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In a way, yes, Shenmue 3 did need that Kickstarter to succeed, but only because Sony made that the case. It made that the case by making the public pass a test before it offered its own support, a test that it knew would cost the public hundreds and thousands.
Sony wasn't going to "make" the game (something we now know isn't true since they've only committed to marketing and PS4 development support. YsNet will independently develop the actual game) without KS.

It's funny because, you seem so salty over the fact that Sony seems to have successfully sold the mainstream audience a niche product while its core fans have zero problems funding its development.

The only losers in this situation seem to be MS and XBOTS who didn't get media attention that Sony did at E3, or the possibility of getting Shenmue 3.
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Old 07-17-2015, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by miDnIghtEr View Post
Ya, I read it too. Not just the part I bold.

Truth is Sony was going to make this game and has had fans pitch in to make it. LOL. That's hilarious.
Yeah, and the implication is that they're tailoring their investment in the game to the investment the fans make in the kickstarter. For instance, let's say they agreed they would take whatever the final Kickstarter total is and multiply it by ten - that would be what they invest in the game. So if the kickstarter got 500K, Sony would invest 5 mil. If the kickstarter got 1 mil, Sony would invest 10 Mil. And if they manage to get the 2 million they were after, Sony would put up 20 million.

We don't know for sure that's the nature of the deal, but it sure sounds like it based on what we do know. And it makes sense for a very risky property like this. It's an obtuse old thing that some people are fucking crazy about. Sony is doing more than anyone else would with Shenmue - they're giving the fans a chance.

And if you don't want to back the kickstarter, no one is making you. You can ignore it and judge the final product when it's done, just like any other game.
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Old 07-17-2015, 05:33 PM
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I haven't seen, and still don't see, the reason for the hoopla surrounding this. Kickstarter pimping in your E3 presentation is fairly cheesy. Past that, what's the big deal - or are we just stretching to find additional smackdown?
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Old 07-17-2015, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by rm082e View Post
And if you don't want to back the kickstarter, no one is making you. You can ignore it and judge the final product when it's done, just like any other game.
THIS.

You know what's shady to me? RED ASH. A game I sincerely wanted to support (because I'm a massive Mega Man Legends fan) is a prime example of what a shady Kickstarter is. It's poorly run, it was announced alongside an anime tie-in KS (what?) and then they do shit like that.

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Another reason that we can't announce the console now is because we need to negotiate with the console makers. It's a big assignment for us, but we are confident we'll have great support due to the team's prior work with the consoles. We will keep you updated right here with all the latest developments on that.
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Most importantly, we want to port RED ASH to the console most wished for by our backers. We will put up a preliminary poll soon, so you can make your voice heard and let our team know where you want RED ASH on consoles first! Then, once the campaign ends, we will send a survey to make your final vote! The survey will only be available to backers, so be sure to tell everyone you can about this big news!
THAT is shady as hell.

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1077194

After initially asking for an $800,000 "funding goal" they added stretch goals that amounted to actual game content, meaning the initial goal was set so low to purposefully make their goal and promised a barebones game. After public outcry about a console release, they only committed to ~a~ console version, and only the one that "got the most backer votes" meaning that unless you want the PC version? You wouldn't be guaranteed and actual copy of the game if your console of choice wasn't picked.

Hell, the way it was written insinuates that they may already know what console they're making it for, so who knows if the backer vote stuff would even matter anyway?

Add to that the fact that the "physical copy" tier requires you fork over a bare minimum of $89 (yes, $30 above what a full-fledged AAA title goes for... for a plausibly "incomplete" game) and you've got yourself one of THE SHADIEST Kickstarter campaigns, coming from the guy who "set the standard" with Mighty No. 9.
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Old 07-17-2015, 07:06 PM
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The original quoted post sounds very unprofessional and just n00b blog like. I guess if it is posted on the internet it's gospel.
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Old 07-17-2015, 07:16 PM
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It's an op-ed piece, not an objective article.
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