Kickstarter is a website that helps developers of a wide range of products get their project up and running. Whereas normally the producer would have to find (expensive) outside funding, by using Kickstarter the producer can reach out to its audience. Kickstarter provides a platform where producers can present their ideas and initial models to a large audience, providing them with a chance to ask people for a pledge of X amount of dollars to further develop their product. Popular products include documentaries, videogames, clothing, and tabletop boardgames, like one of the Kickstarter’s most popular projects, Dogs of War;
Those that pledge an amount of 50$ (or 45$ for those that acted quickly) get access to the game when it is fully developed and ready to be shipped. Mass market versions availabe in retail would cost more, in this case 60$, so there is a monetary incentive to pledge. Those that advertise their project on Kickstarter often include different amounts of money the consumer can pledge, which accordingly yield different exclusive extras that would not be made available to the public. Another feature on Kickstarter is that of “stretch goals”, these are added features of the product delivered only when the funds reach a particular level, in the case of Dogs of War the stretch goal is $50,000, at which point an additional character would be added.
The business-model of Kickstarter places relatively little risk with the developer, if the developer fails to reach his/her goal, kickstarter will not charge anything for their service. If the goal IS met, Kickstarter will charge 5% of the total amount charged. This amount may seem a lot (the high cost is in fact one of the only points of criticism that seems to be raised against Kickstarter) as in the case of Dogs of War it would be $2.500, it is a great way for developers to reach an audience, especially in the niche-market of tabletop games that have a small but loyal audience.
Even though it does not happen often, people do sometimes lose the money they invest in these projects. Kickstarter warns its visitors to investigate before they invest, as well as advising producers to provide as much information as possible to the consumers. Producers often make personalized videos where they present their product, making it even more approachable to the end-consumer. However, at the end of the day Kickstarter takes no responsibility for the projects, and withholds their involvement between the producer and consumer, making Kickstarter one of the most unrestricted platforms for those that are passionate about their project and those that would love the chance to contribute to its realization.