Kickstarter: teh new hawtness. Thanks to DoubleFine and others, practically anyone who's anyone has at least one Kickstarter or other crowd-funded project running right now. But where does this lead? How do the creators and backers view this arrangement differently? Kickstarter is not just handing money over for a product at Wal-Mart or through Steam; it is a payment for the promise of ... something. If that promise is just that you will help them continue with their project and here's a pat on the back, that's okay, but often Kickstarter is used as a pre-beta storefront: You pay me money, I will make you a game. This arrangement, no matter how hard everyone tries to deny it, is an investment. And investments carry risk.
Like ebony and ivory, mom and apple pie, risk and reward are constant companions in business. In order to grow, nearly every business needs capital, (e.g., money and resources). There are several ways to obtain capital investment, but the hoped-for result is always the same: The finished product earns more money than it cost to create — this is the reward. Investors always hope for success, but a great many projects fail, and the investment is lost — herein lies the risk.