In the past 3 years, crowdfunding has become a tool used by many to launch their ideas and projects, everything from computing hardware, household tools, and even video games are being funded through crowdfunding. For those who don’t know, crowdfunding is a method of asking the public to pay up front for your product, and as a “reward” you get a level of the product depending on what you pay. If you pay extra, you get extra perks. This of course assumes the product launches. An example is the iControlpad 2. The original iControlpad was a bluetooth controller for your phone before Moga controllers were around. The iControlpad 2 was going to be a full mini keyboard and game controller, all connecting to your phone via bluetooth, modeled after the Open Pandora mini keyboard and controls. Unfortunately, the product never launched, with partial refunds given 2 years after the fact. Those that paid 80 dollars USD for a controller were refunded a paltry 24 dollars or given an original iControlpad instead. Often people fund products on the hope that it is actually made, and sometimes the product falls through. (http://kickscammed.com/project/icontrolpad-2-by-product-3-llc/#.Vy18Pb5IVBQ)
Might Number 9 is a crowdfunded game, made by Mega Man creator Kenji Inafune. The project raked in over 3 million dollars, significantly higher than it’s original goal of 900 thousand dollars. Unfortunately, the game has been plagued by long delays. Originally going to release in 2015 (a two year development cycle), the game is now slated for a June 2016 release after multiple delays, the most recent delay being problems with the netplay engine. Even Inafunes biggest fans are demanding refunds, thinking the game will just be delayed again days before it’s launch date, as it has been the past two times. (http://venturebeat.com/2016/05/02/mighty-no-9-gets-release-date-and-promises-of-no-more-delays/)
However, there’s sometimes a success story, at least in the early going. While the Ouya was largely panned at launch, it succeeded in not only getting funded, but launching in a decent time window and giving backers what they advertised: a Tegra 3 based gaming machine based on Android. While the Ouya market was a flop, the device was quickly jailbroken and is still used by many as a budget emulation console. Although the Ouya has since been shut down due to not having a good spot in the market, it gave backers what they originally paid for and delivered on its promise. (http://www.playstationlifestyle.net/2015/07/29/daily-reaction-ouya-sold-to-razer-home-console-market/#/slide/1)
The most important thing to remember if you are going to fund a project is that there is no promise you will get what you are paying for. You are supporting a project, backing an idea in the hope of it becoming a reality. If you are willing to take that risk, than by all means back a project that interests you, and hopefully the developer will make that dream come true.