Gizmodo is reporting via direct communications with Kickstarter that the platform is making plans to cut as much as 45% of its staff.
Kickstarter has been huge in the TTRPG space, letting small-time shops get enough funding for professional looking, self published games, modules, and accessories. I’d say its been a game changer, compared to the early days, when you needed to either be a big name, know a big name, or have a sizable internet presence. Now, we have guys like Matt Coveille, putting out projects pulling in over 2 million dollars. In the old model, he would be going to publishing companies, and begging for a meeting, leaning on contacts he has from decades in minor RPG adjacent jobs, and doing a pitch only to be told its not a big enough market for his book and releasing it online for free on some internet forum or wiki with mostly stolen artwork and some terrible formatting.
I don’t mean to paint Kickstarter as an infallible, generous, and wonderful organization that has come from the heavens to save RPGs. It’s got problems with creators ghosting, taking the money and running, and the platform doesn’t really do much about it. They also fought unionization for a long time, and ironically, it seems that union is the only thing saving those 45% of jobs. There is work to be done at Kickstarter, but as someone who has helped with development for a few kickstarters, and participated in countless hours of theoretical RPG discussion with creators, I can’t help but hope they weather the storm.
Kickstarters success or failure has a direct impact on the success or failure of a lot of indie RPGs and their makers. It will be really interesting to see if the shrink happens, and if anyone else can sweep in to fill the spot.