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GameStick delay underscores the gamble of Kickstarter

Ian Paul | April 9, 2013
PlayJam, which got Kickstarter support for its GameStick console, has delayed release of the portable device to its backers to early June from its initial April target.

Unlike Amazon, Best Buy, or Target, however, paying into a Kickstarter project is a risk. The people behind these projects may hit obstacles they didnt anticipate. Take, for example, the Pebble smartwatch. This Kickstarter project sought to raise $100,000 and ended up with more than $10 million. The windfall was accompanied by many backers who believed they were buying a product.

Lesson of the Pebble

But as ITWorld columnist Kevin Purdy, an early Pebble backer, recently noted, problems happen. All you can really do is hope the makers somehow make good for you, Purdy said after his Pebble Smartwatch died after a week of use. And then toast your not-so-great luck, and hope the makers learned something.

Purdy wasnt alone with his problems. A thread on Pebbles support forum dubbed The dead Pebble thread contains more than 20,000 comments. Another thread discusses problems getting the watch through German customs. Another covers screen discoloration, while yet another reports battery drain issues. In other words, a small company is now dealing with Apple-sized quality control headaches, with many people complaining its taking weeks to get customer support.

Pebbles early woes and GameSticks delays highlight the risk versus reward proposition of Kickstarter. You may get a really cool product in the end, but part of the experience is watching a company grow through its trials and tribulations as it tries to turn a dream into reality. And theres no guarantee theyll succeed.

 

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