Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Kickstarter, Blockchain, ZineQuest 4 and Zine Month - Whaaaa?

UPDATES! See end of post!

February is coming, and February means ZineQuest. Or does it?

It seems there we'll be no ZineQuest this year:

Anya is Anya Combs, director of games at Kickstarter, so we can assume she knows what she's saying. Let's take a closer look:

"Officially", yeah, but all we have for now is Sam saying Anya said... That's not my definition of "official". If anything, this proves that KS doesn't care much about ZQ anyway.

 Note the specifics: it is not happening in February... which leaves the door open for another time frame.

Other sources say ZineQuest 4 might still be a thing, but in August:

And that's Tony Vasinda of Plus One Experience, one of the most important voices in the zine/indie rpg scene. (I interviewed him some time ago). He's been encouraging creators to try different platforms instead of Kickstarter for a while now, such as GameFound, which he's been working with when crowdfunding Down We Go.

So where are all the zines going? Tough question.
The indie/zine rpg community truly is a community: Charlie Fergaves is already setting up Zine Month, a site to showcase all zine projects on any crowdfunding platform. And the RPG Zines Facebook Group is always there. 

And yet, many creators are reluctant to leave Kickstarter. Even now that ZQ4 isn't a thing! 

The acclaimed Old-School Essentials zine Planar Compass is crowdfunding their third issue on KS next month, ZQ or not ZQ. And they are not the only ones. Project pages are being filled and activated as I write.

I have a zine project for next month too. Haven't made up my mind 100%, but I think it will be on KS anyway. If you've enjoyed my electronic/print-at-home OSE zines, and the Lands of Legends series, you might definitely be interested.

I'm the smallest creator. I've only run one crowdfunding last year during ZQ3, and it well very well, because yes, KS and ZQ give you a lot of momentum. Besides that, I only have a bunch of zines on Drivethru. I believe Kickstarter is still my only option for now, ZQ or not.

But all this commotion about Kickstarter is not only because of ZineQuest 4!

At the root of the general disaffection towards KS is their announcement on December the 9th of their intention to move to the blockchain technology, in partnership with Celo.
The news only mentions blockchain, but has been generally received as bad news because 1. blockchain is the technology associated with cryptocurrencies and NFTs, which are generally viewed as scams, and 2. this type of technology seems to have a terrible environmental impact.
It must be noted that the KS announcement doesn't mention cryptos nor NFTs at all, so the association is a bit arbitrary, for now at least. It must also be noted that very little information has come after that, regarding when the new technology will be implemented, and how.
Tech-savvy people have spent hours on social medias to discuss and explain the details of blockchain, and the difference between proof of work and proof of stake blockchains, which have largely different consequences on the environment.
But as of now, there is very little to discuss as facts are scarce.

My friend Alan Bahr of Gallant Knight Games has just launched their own "GallantFunding", after deciding to stay away from KS. Their original plan was to crowdfund both War of the Magi and the awesome Kosmosaurs (both by Diogo Nogueira) in a "double-feature" Kickstarter, but things have changed. War of the Magi is being crowdfunded now on their own web store, and Kosmosaurs is temporarily on hold.

Even before that, Pinnacle Entertainment (a veteran on Kickstarter) has experimented with other platforms (East Texas University on GameFound), and even on their own platform with the Super Powers Companion for Savage Worlds.

So there is that. Creators are skeptical about the blockchain change, and ZQ4 isn't happening. Is this going to be the end of ZQ as we know it?
One thing I'm sure is the community that has grown around will go on and prosper!

I've made this post to collect the info I've found so far, and to help other creators (small, big, aspiring!) to figure out what's going on. If I've missed some important piece of info, drop it in the comments!





ZineMonth site is live!


My zine Kickstarter is coming!

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