On its surface, Kickstarter is a fantastic idea that can't really lose: People post their ideas for projects, and the crowd-sourcing universe decides whether the proposed indie video game, alt-country album, high-tech watch or whatever is worth funding. Only the ideas that generate enough enthusiasm to make the stated goal get funded. Kickstarter collects a percentage, and the world gets to experience something that might otherwise never have seen the light of day.
However, the dramatic success of the campaign for Ouya—a revolutionary home-gaming system which has raised more than $5.4 million as I write this (with 16 days left to go)—makes me wonder: What if Ouya fails?
It's probably a little unfair to pick on Ouya; the people behind the project seem to have a solid foundation for success. As of today, they have a prototype, a solid background in the field, more than $5.4 million and a dream, but that doesn't mean we'll ever actually see their Android-driven home-gaming device, or that the device will deliver as promised.
This is the danger of crowd-sourcing as I see it, especially in the tech fields: Odds are, the guy you gave $10 to complete a Kickstarter-funded album will come through, and you'll get your T-shirt, too—but if one of the more high-profile projects goes belly-up (and one will; it's just a matter of time), it could poison the well for the smaller projects.
Best of luck to Ouya, and let's hope that brand name does not end up as a synonym for a crowd-sourced fiasco.
The week on The Range
We wondered why Russell Pearce had to offer his deluded opinion regarding the Aurora shooting; considered the idea that a celebration of author Mario Suárez could be the catalyst for a reboot of downtown's mojo; noted that Joe Higgins is as confused by Arizonans for a Brighter Future as we are; thought about Latino voters and the forthcoming presidential election; debunked the false premises behind Joe Arpaio's quest to disprove President Obama's native-born citizenship; sided with John McCain in his denouncement of Michele Bachmann's latest bit of nuttery; followed up on the primary battle between Sean Collins and Ray Carroll; pointed out that Mitt Romney's relatives might not fit the exact definition of "immigrants"; tried to pinpoint the value of a Jan Brewer endorsement; and discussed the highlights of the week's political events with Amilyn Gordon, Trent Humphries and Jeff Rogers on Arizona Illustrated's Political Roundtable, with your host, Jim Nintzel.
We felt angst over our desire to eat delicious chicken sandwiches; mentioned an opportunity to eat delicious Thai food; let you know a new bar is coming to the space that housed Knucklehead Alley (and some event space once upon a time); drank some infused vodkas at Elliott's on Congress; wondered how many variations on macaroni and cheese we could eat; and headed to the northwest side to bid on some booze.
We encouraged you to enter our contests for tickets to see Seal, and Earth, Wind and Fire (there's still time if you're reading this on Thursday!); thought about the art of Sol LeWitt and what it takes to re-create it; tried to figure out what the social-media person at CelebBoutique.com was thinking; got out and rode our bikes a bit between monsoons; had mixed feelings for Pixar's schedule of forthcoming sequels; and noted the passing of Connie the elephant.
Comment of the week
"I hope all you money-hungry people are happy that you finally killed Connie. Why couldn't you just leave them at the zoo and build another area for your new money-making elephants?"
Best of WWW
Sadly, the Arizona Daily Star's recent gimmick-ish contest has worked, sending them ahead of your beloved underdog, the Tucson Weekly, in Facebook likes. (As of this particular moment, they have 10,194 to our 8,059, although we did have them beat for years until Like-A-Palooza kicked in. However, we do still hold a lead on Twitter over the Star's personality-less feed of headlines, 7,003 to 4,759. We do realize that mentioning this will likely prompt some sort of follow-required-based giveaway to push the daily paper ahead of us, but we will try to enjoy the little victories while they last. Plus, if you mention us in a tweet, we'll probably reply (unlike some people).