Omori, a horror RPG funded in June 2014, recently published an update on Kickstarter. It’s a rare sight for backers.
When the campaign launched on Kickstarter, it received regular updates. However, those updates dried up after it’s “freaking amazing,” as our former writer Julie Morley called it, $203,000 success story, reaching about ten times their initial goal. To put it in more concrete terms, OMOCAT, the developers of Omori, published 15 updates in the one and a half months they were seeking funding. In the following 19 months, they published only eight updates.
It’s hardly rare or unusual when something like this happens. Once a project is funded, developers no longer have time to publish so many updates, especially when little progress is made month to month. Several campaigns go through similar update droughts during crunch time of development, and while backers usually get upset over it to varying degrees of justification, it’s no great loss. Updates do have their purpose though. They serve as a way to not only show backers a cool behind the scenes look at game development, but also to let backers know the game is still being developed.
It seemed like, for a time at least, Omori would be updating on a semi-frequent basis on Kickstarter, but that turned out to not be the case.
On January 2, 2015, OMOCAT announced they created a website for the game, and that all updates would be posted there exclusively. There is no rule on Kickstarter that updates have to come via Kickstarter, but its widely regarded as a common courtesy. No one wants to visit ten or twenty sites every month to see how each and every campaign they backed is doing, that’s the whole purpose of Kickstarter’s update system.
Needless to say, the commenters didn’t like this new initiative. Of the 8 comments on this post, every one of them stated that it was a bad idea, and that they would prefer to have the updates stay on Kickstarter. No response from OMOCAT ever came, which would make you think they went ahead with their plans. This was not the case either.
Looking at the Omori website, there are only four updates posted there that aren’t on Kickstarter. One of them only states “there’s going to be food girls,” and unless that’s a Manchurian Candidate style code for some agent somewhere, there are really only three updates. There is then a shared update both on the site and on Kickstarter in May 2015, and after that, all updates are back to only featuring on Kickstarter.
Since that May 2015 update, there have been four additional updates, two of which are for backers only, and this recent one. This update promises a 2016 release, but it also says that updates will continue only on the Omori website, which has some people confused. They posted updates only their site for a time, then only on Kickstarter, now they’re going back to only updating their site again? As you would expect, people are demanding refunds, and OMOCAT isn’t responding.
OMOCAT clearly has no idea what they’re doing when it comes to PR. Releasing updates exclusively on their website is a bad idea, but constantly switching between their site and Kickstarter is even worse. Now no one has any idea where to find updates, or when they’ll be posted. I understand why they have hard time getting updates out with the rigors of game development, and it’s clear they’re still working on the game. I’m not sure I’d give backers refunds, but I understand why they’re asking for them, and why so many are upset.
Where, and even when, updates get posted might not sound like a huge deal. They’re not, not really. As long as you’re putting out at least semi-regular updates, that’s all that matters. But it’s the way you communicate information that makes all the difference. Forcing people who believed in your project to jump through hoops to get information, and then ignoring their valid concerns and questions is exactly what not to do when running a Kickstarter. Backers aren’t asking for refunds because of the lack of updates, or even the constant shuffling of information. They’re doing it because of the contempt OMOCAT is showing them.