My apology to Ryan “Steve Jobs” Dancey

It has been noted in several venues that I was critically off with my estimation of the Pathfinder Tech Demo Kickstarter. To be fair, I enjoy a failure as much as a success – the algorithm I used for that prediction has been nicely refined and now does a passable job of estimating the final pledge value of a funding campaign – but then again, so does KickTraq.

Let it not be said that I am without shame, though. I do owe Ryan “Steve Jobs” Dancey an apology. I said some very mean words about him, which I’m quite certain he has utterly ignored since there’s no way he’s the sort of megalomaniac who Googles himself compulsively, and even if he was, we’re just peons below him in the RPG world. I mean, he’s the fucking Steve Jobs of MMO Marketing.

So, Mr. Dancey, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for underestimating the success of your Kickstarter that rode to over $300,000 on the strength of not your MMO, but some random supplements that are going to be part of that MMO, maybe, sort of. I apologize for not realizing the strength of your rabid fans, who will pay money for anything with the name Pathfinder on it. What’s more, I’m very sorry for saying that your tech demo wouldn’t be released. It’s definitely a good sign that even your apologists on the Paizo forums aren’t impressed.

In addition, I want to say that I’m very excited for the actual, real Kickstarter for Pathfinder Online, which you assure us is not to actually produce the MMO but instead to speed its development. I’m absolutely stoked that an extra million dollars will help so very much when most MMOs are developed on budgets of tens or hundreds of millions. You’re a brave man for wanting to put out an MMO that is basically just Fantasy EVE Online with the name Pathfinder stamped on it (but without any of those bothersome Pathfinder mechanics), in a time when MMOs are at the peak of quality and still performing poorly financially.

I’m impressed that you’ve already ridden a cavalcade of promises and completely unrelated product shilling to half a million dollars, and that you’re sticking it out to the end like a warrior (in spite of KickTraq’s rather gloomy projections). It’s probably because you invented a new word: crowdforging! Crowdforging is like crowdsourcing, but not! Brilliant!

Finally, I want to give a shout-out to all of your fans, who are so incredibly and unrealistically optimistic about this project. It’s good to have that kind of energy behind you, it will keep you going through the dark times. Your blog posts about this game fill me (and all of your fans) with confidence that you know how to design a next-generation MMO and are not just repeating the same mistakes made by studios for the last ten years.

I think it’s important to foster an atmosphere in which we admit when we’re wrong, and make amends. In the end, you are absolutely brilliant. It takes a really intelligent, cunning man to do what you’ve done, and I wish you all the best in the new year.

6 thoughts on “My apology to Ryan “Steve Jobs” Dancey

  1. Welcome back! I seriously missed this blog. Here’s to more regular posts.

  2. I c wut u did there.
    Seriously, though. This is one project that I pray fails. People seriously underestimate the amount of money needed to make a serious mmo contender. The tech demo was a farce to begin with, and i saw it. The purpose of the tech demo was to have something to present to investors, which you seriously need for mmo creation! Then lo and behold, they come out later saying “pff! investors, who needs them anyway? You guys can be my investors!”, with backers having nothing to show for the money they invested at all. Suddenly he wants a paltry 1 million to complete and sustain a real mmo which they say will be groundbreaking, but is trending toward a strong ‘mediocre’.
    I love kickstarter, but sometimes it pisses me off to no end.

  3. Simone says:

    Hi. This message is just in the spirit of reader feedback. You are of course free to ignore it: this is your blog.

    I would much rather be reading articles that are specifically about problems in the game industry and/or how to fix them, than these individual tirades. Particularly the post previous to this was involving itself in some ‘internet drama’. I know it’s part of your style to write scathingly about games and events in the industry, but I’d like to see that done as case studies if necessary. In fact, not only would I rather the posts be of that kind, I’d rather not read posts of the kind in this and the previous post. Well, barring the fact that it shows the blog is still alive. Now, of course, I can always just not read these posts (well, once I identify them as such, anyway), so perhaps that complaint is not so legitimate.

    Once again, this is obviously your blog, and I only supply this as free ‘market research’.

  4. UnSubject says:

    The Pathfinder MMO second Kickstarter made it. It looks like a number of Pathfinder players were motivated by the Pathfinder pen’and’paper things they were giving away and helped get it over the line.

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