Psychochild is slightly pissed off (which only means he's not dead, granted), and he's not alone, today.
Go read this and come back after the break, please : I'll wait here.
Alright, I see where these guys are coming from, and respectfully, I think they're wrong on the parts that really matter, like does Molyneux acting like a bit of a greedy prick change anything for the worse, for you, and who is you ?
If you're a budding or career indie gamemaker, I don't reckon it seriously hurts your odds of getting crowdfunded, even if you happen to hunt on what could seem like Kickstarter "big name" reserved grounds.
Molyneux' high profile and overpromising will, more likely than not, get a lot of people excited about the very possibility of more good god games, which some came to believe was something of a lost art, and thanks to the unrealistic expectations that come with overhype, this project is likely to disappoint people way before it hits beta and gets ready to under-deliver for realsies.
If you're in the same line of design, this could actually be good news for you, assuming a) your project doesn't suck, and b) you're aware of that dynamic being in play, and factor that in fundraising and project management.
There are good reasons why you have same-kind-wares-themed alleys in most commercial spaces : people who don't find the shoes they're looking for in a given shop are more likely to enter the shoe shop next door because, hey, they came here to buy some effin' shoes.
So think of the greedy big name opportunists on Kickstarter as your personal, pro bono, unwilling hecklers. There.
Moving on, and killing a strawman at one fell swoop : it won't hurt Kickstarter good name's, and indirectly your odds of crowdfunding there, if/when Molyneux next big thing turns out to be a dud. Kickstarter is big enough by now that it has its own momentum, and too many smart and endearing projects find their way through it for the occasional trainwreck to discourage pledgers. It's a rule that anything visible enough will draw criticism, if only because that's a way to differentiate when tackling an obligatory topic — and Kickstarter deserves criticism a-plenty for some reasons, but that's not one of them.
On the the really meaty part of the discussion : poor, deserving indies vs greedy fat cat exploiters of gamer naivete… yeah, that is bullshit, too.
The line is not drawn here, because many indie devs' life ambition is to make it big, while it is entirely conceivable for big name devs to make big games, with big teams, from the heart (it's just a freakishly daring endeavour and comes with a whole different problem set than that facing the budding indie dev).
If a line must be drawn to set apart what is ethically OK crowdfunding and what starts to look like a con job, or at least a tiny bit scammy, it should happen on the grounds of business ethics, and overall business model.
If your primary goal is to make games and incidentally a living out of it, because that's what you love and believe you can be good at, and certainly could commit more of your time and talent to it, didn't you have to keep a dayjob besides to pay the bills, then crowdfunding sounds fair : you're basically striving to make the sort of pro grade fan art kindred spirits might deem worth sponsoring and encouraging. This type of practice harks back to the time-honored subscription model, which has played a critical role in the development of many other art forms, and first among those, genre litterature (through magazines), and arguably some early pay-per-month MMORPGs.
If your main goal is to make a lot of dough by shearing a faceless herd of sheeples, the fact you happen to be a dishevelled nerd working from your three-jobs girlfriend's garage, or this week's flavour of rebellious trust fund hipster doesn't make you different from the most predatory corporate drones EA, Zinga or SONY has on staff.
Banging the Gavel of Obviousness +5, once again : it's all about why you're in the game of making games, or art, or tablecloth, and how you go about it — it has nothing to do with how big or how small a dog you are, and everything to do with your personal politics, ethics, and aesthetic preferences.
Also I'm really not sure I like Kickstarter that much, as it is now, but I'll get back to that sometime.
On to some constructive thoughts, because it's sunday… tune in tomorrow to check episode 1 of my new The Fair Game series.