Kickstarter casinos on crypto, lose and don’t refund backers

Cryptocurrency and Kickstarter are perhaps two things that should not go together given the known volatility of the crypto market and the fact that Kickstarter funds come from optimistic funders who count on promises being kept. An example of what can go wrong when the two are mixed is Untamed Islandsan online monster hunting RPG developed by Phat Loot Studios that got its start on the crowdfunding website.

Untamed Islands is one of Kickstarter’s video game success stories. An indie development and publishing studio founded in 2020 is raising over $580,000 through crowdfunding in 2021, and expectations are high for the company’s play-to-earn vision to bear fruit. The studio grew to over 70 employees and the game was scheduled for release on October 6th. Then on August 12, Phat Loot released a statement titled “Untamed Islands Go on break.” However, there’s no indication of how long that break might last.


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For the game’s Kickstarter backers, this means essentially all of the money is gone and they won’t receive a refund. According to Phat Loot CEO Joshua Grant, who answered questions during a livestream after the pause statement was released, the company doesn’t even have enough to leave the lights on, let alone return money to supporters. The problem can ultimately be traced back to the ongoing crypto market crash that began this year.

While $580,000 sounds like a lot of money, and might have been had the studio stayed small, hiring over 70 people meant wages were roughly $100,000 a week. So the Kickstarter funding was gone very quickly and the rest came from crypto investors. According to Phat Loot’s online statement, the company has “entered the crypto market and expanded rapidly.” When the crash came, the financial situation got so bad that the CEO and his business partner started spending personal money to support themselves and stopped receiving a salary.

For now, Grant seems optimistic about this development Untamed Islands will continue when the “crypto situation is resolved”. Realistically, given the uncertainty of the crypto market, that could never mean. Despite the controversy surrounding cryptocurrency and NFTs in gaming, the situation is unfortunate. That Untamed Islands The team was whittled down from 70 to a small skeletal crew. The game that looked like it was in the hands of a talented group of developers is now in limbo. And of course there are over 3,000 supporters who have invested money in a hopeless project.

Untamed Islands was a Pokemon-style MMORPG in which players were monster hunters on a mission to tame a variety of creatures. The indie game promised open-world islands for exploring, fishing, bug catching, and other professions to round out the experience, and there would have been turn-based combat, dungeons, and voice chat nearby too.

Untamed Islands is currently no longer in development.

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Sources: Untamed Isles, Twitch, Eurogamer Kickstarter casinos on crypto, lose and don’t refund backers


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