Skullgirls funding held by Paypal
Crowdfunding meets Paypal and the results aren't pretty
Earlier this morning Skullgirls developer Lab Zero Games was faced with the inability to pay its employees, despite an IndieGoGo funding campaign that totaled $829,049. The problem stemmed from PayPal, the money-transfer service used for most of the backer contributions. PayPal froze Lab Zero's account because it feared a large number of chargebacks if backers didn't get their favorite characters in the final DLC roster.
"Paypal's freeze on our account is making it so that I can't pay people today," wrote Lab Zero chief executive officer Peter Batholow on NeoGAF. "I am pretty f***ing pissed. I sent them all the documentation they asked for last night, hoping it would be resolved today, but didn't hear anything back. I also immediately filed a complaint with the [Consumer Financial Protection Bureau] because this whole thing seems decidedly non-kosher."
PayPal wanted Lab Zero to take on the risk if a large number of backers requested chargebacks, but Bartholow declined. Bartholow said he spoke to developers at inXile - who successfully funded Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera through Kickstarter - and they said that Amazon Payments did not have the same issues as PayPal.
"They also asked if we're good for the $700,000 if something goes wrong. I said 'No,' because, well we're not?" Batholow wrote. "The whole point of crowdfunding is to give us the money to develop stuff, not take out a loan."
PayPal later unfroze the account, but decided to hold $35,000 as collateral. Fan voting for the the final DLC characters is still ongoing on the Skullgirls Facebook page, and the uncertainty is still heavy on PayPal's mind.
"Paypal called me today to inform me that the restrictions on my account had been lifted, so I can get back to paying our contractors today," Bartholow told VentureBeat. "I think this is still pretty sketchy and have filed a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, so hopefully that will become unrestricted in the near future. But now that we have unrestricted transfers on Paypal again, we shouldn't need that money anytime soon if they can't be convinced to release it."