The concept of crowdfunding is actually pretty nice on paper: a small team of creators have a (sometimes) neat idea but lack the resources to fully complete and mass produce it. So they show the world their idea with a hope of receiving funding from those who are truly interested. So many things have come to fruition thanks to crowdfunding, which includes entire games and gaming accessories. While there are examples of projects that worked out well, there’s also several other examples of those that ended up in disaster. That’s exactly what’s happened here with the SFANS Switch Dock.
This crowdfunding project quickly took off when it initially launched as it was pitched as the ‘first portable Switch dock’. Its small size was attractive to Switch owners who like to take their system out-and-about, which turned out to be quite a number of people, as the IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign ended up being funded 920% past its original goal. Again, 920%. This resulted in the entire campaign raising a whopping $129,650 by the end of the campaign which was August 6th, 2017. It’s been quite a few months since then, but backers/funders are only now getting their units. So, was it worth the wait?
Nope. Nada. Not even close.
The dangers of crowdfunding have reared its ugly head against the Nintendo community yet again. Now that units have started go out, the reaction from buyers are rolling in and about 99.9% of it is totally negative as revealed by the comment section of the SFAN Dock’s IndieGoGo page. Here are the most common complaints:
- The materials of the dock are incredibly cheap
- It connects to the TV once and then refuses to do so ever again, or doesn’t even send a signal in the first place
- Requests for refunds were sent quite a while ago and have not been answered. Some people have received the product despite asking for a refund.
Here are a few examples:
- I got it today. It looks cheaper than what we supposed to get. At this price, I surely not say anyone to buy it !
- Got mine yesterday. As has been said already, it feels like trash. I backed this for the original design. I’m not going to even try my Switch on it. Best I may do is turn it into a charge dock for my phone. Hopefully the type C connector is not terrible and will work with my phone. What a waste of money…
- PLEASE ! How to refund ! Buy in july, never received ! Ask for a refund by mail 2 month ago, and via Indiegogo > no answer !
- My [SFANS] arrived, broken into 3 pieces and completely non-functional. Can I get instructions for sending it back for a refund or exchange?
- I just received mine. I was super excited after using it once it won’t work anymore. It worked perfectly initially for maybe an hour. I took the thing downstairs and plugged it in to another TV and it wouldn’t want to transfer the picture. I tried everything including changing power cables (I’m using the Nintendo power adapter) and HDMI’s. Also doesn’t work on the upstairs Tv anymore. it just won’t output to any tv but it will charge the system. Any suggestions???
These customers do have a right to be upset. They were ‘promised’ a product that turned out to be a dud. The unit that’s been sent out looks nothing like the redesign that ended up causing production to be delayed in addition to a lot of them being defective.
(Left) Image from Redditer – KeithTheGeek
That incredibly basic box design along with the laughably Google Translated ‘English’ tagline at the top just goes to show the quality of the SFANS company. Or rather, the lack thereof. This is a reminder of how risky crowdfunding is. There are constantly new stories of these crowdfunding projects going sour. In most cases, the outcome is just like what we see here—the delivered product is of much lower quality than what was originally advertised. There are even worse cases where crowdfunders ended up not receiving the product at all due to the creators changing their plans, like what we saw with the original Project CARS on Wii U.
Let this be a lesson to you if you ever want to crowdfund something: be prepared to lose whatever money you choose to put in. While this doesn’t apply to every crowdfunding project, situations like this SFANS Switch dock have become common enough for this result to basically be the norm. With crowdfunding, you’re essentially paying for something that doesn’t exist yet; in other words, you’re paying for a dream. At least when you buy a questionable product online from a retailer like Amazon and eBay, there are usually opportunities to get your money back. In this case, that doesn’t seem to really be an option.
Ultimately, when it comes to gaming accessories in particular, 99.9% of the time you’re not going to find anything better than the genuine first-party original. While Nintendo’s Switch Dock is a bit pricey and not as portable as the SFANS, at least you know it’s guaranteed to function 100% correctly and will last quite a long time instead of disintegrating as soon as you take it out of the box.