Author Topic: Delving into Kickstarter. Discussing active crowdfunding campaigns.  (Read 399731 times)

Doomspeaker

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Re: Delving into Kickstarter. Discussing active crowdfunding campaigns.
« Reply #45 on: April 26, 2013, 11:28:23 AM »

  • I remember that month Death Inc was up against a number of large campaigns like Project Awakened and The Golem that were both also struggling. It was a bad month.


Both other projects lacked stong media presence.
Project Awakening felt too generic and 500k for sinc calibre of game sounded suspicious for many people.
The Golem did not have any prototypes for gamplay, just a few models and a few some sketches. It felt more like an art production than a game. Artistry before gameplay isn't popular with potential backers.


I do remember Death, Inc. getting what seemed to be a lot of press at the time, and the visual style was highly appealing. It's always a sadness to see a studio shutter its doors. One of the unique aspects of the game industry is that there really isn't a sense of competition in the traditional meaning. There's room for everyone so it's truly a shame when a colleague - not a competitor - fades away.

I wish this mindset was more widespread beyond indies.

Ryan Burrell

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Re: Delving into Kickstarter. Discussing active crowdfunding campaigns.
« Reply #46 on: April 26, 2013, 12:43:38 PM »
Artistry before gameplay isn't popular with potential backers.


I get mixed signals on this. Cryamore was running at the same time DDrop was and they didn't have a playable demo or any real gameplay to show off. By the time they released their (very limited) gameplay demo for download they had already shattered their goal. Likewise there have been games that show gameplay that haven't done very well at all (Death Inc., Lords of New York, to name a couple). I think an argument could be made either way; gameplay takes a concept from the realm of pure backer imagination to something more solidified and then there's actually something to critique.

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Re: Delving into Kickstarter. Discussing active crowdfunding campaigns.
« Reply #47 on: April 26, 2013, 05:27:25 PM »
Artistry before gameplay isn't popular with potential backers.


I get mixed signals on this. Cryamore was running at the same time DDrop was and they didn't have a playable demo or any real gameplay to show off. By the time they released their (very limited) gameplay demo for download they had already shattered their goal. Likewise there have been games that show gameplay that haven't done very well at all (Death Inc., Lords of New York, to name a couple). I think an argument could be made either way; gameplay takes a concept from the realm of pure backer imagination to something more solidified and then there's actually something to critique.

I suppose the potential of gameplay is preferable to actual gameplay for a good number of backers.  You either have theories and concepts rather than ready-to-show mechanics which gives someone more room to imagine what the game could be instead of what absolutely is.

And that's one aspect of trying to get support through kickstarter that could make or break a lot of projects.

crinaya

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Re: Delving into Kickstarter. Discussing active crowdfunding campaigns.
« Reply #48 on: April 26, 2013, 08:31:25 PM »
This thread just went from potential walletbuster to a very interesting look in to crowdsource marketing.  ::thumbsup::

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Re: Delving into Kickstarter. Discussing active crowdfunding campaigns.
« Reply #49 on: April 27, 2013, 12:54:25 AM »
Both other projects lacked stong media presence.
Project Awakening felt too generic and 500k for sinc calibre of game sounded suspicious for many people.


The Golem had better than average press coverage, but Project Awakened had a lot of press coverage as it looked like it was going to be another huge Kickstarter success story so bloggers were jumping on it. The Kicktraq data shows the project went into a stall from February 23rd to the 27th for the rate of new backers that it didn't truly recover from. Project Awakened did very well for a Kickstarter campaign, but its large scope was only a bit too much and with more time it should have succeed. There isn't a fatal flaw to the campaign from what I've seen; it could have possibly been a combination of people losing faith in the project being viable, not being niche enough and backer fatigue. Unreal 4 was both a selling point and a liability due to how unproven that engine is. The devs did not give up and tried a second attempt through their site, but it looks like an even riskier project now.

This thread just went from potential walletbuster to a very interesting look in to crowdsource marketing.  ::thumbsup::


I can get really heavy into the science of crowdfunding if people want. There have been e-books like The Crowdfunding Bible and A Kickstarter's Guide that I am overall not happy with. These guides are way too generic and have misconceptions that make me cringe (Like saying that the time of day a project launches isn't important). There is a 11.4 litre plastic tote of notes on scrap pieces of paper for me to finish condensing into my own advanced guide specifically for video game project creators. I hope to have a simplified guide prepared to release in May. A problem is that the outline of the advanced guide is starting to look like "how to do linear programming and data analysis with Excel" grafted onto an e-commerce textbook so I've been procrastinating.
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Doomspeaker

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Re: Delving into Kickstarter. Discussing active crowdfunding campaigns.
« Reply #50 on: April 27, 2013, 03:38:39 AM »
I suppose the potential of gameplay is preferable to actual gameplay for a good number of backers.  You either have theories and concepts rather than ready-to-show mechanics which gives someone more room to imagine what the game could be instead of what absolutely is.

And that's one aspect of trying to get support through kickstarter that could make or break a lot of projects.
Imagination filling the gap is a powerful tool indeed. You just need to urgently mention that concepts and possible mechanics are not set in stone, otherwise that could provoke a shitstorm.


@LobsterSundew:
Crowdsourcing is a super intressting field. If you find the motivation to finish your book, show us an excerpt! ^^

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Re: Delving into Kickstarter. Discussing active crowdfunding campaigns.
« Reply #51 on: April 27, 2013, 01:56:49 PM »
I can get really heavy into the science of crowdfunding if people want. There have been e-books like The Crowdfunding Bible and A Kickstarter's Guide that I am overall not happy with. These guides are way too generic and have misconceptions that make me cringe (Like saying that the time of day a project launches isn't important). There is a 11.4 litre plastic tote of notes on scrap pieces of paper for me to finish condensing into my own advanced guide specifically for video game project creators.


Curiously, do you take into account things like the changing public perception of Kickstarter (we found that many people still don't understand the functional nature of it [i.e. they aren't billed until the project ends and succeeds]), changes Kickstarter itself has made, the influx of games as part of the ecosystem of KS projects, etc?

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Re: Delving into Kickstarter. Discussing active crowdfunding campaigns.
« Reply #52 on: April 27, 2013, 07:57:20 PM »

I suppose the potential of gameplay is preferable to actual gameplay for a good number of backers.  You either have theories and concepts rather than ready-to-show mechanics which gives someone more room to imagine what the game could be instead of what absolutely is.

And that's one aspect of trying to get support through kickstarter that could make or break a lot of projects.



This is a really interesting topic that we have talked about internally a good deal. I strongly think that leaving a lot up to the imagination can definitely be a positive factor for a Kickstarter. However, I think that is usually only the case for a team/game that has a famous name or a pronounced pedigree. For an unknown developer or relatively unknown developer (like us), a lack of a functional gameplay foundation is just another mountain to climb in terms of finding an audience and getting them to commit to your project.


Even though we only showed a portion of DD gameplay, what we had looked good and by the majority of accounts is already fun. So we were able to leave certain things up for imagination's grabs (and not everything even now is 100% hammered out.)


Would our KS have been successful if we had not shown a minute's worth of semi-varied gameplay? Would you have backed it if all we had was some nice concept art and the pitch? I am inclined to strongly believe that we would have not just failed to reach our goal, but failed miserably.


Looping back to showing little concrete gameplay and leaving the majority up to the imagination of the backers: this seems like a recipe for a lot of disillusioned backers to me. Any KS project is already going to have a lot work cut out for it in terms of meeting expectations but in this case, those expectations are even more varied and constantly moving.


Quote
I can get really heavy into the science of crowdfunding if people want. There have been e-books like The Crowdfunding Bible and A Kickstarter's Guide that I am overall not happy with. These guides are way too generic and have misconceptions that make me cringe (Like saying that the time of day a project launches isn't important). There is a 11.4 litre plastic tote of notes on scrap pieces of paper for me to finish condensing into my own advanced guide specifically for video game project creators. I hope to have a simplified guide prepared to release in May. A problem is that the outline of the advanced guide is starting to look like "how to do linear programming and data analysis with Excel" grafted onto an e-commerce textbook so I've been procrastinating.


Would definitely love to hear any details you'd be willing to share! If you would like any of our data/opinions/whatever ping me.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2013, 07:58:58 PM by Coby »

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Re: Delving into Kickstarter. Discussing active crowdfunding campaigns.
« Reply #53 on: April 28, 2013, 02:53:50 AM »
Curiously, do you take into account things like the changing public perception of Kickstarter (we found that many people still don't understand the functional nature of it [i.e. they aren't billed until the project ends and succeeds]), changes Kickstarter itself has made, the influx of games as part of the ecosystem of KS projects, etc?


First, about backers, public perception and showing gameplay.

I've noticed that, in general, backers are expect higher production values for projects and feeling more entitled like if Kickstarter was an online store like Etsy. I see there is an issue that a large group of backers out there that will not make a pledge to a campaign if it is not already 100% funded. Part of it is to avoid the emotional pain of backing a project and then seeing it fail. I've yet to cancel a pledge and have only reduced a pledge once, but my budgeting reassigns pledge amounts from failed campaigns to newly launched ones like a numbers game. If more people played that numbers game, a lot more smaller campaigns would get funded in my opinion. There is a danager of overspending if done in an undisciplined way.

Even relatively recently I see backers in comments section that don't understand Kickstarter. They ask about things like will their credit cards be charged if the campaign doesn't reach its goal. The number of backers that do understand what they are doing is the majority. Many people are impulse backing projects.

For project creators there is a big problem of devs seeing Kickstarter as a marketing platform when really it is a payment collection platform that won't do all their marketing work for them (Sealark being an exception). Projects like Wildman also went into Kickstarter too optimistic about their fanbase (And then blame was targeted toward the ecosystem when really the campaign was mismanaged).

Taking public perception into account is done through my instincts more than through an exact science. There are stigmas against types of games such as iOS only games being "money grabs", etc. Kickstarter fatigue can be overcome by projects like Shovel Knight that feel reinvigorating and having disposable income at the start of a new month. There are hardcore gamers that are sick and tired about being bombarded by friends with messages to check out projects. Some people consider a Kickstarter project to be scam if anything is suspicious. Projects that are close to being scams make people angry. Many campaigns are late and underdelivering.

This is a really interesting topic that we have talked about internally a good deal. I strongly think that leaving a lot up to the imagination can definitely be a positive factor for a Kickstarter. However, I think that is usually only the case for a team/game that has a famous name or a pronounced pedigree. For an unknown developer or relatively unknown developer (like us), a lack of a functional gameplay foundation is just another mountain to climb in terms of finding an audience and getting them to commit to your project.


Extra Credits episode Demo Daze
is relevant. Being both famous and vague can bring in a lot of other people's cash (This can apply to outside of crowdfunding as well). When footage of
Double Fine's Broken Age
was revealed there was a group of people that did not like what they were seeing because during the campaign their imaginations went wild thinking it would be a their ideal game from Double Fine in the tones of
Grim Fanango
,
Monkey Island
, etc. when what they had really backed can be summed up as a project for Tim Schafer and his studio to make an adventure game. The risk that the game would not fit their tastes was a real one. Building an understanding about what the project is should be one of the project creator's priorities. As well, if you can't convey what the game is to someone then you might not have your project properly thought through yet.

Instead of being specific versus being vague letting people's imaginations go out of control, it should be about establishing how the game has a lot of future potential (deep game mechanics, competitive multiplayer, procedural content, modding support, etc.). The now should be well detailed, its the future that needs to be easy to imagine with a clear route of how to get there.

Would our KS have been successful if we had not shown a minute's worth of semi-varied gameplay? Would you have backed it if all we had was some nice concept art and the pitch? I am inclined to strongly believe that we would have not just failed to reach our goal, but failed miserably.


Without the gameplay it would have been very hard for Devler's Drop to get funded at that goal amount and lost at the bottom of the popularity rankings. Not having gameplay could mean not having had success at PAX. When I watch footage like
Total Biscuit's video
for Delver's Drop I can get enough of a sense for the game that I can simulate playing it in my head. I can watch and see core ideas for the game already executed. Execution is often the hardest step and seeing it down well leads to a "
Shut up and take my money moment
" that project creators should hope for as it can bring in a flood of backers.

Second, the design and feautures of the site have been overall gradually improving over time.

Internal searches for projects is getting better, but it is still needing work. Kickstartr (no "e") was originally designed to for the geographic location of projects to be of more important than they are now. Because of that history, it was designed to search by physical location first. This can be a problem if your title is too similar to a town or city's name. For example, entering “auro” to find the game Auro came up with a result for a coffee shop project in Aurora for the state of Illinois. To actually find Auro required the extra step of clicking on the line "Were you looking for projects in Aurora, IL or matching the word "auro"?". It has now been reversed. The search bar still depends on exact spelling.

A project's description that appears below the project thumbnail image used to not be displayed on the project page. That was a feature I was very happy to see added. The tag system was also welcomed.

On a backer's profile the projects they had pledge to previously displayed the percent the project was funded and the time remaining. Now it only displays the number of days remaining. This has made it harder for me to check up on how each project is doing as I now have to click on each of them instead of looking over one page. How projects are starred has also been messed with so they aren't in the order I want them to be in.

On the Backers tab for a project, backers were listed in chronological order. That was changed because users like myself were always appearing at the top. Now there is the system of "You’ll see these names updated every 10 backers, in no particular order. If you just backed and you don’t see your name yet, stay tuned! All names will be listed when the project ends no matter what".

The analytics available to project creators is getting better.

Third, about what the game projects like Double Fine effect did to the Kickstarter ecosystem.

These large superstar projects, like Project Eternity, bring new people into the Kickstarter ecosystem after they've ended that stick around to back other campaigns. When those superstar campaigns post updates it brings people back and they check what is popular while they're on the site. Without the Games category, Kickstarter would likely not have exploded like it did in the first half of 2012. The Products and Film categories had some strength to them, but Games (including boardgames) generated a lot of news for the site's existence in 2011 and 2012.

Kickstarter's creators had a different vision for the site of funding local artisans in your city and now have to cater to users needs that weren't foreseen before of having superstar projects with international scope. From the Staff Picks and the Kickstarter Tumblr it is still apparent that the Kickstarter team themselves are more Art category oriented. Staff Picks for the Games category can often be illogical.

With the presence of
Ouya
, I see a new unofficial extension of the ecosystem that is creating a positive feedback loop. People that have an Ouya will back games on Kickstarter with Ouya as a supported platform. The Ouya's game library will benefit and having good games available are one of the primary forces that drives sales of a video game console. Developers will see that they can profit from having an Ouya port which drives 3rd party development. Developers that need funds could then turn to launching Kickstarter campaigns. More people will consider buying one of these consoles as the game library expands. I expect to see Ouya accesories like 3rd party case mods appear on Kickstarter too similar to how the Raspberry Pi accesories are getting kickstarted. The Occulus Rift is also tying into the Kickstarter ecosystem.

In addition to crowdfunding specialized gaming blogs like Kickstarter Katchup emerging to make promotion easier, there are also backers organizing themselves into groups of passionate game supporters like the Obsidian Order.

Finally, on the topic of letting imagination run free. At an average around $33 per backer, Delver's Drop was funded with just 4,534 backers. A very tiny fraction of the number of gamers out there. There is a population clock showing over 315,000,000 people in the USA and over 7,000,000,000 worldwide. Imagine a crowdfunding project (Not necessarily on Kickstarter's platform or a game) in within two years that crosses the 100,000 backers threshold (Pebble did 68,929). Take a look at VGChartz to see how many people are buying video games weekly. Now imagine that what we consider to be a AAA scope game today could be funded through Kickstarter within two decades (What is considered AAA in the year 2033 should be surprising to we citizens of the year 2013). What this vision depends on is that developers can continue to push the boundaries of video games. Fraud, failures and poor legislation could also temporarily stunt crowdfunding's growth. Reports on the growth of crowdfunding show it already at $2,700,000,000 for 2012 with the potential to easily rise a few billion dollars higher this decade.

I know I've been typing too long when the forum hangs at "Fetching preview" for a few moments.
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Dynimix

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Re: Delving into Kickstarter. Discussing active crowdfunding campaigns.
« Reply #54 on: April 30, 2013, 10:31:39 AM »
How does everyone feel about "Flexible Funding Campaigns" as a model like Indiegogo.  They are really a double edged sword.

Doomspeaker

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Re: Delving into Kickstarter. Discussing active crowdfunding campaigns.
« Reply #55 on: April 30, 2013, 11:00:50 AM »
How does everyone feel about "Flexible Funding Campaigns" as a model like Indiegogo.  They are really a double edged sword.

It's a breeding ground for scam, really.
You can achieve a good result by cutting down your original project and adding the cutoff parts as stretchgoals (DDrop did that as well for the 100k goal).

There may be some projects that cannot be downsized, but if you cannot work below a certain budget, what exactly do you do with the partial sum then? Start a new campaign?

Most people expect something in return for their pledge, but who can guarantee that a project creator doesn't just run off with the grabbed money under the cheap pretense off "too few dollar bills"?

Sorry, but I don't see any real advantages for backers. Maybe someone can point out some? (looking at your direction LobsterSundew)


 

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Re: Delving into Kickstarter. Discussing active crowdfunding campaigns.
« Reply #56 on: April 30, 2013, 05:41:03 PM »
I found out that the Veronica Mars achieved 91,585 backers since making the April 28th post. I had stopped following that campaign after it had raised multiple times its goal amount. Wish I Was Here is not looking like it will get that many backers but should get to $4,000,000.



Sorry, but I don't see any real advantages for backers. Maybe someone can point out some? (looking at your direction LobsterSundew)

The flexible funding model of IndieGoGo was a reason I abandoned it. I was on both IndieGoGo and Kickstarter in 2011, but after $38 in contributions I haven't received anything from IndieGoGo projects (My policy was only backing projects that had made their goal or the creator says it would go ahead anyway). There were also a lot of scams on IndieGoGo such as microsized Bluetooth USB dongles from China being sold at 500% markup or fibreoptic illuminated shoelaces that were already available on the Internet. IndieGoGo became the site to dump projects that Kickstarter rejected. There is much more risk for early backers on IndieGoGo projects. IndieGoGo is much closer to being donations than pre-orders when compared to Kickstarter.

After cancelling its first campaign after 6 only days (Too premature in my opinion), The Dark Triad: Dragon's Death then went with an IndieGoGo campaign to gets some funds so the team can cover some of their living expenses while they prepare to relaunch on Kickstarter. I see that as a valid use of flexible funding.

IndieGoGo does not have the benefit of Amazon's payment processing servers like Kickstarter does. Even though it can now offer fixed funding, those IndieGoGo campaigns have to drop credit card support and only use PayPal so that there can be easier refunds.



Two interesting campaigns launched for this week so far. The first one is a 3rd person action/puzzle game called Son of Nor that has some earthbending mechanics that should make Avatar The Last Airbender fans happy. Second is the voxel-based isometric townbuilder Stonehearth finally launched. I've been seeing Screenshot Saturday posts for it since February. I haven't decided to back Stonehearth yet mainly because I've already backed Timber and Stone.
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Re: Delving into Kickstarter. Discussing active crowdfunding campaigns.
« Reply #57 on: May 01, 2013, 01:55:53 AM »
What do we think of Stonehearth?

It cropped up on Kotaku today and I like the looks of it. It builds on the hype of minecraft, while drawing more upon the game's origin of dwarf fortress.

It looks like if sims and minecraft had a child then
this
is what you get.

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Re: Delving into Kickstarter. Discussing active crowdfunding campaigns.
« Reply #58 on: May 01, 2013, 02:10:45 AM »
Would our KS have been successful if we had not shown a minute's worth of semi-varied gameplay? Would you have backed it if all we had was some nice concept art and the pitch? I am inclined to strongly believe that we would have not just failed to reach our goal, but failed miserably.

I can only speak for myself as to why I backed the project, but when I first came across the KS campaign, my immediate thoughts were: One, it was a catchy and memorable name.  Also the logo was eye-catching as well which helped.  But it got me to thinking about why it was called that and other similar questions.  Two, I watched the video and a lot of those questions were answered immediately without having anyone say why I should be interested.  The key being that you showed over telling, which I can't remember where I heard it from, but that's always been in the front of my mind when I try to share ideas or tell stories.  Three, the first minute grabbed my attention and those following managed to go more into detail about what I had just watched further expanding my interest in the project and game.  Beyond that, initially I was had at the top-down zelda-esque dungeon crawling.

So, for me at least, nostalgia and smart choices in how you presented the game are what caught me and I think without the gameplay and only just what you want to make rather than what you want to create and expand on would not have worked in this case.

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Re: Delving into Kickstarter. Discussing active crowdfunding campaigns.
« Reply #59 on: May 01, 2013, 06:56:29 PM »
I haven't decided to back Stonehearth yet mainly because I've already backed Timber and Stone.


I found Timber and Stone very lack-luster. A great concept, poorly executed. Controls are clunky, UI is buggy (probably fixable) and the profession system is very flawed when married with the build/craft system. Hoping that Stonehearth will be better.

 

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