What is a Kickstarter?
Kickstarter – a portal for crowd funding. In short, ordinary people are thrown off by the projects they like, whether it’s heavy support for the iPhone from metal, dance project or game. The latest sensational news was the achievement of Brian Fargo, began its game Wasteland 2 ($ 2,933,252) and Tim Schafer, gathered at the Double Fine Adventure ($3,336,371).
But this is Star game industry, which everyone knows and their community formed decades ago. Can a young and unknown find the means to develop their game with Kickstarter?
According to statistics provided by the team of Kickstarter, only 25% of game projects are able to collect the necessary funds. These statistics include projects about the game development industry stars, so the chance of young and unknown game developers is even lower – probably somewhere around 20%. A lot or a little – it’s up to you.
First of all, the success of the project depends on four things:
- Video of you and/or your team. This video should be interesting, fun and preferably with a sense of humor. At the same time, as shown by a study of various video projects, the audience does not like ridiculous behavior and acting like buffoon, silly jokes or arrogance. The motto of your video should be keep it simple, be yourself and be sincere.
- Video showing your game, or simulating it. For example, you do not have the game completed but you need to have at least drawn characters on a map of sorts. You can show how the characters will move around the map to interact. Tell us about the combat system, if there is one, and so on. Often, game companies already have a prototype game that they show the audience.
- Rewards. This is one of the most powerful motivators of why people invest. For example, very often for $15 you can get a box of Seagram, which after the edition of the game will cost like $50, and for a reward of $50 you can get a deluxe edition + shirt + for example, a USB flash drive with logo game. Awards may be a lot different, from $ 1 up to $ 10,000. For example, Tim Schafer “sold” four dinners with him to four different people at $ 10,000 each.
- So now you want to build your game. If you ask for too little an investment amount, such as when a developer asks for $10,000 and collects only $700, you won’t have enough. If you ask too much, you will not be believable and people will not invest in you. Again, stars such as Brian Fargo may ask for and a couple of million with no problem. However,, we must soberly assess the strength and complexity of the project and the potential audience interest to your game, your chosen genre, setting and other things.
Obstacles For Foreign Teams
The biggest challenge for foreign teams is that Kickstarter works with the payment system Amazon. Amazon does not work with anyone other than residents of the United States. In other words, if you are not a resident of the United States then getting on Kickstarter as a developer will be hard. Although the payments are accepted all over the world, you can become a backer and support your favorite project, if you have a bankcard.
However, there are always solutions. If a developer has a foreign partner in the U.S., or reliable friends or relatives, they can negotiate with them. Having signed a contract with each other, the resident representative of the United States can be a foreign company and create his or her own project on Kickstarter. However, this is the simplest of all the things that a foreign developer to do.
The next challenge for foreign companies is a distrust that shows U.S. residents to foreigners. Since Kickstarter is like a portal American, the audience is made up of almost all Americans. At the same time, foreigners trust such portals much less than the Americans (probably due to less legal protection than in the U.S.). It turns a vicious circle of mistrust: U.S. residents do not believe in foreign projects and do not really want to support them. And foreigners – do not trust portals like Kickstarter and do not support even their own countrymen. Of course, it’s largely due to the fact that in other countries is almost a completely absent culture and / or charity, they have to survive themselves. But the situation is gradually improving.
Another challenge is the low and limited organic traffic. On Kickstarter, because of a rather poorly organized search for projects to provide for the audience, there is no single community – so no articles in top niche sites and wider dissemination of information about your project in the media itself making the project unlikely to gather the necessary sum. If you want to succeed, search for contacts, negotiate the articles and have reviews beforehand. In addition, you really need help your backer. Without their support, your chances are minimal. You can distribute your information on hundreds of small sites, all appropriate for your project – but one major article on the site will be more useful than hundreds of small ones. Of course, this does not mean that small portals have been neglected and if there is the possibility of placing the information necessary to do it, they will.
And that’s not all. Many projects do not take into account the cost of rewards production for their backers. For example, one project was announced that the rewards would be sweaters with their product symbol imprinted on them, the making of which, together with sending mail, cost more than the amount backer paid you. Coupled with unreported taxes, not calculating the cost of sound and music, the cost of the office, the team left for the development of only $4000. It is unlikely that such a project will ever see the light of day without additional resources … and the promises have already been given.
Foreign Projects on Kickickstarter
For example, the Belarus game “Legends of Eisenwald” successfully received funding. It was small, only $ 50,000, but it was a success for all those difficulties faced by foreign teams. Now developers of “Legends of Eisenwald ” think that could very well build twice, maybe three times as much, if asked for a larger sum. However, practically no Russians (and former residents of the CIS) supported the project.
A second Ukrainian project, “al-Skyjacker” set the bar at $200,000. For a project of this setting, it is quite a bit, despite the fact that the project has already had a playable demo. However, it seems the space simulator genre (hardcore and niche enough in itself), the origin of the team and this amount has apparently frightened the typical American backer.
But even if the project does not collect the required amount, a foreign developer who has submitted his project on Kickstarter, provided that he survives without the necessary funds, the project gets its fame. For projects in Kickstarter, watch as standard users and blogs, thematic portals, discussions in the forums and in person. This allows you to build a community, and if the project will still do this, start with some already established players. In addition, while on Kickstarter, there is no ban on relaunching a project. Gain experience and feedback from the audience, the developer will be able to improve your project, consider the comments and make changes, then apply again. The only thing he might not be able to change is the country and “national identity” of the project.
Another project is a foreign game called, “Divine Space”, a game being developed by the author of this blog. The difficulties and challenges that we faced in Kickstarter – in the next article.
The Benefits of Foreign Projects on Kickstarter
Whether or not to support foreign projects is a decision you must make. But certainly it is good that every foreign project attracts a backer from their countries. For example, Russian projects mostly attract a Russian audience or audience of the former CIS. Even if the project did not receive funding, then some of these people will remain and will support other projects – mainly, of course, Americans.
Thus, foreign projects in the interest of all Kickstarter need to receive funding to develop their product and expand their audience to continue funding their project and earn a profit.
To date, the share of foreign backers on Kickstarter is negligible. This means that, when Kickstarter wins credibility abroad (and it will happen when foreign projects have been successfully funded and published), the audience has multiplied Kickstarter. Looking to the future, we can assume that the fees will increase significantly for teams. For example, the magnificent “Pebble” would collect not $10 million and maybe $ 30 million – who knows?
A game that recently collected millions could collect several times more – in fact a lot of overseas players who are fans of the same “Fallout”, “Shadowrun” and other games, but never even heard of Kickstarter.