More often than I care to admit, I find myself spending hours at a time browsing various sites, reading articles and blogs, flipping from StumbleUpon to Pinterest, and letting the links take me where they may. On a recent read-athon, I came across an article on Mashable.com entitled “How to Successfully Start Your game with Kickstarter”. Having recently heard of several games utilizing this funding platform, I was curious to see what exactly it takes to do it. (More information about what Kickstarter is and how it works can be found here). The article, which can be found here, provides eight specific steps to successfully raise funds to launch a new breakout game or to revamp or redesign an old one.
After speaking with several successful Kickstarter campaigners (i.e. the founders of Fist of Awesome and Settlers of Catan), as well as the company itself, the author provides these goals for any future Kickstarter hopeful:
1. “Learn who your fans are, and embrace them.”
2. “Prepare for your Kickstarter campaign to be a full time job.”
3. “Prepare and revise your Kickstarter page before lunch.”
4. “The video is your elevator pitch”
5. “Have a plan of attach for outreach.”
6. “Make the hard decisions about money early.”
7. “Set reasonable rewards that don’t drain your resources.”
8. “The work isn’t over when your campaign ends.”
After reading through the article, one of the things that stuck out to me most was how extensive the responsibilities of each Kick-starter campaign was. In most large-scale game production companies, each component of a successful company (advertising, market research, financial planning, PR, etc.) is delegated to its specific department. I was interested to find out that most of the new companies utilizing this independent investment platform are managed by a handful of people, not a handful of departments. Many of these Kick-starters were one-man productions; from conception, to creation, to PR, most of these guys do it themselves.
By bypassing the standard process of finding investors, these small companies are now able to save money, keep true to their concept, and have direct contributions from the clients that the game appeals to most. This creates a direct producer to consumer relationship that was almost unheard of in the past, with companies having ongoing dialogue with the consumer/investors they find through Kickstarter.
Although it all sounds like good news at first glance, I’m interested to see where this leaves consumer relations with larger companies. I feel like introducing the idea of direct consumer input to game development will eventually lead to a sense resentment towards larger gaming companies that don’t offer such direct services. At best, it will create a new level of competition for video games. Either way, with services like Kickstarter now just a click away, the world of game development is changing in a very big way.
For now, I’m curious to see how you feel. Do you think that new platforms for finding investors will have a negative or positive impact on the gaming world as we know it?