Noah J Nelson on Monday, Aug. 20th
Long time Turnstyle readers may remember game developer Ryan Payton, who we interviewed during the Kickstarter campaign for the game République. The campaign was a nail biter, one of the great turn-around stories of crowdfunding this year.
Now Payton has written– for game industry blog Gamasutra– an in-depth piece that goes behind the scenes on the campaign, digging out all the skewed assumptions and unexpected obstacales that nearly torpedoed his new studio’s ambitions.
I mistakenly assumed that we had done enough prep work to provide visitors with enough information and product vision to convince them to pledge. Instead, it was clear that I had 29 days to turn this campaign around, and had previously been too busy and confident to prep a contingency plan. We had already spent all our ammo, and the battle was just beginning…
One bit that stands out right at the start is the account of some negative reaction to the game looking too good for Kickstarter.
We decided that we would communicate some of our studio’s values (high quality, meaningful, honest) through our Kickstarter page and video. Maybe if people saw how beautiful our game was, how pro our trailer was, and how polished our pitch was, they’d get behind our ambitious aims for République — or so we thought.
A week into our campaign, we were surprised to see dozens of comments online from people saying: “Look at that game, look at how expensive their video looks… They don’t need our money.” Meanwhile, our company bank account was getting dangerously low.
Which is more than a little insane. Payton and crew put it all on the line, and found that they might have over-done it.
I often thought about the rich guys on Kickstarter intentionally making rough-looking webcam videos to appeal to peoples’ charitable instincts and subsequently pull in six or seven figures in pledges.
The whole piece is worth reading, and Payton offers up some salient criticism of Kickstarter as a platform. This is a MUST READ for crowdfunding practitioners aficionados.