Failing Kickstarter? It’s Not The Crowd, It’s You.

on Friday, Aug. 24th

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There’s an article up on Gamasutra today that has my feathers all a-flustered.

Vetrean game designer Chris Crawford has a Kickstarter that is deep underwater. Just over $11K raised out of $150K and only four days to go in order to pay for an update to his environmental simulator Balance of the Planet. The plan was to raise the money and then release the game for free. His analysis of why it hasn’t taken off? The Kickstarter gaming community doesn’t do free:

“What’s going on now, which I did not comprehend at the time, is that Kickstarter is a marketing channel [for games], so instead of buying a game after it’s made, people just pay for a game before it’s made. It works in that context, but I had entirely the wrong context in mind, so Balance of the Planet‘s Kickstarter became a dismal failure.”

This is the most wrong-headed way of looking at crowdfunding possible. I can’t completely blame Crawford, who as one of the founders of the Game Developer’s Conference has paid his dues to the gaming community, for holding this view. It’s a popular fallacy that keeps people from looking at their own faults. So let me say this once and for all:

There is NO Kickstarter community.

There are multiple communities that use Kickstarter. There are as many ways of putting on a crowdfunding campaign as there are humans on the planet. What any creator has to understand is that it is up to THEM to gather THEIR community. That’s what the OG crowdfunders did back in the Mesozoic Era (aka 2009) when Kickstarter began. It’s what you have to do now.

Kickstarter and IndieGoGo are not ATMs. They do not print money.There may be a segment of the overall gaming public who think of Kickstarter as pre-orders, just as there may be a segment of the film community who expect five dollar HD downloads of feature films for backing a project. That doesn’t mean they are YOUR audience.

Ignore this at your own peril.

Source: Gamasutra | Chris Crawford reflects on a Kickstarter gone wrong (h/t to Michael Davis-Wilson)

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