Kickstarter, among other crowdfunding sites, has reached a wide audience during the last few years. Crowdfunding as a term has come to stay and is accepted as a viable form of gathering funding for a project.
Games have gained a lot of attention in crowdfunding space and have managed to be among the most popular projects ever. Godus, Faster Than Light, Torment: Tides of Numenera, and many others have managed to gather hundreds of thousands of dollars more money than they have requested for. And lately, this has been an issue with game companies [Gamasutra: When crowdfunding reveals the realities of game dev budgets].
Receiving a lot more money than you asked for can mean problems. Latest founder of this issue was Double Fine which announced around a week ago of their troubles [Gamasutra: Double Fine splits Broken Age in half to fund completion]. Having gained almost three million dollars more than they asked for, they felt the necessity of delivering more content for their backers. Because of this, they are no longer able to deliver within the original schedule nor can they even make everything they promised in one game. Instead, they are splitting the game in two parts, asking for more money and delivering the final game behind the schedule. All because they got more money than they needed. Without a question, such behavior has made the whole internet to explode with angry cries and opinions [Back To Reality: Double Fine, Crowdfunding And The Repercussions]. Which is understandable, Double Fine just did not get the point.
Crowdfunding is a beautiful idea and could even be thought as an ideology. Asking for people to support your vision and to pledge money to help it become a reality. Like selling your idea to bunch of investors, but not giving away shares of your company or paying from the profits once the product hits the markets. Of course, the stakes are not that high and the risk for a single person is only couple (tens) of dollars. Absolutely beautiful.
However, it turns out that if a lot of people believe in you, then you have a problem. Problem of delivering them something much more bigger, engaging and mind blowing than you planned for.
If people believe in your idea and support you more than you have asked for, is it not a proof enough that the idea is rock solid? If a 10.000 USD project receives 200.000 USD worth of pledges, doesn’t it proove that people want the product?
Everyone can already see the pledged amount of money on the crowdfunding site (the example picture on the right hand side). Even though it says $121k/$15k – “Succesfully funded”, people still pledge. They pledge, because they believe in THAT project. They pledge, because they want it to become reality. They want to back you to show their support. Even though you have the money already. They don’t want extra big and more engaging. They want the thing you already promised in your pitch. That is enough.
Think about the same situation from a different perspective. How many times has a game studio or publisher run into trouble when a game has sold more than its real to-market costs were? Have you ever heard Microsoft Studios, Sony or Nintendo announcing, that because their game has sold over a million copies instead of the required 100.000 for make-even, they are going to postpone the release of their next game. Just to make it bigger, better and more mind blowing than it was supposed to be, because their products just sell too much. Sounds familiar? We don’t want extra big and more engaging. We want the thing you already promised in your pitch. That is enough.
Crowdfunding is asking for people to back your idea. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out and you get $10 instead of the $5.000 you asked for. And sometimes your idea just happens to be ground shaking and get you ten times more than needed.
An overwhelming success in crowdfunding does not mean that you need to go back to the drawing board. It means that your plan was already awesome. People don’t fund you so you could create something else than you promised. They fund you because they want what you promised. The money you got are sales, people just bought the product beforehand. The money is yours to have.
So please. Stick with what you promised. Deliver the promises, in time and transparently, updating backers about the progress. And if you received more than you asked for, even more than your secondary fundings goals – enjoy the money! Use it to prototype and create the pitch for your next crowdfunding project!
Just make sure you deliver what you promised in your pitch. That is, what I funded after all.