OMG! I just got profit from Kickstarter!?

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.

Why?

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?

Example of Kickstarter pledge info

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.

Picks of the Week 16

Hello all and welcome to the Picks number 16! First of all I want to say that FINLAND WON ICE HOCKEY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP! All the goals can be seen from here. What an awesome night it was!

  • Gametheory Online had an article about Creating video game trailers to enhance marketing. And just few moments after adding this link, I saw a good example of trailer you should never make. 2nd Guest Trailer.
  • Nordic Game Indie Showcase has been announced. Even one Finnish (at least 50% Finnish) production is featured! YAY!
  • Game Developer Magazine published its 10th annual salary survey. According to the survey, being an indie game developer does not make you rich. Individual indie devs seem to make a little over 11.000 USD per year. Read more from Indiegames.com post.
  • And Crowdfunding continues. Few weeks ago I posted about the crowdfunding and introduced 8-bit gaming, that is targeted only for video games funding. Now, Gamasutra has another article that talks about the different ups and downs of different crowdfunding sites.
  • RockPaperShotgun gave an interesting short review on Lume. The game itself is made completely in real-world as a carton doll-house and filmed with a video camera. Really interesting concept.
  • Some still bother to make really bad games. I already had my doubts about Hydrophobia Prophecy and it seems I was right. Read the first impressions from RPS. And no, don’t make games like that, even though it sounds fun.
  • Yes! Someone has answered to my silent prayers. Some of you probably remember such old games as Flashback and Another World. Well, now there is a new game continues with the glorious steps of its predecessors. May I present you: Concurrence. It seems, that also Indiegames.com featured a video of the gameplay and some more info. Go and check that out too!

Picks of the Week 14

Happy Easter for you all! Nice to see after a few weeks break. This weeks links feature a little bit about Artificial Intelligence in games (that’s a little bit close to what I am studying currently here in Spain) as well as the normal indie related articles. Enjoy your final day of Easter and the coming week!

  • Aigamedev.com is giving online classes during the weekends. Before that was only for paying subscribers, but now the live stream is FREE for everyone! The classes are really worth your time, whether you are a hardcore ai programmer or not. For more info, read the announcement.
  • Continuing with the artificial intelligence in games. The open challenges in first-person shooter AI technology is yet another interesting article from the aigamedev.com site. There is a clear explanation on the problems and give a good look on what should be fixed. Another good AI post.
  • DevMag had an article on how are puzzle games designed. This introduction has some history of puzzle games as well as an explanation of how to design the mechanics and also some extra links to continue your search for the perfect idea for a puzzle game.
  • Gamasutra on the other hand published an article on Crowdfunding perspectives. The post features both successes and failures on getting your audience to support financially your game development. There are few good sites (although they suffer from the only-life-in-america -disease). However, if you are still interested, check out 8-bit funding (this one is for everyone in the world, not just for Americans).
  • ArsTechnica discussed the problem of early reviews and indie game sales. Try not to give out pieces of games for reviews, unless you really have something to sell. The people will forget easily and for cheap titles (in my opinion 0-5 euros) they will just go and buy out the game straight after the review – or maybe never.
  • GameTrailers featured a video from this years GDC in San Fransisco. In this video the creator of Syparty explains the idea behind the game and you can see some video of the gameplay. Interesting concept, I am waiting eagerly to see how this turns out to be.
  • A new game called Terraria is coming out soon. Indiegames.com posted an article showing gameplay of Terraria. Seems like 2D version of Minecraft, yet it features a lot more than that. Read the post and check the video for more info.