Friday, 15 July 2016

Kickstarting Games - A panel at the Guardian

So no post yesterday for the first time in nearly a month, and there's a good reason for it, I was down in London to catch up with Chris Birch about Dragonmeet and Modiphius Organised Play (and more on that later), but I was also down to go to the Guardian and take in a talk on Kickstarter and more particularly, games on Kickstarter.

That it was being hosted by Luke Crane, the head of Games at Kickstarter, came as a tremendous bonus.  He was joined by Andy Robinson from Playtonic games (who made Yooka-Laylee) and Alex Fleetwood from Sensible Objects (who made Beasts of Balance) to give advice and answer questions regarding running a kickstarter for games.

There's only the one photo of the panel before the show because I spent the rest of the time making notes...

And here's the write up of those notes...

There was a lot of talk about how to do the preparation for the actual kickstarter, and the overwhelming thoughts were to have the preparation done long in advance.  One year of Prep, one month of campaign, consider every possible question that could be had and have a truthful answer for it, presume that if people care enough to back your kickstarter, they'll care enough to want the truth from you.

On the video pitch for the game, have it include the creator of the game, show people what they're getting, and be clear about what you need the money for.  If you've already made the game, why do you need their help? Andy Fleetwood said that if you're doing this, it's not a kickstarter to give you assistance in preparing the game, it's a preorder system for something you've already done, and for the most part, people like it when they're helping others to achieve something, not just ordering something for later delivery.  Luke's comment was that while this certainly wasn't what Kickstarter was designed and intended for, it does seem to be the way that several companies are taking it.

That said, have assurances to what can be done, what you can do, and what you're prepared to do.  Give people the reasons why they can trust that you will deliver what you've promised, show examples of when you have delivered previously, and if you haven't delivered previously, have examples of things that you have done successfully or good reasons why you will follow through with your promises.

On promises, don't make any you can't keep, beware of stretch goals and how much they can affect your end campaign.

On physical rewards, be aware that the works required for them are far more than most imagine, and if your kickstarter goes well above where you'd intended, you may be doing a lot more work than you'd imagined.

On communication, be transparent in what is going on, people don't mind if you're late, they mind if you're stalling.  Be clear in what you say to people, and make sure that when you say you're going to do something, you do something.  Don't tell everyone you'll update every two weeks and then leave it a few months before saying anything...

Watch for the silent majority, if ten people are all talking about wanting something changed, and 2000 people are happy with what's going on, listen, but think before you make alterations.

Money, Figures, and Pricing (and I found this most interesting) in games, the most popular price levels to back things at are $35, $20, and $15, and the average spend on a kickstarted game is around $75, games are by far the largest portion of the money that comes to Kickstarter, and while the success rate of games is only 54%, over 90% of those that succeed deliver on their rewards.

It was a good seminar, reasonably well attended and by a lot of people who were just getting in to the tabletop industry, which gave me a great sense of hope for the number of creators out there and all the games that are going to be coming out soon.