Kickstarter campaigns should be a last resort, warn mobile devs

Harder work than you think

Kickstarter campaigns should be a last resort, warn mobile devs
Running a Kickstarter campaign is a considerable time commitment, with developers required to market their games relentlessly, respond to their backers promptly and choose their goals and rewards sensibly if they hope to succeed.

That's the conclusion drawn by Pocket Gamer deputy editor Mark Brown after speaking to a series of developers who've enjoyed success crowdfunding their titles.

In short, those who pitch vehicles such as Kickstarter as an easy way to fund a game are way off the mark.

How much is too much?

"Your Kickstarter project isn't just a way of making money, it's about building a community that will hopefully stay with you forever," explained Adrian Hon, CCO of Zombies, Run! creator Six to Start.

If that sounds like hard work, it's probably because it is.

One key aspect of any Kickstarter campaign is the video pitch: a slick production can make the difference between funding success and a failure to launch.

According to Jordan Coombs of Star Command developer War Ballon, the video needs be short, punchy and to the point – no longer than four minutes.

"If you can't explain your idea, ask for funding and show your prizes in that amount of time you should probably work on your messaging," Coombs explains.

Bit of a stretch

But before a pitch can even go live, it needs to have a funding goal. In this department, Pocket Gamer's panel of developers urged caution.

"You might genuinely think that your awesome new 3D FPS game needs $500,000 to get funded, but if people don't know who you are and if the idea isn't gripping enough, it's not going to happen," explained Hon.

"People who don't have a massive following are better off starting at the five figures level and working their way up over the years."

Stretch goals are an excellent way of motivating backers, but they too must be carefully considered.

"You'll help everyone if you budget sensibly and give yourselves some breathing room," says Hon. In other words, don't make any promises you can't deliver on.

Balloon backers

Backer rewards are also essential for attracting pledges, but they can be expensive.

War Balloon ended up spending $10,000 on printing and shipping the various Star Command posters and t-shirts it had promised backers, and delivering these rewards can be time-consuming, too.

"It took the entirety of a month to do the Kickstarter," concluded Cipher Prime's William Stallwood, referring to the crowdfunding campaign for Auditorium 2: Duet.

Posting updates, responding to backers, producing video and marketing relentlessly is a full time job.

"This just leaves me to believe you shouldn't enter into Kickstarter lightly: only do it if you absolutely need to."
To view the full guide to running a successful Kickstarter campaign, take a look at the original article on our sister site,
Staff Writer's news editor 2012-2013


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