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Mobile games on Kickstarter trigger 'unbelievable backlash', says Mutant League Football dev

Mobile games on Kickstarter trigger 'unbelievable backlash', says Mutant League Football dev

Targeting mobile on Kickstarter is a tricky proposition to get right, and few know this better than the man behind Mutant League Football's unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign.

Michael Mendheim's ambitious Kickstarter raised just 19 percent of its $750,000 goal before the campaign ended in October 2013.

According to Mendheim, it was the 'unbelievable' backlash from the fan community against mobile platforms that ended Mutant League Football's run well ahead of the goal line.

If at first you don't succeed

Speaking to Joystiq, Mendheim said that he gathered "input from other developers and industry veterans" who suggested he focus his campaign on mobile platforms.

"So I led my Kickstarter campaign with mobile, and the backlash to that was just unbelievable," Mendheim said.

"We were sunk that first day."

Still, success might lie in managing one's parameters and expectations.

Mendheim plans to launch another Kickstarter campaign for Mutant League Football with a more modest funding goal and a PC-only scope.

In terms of Kickstarter success stories, $750,000 for a project is historically an ambitious sum.

Zombies, Run!
raised $72,627 from 3,464 backers and was named the biggest video game Kickstarter of 2011 - until it was dethroned by Double Fine's $3.3 million campaign for Broken Age, which also included support for mobile platforms.

[source: Joystiq]


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Representing the former colonies, Matt keeps the Pocket Gamer news feed updated when sleepy Europeans are sleeping. As a frustrated journalist, diehard gamer and recovering MMO addict, this is pretty much his dream job.

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Matt Diener
There's a lot of good points in that response, Robert.

I think the fact that Mendheim's willing to reconsider a launch with an adjusted budget shows that while he's wary of mobile he's also cognizant of the fact that $750,000 might have been a bit ambitious.

Again, I'm in complete accord that $750k isn't that much to ask for a highly polished, substantive game... but I don't see it being raised with the online equivalent of hat passing.

I've backed a few things on Kickstarter (all games, with the exception of a musical project), and I've been nervous about the majority since they've been small-scale indie projects for the most part.

I like to believe that I'm helping these next generation of devs realize their dreams but, to date, none have arrived yet (they're all 'on schedule' however). This lack of a tangible reward has definitely cooled my impulse backing some as the Shake-n-Bake effect you mentioned is beginning to lose its luster... which is, I think, another peril of Kickstarter.

After a certain point, even the most impulsive of backers has a shelf life.
Robert Leach
I have such mixed feelings about contributing to games on Kickstarter. First, $750k isn't unreasonable to ask for a high-end game, especially given the team members he's looking to hire. As additional incentive to get something like this funded: it's much more likely that his project will complete satisfactorily than a game from an unproven team.

That said, $750k is a lot to ask from fans regardless of scale or scope. My personal hope would be that they'd be able to get private funding donations outside of Kickstarter to cover at least a few hundred thousand as an investment opportunity.

Do bring math into this, $750k would require at least 10,000 fans averaging $75 each, which is way more than they'd expect to pay for a completed product on a console, let alone mobile. If this was a $7.50 mobile title (for ease of math), they'd need 100,000 fans investing at least that much: STILL expensive for the end product they'd otherwise be paying for upon completion.

Kickstarter is a great thing, conceptually. It's the ability to pay for a dream. The best case scenario is putting money into the dream and seeing it realized. Feeling that you were a part of it. And maybe you get something other than the Shake-n-Bake ideal ("And I helped!").

The worst-case scenario in Kickstarter is putting money into something that hits its target but is never fully realized, or maybe it's realized but doesn't hit expectations. It sounds like the "unbelievable backlash" from mobile was that fans weren't willing to set themselves up for potential disappointment. Mobile titles are rarely considered to be as satisfactory to hardcore gamers (the ones more willing to play a game called Mutant League Football) as console or PC titles.
Joseph Fargnoli
Yea. That show was awesome.

Didn't games workshop have a spin off as well?