Before Double Fine had their really successful campaign and seemingly everyone thought Kickstarter was suddenly this brilliant way to raise money for indie games, I looked into it.
As development continued on Stop That Hero!, I worried about continuing to fund it with my savings before I actually ran out. I was aware of Kickstarter, since I backed Addicube and most recently Bhaloidam by Corvus Elrod, and I also backed Anthony Salter’s Inaria on 8-bit Funding. All of which were successfully funded, by the way, and I’m proud to have been a part of the reason why.
It seemed to make sense that a relatively unknown indie project could expect to get at least a little bit of funding to help make a game a reality, and I figured a Kickstarter campaign for Stop That Hero! would be an excellent way to experiment with crowdsourced funding.
I figured that I should look up how to run a successful Kickstarter campaign, and I found a lot of good information. Unfortunately, what I learned is that running a Kickstarter campaign is a lot of work, and that means dedicating time to it, and that means I’d be dedicating time away from the project I really want to work on.
Having to spend time on backer award, a high quality video trailer explaining the campaign, and finding people to fund the project? If I had dedicated marketing staff, sure, but I don’t. Plus, I clearly underestimated my budget needs for this project as it is, and I would need to ensure I knew how much to ask for so that I didn’t end up being underfunded. I’d also want to ensure that the requested funds were realistic. I’m not going to be getting millions of dollars for my project, and if I asked for that much, it means a high likelihood that the campaign itself will fail and so I’d lose access to the money that actually gets pledged.
Recently, I read an article on The Ugly Side of Kickstarter, and while the title makes it sound like it exposed some seedy underbelly of crowdsourced funding, the reality is that they’ve found what I found: that a Kickstarter campaign requires a lot of work and isn’t some magic money-making machine.
Basically, my takeaway with my own investigation was that Kickstarter campaigns are fantastic if you have the time, the marketing ability or star power, and a really good reason for it. It’s great for backers to feel some ownership in the development process and for developers to get a great marketing outlet and potential customers.
But I definitely wasn’t going to launch a Kickstarter campaign when I didn’t plan for it in the first place. Perhaps for a future project, but not as an afterthought. No one benefits from a half-assed Kickstarter campaign, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to put together a full-assed one in the time I could spare for it.
Have you looked into Kickstarter, 8-bit funding, or similar crowdsourced funding sites to fund your indie game? Have you backed any projects? How was your experience?