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[Gamesbriefers] What makes you back a crowdfund campaign?

By on October 15, 2013
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Question

Zoya Street Deputy Editor, Gamesbrief

A year ago, whenever an announcement about a crowdfunding campaign for a game showed up in my Twitter feed or email inbox I would almost certainly check it out. I love to support independent creators, especially as someone who has benefitted personally from crowdfunding and wants to ‘kick it forward’.

Now it feels like there are just too many of them. Many of these hardcore-indie-retro-reboots seem indistinguishable from each other. I have to admit that I’ve started ignoring most of the ‘back this game’ messages I receive.

I know that a lot of you also like to support crowdfunding campaigns, so I want to hear what makes you choose to back something now that there are so many campaigns running at any given time. What campaigns have you backed recently, and what made them stand out in your eyes?


Answers:

Ben Cousins1Ben Cousins Head of European Game Studios at DeNA

As a professional curmudgeon, I have to yet crowdfund a game. Partly this is because I am also a professional persuader, and I see too clearly the opportunities of exploitation inherent in the model. Funding a fun prototype to completion is one thing, funding concept art and a pitch is another.

Once the model has matured more, and we’ve seen some notable examples of projects delivering on their marketing videos, then I might start participating.


Oscar ClarkOscar Clark Evangelist for Applifier

I’ve backed a few things… but not huge numbers. I often don’t because of my personal cynicism about the potential of the specific project. Where I do its because of something I believe in as ‘good’ for games. That sounds really lame I know. I backed Ouya and Gamestick (only the minimum to guarantee my UserID) because I thought (and still do) that the ‘Unconsoles’ would be a good influence on the opportunities.

I’ve backed Clang because I have a genuine interest in swordplay (ok only a little bit of fencing, kendo and use of swords in re-enactment – I don’t count my LARPing that’s not swordplay). That plus the idea of a new interaction method based around real behaviours. What swung it for me was that the correct technique was being used for Great Sword duelling in the video. Yes I am that sad.

Why don’t I do it more often? The trouble is that project needs to capture my imagination.

Don’t get me wrong I backed random things too; a friend’s pen & paper RPG and the Tiny Games app from Hide & Seek as well as the Star Command TV series… that probably says a lot more about me than the data collected through my Nectar card.

Curiously, once I’ve made the payment I no longer worry about whether these projects succeed or not. That’s kind of not the point for me. What matters is that I’ve made a statement that I think this project ‘deserves’ to exist whether as a commercial project or simply as art. I suspect you can’t get more pretentious than that.


Andrew SmithAndrew Smith Founder of Spilt Milk Studios

The only kickstarter I’ve ever backed is Delver’s Drop. It’s simply because after seeing a raft of games that I eventually want to make one day being kickstarted, or announced, or released, I finally got fed up when my ‘dream project’ was announced.

I backed it to scope the competition, basically, but since then I’ve mellowed (it’s very far away from my planned game) and am just looking forward to playing an action adventure game in an updated 16-bit style. Kinda my ideal game, but not quite, so I’m happy!


Bernard ChenBernard Chen Director of Product Management at KIXEYE

I backed the new Wasteland for nostalgia’s sake. I also backed Sunless Sea because Fallen London is a beautiful work of storytelling and there isn’t enough of it in the world.

In both cases, I backed the game to support artists I appreciate and because I’m pretty sure the teams have the experience to use the money intelligently.


Teut WeidemannTeut Weidemann Online Specialist at Ubisoft

I think – let me check quick – 53 projects, from games to boardgames to gadgets. I pick when I think its cool, I need it, would play it, and sometimes when friends tell me to support their friends.

So far I got all my finished kickstarters, even the physical ones. I got some games, most of them I never played. Which is a shame, but I dont play most games I buy. Don’t ask. Overfed on games I guess.


andy payneAndy Payne MD at Mastertronic

I have backed 37 crowdfunding campaigns and not all of them games and not all on Kickstarter. All of them because I either know the people behind the campaign and trust them, or because I liked the project.

I am not tired of crowdfunding. Quite the reverse; I love looking at what is available and making a pick here and there. I have received all of the ‘end results’ so far and by and large am very happy with what I have got. I love the opportunity to get more involved, even if it means getting your name on the cover of a book or a mention in a film. That is what makes it different and far from being bored or overwhelmed by the sheer weight of projects and creativity available, I am heartened by it.

The world’s population is getting bigger so more lovely opportunities will come our way.  I don’t want products or services from the top down anymore, I want creativity from the bottom up and crowdfunding offers this to me. More power to the creators, inventors, doers and visionaries and crowdsourced Greenlights!

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Every week, we all ask our august panel of luminaries a burning question in the world of free-to-play and paymium game design. Or we ask a broader question on the future of the industry. We’re not going to announce who is a GAMESbriefer. You’ll just have to read the posts to see who is saying what to whom. We have CEOs and consultants, men and women, Brits, Germans, Americans, indies, company people and much more besides.
  • Having just successfully completed our Kickstarter campaign for our mobile game (www.fandrafter.com) I can say with 100% certainty, that we were caught a little flat footed to all the work that you need to do BEFORE you launch the campaign! We wish we had done a kickstarter a year ago when we decided to bootstrap our beta test without any early seed money.

    Our game requires a yearly subscription for the backend stats that power the real-time updates on our fantasy football platform and we relented to doing the crowd funding after lots of deliberation precisely because it’s become a crowded space for games. The ability to stand out and make yourself seen is tough but that in itself isn’t a reason to not try and put your idea out there.

    In the end, we saw the campaign not only as a source of funding for FanDrafter but more importantly as a marketing opportunity. As Andy put it, a new way to directly engage with our supporters that up until now, users haven’t had the opportunity to, allowing them to get involved and get something cool in return for their support.

    Visit the completed campaign here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/fandrafter/fandrafter-instant-mobile-fantasy-sports?ref=live