When Veteran Game Developers Launch Bad Kickstarters
By Ahmad Khan
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he last few weeks have been interesting because of three Kickstarter projects: Umdlalo, Auraspark and of course Night Trap Revamped. The people behind these projects are game developers that have vast experience in video game industry, but ended up launching really bad Kickstarter projects. Now, to be fair, roughly half of Kickstarter’s video game projects fail and a number of these are launched by industry veterans. However, it is important for both backers and indie game developers on Kickstarter and IndieGogo to take a step back from time to time and make note of the factors that often play critical role is the success of a project, or in these cases failure.
Umdlalo by Something Wicked was canceled four days after the project was launched, and the team behind Something Wicked had vast experience in video game industry. They wrote at length about interesting lore, innovative game mechanics, and showed unique artwork. Then they asked for over half a million dollar to bring these concepts to life. The Umdlalo Kickstarter failed because of two main reasons. First, apart from a dozen pieces of artwork and 3D renderings that have been online for years, Something Wicked did not show any new in-game assets to convince backers that they have been working on the game; which Something Wicked claims to have spent over $87K on. The second reason for the Kickstarter failure was a communication breakdown between the project creators and the backers; while one co-founder of Something Wicked was asking backers to be patient with him since he was the only one actively working on the project, the other co-founder boasted that the whole team at Something Wicked is busy on the project. Pretty hard to trust a game studio when their own co-founders are not on the same page. The project only received $353 before being canceled by its creators.
Auraspark by Pycabit is a bit different from Umdlalo in that it’s essentially an experienced mobile game developer asking for a whopping $900K to fund his idea for a fantasy adventure game. The project is currently active but with only about $500 pledged it will most likely fail too. Once again, like Umdlalo, the lack of demonstrable game assets like concept art, in game models, and 3d renderings have made backers avoid this project. Like Umdlalo this project has also had a communication problem between project creators and the backers; the founder of project has been deflective about who they will hire for the actual game development, despite repeatedly calming that such details were finalized before the launch of the Kickstarter.
Last but not least is Night Trap Revamped, this project has been covered here on Cliqist so I won’t go into the developers not creating media buzz, the lack of digital downloads at launch time, or even the whole Nintendo issue. I will instead highlight yet another major mistake the project creators made: lack of communication with the backers. The project was launched on August 10th, but actual response to backer questions and concerns did not start until August 14th. It is unfortunate; because Kickstarter projects are very time sensitive a huge chunk of funding is generated in the first and last 48 hours; and it’s unlikely to be enough if the project creators are not there to engage backers.
The good news in all this is that project creators can always come back and re-launch their projects. Hopefully they won’t repeat the mistakes they made last time.
[author image=”http://cliqist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/ahmadkhan.jpg” ]Ahmad Khan grew up playing video games. A fan of RPGs and Post-Apocalypse games, Khan instantly fell in love with crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and IndieGogo that made games like Wasteland 2 and Project Eternity a reality. He also ended up being sort of a whistle blower for suspicious crowd funding project, believing that the venue of crowdfunding should be reserved for the honest and the passionate, not for the dishonest and dubious. [/author]