This week marks the 2 year anniversary of Cliqist officially launching.  In that time we’ve published over 2,400 articles worth of videogame crowdfunding coverage.  That number pales in comparison to other sites, but it’s something I’m very proud of; especially when you consider that in the fall of 2013 people were already harping about the end of the ‘golden years’ of Kickstarter.

One of the inspirations behind Cliqist was what I felt to be haphazard coverage of crowdfunding by other gaming sites.  The stories of crowdfunded games were either starry eyed fantasies of what could be, or bitter takedowns of failures that are inevitable in the world of game development; but were treated as worse simply because they were crowdfunded.

The other, more significant, inspiration behind Cliqist was a failed campaign from August 2012.  A friend of mine was looking to raise $50k for a rhythm game with a pretty cool concept and solid funding video.  Even though he had been a well liked game journalist for the better part of a decade almost no one supported him.  In the end his campaign raised less than $2,000.  Almost a year after the campaign failed he posted a message to Facebook lamenting the failure.  His disappointment and obvious sense of betrayal struck a chord with me.

Kickstarter campaigns aren’t simply a linear news path of Campaign Launch – Funding – Game Release, they’re the result of countless hours of work, worry, primping, selling, and sacrifice.  Sometimes they turn out well, and other times they’re a disaster; what remains at the end in either case is a person coping with varying levels of excitement, stress, and depression.  My, and the entire teams’, goal with Cliqist is to shed a light on the world of videogame crowdfunding and to help people understand that it’s much more than a mechanism for pre-ordering games.


Where We’ve Been

From September ’13 to mid January ’14 Cliqist was a one man show, posting on a pretty regular schedule.  By December though things slowed down dramatically, with no posts between December 10th and January 13th due to some crippling self-doubt and depression.  However, during that break I took some time to find some new staff and give the site a more cohesive message.  Since that time we’ve continued to refine our approach to coverage and have continued to grow.

So, what have the most popular stories on Cliqist been over the past two years?  Here’s our top articles from the last two years.  Given that Five Nights at Freddy’s and Never Alone were part of our Not Crowdfunded, But series of articles I’ve included a couple extra.

  1. Secrets, Rumors, and Easter Eggs of Five Nights at Freddy’s
  2. Never Alone Game Guide
  3. The Deer God Game Guide
  4. The Ultimate Five Nights at Freddy’s Guide
  5. Is Dark Skyes The Latest Kickstarter Scam? Updated 3/30
  6. Tormentum: Dark Sorrow Game Guide
  7. Half-Life 3 Kickstarter Launched. Cancelled.
  8. Metal Gear Solid 1 PS4 Remake Hits Kickstarter
  9. More Games Like Coming Out On Top
  10. Tale of Tales Returning to Kickstarter After Sunset Disappointment
  11. What Not to do in Massive Chalice. A Strategy Primer.
  12. A Guide to Shovel Knight’s Feats
  13. Getting Started with The Deer God
  14. Kickstarting the Past – The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
  15. Is Last Year a Kickstarter Scam, or Worse?
  16. Star Citizen 101 – Lesson 3 – Choosing Your First Ship
  17. Prepare for Epicness with Kingdom Come: Deliverance
  18. Sunless Sea Beginner’s Game Guide
  19. Dan Vávra Discusses Kingdom Come: Deliverance
  20. Dream of Going to E3? Don’t.
  21. What Happened to Indie Statik and its Kickstarter?
  22. Maksym Addresses Knuckle Club & Confederate Express Controversy
  23. Get Ready to Fight For Survival in On My Own

That’s a lot of strategy guide type articles, isn’t it?  Does that mean we’ll be transitioning to a strategy game site?  Definitely not!  It makes sense that strategy guides and non-crowdfunded related articles would do well, they have a wider appeal.  What this list shows me deep coverage of controversial issues (Dark Skyes, Tale of Tales, Last Year, Marksym Pashanin) can attract readers almost as well as more mainstream pieces.  But more on that in a bit.  Where do our visitors come from?

  1. Search Engines
  2. N4G.com
  3. Kicktraq.com
  4. Facebook
  5. Twitter

There’s two things I’m extra proud of here.  The first is that we do well with regards to search engine traffic, it means we’re not overly reliant on other platforms to drive traffic our way.  The other is that we receive very little traffic from Kickstarter.  In the beginning I thought that we would get a lot of visitors via Kickstarter campaign updates, but that felt a little strange since I wanted us to be reporting on developers and their campaigns, not rely on them for traffic.  In fact, Kickstarter is 47th on our list of top referrers.


Where We’re Going

So what’s next?  Lots actually!

  • We’ve gotten rid of our Not Crowdfunded, But… game of the month feature.  While they were fun to do and meant a lot of traffic for us, there’s just too much great crowdfunded gaming stuff out there for us to divide our attention.  That means that while you won’t be seeing any more non-crowdfunded gaming stuff, you’ll see even more crowdfunded gaming stuff, which is the point of Cliqist afterall!   This week we’re kicking off our Crowdfunded Game of the Month series covering not just the best game, but also excellence in campaign and backer management.
  • Look for fewer announcements, those are the 250 word news items sharing which campaigns have launched that day.  That doesn’t mean we’re going to stop covering the latest campaigns, quite the opposite in fact.  Instead of trying to rush to post a newsy announcement, we’re instead focusing on offering up our perspective of noteworthy campaigns.
  • We’re crowdfunding!  We’re finally launching our Patreon campaign to not only help pay the bills (hosting, licenses, and staff pay), but to expand our coverage.  As time goes on we’ll using the money raised via Patreon to support efforts such as feature style podcasts, offering free Kickstarter data to backers and developers, and much more.
  • Some areas of opportunity that we have at the moment are improving the consistency with which we post, engaging with our readers more, and finding more sources of traffic.  That last point isn’t about getting more traffic as much as it’s about the right traffic.  We need to do more to reach backers so that we can continue educating each other on the world of crowdfunding.

It’s been a great two years, and I’m really looking forward to many more!  As always, if there’s anything we can be doing better just let us know in the comments, or by shooting an email to me at greg@cliqist.com.

Greg Micek

Greg Micek

Editor at Cliqist
Greg Micek has been writing on and off about games since the late nineties, always with a focus on indie games. He started DIYGames.com in 2000, which was one of the earliest gaming sites to focus exclusively on indie games.
Greg Micek

@cliqist

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Greg Micek
Greg Micek
Greg Micek
greg@cliqist.com