Nathanael Weiss, the sole developer of action adventure RPG Songbringer, has shared his positive experiences of running a Kickstarter campaign with a post on Gamasutra. Called ‘the cure for indie game failure’ it’s a fairly wide-ranging article but has some important guidance for aspiring Kickstarter ventures. Beginning with a sobering look at how poorly some indie games can sell despite some good reviews, Nathanael goes on to propose that games should prove they are worth our time – not the other way around. Sound advice, and something indie developers should make more of a top priority.
After detailing how crowdfunding can be used to gauge interest in a game before a developer wastes their time making it, some more practical advice about running a Kickstarter campaign is outlined. It’s here some common advice is repeated with specific sections about using social media, using early feedback before starting your Kickstarter campaign and the importance of press.
However the two pieces of advice that stand out for me as most useful are including a demo (or at least a video of gameplay) and ensuring you’ve backed other campaigns – allowing you to observe how a successful Kickstarter is run. Being aware of how much of your money raised will be lost as expenses, Kickstarter taking their cut and fraudulent or uncollected pledges is also something that many campaigns are unlikely to consider.
Nathanael’s situation won’t be applicable to many Kickstarters – as well as being a solo developer he was able to work on Songbringer full time – and he had a fairly low target of $9,000 (although admittedly he did achieve it fairly easily with $15,000 raised). It’s still all good advice though and recommended reading for anyone preparing a Kickstarter campaign.