Gamekicker is a new crowdfunding website on the scene with grand ambitions. According to them, they want to become the place to go for crowdfunding indie game developer projects exclusively. Their grand plan reaches far further than that – offering up customized and personal support on each and every project which comes through their doors. All of this sounds fantastic, but unattainable. I discussed this new platform last month when it just opened its gates. My perspective was that this initiative was very “pie in the sky” with little chance for actual success. Now, it is not enjoyable to be pessimistic and proven right in these negative circumstances, but it appears Gamekicker has already missed its mark.
The site launched with two campaigns: Cure and God Caster. Both appeared to be interesting strategy titles in their own right, and certainly better than some of the fluff launched on Kickstarter. However, earlier this month both projects failed to achieve their funding goals. They did not just fail by a minuscule, upsetting margin but by a huge amount. In the end God Caster raised 1% of its goal – $490 of an approximate $41,000 goal. Cure scrapped together 6% of the goal amount, or $4,197 of the $75,000 expected. This is no doubt a huge loss for the developers themselves. After all, they must have been promised something in order to opt for Gamekicker over Kickstarter or even Indiegogo for their maiden crowdfunding voyage. Expect to see either or both of these titles jump to Kickstarter in the future.
Why did they fail when neither project was an absolutely nightmarish, unpolished video game? The reason is simple. The biggest issue is that almost no one knew about Gamekicker. This new entity had no blockbuster title right out of the gate to get its name plastered on the front page of big gaming sites. For example, Fig was around for months before Psychonauts 2 but it was Psychonauts 2 launching which was when most gamers actually first heard of (and joined) Fig. It might as well have been the site’s unofficial debut! This is not meant to belittle Cure or God Caster as they may both be superb titles in their own right. However, no-name projects are not what generates a fever pitch of attention for a crowdfunding site. As someone who writes about games, I know that the press release for Gamekicker hit thousands of inboxes – many of which are probably for big name journalists. However, barely anyone opted to actually cover the upcoming and eventual release of this site.
Crowdfunding requires people – the “crowd” in crowdfunding! Without folks willing to pledge, you simply can’t make it. Gamekicker seems to have focused on honing the concepts which will differentiate it with developers at the cost of all else. Yes, it would be outrageously cool for every developer to have a staff member help them through the process of running a campaign successfully. However, that’s a moot point when barely anyone actually comes out to support Gamekicker. With the “right” project, Gamekicker may finally be able to make its way into gamer awareness, but it remains to be seen if folks will truly be willing to join up with yet another crowdfunding site.