Lobster’s Analysis: The Struggles of Ashes of Creation, Antigraviator, and More

Lobster, otherwise known as Ian Kragh, is one of the most prolific miners of Kickstarter video game data around.  Read almost any Kickstarter thread in a video game forum and you’ll most likely seem him chime in with a mind blowing amount of data, analysis, and commentary.  Invaluable for developers, and deeply interesting for backers, Lobster’s analysis is a must-read for anyone involved in the crowdfunding community.

Ashes of Creation

Ashes of Creation has its unallocated funding actually relatively tiny compared to the total amount pledged.

The $400, $425, $435 and $445 tiers are a huge amount of the funding. The $125 tier is also a big contributor. In comparison, the $40 and $80 tiers that also have hundreds of backers are contributing a fourth as much because of how much more funding distance a $400 backer covers compared to a $40 backer. If there is cheating, it is so overshadowed by legit support that it isn’t really visible as signal-within-noise.

MMORPGs and Kickstarter so far have been disastrous. Scope, sustainability, balance, etc. can all tear them apart. AAA published MMORPGs also have a long history of big games on life support with failing player populations. The genre is a metaphorical meat grinder for studios.

Ignoring controversy about Ashes of Creation’s business model decisions and team, what I find most interesting are discussions on Reddit how the player economy as described may result in a whole pile of in-game economy problems because (people being people) you will have groups exploit the system in ways like unintended monopolies. Ashes of Creation so far has not presented a magic solution to such economic problems.

If they do deliver a beta, the question is will the game drive people away when the in-game economy becomes a nightmare. One of the core features of the game is supposed to be the city economies. There are already comparisons being drawn to the nightmare of housing shortages in Final Fantasy 14. The basic idea is most of the property/territory ends up under the control of a small number of people that had a real-world time or financial advantage. New players are driven out by the established players they can’t compete against.

Extra Credits series Extra History recently told the story of Ned Kelly. A key part of that story is the first settlers in Australia grabbing up so much land that later immigrants and their descendants faced land shortages. The node system in the MMO seems like it will end up like early Australia.

Here are graphs for Ashes of Creation. It has an average of around $188 per backer.

I saw 2 big sides to the discussions today. 1 side promoting the project and the other side warning people to stay away from the project.

Fort Triumph

Here are updated graphs for Fort Triumph.

The shape of the $20 tier in the backers over time graph is what to pay particular attention to.

The $15 early-bird tier ended on Friday April 21st, so the $20 tier began to be the main reward tier most backers pick. The campaign performed fairly steadily. Friday April 28th (an orange bar in the graphs) had the Wasteland 3 shout-out create a surge. After Friday April 28th the rounding shape shows the campaign slowing down in its Kickstarter trough period.

Kicktraq shows a trend to $56,315 (75%), but remember it does not factor in the last 48 hours surge. BackerTracker shows a trend to $75,987 (101.3%). The way BackerTracker tries to compare similar campaigns, it does factor in final 48 hour surges.

Outbuddies

Outbuddies was fully funded.

Eagle Island

Here are updated graphs for Eagle Island.

£7,467 is currently pledged of (37.33% of the £20,000 goal). There are 450 backers. 50 more backers until 500 total.

The £10 tier saw improved growth on Monday may 1st and Tuesday May 2nd. The £14, £18, £26 and £38 tiers also did better over the last 48 hours. Part of this may be due to the wave of new May projects launching. Part of it could also simply be the traffic improving to the platform after another weekend ended. Part of it could be the release of the demo.

The reward tiers priced at £50 and up have stopped growing, but that can happen even on larger campaigns.

Kicktraq shows a trend to £11,363 (56%). BackerTracker shows £20,765 (103.8%).

Antigraviator

Here are graphs for Antigraviator’s first 6 days.

When I look at the distribution of backers, it looks like a campaign with a decent launch that is about 4 to 6 hours old. This is actually a good thing from the perspective of seeing if the reward tiers are working.

A lack of momentum means Antigraviator looks like a 4 to 6 hours old campaign 6 days into its run. That is the perspective that does not make it look good.

Kicktraq shows a trend to 10,151€ (33%). BackerTracker shows 5,243€ (17.5%).

Some project creators would consider canceling. If you do cancel, one of the best pieces of advice I have for project creators is to make a project update warning backers first. Simply canceling leaves them out of the process. Warning backers means they can give their input and feel more involved.

Antigraviator’s campaign has not stalled. Understand that I watch many poor-quality projects immediately stall out after the first 48 hours. They flatline. Antigraviator has had a poor launch, but it has not flatlined. This is a very important note.

Something to strongly consider is not canceling until the campaign actually stalls out. A stall is more than 3 days with no progress. Why? Because it might actually not stall out due to the quality of the game. It would slowly accumulate backers (probably not enough to get funded) for the rest of the campaign. Any backer accumulated on the first attempt could be a backer that returns on the first day of a second attempt. This would be my recommendation, but my personal bias is towards salvaging campaigns. A team has to think about their own risk-versus-reward for continuing the campaign.

I would strongly suggest continuing to make the occasional project updates while the campaign is active. Project updates and trying to get press takes effort. Your team would need to decide how to pace yourselves. It is still early enough in the campaign’s run to consider another push of effort trying to get the game exposure.

30,000€ is a small enough funding goal to potentially be filled in by a bit more than a decent-sized final surge, but for a final surge to happen there needs to be exposure for the campaign. Exposure has been a big problem so far. Each day the search results for links showed barely any results. I’ve previously discussed that a big problem is frequent backers develop apathy for campaigns that don’t look like they are going to make it.

You could also consider the first attempt as marketing. Backers you accumulate on Kickstarter could be future customers even if the campaign fails. Sometimes it also attracts small publishers (although be very careful of offers received through Kickstarter’s messaging system).

Another reason to keep running the campaign is to use it as a means to get valuable feedback about the game. You would see what people like and what they don’t like. You would see what get responses. Valuable feedback could help iterate the game. It can also be considered practice for having to contact press for the release of the game.

Antigraviator had its 2nd best day for pledges on Wednesday after that Imgur album post.

The post had 118,000 views after 19 hours with 371 comments.

How to make an anti-gravity racing game in 7 easy steps!

118,000 impressions and 20 new backers. That is 9,000 impressions per backer.

If Antigraviator needed about 1,500 backers, that would (jokingly) be 13,500,000 impressions.


Questions or comments about Lobster’s Kickstarter video game analysis?  Jump in the comments below!

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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

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