Welcome to our weekly feature, “Question Of The Week.” As you can tell from that entirely original title each week we pose a question to our panel and they chime in with their opinions. No one sees one another’s responses until the story is posted, so each contributors thoughts are their own. Responses are posted in no particular order.
And remember, as with all editorials, the views expressed in this editorial are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Cliqist.com.
The question of the week for the week of 4/13/14 is :
Is it fair or appropriate for developers to start Kickstarter campaigns solely as a way to market their game?
This is a pretty tough question to answer because it requires us to be certain Kickstarters were created with the sole purpose of marketing in mind. I mean, how can we really know? Of course, sometimes it feels more apparent and in those events it seems innately unfair. After all, Kickstarter was made to get ideas off the ground, not as a new means of pure advertising. It feels especially problematic when there are tons of great projects lacking in funding that will disappear once they fail to achieve their goals. Since a marketer’s main goal is attention-seeking and clicks they don’t have nearly as much on the line.
If a game developer doesn’t need the support of Kickstarter, all they’re doing there is taking attention and funds away from projects that do need it. All Kickstarters are made to market the game to some extent, but campaigns that are created solely to create buzz are exploiting the ability to reach out in a way that damages the crowdfunding economy. If you need more cash to accomplish your dreams, come to Kickstarter. If you have all the money you need but just want attention, go somewhere else and let Kickstarter be what it was originally meant to be – a place for small game developers to bring big ideas to life.
Tyler Colp via Bit Pulse
The greatest and scariest part about Kickstarter is its lack of strict guidelines for how to run a campaign. The projects could be small, they could be large, they could be a hoax, or they could be for a game that you might not even realize is out there when the developer releases it under an unknown name. Almost anything goes for Kickstarter, so having a campaign to market your game doesn’t seem to break any rules. Maybe it does. That’s the other thing about Kickstarter. It’s healthy to see what works and what doesn’t work. It’s how we’ll understand the service’s limits. We should have the discussion about whether marketing counts as part of the development process of the game and whether or not you’d be okay giving a developer money to market their game. Not everyone has access to EA’s marketing team. Small developers have to do everything themselves. So, yes, it’s fair to run a Kickstarter campaign to market your game. At least, until someone says it’s not.
Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform, there to help people raise money for whatever they need it for. Check out the “What Is Kickstarter” section, the first thing it says is “Kickstarter is a new way to fund creative projects.” If someone starts a campaign to help raise money so that they can afford proper marketing then I don’t see an issue with it. However, starting a campaign with the sole purpose of getting publicity makes my blood boil, it goes against the stated purpose of the site. There are plenty of ways to market your game for free without taking other peoples’ money, or taking eyes from other projects. While marketing Kickstarter campaigns aren’t against any rules, it’s definitely against the spirit of the site, and an un-cool thing to do.
Charlotte “Charlie” Humphries
Marketing is about reaching out to as many as people as possible and saying “look at this thing! You want this thing because of these benefits you’ll receive!” Using Kickstarter as a marketing platform just gives developers a step-up in reaching that audience. A means to an end, I’d say.
However, I can see why people may be unimpressed with a sole marketing campaign on Kickstarter, because the original idea around the platform was to give projects a kick start and by not using it for that purpose, does it just become a glorified forum?
Thanks to everyone that participated! Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments. Be sure to let us know if you have any questions you’d like us to answer in future editions of Question of the Week! be sure to check out some of our previous editions as well.
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