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 8/10/14 is :
Whats the most common, or annoying, mistake you see developers make in their Kickstarter campaigns?
Most common crowdfunding mistake? It’s simple – release dates! Estimating release dates is horribly hard for anyone to do most of the time. I mean, just look at how often triple A tiles end up getting delayed. Many developers on Kickstarter are working on their first game together and likely don’t really know the time it will take to finish their project. Or, you know, if they end up getting tons more money than expected that could push them to create beyond their initial expectations and further extend the development period. Of course, Kickstarter requires release windows on its various tiers but project heads should set far off dates. That way, they are less likely to have to write up a much-hated “delay” announcement.
There are a few things that drive me insane about Kickstarter, actually, be it rampant unoriginality or beating the proverbial dead horse a bit too much (“love letters to the genre” and “zombies” respectively), but there’s one thing that studios consistently manage to do that hurts both them and their backers. They underestimate the costs of development. They keep their budget as small as possible (to make their funding goal more realistic) and make extremely optimistic plans and predictions, and when the money runs out, the studio has to either cancel the game or find more money, two options that turn reasonable backers into entitled crybabies who don’t know the difference between a pledge and a preorder.
Sometimes you come across a Kickstarter that seems really nice at first, but when you read further, it all seems too good to be true. A lot of promises are being made and it’s all just a little bit too much. Some game developers have big ideas and make many promises to get more backers only to realize that they can’t keep up with their word, it’s a pity.
Another thing you see is that the focus of the Kickstarter campaign is not really on the game at all, but more on the people behind it. It’s good thing to let your backers know who you are, but in the end it is all about the game you are trying to make and less about yourself.
Charlotte “Charlie” Humphries
The most annoying mistake is when developers don’t keep posting updates, don’t keep their backers in the loop about what’s going on. Communication is key, and by not communicating with your potential players, sometimes it feels like you’ve run off with the money and aren’t giving anything back in return.
I love being hassled by constant updates about bug fixes, new scenes, materials, tools etc. I love being integrated into a game before its release so when I finally get my sticky hands on it, it feels familiar and I can jump straight in. Give me that over a single, sprawling post any day.
Most annoying mistake? When developers forget to include shipping cost in their tiers. It is understandable since a lot of project creators are new to Kickstarter but man, does that cause confusion and delay!
The other annoying thing developers do is not use free survey tools to quickly judge the mood of the backers, there are quick and free survey temples available online that creators can use to consult backers, yet I rarely see projects use them. Thinking about adding another tier? Want to remove an add-on due to low interest? Then rather than going back and forth with multiple backers over weeks just put out a survey and let everyone see the results.
Ahmad is currently a guest contributor to Cliqist, look for more content from him in the future.
There’s a lot of mistakes that people make in their Kickstarter campaigns, but it seems like the most preventable one is not communicating enough. This goes for a lack of updates and comments section engagement during the campaign, as well as a lack of updates afterwards. It kills me to see developers send out a minimal number of cold and non-engaging updates throughout the campaign, and then go radio silent as soon as its over; it’s a behavior that doesn’t exact instill backers with confidence.
Have a question you’d like our panel to answer? Post it below, or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your toughest crowdfunding questions! If you’d like to check out some of our previous Questions Of The Week., then go right ahead!
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