[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]he holiday season is over: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and Valentine’s Day. You can even argue that Halloween is a part of the bunch. What do they all have in common? Creating a frame of time when many crowdfunding campaigns fail! But what if the game is good, the pitch persuasive, and the buzz positive? Campaigns have still failed, as seen with Kriophobia, Formicarium, and Johnny Rocketfingers. If you’re an indie game developer thinking of crowdfunding your game this year, make sure you do it before the end of the year. Here are four reasons you should heed our warning:


1 – People have less money!

Formicarium is Like a Modern version of Will Wright's SimAnt and it's on Kickstarter
Formicarium failed to convince people to part with the little expendable income they had left in the holidays.

This is short and sweet (and quite frankly: obvious!) During the holidays, people are spending their cash on gifts, outfits, travel, and heck, candy. Because of that, potential backers lack expendable cash. This brings me to my next point—

2 – “Quick” does NOT equal “instant.”

Let’s say people DO buy the occasional thing for themselves while shopping. I do it! Who can resist all those deals? But what comes with that is a yearning for the now. When we buy some cool goodie, we want to enjoy it as soon as possible. Crowdfunding campaigns aren’t about that. They are promises for the future. Even if you can get a quick turn-around, chances are, if you can’t get your game out to backers before the holidays, you’re better off avoiding that promise.

3 – High competition for visibility.

When I say this, I don’t mean on crowdfunding sites, but rather, the Internet at large. There are lots of things competing for people’s attention during this time. Cyber sales, charity campaigns, clever holiday products—so much is out there pulling people away from your campaign. Spending too much money on ads is sort of counterintuitive to the whole “raising money” thing, and even when you have influential sources singing your praises you can still get lost in the noise.

Johnny Rocketfingers failed despite good press due to a large funding goal.
Johnny Rocketfingers failed despite good press due in part to a large funding goal.

4 – “Large funding goals” take on new meaning.

Okay, okay. So you have to fund during the holidays. Well guess what? You don’t have to do it all at once! I’ve seen several holiday campaigns attempt to do an all-or-nothing style, and usually they end up with nothing at all. We have stated it before here on Cliqist, but multiple campaigns are effective. It isn’t as if holiday campaigns don’t get any backers. They do. But you’re far more likely to get things going if you keep your funding goals modest and realistic during the holidays. And remember—what might have been manageable during spring and summer might be harder to do during the end of the year.


Now there are often other reasons that campaigns fail. Sometimes, it can be a game developer’s reputation (or lack thereof). It could be because of lackluster backer rewards, a poor game concept, or an incoherent campaign write-up. But campaigns like Kriophobia, Formicarum, and Johnny Rocketfingers failed primarily for the reasons listed above. Heed our warning! Avoid campaigning during the holidays.

Amanda French
Amanda French first cut her gaming teeth by playing such classics as Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Super Mario World at the ripe age of four. From there spawned a lifelong love of video games, particularly narrative heavy adventures and open world games. A creative writing graduate of Full Sail University, Amanda writes fiction novels in her spare time. You can find her work at the Independent Author Network under the pseudonym, Illise Montoya. Amanda’s all-time favorite games include Dragon Age: Origins, Fallout 2, and Tekken 5. She lives on the California coast with her husband and young baby son.
Amanda French