It’s getting harder and harder these days to get an idea off the ground, especially when going through crowdfunding sites. It’s even harder to get press to cover every little game that goes this way. With the exception of the big name projects and specialist sites like Cliqist, few would cover them.
From what I’ve seen over the years, the vast majority of backers come directly through word of mouth. That means backers and fans are doing most of the legwork, outside of the developers themselves, of course. It’s these “unsung heroes” that I want to take a look at in this article.
Even as far back as early 2012, possibly further, we’ve seen backers take to social media to spread the word of projects that they’ve backed. A number of groups have sprung up to get more people to join in. The most notable, to me at least, was what eventually evolved into the Adventure Game Revival Movement. A bunch of adventure game fans banded together to both raise their own pledges as well as to spread the word.
I know that I’ve thrown out links, both through social media as well as several related forums. I’m far from the only one that’s willing to go above and beyond, too. As it’s hard to get press to cover all but the highest profile projects, this is an invaluable asset to the smaller indie titles. I’ve seen comments from people that wouldn’t have known about a project without seeing it posted elsewhere.
When they can get it, articles from gaming sites are important. One reason why most projects aren’t getting press announcements is due to the sheer number that launch daily. It’s hard to cover every little idea that goes live on crowdfunding sites. Some aren’t even worth mentioning at all.
That’s where the fanatical fans come into play. Since news sites can’t or won’t cover every project, it’s up to backers to spread the word. Sometimes people will increase their pledge just a little bit, such as with a number of “pledge drives” that have occurred during the early days. Other times, we’ll see Twitter feeds explode with links to some project or another.
Most games have a hard time attracting backers, for some reason or another. A good number fail to get funded even with hardcore fans rallying behind them. At the same time, games can easily take off with enough publicity from them. I’ve seen some make it just by word of mouth alone, but those are rare. In a perfect world, press would cover every game that comes through Kickstarter or, but it’s not possible.
In the end, crowdfunding is about the fans and their devotion to the projects that they back. A good number of creators have actually mentioned that it’s less about the money and more about developing a following. Money generally comes second, especially for the smaller teams. Those willing to put more time into making sure a games gets realized are the true “unsung heroes” of crowdfunding.