Xsolla analyzed the games financed through Kickstarter and found out why many well-known developers prefer to find money through crowd funding platforms. It appears that users’ votes are more valuable than money right now.
Kickstarter allows to sort all games by the amount of money they gathered. There are about 8 000 of games which gathered millions of dollars. Among them there are indie-platformers from unknown developers and high-budgetААА-shooters, simulators and RPGs from the biggest names in the industry.
Take a look at a Kickstarter juggernaut Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues. This project is being developed under careful guidance of Richard Garriot. He is the creator of one of the most successful games in human history — Ultima Online. Two years before Shroud of the Avatar Garriot got a huge compensation from his former employer NCsoft. He received over $28 million. Garriot had a pretty big fortune before that, which allowed him to buy a ticket to a space station and become a real astronaut. All in all he probably had enough money to finance Shroud of the Avatar all by himself. However in 2013 Portalarium, Inc. started a crowdfunding campaing on Kickstarter.
Over 22 000 users pledged $2 million. But for Garriot money was the secondary goal. He used Kickstarter as a marketing tool that allowed to figure out the potential demand and the clients’ ability to pay. Shroud of the Avatar was supported only by a small number of people (if you compare 22 000 to other games by Garriot, which had millions of players), but Kickstarter helped to shape this community and help to turn crowd funding project into a crowd sourcing initiative. Many gamers helped developers with their own content which they gave without expecting to get any benefits.
Warhorse Studios had the same goal when developers started their new Kickstarter campaign. Chech developers said that they were developing their new product Kingdom Come: Deliverance (RPG with cool graphics and authentic fighting system) for about a year. This is a big budget title that has already burned through a million dollars. At Kickstarter Warhorse asked for another £300k.
“Our investor is strong and capable of funding the complete development of our project. But he does not follow the game industry very closely, and needs proof that publishers and marketers are wrong about our game — that you are indeed interested in a mature, medieval RPG that emphasizes freedom and authenticity. And so we stand, as a studio, at a crossroads. Either those naysayers are right, and there truly is no desire for the game we are making, or we are right. Either way, we think Kickstarter is a great way to find out,” — explain developers in their pitch.
This gamble paid off. During the first two days of the campaign Warhorse Studios managed to get the required sum. The company slowly growed its Kickstarter fund to £580k and with 18 days left we expect the game to earn about 2 million USD. Not to shabby for a game that doesn’t really need money.
“There was always a lot of marketing around Kickstarter. Developers prepared the legend of this crowd funding service, gathered a nice press-kit, organized a media-platform. Right now we have a whole new market with journalists and bloggers who only write about Kickstarter-projects.
I’ve personally had a chance to talk to representatives of some media-agencies that assist in Kickstarter campaigns. Appearing on this platform becomes a PR-signal which generates a huge amount of information
However right now it’s getting harder and harder to get attention to your project on Kickstarter. To succeed you need a beautiful story, which will make people sympathize with your studio”, — says COO Nika Entertainment Tanja Evdokimenko.
Kickstarter is quickly turning into a marketing platform. This is the ideal place to announce your project and spread the word about it. Later you can continue gathering funds for your game using your website with an additional paybar. Shroud of the Avatar and Star Citizen (37+ million budget) have already proved this point.