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The Almighty Buck Games

How Game Developers Turn Kickstarter Failure Into Success 30

Nerval's Lobster writes When you ask random strangers on the Internet to give you money, there are no guarantees. That's true in almost any scenario, including when video game developers use Kickstarter to crowdfund the creation of a game. While 3,900 or so games have been funded on Kickstarter, more than 7,200 game projects failed to hit their goal. Within those two numbers are some people who fall into both categories: developers who failed to get funding on their first try, but re-launched campaigns and hit their goals. Jon Brodkin spoke with a handful of those indie game developers who succeeded on their second try; many of them used the momentum (and fans) from the first attempt to get a head start on funding the second, and one even adjusted his entire plan based on community feedback. But succeeding the second time also depended on quite a bit of luck.
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How Game Developers Turn Kickstarter Failure Into Success

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  • by war4peace ( 1628283 ) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @02:43PM (#47722823)

    "If at first you don't succeed..."
    But the fact that 7200 games failed to hit their goal doesn't mean anything by itself. Maybe they were horrible at "selling" their idea, or had unrealistic financial goals, or kickstarted too soon, etc.

    • You mean an "Overnight Success" really isn't overnight?
    • by Anrego ( 830717 ) *

      Any startup is risky for sure. To get money from traditional funding sources, you need to have all your ducks in a row, a well developed plan, and convince a lender (who is usually pretty damn good at risk assessment) that you've got a shot. Even then, success is only moderately likely.

      Kickstarter doesn't even have the barrier of convincing some suit that you might be able to make money. You have to convince regular people, who don't have the same skepticism as say a bank, although I think this has been and

      • A lot of these kickstarted projects aren't from "startup" companies. Some are companies with products behind them already, they just want a different funding source, not be dependent upon some big name publisher calling the shots, and make a game that's their own with their name up front.

      • Kickstarter is a sham. You're supposed to get equity when funding. "Backing" is just giving free money to strangers.

    • by kuzb ( 724081 )

      ...or their game just plain sucked.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      But the fact that 7200 games failed to hit their goal doesn't mean anything by itself. Maybe they were horrible at "selling" their idea, or had unrealistic financial goals, or kickstarted too soon, etc.

      Or too ambitious.

      I participated in two projects that had four kickstarters - two failed, two succeeded. Each project had one failed (the first one) and one success, on the same project.

      The difference was easy - the failed ones were too ambitious - too much pie in the sky and too broad a scope. So when they fa

  • by Joe Gillian ( 3683399 ) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @02:54PM (#47722913)

    Most of the failed gaming kickstarters never would've made it to production anyway. Retsupurae did an excellent series of these titled "Kickstarter Nonstarters", which showcased a bunch of kickstarters that failed to make funding. They included:

    - A horrible 3D version of the hentai game Monster Girl Quest (the fact that the subtitle is "Lose and you get raped! should tell you everything you need to know, though it does have a pretty interesting plot).. that is also sanitized of porn. The guy who was proposing it made a video (creepily enough) with his wife and 6 year old son in it.

    - A "remake" of Chrono Trigger, made by a guy claiming to be a former Square-Enix employee. Apart from the obvious problem of this guy not owning the rights to Chrono Trigger, there was also the fact that he clearly hadn't worked for Squaresoft in the 1990s because the entire thing was made in RPG Maker.

    - A city-builder game made by a guy who had zero credentials and no clear programming expertise. The only thing he had to show off at the time his kickstarter went up were a couple of amateur-quality models he made in Blender.

    There are hundreds of these that go up. Even if they made funding, most of them would be slapped down immediately by a C&D letter, and I wouldn't doubt if a large percentage of those failed kickstarters are ones like this.

    • by Anrego ( 830717 ) *


      Kickstarter recently(ish) stopped screening projects, so now there are even more completely ridiculous projects with no hope of producing anything viable.

      Here's a really sad one from a guy who clearly has a mental disability: []

      • by phorm ( 591458 )

        And yet... funded at $504 (of $500).
        Maybe people felt it was easier than donating directly to help the guy out, but still...

        • by Anrego ( 830717 ) *

          Most of the funding didn't go through (I'm guessing some jackass used a prepaid visa card and drained it before the funding period was over), so he actually only got like $76 or so.

          I suspect most people funded the guy so they could poke fun at him in the comments, which I guess is one way of raising money.

        • Yeah, but he had a cute cat. Maybe the backers just wanted to make sure it remained fed for the forseeable future...

      • by vux984 ( 928602 )

        Or a kid's first attempt at a project... backed by his family... who knows.

    • by phorm ( 591458 )

      OCRemix initially made a kickstarter for an FFVI music remix. Initially they ran into legal issues with Squaresoft, but apparently sorted that out and then successfully funded the second incarnation.

      If a third-party can successfully garner funds and create a prototype, I wonder how many of the big entities would be willing to license such projects for a cut of the profits at the end?

  • Wasn't the Atari 7200 a complete failure too?

This process can check if this value is zero, and if it is, it does something child-like. -- Forbes Burkowski, CS 454, University of Washington