Here's a fun look at 2 games Mighty No. 9 and 20XX

I used to love the Mega Man games, so it was fun seeing both of these *not* Mega Man games side by side and discussed.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 07/17/2016 at 12:45pm

I'm still interested in playing Mighty No. 9 and maybe picking it up in a steam sale or bundle. I wonder if they will make another one?

scrypt   Supporter wrote on 07/18/2016 at 03:27pm

This is a great video, not just for the comparison between the non-Mega Man games and their spiritual predecessor, but also in showing some of the troublesome nuances with Kickstarter projects and games that are Early Access. While Mighty No. 9 seems to have elements of bait-and-switch (and suffering from it), 20XX is snowballing in a more positive direction. Jack's perspective of what Kickstarter is, and how supporting projects on that platform should be approached, is spot on. It doesn't excuse tricking people into giving you money, but I get the impression that too many people (i.e. backers) view Kickstarter as a sales portal, rather than an investment portal. Contrasting that, with Early Access games, especially on Steam, there are significant warnings about what you are getting, and how it will undoubtedly change over the course of development. During that time, though, you have a thing to play, and test, and submit feedback on. You're paying the devs to beta, or alpha, test their game.

I'm not a huge fan of Mega Man. I forgot which ones I played (probably the first two), though I remember enjoying them well enough. The idea of 20XX, with it's procedural levels and roguelike play, sounds more appealing than Mighty No. 9, but I'll wait until 20XX is more polished, or finished for that matter.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 07/19/2016 at 07:46pm

> I get the impression that too many people (i.e. backers) view Kickstarter as a sales portal, rather than an investment portal.

I'd say it's more like a pre-order system where you invest your money expecting the return to be the thing you put money into supporting. I know projects that simply drop a Kickstarter to handle an initial marketing push and it's not as much about money as it is about marketing and getting the word out.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 07/19/2016 at 07:47pm

That said, money is an important aspect of Kickstarter for sure, it's just that maybe more than it's a huge marketing tool and place to find an audience for your game.

scrypt   Supporter wrote on 07/20/2016 at 02:15am

...expecting the return to be the thing you put money into supporting.

That thing that you are supporting, though, could change drastically, or not get delivered (*9% of successful Kickstarter projects fail to deliver rewards) . That's the difference.

"We want everyone to understand exactly how Kickstarter works — that it’s not a store, and that amid creativity and innovation there is risk and failure." *

I don't know. I don't see Kickstarter as a marketing tool, per se. In fact, it seems that projects that succeed have the bulk of their audience before coming to Kickstarter. Maybe it's the summation of a marketing push, but not the start of it. I'm sure you could use Kickstarter however you want, and people do, as you've said, but they are the outliers. The primary motivator for initiating a Kickstarter project is to get funds. That's the core of the service. If your main reason for being there is to build an audience, I think you might be using it wrong. There are probably more practical (and efficient) ways to do that than with a fundraiser (Facebook, mailing lists, etc.). Otherwise, you're kinda putting the cart before the horse.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 07/20/2016 at 03:32am

Well, I don't support games on Kickstarter because more than half haven't shipped yet and some may not at all. Or way way later than anyone thought.

And I agree that the primary motive seems to be funding. That said, it's still a big way to get an audience you wouldn't have otherwise. The methods you mention work when you have people, but how do you go get them in the first place?

Its hard if your nobody and Kickstarter had lots of eyeballs to that helps a lot. The money more so.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 07/20/2016 at 03:33am

I guess I should clarify, I don't back games or do early access at all anymore. I'd rather play the final thing.

scrypt   Supporter wrote on 07/20/2016 at 03:28pm

The methods you mention work when you have people, but how do you go get them in the first place?

This might be subjective, but all the research I've done (I'm interested in potentially using Kickstarter for my own project) points to building awareness first through social media hubs, personal email campaigns (mailing lists), basic advertising, and so on. Campaign for your project first, then go to crowdfunding. You want people to know what you're about before asking them for money. Building toward a Kickstarter campaign months in advance gives your fans something to look forward to, and that anticipation can perpetuate interest in your project, so that, when the time comes, they have allocated funds and are prepared to invest. Exposing an audience to your project for the first time through Kickstarter, on the other hand, gives them a deadline to invest (While this was initially successful for Comcept with Mighty No. 9, it ultimately lead to buyers remorse with a lot of backers). They may stumble upon it half-way, at which point they only have 15 days or so to decide whether or not they want to support you. Then they start looking through other projects on Kickstarter to see if their money might be better invested on another project (one that is a little more polished, is closer to funding, etc). They have no preexisting interest in your thing, so they face little resistance when clicking over to another page. That's not to say that people won't find you and support you during the fundraising, but I think building steam to that end will yield a much more successful campaign.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 07/20/2016 at 03:38pm

> I think building steam to that end will yield a much more successful campaign.

I agree it does, but in starting from zero, unless you do something I haven't figured out, your starting follower levels are very small and that ticks up over time really slowly. If you find something that grows that more, let me know! Having a platform like Kickstarter can really increase that level considerably, at least in terms of Wick with Starship Rubicon and other Indie games around Portland. In most of the cases I know of they went from obscurity to an actual audience and i've had conversations with local developers that have said Kickstarter is more of a marketing platform than a funding one. That's all entirely subjective experience to be sure, but it's something.

That said, i've seen some very ineffective Kickstarter campaigns that didn't do well at all and starting with some kind of following really does help a lot.

I guess really my point is, in starting from zero, in most cases Kickstarter if effective will net you more of an audience you'd get otherwise due to things i've seen and heard from the local scene. Again, subjective experience but it seems useful.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 07/20/2016 at 03:47pm

Again, not saying funding isn't very important in most cases, just that the marketing part of Kickstarter and having it build your audience is huge.

Wick wrote on 07/20/2016 at 05:29pm

The picture I've started to see is that the internet isn't a big homogeneous mess that you can just "market" to -- it seems like it's more of a big ol' venn diagram of different communities. Ignoring "viral" effects where people share it to different circles themselves, you yourself can push to reach one circle of people through kickstarter. If your project is small enough, that very well could be enough (e.g. my Rubicon campaign). Setting your sights higher requires you to reach more circles (through social media, forums, etc) or increase the percentage of people reached who end up backing (by making your project better:
Scrypt, I think you're right in saying there are pros and cons to trying to build an audience before launch versus after. I like your breakdown of both.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 07/20/2016 at 05:37pm

Yeah, right good point.

scrypt   Supporter wrote on 07/20/2016 at 10:22pm

That's a really interesting article, Wick. Thanks for sharing.

It's certainly nice to be able to read cautionary tales, without having to go through the process. I appreciate the input :).

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