With Kickstarter announcing their entrance into the Nordic markets earlier this month, crowdfunding has never been hotter. As such, Thursday evening’s Spilbar in Viborg, Denmark, was spot-on with its focus on how to run a successful crowdfunding campaign for a game.
Up until recently, if you wanted to run a Kickstarter campaign from any Nordic country, you would need to have a contact in one of the few countries that Kickstarter actually supported, and then have that person receive and afterwards transfer the crowdfunded money to your own bank account. Luckily, this has not kept Nordic game developers from using Kickstarter, and during the Spilbar event yesterday, three speakers were on stage to talk about their experiences with using Kickstarter as a game developer.
First up was Casper Friis Farsøe from Copenhagen, Denmark. As a previous programmer at Logic Artists, he ran a kickstarter campaign for their game “ Expeditions: Conquistador” back in September 2012. The project got successfully funded with $77,247 pledged. Throughout his presentation, Casper focused on 2 controversial statements regarding Kickstarter that he believed in. The first being that “Kickstarter is terrible for acquiring a lot of money. In most cases, it’s really bad for receiving funding.”. He supported this statement with an analysis of the various Danish game projects that have been on Kickstarter, where he found that the average successful Kickstarter project received no more than approximately $30,000 in total.
The second controversial statement was that “Kickstarter is primarily a PR/Marketing tool. It is a nice place to get some buzz going for your game”. This of course, is to be understood in contrast to the view many have on Kickstarter as a viable funding platform.
The powerpoint presentation used by Casper Friis Farsøe is available as a download right here.
Second on stage was Emil Larsen from Sun Tzu Games. Back in October 2013, their latest game, Burning Suns, reached 200% of its target goal with a total of $146,019 funded through Kickstarter. In his talk, Emil Larsen shared some very insightful and inspiring details on how their first Kickstarter campaign actually had failed, reaching only 88% of its goal. Instead of giving up, however, Emil Larsen tried again 4 months later, where the game successfully reached 224% of its goal!
“I took my failure and thought: How can I improve this? If you want to use Kickstarter as a viable business option, you have to be honest about what you need and what your goal is. So I double the amount I needed, and people took it much more serious”, Emil Larsen explains.
During the remainder of his presentation, Emil Larsen focused primarily on busting Kickstarter myths, such as “Kickstarter is free”. This myth was busted, as Emil Larsen explains that, as a rule of thumb, you should at least expect 12% of your funded money to be wasted on fees etc. Another busted myth was “Kickstarter takes up all your spare time”, to which he jokingly answered that “No, it takes a lot more!”.
For more information on the statistics and setup of the Burning Suns Kickstarter campaign, check out the “Kickstarter Study” page on the Sun Tzu Games website.
Luke Spierewka from Poland was the third developer on stage. His game, Super Hot, successfully reached 250% of its target goal back in June 2014, with an astonishing $250,798 pledged by the Kickstarter community. One thing the Super Hot team spent quite some time on before launching their Kickstarter campaign, was an analysis of previous successful and failed campaigns.
The idea was to find a single formula explaining what you should do to create a successful Kickstarter campaign. However, as Luke explains, “We haven’t been able to find anything like this. Unfortunately. What actually did work out, however, was that after having analyzed a lot of different campaigns, we started instinctively becoming aware of how we should plan the campaign”. The problem is, he continued, “that ever single Kickstarter campaign is unique”.
Once the speakers had answered a few questions from the crowd, the rest of the evening ended off in the best way possible: with networking, sandwiches, and free beer for everyone.
Read more about: Last SpilBar, where the subject was “To Team or Not To Team”