By Lauren Presser, Producer
So, big news! We’ve decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund the final Alpha development sprints for Cone Wars, our multiplayer ice cream truck turf wars game for PC and Mac.
As we put together our Kickstarter plan, we’ll publish relevant thoughts here (*internal scream*) – just as we do with our development updates.
We know so many of you have gone through the same process and even more are probably in the same stage as we are, so we’d love to pick your brain. If you have any tips, advice or feedback on our approach, get in touch. We’ll make sure to be as transparent as possible and share all of our learnings with the community.
We’re hoping this will help us release the best, most insanely fun version of Cone Wars to you as fast as possible…. and help other indie studios do the same.
Our Kickstarter FAQs
Over the past few weeks we’ve been doing a ton of research on Kickstarter campaigns that have both succeeded and failed in all genres. We felt presenting these findings in a FAQ helped us to answer our team’s questions and focus on key learnings.
Why are we running a Kickstarter campaign?
We want to raise enough money to fund the Alpha development of our PC game Cone Wars, which is currently in prototype form.
How do publishing platforms fit in?
While we will take Cone Wars to the Steam Greenlight community and want to publish on Itch.io, it’s important for us to test market fit and generate revenue to develop the game further so we can make sure we’re releasing a solid Alpha. We also hope Kickstarter will help us to develop stronger relationships with the PC community before pitching it on these platforms.
What are the top lessons we’ve learned from others?
- Building a relevant and supportive community is vital
- Share your passion, tell your unique story
- Know your audience: who will back, who will play, where they are online and how to reach them
- Gameplay is everything: backers want to see what they’re going to get
- Keep backer rewards simple
- Find your campaign goal sweet spot: not too unrealistic, but not reliant upon stretch goals
- Keep content clear, concise and interesting
- Don’t lose your personality in polish! People connect with real people :)
- People are generous: ask for feedback and advice on your game and Kickstarter campaign
- Spend time building relevant media and influencer relationships
- Don’t approach media until you can give them something to play
- Respond to every question and comment regarding the campaign
- Publish community updates frequently while the campaign is running (about every two days)
- Tell people politely what you’d like them to do; don’t be shy!
- Be honest and realistic with your community from the get-go
- Every campaign is different – don’t freak out if it’s not hitting milestones like other campaigns have done in the past
- Friends are amazing assets to have. Treat them accordingly
What are the risks of running a Kickstarter? I’m nervous.
- We don’t hit our target
- We find out that people don’t like our game in its current state
What if we don’t hit our target or we find out our game sucks!? *heavy breathing*
Failing first time around on a Kickstarter is not as uncommon as we think. Of course, we want to do everything to hit our target, but if we don’t we need to ask ourselves.
- Is there market need/fit for the game?
- Are we presenting the game in its best light?
- Do we need to go back and improve elements of the game?
- Are we talking to the right people? Did we even reach them?
If worst comes to worst, we will fail first time around with the experience of running a campaign under our belts and will have built on our existing community. Bring on round two!
What does our success rely upon?
Based on all of the above, a successful campaign:
- Presents a unique and interesting product
- Identifies its target audience and finds efficient ways of connecting with them
- Drives a high level of traffic to its Kickstarter campaign page (obvious, but important)
- Convinces people that the product will be a success and they need to get on board
- Requries a huge amount of support from friends, family and community
- Requries an ‘all hands on deck’ approach from the team working on the game
What else do we need to consider before launching?
- Campaign financial target
- Length of the campaign
- Time of year you’re launching
- The average donation of your target audience (to calculate outreach efforts)
- How much effort it will require to fulfill rewards
- Kickstarter’s cut (5%)
- Tax: we’ll need to pay tax on funds received and we can deduct costs incurred relating to the campaign
So there you have it! We’ll be publishing more updates here and on conewars.com in preparation for our Kickstarter launch. Wish us luck If you have any thoughts or suggestions, hit us up on Twitter: @glitchers.
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Check out the teaser trailer + more at conewars.com
A few articles we’ve found helpful this week: