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10 Tips For Raising Funds With Kickstarter For Indie Game Developers
by Stephen Dick on 05/04/11 06:46:00 pm   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


Starting out as an indie game developer is hard! Ridiculously hard! But it doesn’t have to be. Web 2.0 has brought us many new ways to waste... I mean spend our time: Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Reddit... However, this newly interconnected and social internet has also opened up new and exciting avenues for small startup developers and young game designers! I’m talking about Crowd Funding!

The crowd funding revolution has begun, as a recent Gamasutra feature has pointed out. We believe that places like Kickstarter are going to become hugely popular and important for startup game developers in the very near future, if it isn't already! They provide a way for fans to give back and support your development, they provide free market research, free community building, and getting funding through them is infinitely easier than seeking out venture capital and traditional investors. It's a very exciting platform to test out because there is literally nothing to loose and everything to gain!

Here at Bravado Waffle Studios, we are turning to Kickstarter to raise needed development funds for our debut game RoboArena inspired by classic games like RoboRally, X-Com, and RoboSport. You can learn more about the project and help support it here: RoboArena Kickstarter Campaign

Here’s a list of the top 10 tips we’ve gathered from researching and interviewing successful Kickstarter campaign managers:

1. A video is a MUST- Having a good quality video increases your chances to succeed massively. A picture is worth a thousand words, so show your fans what you’ve got!

2. Polish your presentation- The more polished your presentation is, the more likely people will watch the entire thing. The more honed your pitch, is the more likely they will be moved to donate. The more momentum you can build this way, the better of a chance you will have at getting media coverage and featured on the front page of Kickstarter!

3. Tell a story- Kickstarters often donate to the person just as much as the project, so be likable, be funny, be memorable, and tell them your story. People love to laugh, so make them laugh, make them like you as much as you make them like your project!

4. Set reasonable funding goals- Kickstarter is all or nothing, so be reasonable in what you need! Nobody likes to feel like they are being scammed, so be transparent as well, and tell your supporters exactly how their funds will help your project.

5. Make your rewards and pledge tiers appeal to your potential supporters- Everybody likes swag and cool rewards for their support, so think about who will be supporting you  from the $1 tier to the $1000 tier. Think about what you can give each to entice them to pledge by putting yourself in their shoes, this will enhance the likelihood that they will donate to the cause. It is all about exchanging value with your audience, find ways to do this and you will succeed!

6. Study successful AND unsuccessful campaigns- This should go without saying. Study up, see what works and what doesn’t for your particular field. Find things you like in successful campaigns and adapt them to your own, and see what didn't work at all and avoid it like the plague. Don't just stick to the gaming campaigns either, look around at other successful campaigns and see how they promoted, pitched, and rewarded their supporters. You will learn a lot!

7. Use your Updates to personally thank your pledgers- Kickstarter is all about building a community of fans and supporters, so talk with them! Thank them! Be their new best friend and make them feel a part of something bigger! This way, even if you don't get funded, you will have established a dialog with your fan base and that is some of the most valuable marketing you can do!

8. Find your fans and get the campaign in front of them- Right now success on Kickstarter is often determined by how much outreach the campaign managers do. So find your fans, find your market, and get your story in front of them in any way possible. Often you may need to look outside your normal audience to find funding as well, think about ways you can get your story out there and in local newspapers, on blogs, and other places to draw in more supporters.

9. Give and you shalt receive- The Kickstarter community is a friendly bunch, so be active in the community and they will return the favor.

10. If at first you don’t succeed... try try again- Kickstarter is only one of many crowd funding platforms, if you fail at first, hone your pitch and try again! Be sure to include a link to your new campaign before your Kickstarter campaign runs out since after that, you can no longer edit the home page.

There's many more tips out there for running a crowd funding campaign, but these top 10 should get you thinking in the right direction. We guarantee that no matter what, it will be an incredibly exciting and very educational experience! I know it has been for us!

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Cordero W
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Thanks for the tip. I'll likely be using the site in the future for my projects.

Stephen Dick
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My best suggestion is to not give up, keep promoting your Kickstarter campaign through the entire duration. There are two peaks in the funding cycle usually- at the beginning of a campaign and at the end. In the middle is a valley where good projects go to die. Don't let despair or disappointment slow you down during this time.

We are dead center in the valley right now, and let me tell you it's disheartening. But pushing through it gets your name out there and will hopefully keep attracting people to pledge towards the end.

Luis Blondet
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I was able to secure funding for my game using both and and raise more than $4k, not bad for someone that has never made a game before ;)

My strategy was to use Kickstater because of its popularity, and then IndieGoGo to reach out to non-USA funders, then I would raise funds in the physical world and referred them to the site as part of the pitching process and just let anyone I didn't know just happen to stumble upon it.

I liked IndieGoGo better than Kickstarter. In Kickstarter, you have to meet or surpass your goal in order to get paid, while IndieGoGo let's you keep whatever you raise. Also, IndieGoGo gives you some metrics to help you tweak your marketing, it also gives you a basic HTML editor. Kickstarter doesn't give you any of that. Finally, my project was picked to be in the Featured section in IndieGoGo, perhaps because of all the traffic and funds I was bringing in while pitching my project. Kickstarter in the other hand gave my project subsequent bumps due to traffic and funds raised...however, something weird started happening halfway through; even though I was raising funds and attracting traffic, my project started to stall and even sink towards the end in comparison to other projects that were not even raising as much! I think this is because Kickstarter is very arbitrary. You must be personally approved by an admin in order to be able to post and they tend to cherry pick projects that they want to be ranked higher.

I was really shocked when a board game based on the Mafia was featured over my game that is based on seamless education of ancient history. Do not expect for Kickstarter to help you at all if they don't like your project and do not expect to be ranked higher either.

I still will use both, or any and all available funding channels, for my next project, but the main landing page will be IndieGoGo instead of Kickstarter.

I still have my old pages up, if you would like to see how I did it, it may help you form a better strategy for your own fund raising;

Kickstarter -

IndieGoGo -

I hope this info helps someone. We indies need to help one another. Good luck.

Stephen Dick
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Very impressive! How did you go about "raising funds in the physical world" and referring them to the sites?

Luis Blondet
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Well, i talked to friends, family and connections to raise funds and then redirect them to the site to pledge, since i had to do this anyway it made sense to put the project in the public stage with these sites. The result was that i also got funding from strangers because they saw others also backing the project.

Tora Teig
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Thanks for this, Stephen! I'm now going to spend the remainder of this day searching through Kickstarter for fun projects!

Stephen Dick
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Say goodbye to your day... and your paycheck.

Matt Glanville
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I'm running a campaign on IndieGoGo because Kickstarter don't currently support projects based outside the US. I've found it very easy to use and the promise of keeping the funds I raise it very appealing too.

The two main tips I have for new starters is:

1. Be prepared to do most of the advertisement yourself. You don't get nearly enough traffic through the website itself, especially not in the Games category. You will need to be very active in promoting your game.

2. Set a realistic goal. I know this is echoing what was said above but I've come to realise that the goal I set is just absurd and I will probably not even reach the half-way point. On IndieGoGo, this means you lose a slightly higher percentage of your funding to the middleman. I think it's better to set a low goal to allow you to meet the bare essentials and make people aware of what you would do with any extra funding to make your game even better.

Here's my project for those interested:

Stephen Dick
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You know, I agree. A lower funding goal is probably a better idea. It doesn't look like we will be reaching our funding goal either on Kickstarter. Not for a lack of trying though. It's been a crazy month, and I'm exhausted from trying to get the word out. We've gone from unknown to having a small but loyal fan base though, so that's a win for us. Maybe we'll see some pledges coming in towards the end of the campaign.