There is a serious amount of work that goes into the planning and ongoing management of a Kickstarter project, warned Stainless Games co-founders today.
Neil Barnden and Patrick Buckland went into detail about their recent Carmageddon Kickstarter during a Develop conference keynote, which came after a long and arduous period of trying to acquire the IP for the game back from SCI, noting that there were a number of obstacles they needed to overcome before the Kickstarter could begin.
For one, Stainless is a UK-based company, while Kickstarter does not currently allow companies outside of the U.S. to start a crowdfunding project via the website. To combat this, the duo set up Stainless Games Inc, a U.S. branch of the company, as a means of tackling Kickstarter legally.
The work then began on planning and preparing the Kickstarter, such as the various reward tiers, and the promotional content they would scatter across the Kickstarter page. Stainless spent a month planning the Kickstarter, said Barnden, focusing on the idea that "a huge amount of attention is needed to keep people interested."
You can't just launch the Kickstarter, then sit back and watch, he said -- rather, you need to keep going during the funding period, and indeed keep going even once the Kickstarter ends, all the way up to when the product is out and beyond.
When it comes to demands from backers on what the content for the game should be, the Stainless duo reasoned that, while you should definitely listen to the consensus, the backers aren't designers, and therefore won't always know what will actually be good for the game.
"If lots of people are asking for something, you definitely consider it," noted Barnden, adding, "they are your fans, but they don't necessarily know what's best."
"It's important that you have complete confidence in your vision."
When it comes to Kickstarter fatigue, Barnden believes that there is "bound to be fatigue" going into the future for the crowdfunding website, and that while there are no signs that it will go away or fail in the future, he does think that "people are going to need a damn good pitch" for a game going forward.
Buckland reasoned that new startups are going to find it tough to get anywhere with a Kickstarter project, as it can be "difficult to get people's trust" to the point where they are willing to throw money at you.
What the Kickstarter model really needs is an evolution, he believes. "People will start failing and getting pissed off -- I'd be terrified to be starting in the industry right now," he added.
A mixture of more common funding strategies and the Kickstarter approach is most likely going to be the way that the model evolves going forward, he said.