OPINION: Spotting a Bad Game Crowdfunding Campaign

Friday, May 12th, 2017

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Disclaimer: The thoughts and opinions expressed in the following article are solely those of the author and not oprainfall as a whole.

Ever helped crowdfund a game? Ever avoided it because of the negative stigma generated by certain past projects? Dozens of projects come and go, but which ones deserve support and which ones don’t? And no, the answer isn’t “none of them.” It’s easy to forget there tend to be far more successes than failures (at least on Kickstarter) because, to be blunt, a project doing exactly what it said it would isn’t newsworthy, is it?

As a regular backer who’s dodged some bullets and been hit by others over the years, I have some advice on what to look for so you don’t end up throwing money at any projects with anime girls, cats, explosions, or anime cat girls in front of explosions in the preview image. On the flip side, anyone thinking of crowdfunding their own game should also consider the following when structuring their own campaign.

Crowdfunding

Why make the money if you can’t enjoy spending it responsibly?

Before we begin, I must make two things clear. First off, crowdfunding a video game is not the same as buying it from a store. It’s less everyday consumerism and more an act of philanthropy. You’re paying, reward tiers aside, for the game’s existence more than the game itself. The “rewards” or “perks” associated with it are not pre-order bonuses. You’re not buying a finished game from a store with a 30-day return policy as much as you are investing in its potential. As such, don’t expect your refund requests a year or three after the fact to be taken seriously if you don’t like the finished product.

Second, not all of the advice below applies to every project. Some projects break some “rules” while going above and beyond with others to make up for it. Sometimes a game’s crowdfunding campaign can hit all the right notes and still end up as hot garbage for a myriad of reasons, not all of them under the creator’s control. There is risk inherent in backing any project and, while that risk can’t be eliminated entirely, it can be mitigated with a little due diligence.

Get it? Got it? Good! Let’s dive right in.

#1 – The Eye Test

Sometimes you can just tell at a glance that something is a bad idea. A term commonly used in sports, a player passes the eye test by doing more than what they’re asked or otherwise standing out beyond what shows up in their statistics. The eye test can apply to many other things, including crowdfunding projects.

Is the description written and formatted in a way that’s easy to read and find additional information? Is it clear what the game is and how it will play? Does the project have a demo available? These three points are key for helping people decide whether or not to back a project solely based on what the campaign page shows. Several crowdfunded indie titles, including games like Undertale, Freedom Planet, Neverending Nightmares, STASIS, and the still-developing Indivisible had playable demos to show what their end product would be like.

crowdfunding

Lisa: The Painful added and updated an equally painful demo during its Kickstarter campaign.

Other questions to ask include:

Is the campaign page missing any sort of video? If it has a trailer, is there a screen recorder software watermark plastered across it? Does it include very little game footage or gameplay? Does the video preview and/or main image look like it was made in five minutes in Microsoft Paint, five seconds in Photoshop, or five stock image searches? Are there a lot of typos? Is the project description one giant, rambling, nonsensical wall of text or, conversely, only a few nondescript sentences long? Does the funding goal seem unreasonably high or low for what’s being shown? And last but not least, does the game look… off?

If you said yes to several of the above questions, strongly consider saving your money. This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people back projects with more warning signs around them than the average nuclear reactor. The amount of care put into how the campaign page looks is often a reflection of the amount of care put into whatever is being campaigned for.

#2 – Fixed Funding vs. Flexible Funding

A fixed funding project is all-or-nothing, only collecting pledges if the funding goal is hit. Flexible funding projects can still collect pledges even without hitting its goal by the campaign’s end, albeit usually with a bigger cut of said money going to the site host. Kickstarter simplifies this in that every project is fixed funding, but places like Indiegogo let creators choose which type of funding to use, so make sure you know which type of funding a campaign selected.

Generally speaking, fixed funding projects are a lower risk. If the project isn’t fully funded, you don’t pay anything. Flexible funding campaigns for video games run a higher risk of raising some funds, but not nearly enough to come close to their goals. On Indiegogo specifically, one report suggested that only 9.3 percent of all their hosted projects hit their funding goals, and 80 percent didn’t manage to reach a quarter of their funding goals. Everyone loses in the latter case because making one-fourth of a video game typically isn’t an option, much less fulfilling all the other various perks for backers.

crowdfunding

So… what now?

There are, of course, exceptions. Some projects clearly state that development will proceed regardless of how the campaign goes, or that the money is for additional content to an already-existing title. Skullgirls held one such campaign for additional characters and stages. Yatagarasu Attack on Cataclysm explained in their flexible funding campaign that anything they raised would speed up the development process and add extra characters and features. It certainly helped that the team behind the game had prior experience on other titles. That brings us to…

#3 – The Who

Who are the people behind this project? What are their roles on the development team? Lead programmer, character designer, motivational speaker, what do they do? Have they worked on any other titles and, if so, which, and in what capacity? Less risky projects do all they can to answer these questions, though I’d still recommend double-checking to make sure no one is stretching the truth, either about what someone worked on or if they’re really involved with the project at all. And for the record, having a celebrity or Internet celebrity attached to a project doesn’t give it credibility.

Another thing to consider is whether the people involved with a project have done other crowdfunding campaigns and how well (or poorly) they went. To date, inXile Entertainment has crowdfunded four games—Wasteland 2, The Bard’s Tale IV, Torment: Tides of Numenera, and Wasteland 3—not just because of who worked on each title, but eventually because they built a reputation of delivering on what they set out to do, and kept backers up to date during and after the campaign. On the other hand, if a creator runs crowdfunding campaigns for the same game three or four times in a short time span, or makes a new one for a game which was already funded, I’d steer clear of it.

I’d also be wary of any projects from groups that list prior games their people worked on, but don’t say who they are or what they did. Hypothetically speaking, just as anyone can say they worked on Crash Bandicoot when they didn’t, a person could say they worked on Crash Bandicoot when they only showed up in the “Thanks” section for making late night fast food runs and suggesting Crash’s pants should be blue.

But wait, what about projects by first-time or upcoming indie developers? It’s far from uncommon to see campaigns run by small independent development teams, or even a single person. These tend to be shots in the dark unless the creators put in a lot of legwork to ease people’s concerns.

crowdfunding

Kiro’o Games in Cameroon went the extra mile to get funding for their first game, Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan.

Look for anything apart from the campaign page—a developer blog, a profile on sites like Game Jolt, ModDB, or IndieDB, a personal, company, or game-specific website, any stories or articles by media outlets—that might give an idea of not just how good a project looks, but how long it’s been worked on, and the level of care going into it. For example, SUPERHOT made a name for itself at 7DFPS, a game jam for first-person shooters, and in subsequent media coverage, before launching its Kickstarter campaign. In most cases links like these show up in the description or on the creator’s profile, but a lack of any significant online presence beyond the campaign page is a glaring red flag. No, personal Twitter or Facebook pages don’t count.

One last thing to pay attention to is how the creator(s) interacts with supporters and detractors. By “detractors” I don’t specifically mean trolls, but anyone who says anything that isn’t 100 percent pure love for the game. Be careful about projects whose creators don’t take criticism well or, to borrow a Dungeons & Dragons term, regularly botch their diplomacy checks.

#4 – The Money Trail

What is the pledge money for? Most (good) campaigns include some sort of cost breakdown to justify their funding goals, or at least mention where the money will go. Good projects don’t just say what’s being paid for, but give some idea, either as a fraction of the funding or an estimated number, where X amount of money is going.

The numbers still need to make sense, though. A game which is described as almost finished shouldn’t ask for hundreds of thousands of dollars to complete, even if it’s giving out every copy on gold-plated USB drives. On the other hand, a game in the concept stages probably shouldn’t be asking for an amount so low it could be printed on a few gift cards.

crowdfunding

The cost breakdown from Cosmic Star Heroine’s Kickstarter page.

A campaign which includes living expenses as part of the costs separate from working wages should raise an eyebrow if the numbers don’t add up. Let’s say a campaign based out of the United States has ten percent of a $20,000 goal going to living expenses (housing, food, etc.) to work full-time on a game with one year of development ahead of it. That’s $2,000 the team or individual dedicates to living expenses, or about $167 per month. Meanwhile, the average cost of living for one adult in the US is a little over $2,000 per month. This requires a bit more reading between the lines, which leads to the last predictably-named bit of advice.

#5 – Read Between the Lines

If it sounds like I’m asking you to do a lot of thinking and research before backing a crowdfunding project, it’s because you absolutely should. This is not the type of thing to do on impulse. Watch every video, read the whole campaign page, read any updates, and find related information outside the funding platform. Beyond that, however, you should also be able to pick out things that don’t add up.

Estimated release dates are often best case scenarios, given how frequently crowdfunded games get delayed. That said, two or three months after the campaign ends is an alarmingly quick turnaround time, even for mostly complete projects running on a generic game engine. On a related note, if you can tell a campaign’s game is using default or store-bought assets (character models, sounds, menu graphics, entire levels, etc.) and not only makes no mention of them, but says the game is near completion, consider reporting the project instead of pledging to it.

Look at a campaign’s perks. Do the prices for them make sense based on what the game is or will be? Why would a game which will be free to play have a $10 reward tier for a copy of the game? Are there only two or three tiers total? Are the reward descriptions copy-pasted across several tiers? Then there are the too-good-to-be-true tiers. Pledging $10 for a download code, a key ring, a soundtrack CD and an art print sounds great, but on shipping costs alone that’s losing way more money than it’s bringing in.

One of the more significant red flags is, unfortunately, something most campaigns won’t admit or don’t initially plan. Some crowdfunded games end up counting at least in part on becoming episodic. This lets Episode 1 finish development and go on sale early, earning money to go toward finishing the rest of the game. Some developers employ this to lower their projected goal a bit, making it more likely they’ll get funded. Sadly, a finished product can’t be funded by phantom money, but can be doomed by lower than expected sales. Steam alone has several single-episode games from defunct studios rotting on its storefront.

Oh, and if the description or updates mention sequels or becoming a franchise before the campaign for the first game is over, run far, far away.

crowdfunding

… No.

Much of this boils down to exercising some common sense and not treating money like seed to throw to the indie birds. You (hopefully) earned your money, so it’s only fair a campaign does what it can to earn that on top of your trust, primarily through transparency and communication. Be smart, be safe, and be supportive to campaigns that truly deserve it.

About Scott Ramage

Scott Ramage wears many hats. From podcasts to football games to let's plays to pro wrestling matches, he has dabbled in several fields while pursuing a Japanese degree to go with his English degree. One of the few constants for him is that he's been a fan of video games since first playing Pole Position on the Atari 2600.




  • Panpopo

    I always equated kickstarter to gambling – never bet more than you can afford to lose. Getting whales on your project will result in it succeeding, but it is very risky. I personally only donate for the base game only, to hopefully mitigate risk.

    Also, one easy thing to look for in games is their list of programmers, and the scale of the project. If they have a bunch of creative types, but won’t disclose how many programmers are there to actually make the game, that is a huge red flag. An example is Project Phoenix – they had a “mystery programmer” on their staff, and now the project is in development hell and most likely won’t be released.

    • Mr0303

      I’ve heard the gambling comparison before, but I don’t think it’s quite accurate. In gambling you risk your money, but you have a chance to win something in return. With crowdfunding the devs are the only ones who get the benefits and you are only entitled to your Kickstarter reward. As a comparison crowdfunding is paying somebody to make a sandwich without knowing if and when you’ll get it and whether you’ll like it at all.

    • I agree, the problem is that most people don’t see it as a gamble, they see it as a pre-order system; which I blame on bigger studios coming in and treating it as such. Before you back a project, I feel that there should be pop-up from the website reminding the backer that they are investing in an idea, and not buying a product with no refunds guaranteed.

  • Mr0303

    “And no, the answer isn’t “none of them.”” – I can actually argue that this is the correct answer. Kickstarter and crowdfunding in general is a flawed system – the backers take all the financial risks and have absolutely no control over the project. The devs on the other hand reap all the benefits of non accountable funds and free publicity.

    Not only that, but there is absolutely no benefit in pre-purchasing a game like so. Often times a physical copy after the dev has acquired a publisher will be much cheaper than the Kickstarter equivalent pledge (if it existed at all at the time).

    As for the philanthropy argument – well you don’t really know what you are supporting, so there is no guarantee that you are doing something good – in the end the devs may choose to incorporate anti-consumer practices like day-1 DLC or microtransactions, which would mean that your money is actually financing the bad elements of the status quo.

    So no matter how careful the potential backer is (even following all the advice written above), there are no protections or safeguards for him, which could inevitably lead to disaster.

    • “None of them” is never the answer, like someone else stated beforehand, you are investing in an idea! Yes, not all ideas are equal, but nothing ventured equals nothing being gained. Life is all about risk, there are no easy path’s, so if you like certain types of games; sometimes you will have to go outside of your comfort zone.

    • Mr0303

      “you are investing in an idea!” – no, you are investing in a product.

      “Life is all about risk, there are no easy path’s, so if you like certain types of games; sometimes you will have to go outside of your comfort zone.” – this is an empty platitude. Going against my better judgement is not equivalent to going outside of my comfort zone.

      Your statement didn’t address any of the criticisms I had for the practice.

    • If the argument that crowdfunding websites have several flaws was your primary grievance, then I agree with you, sites like Indiegogo need to do more to improve to the publics trust with crowdfunding as a concept. I’m not trying to defend any particular website, instead I’m arguing that people shouldn’t give up on crowdfunding as an idea. At the end of the day crowdfuinding isn’t a pre-order service, because you are investing in an idea, as the product isn’t even available for sale. Are there alternatives to crowdfunding? Yes! Are all projects posted scams? No, but some are, and that’s why we all need to be objective, in order to support the projects that need to get off the ground and to warn of those that aren’t.

    • Mr0303

      “I’m arguing that people shouldn’t give up on crowdfunding as an idea.” – and I’m definitely arguing against that. You didn’t say anything about the glaring issues about crowdfunding in general that I stated in my initial post. It’s not about a particular site – it’s about the practice as a whole.

      “At the end of the day crowdfuinding isn’t a pre-order service, because
      you are investing in an idea, as the product isn’t even available for
      sale.” – for you to invest in something means you can possibly profit, which is not the case with crowdfunding – you do not win money from it, the devs do.

      The developers are choosing crowdfund instead of the alternatives precisely because they get all the benefits and the backers get none.

      ” that’s why we all need to be objective, in order to support the
      projects that need to get off the ground and to warn of those that
      aren’t.” – I am being objective about the issues with crowdfunding and this is why I’m not supporting any project. I will support the final product if it’s good and when it’s released. I’m not supporting this poor business practice that’s open to abuse.

    • “The developers are choosing crowdfund instead of the alternatives precisely because they get all the benefits and the backers get none.”

      Well this isn’t always true, many KS are for genres that are not “commercially successful” or that traditional publishers are not interested in, so KS becomes the only real option to be able to work on their game.

      While some devs may do it for the money, it’s not the norm to go this route for this.

      I’m with @@nonscpo:disqus in that this is similar to charity. “I like what you’re doing here’s some money try to make something cool” but at the end of the day I don’t expect the game to deliver.

      Shantae was something i wasn’t expecting nothing and ended up enjoying a lot for example.

      But if you’re in a tight budget then i agree, don’t do Kickstarter, It’s a terrible investment

    • Mr0303

      “KS becomes the only real option to be able to work on their game” – that’s not true. There are always other options like taking a loan or self publishing.

      “While some devs may do it for the money, it’s not the norm to go this route for this.” – of course it’s for the money. This is the end goal of every business. KS is such a platform that allows the devs take no financial risks.

      It’s not a charity, because there is a legally binding contract that they have to create the game and if your position is that “but at the end of the day I don’t expect the game to deliver.” then that’s not really a good argument for crowdfunding as a good business practice and something that’s beneficial to the industry as a whole.

      “But if you’re in a tight budget then i agree, don’t do Kickstarter, It’s a terrible investment” – again it’s not an investment (please see my post above) and it’s not my lack of finances that stops me from supporting this practice but rather common sense.

    • Miqubi

      Nope, there are not always other options, for example Obsidian flat out said that without Pillars of Eternity crowdfunding they would have gone down under

    • Mr0303

      And we have to take their word for it? Developers have financial interest of saying that there is no other way. As I stated above there is always the option to take loans.

    • Miqubi

      And you stated wrongly, because no sometimes there are no other options.

      Also yes we take their word for it since Obsidian was pretty much known that they were on the brink of ruin back then, the only thing that kept them going was PoE.

    • Mr0303

      “And you stated wrongly, because no sometimes there are no other options.” – please explain to me how taking a loan is not an alternative. I’ll wait.

      “Also yes we take their word for it since Obsidian was pretty much known
      that they were on the brink of ruin back then, the only thing that
      kept them going was PoE.” – this still doesn’t mean they needed the crowdfunding campaign. Also taking somebody on their word is not particularly smart especially when there’s money involved.

    • Miqubi

      Because you’re already in deep sh!t, so i’m not sure how going further in deep sh!t will help you

      In case you forgot back then they were just f*cked over by MS so they were on the brink of ruin, the contracts offered to them didn’t seem to go anywhere (they did take a contract at some point, which in fact didn’t go anywhere lol), so yep the Ks was their only way out, people weren’t just “taking their word for it” the financial trouble of Obsidian are pretty much known to everyone who follows them, in fact you could joke that their management is either the worst due to that or the best since they keep the company going despite pretty much everyone throwing them under the bus.

    • Mr0303

      “Because you’re already in deep sh!t, so i’m not sure how going further in deep sh!t will help you” – that’s not an argument. In fact it means that the option is there, but the dev is not willing to take it for whatever reason.

      Do I really have to explain this? I guess I do. Their financial troubles and bad luck doesn’t mean that the game wouldn’t have been created without crowdfunding. It means that they needed a successful game to come out of the red.

    • Miqubi

      Yes and they had no money for said successful game and not starting to lay off back then and they didn’t want to lay off 30 people, anyway we can pretty much agree to disagree but your “absolute” statements are still wrong imho,

      Edit: that’s despite the flagrant abuse we are seeing of KS in recent times.

    • Mr0303

      Companies constantly resize based on the size of the project – it’s quite common in the software industry.

      “but your “absolute” statements are still wrong imho.” – which ironically is an absolute statement.

    • Miqubi

      —“imho” — it isn’t an absolute statement…it means in my humble opinion and opinions aren’t absolute, saying I think you’re wrong isn’t an absolute statement 😛

      I know that companies do that, they didn’t want to lay off 30 people.

    • Mr0303

      “it isn’t an absolute statement…it means in my humble opinion and
      opinions aren’t absolute, saying I think you’re wrong isn’t an absolute
      statement” – then in that case none of my statements are absolute since they are also my personal opinions. That being said I will defend my opinions with reasoning.

      “I know that companies do that, they didn’t want to lay off 30 people.” – so they made a business decision, which is on them.

    • Miqubi

      Which is what I did? If you take loans you go further into debt hence my “deeper into sh!t” comment, their objective was not going down under while not laying off people and obviously not futher tightening the noose around their necks, my “yes we take their word for it” was simply because it was known obsidian were f*cked back then (an indepent studio without work won’t go far, there’s a reason people were afraid P* would have laid off people after MS cancelled scalebound).

      You’re pretty much saying they should have resized, while their goal was partly not to, found a publisher which wasn’t there or asked a loan to go further into trouble, might as well consider bankruptcy as an option at this point?

    • Mr0303

      The point is that if my statements are absolute, then so are yours and vice versa. Me defending my opinions doesn’t mean that they are absolute statements whatever that means in your head.

      “You’re pretty much saying they should have resized, while their goal was
      partly not to, found a publisher which wasn’t there or asked a loan to
      go further into trouble, might as well consider bankruptcy as an option
      at this point?” – no, I’m not saying what they should’ve done. I’m saying that there are alternatives to crowdfunding which seems to be a problem with you for some reason.

    • Miqubi

      No I just had a problem with your statement because it was “there are always options” and seemed a case of painting with a broad brush, tbh the subject could have been about fishing tunas, (although I admit it may seem I have some weird fetish with crowdfunding since iirc last time I was discussing with you about visual novel funding), and I presented Obsidian as an example.

      I still don’t agree with you and think that sometimes that is the only option, although admittedly I look at crowdfunding as a last ditch effort when I say that I don’t agree with you, while recently kickstarter and crowdfunding in general seems to be viewed more as a pre-order alternative by some companies or privileged choice rather than what it is supposed to be.

    • Mr0303

      So out of the two statements “there are always other options” and “there are no other options” how is mine absolute and yours isn’t?

      I don’t care if you agree with me or not. I have laid out methods other than crowdfunding to finance your project and developers are using it because there is no financial risk or responsibility involved in the system.

    • Miqubi

      I thought that I have pointed out that was a mistake, as I have written it seemed you were painting with a broad brush

      And those methods are not an option sometimes 🙂

    • Mr0303

      “And those methods are not an option sometimes 🙂 the simple fact that a
      loan means you’ll have to give back money while crowdfunding doesn’t
      imply you have a budget with virtually no strings attached, a loan means
      you are even more indebted.” – what you are saying here is that it is an option, but devs are not willing to take it because it is more negative for them, where they risk their own funds.

    • Miqubi

      No what I am saying is that they cannot virtually take any other road without setting sail for (nearly assured) fail, but keep beating that drum it is still not always that simple (assuming you find funds to set sail for fail to begin with)

      I am also saying I’ll be glad to keep running in circles with you in a week’s time 🙂

    • Mr0303

      “No what I am saying is that they cannot virtually take any other road
      without setting sail for (nearly assured) fail, but keep beating that
      drum it is still not always that simple (assuming you find funds to set
      sail for fail to begin with)” – if their game is successful then they won’t fail. I’ll take the above as you admitting that there are other options albeit in a roundabout way.

      “I am also saying I’ll be glad to keep running in circles with you in a week’s time :)” – your holiday or whatever it is is not relevant to the discussion and I don’t particularly care what you do.

    • Miqubi

      The game can be successful but not pull in enough revenue or profit to guarantee you’ll be in a position to fully repay the loan AND keep going at that point though or you might still in a terrible position after repaying it fully going bankrupt anyway again ks negates that if the game is sucessful

      I haven’t pulled it into the discussion, simply saying that you can keep beating that drum till next week, sometimes you still have no options, unless you want to fail

    • Mr0303

      “The game can be successful but not pull in enough revenue or profit to
      guarantee you’ll be in a position to fully repay the loan AND keep going
      at that point though or you might still in a terrible position after
      repaying it fully going bankrupt anyway again ks negates that if the
      game is sucessful” – well, though! Inversely the game could be successful enough to make you millions. When you have your own money on the line you are more motivated to succeed and create a good product.

      “sometimes you still have no options, unless you want to fail” – taking a loan doesn’t guarantee your failure – you do that when you put out a shitty product. With Kickstarter you fail gracefully – i.e. with no risk for you or your company.

    • Something Random

      “Not only that, but there is absolutely no benefit in pre-purchasing a
      game like so. Often times a physical copy after the dev has acquired a
      publisher will be much cheaper than the Kickstarter equivalent pledge. (if it existed at all at the time)”

      This ignores:
      1. Digital exclusive self-publishing. For most developers it’s a far simpler (and cheaper) option.
      2. That the publisher a developer deals with can/will create physical copies.
      3. The nature of any given physical run. If the publisher only does a limited physical run, their cost is more likely to ramp up as they quickly become scarce.
      4. Tier scaling. Physical copy tiers are typically part of a scale-up model of rewards, in which that tier gets other things including the physical copy such as an extra digital key, an OST download, etc. For example, Broken Sword: The Serpent’s Curse had physical copies at a lofty $100, but that tier also included all the other Broken Sword games, beta access, a t-shirt, physical comic books, a physical soundtrack, a poster, a couple e-books, and a laundry list of other rewards.

    • Mr0303

      There is no point addressing 1 and 2. The underlying assumption of my statement is that there would be a physical release once a publisher is acquired.

      3. They can remedy that by limiting the number of the given tier. Judging by LRG the price of a limited run release isn’t that much higher than a regular physical one. Not only that but when a publisher is present the physical releases aren’t as limited since they usually hit retail.

      4. Two points – there is no guarantee that you’ll get all the previous rewards and maybe the backer doesn’t want all the extra stuff, but rather just the physical copy of the game – this is an artificial scaling up of the price.

  • ParrotProphet

    I can name one more game that used Flexible Funding on Indiegogo, did not reach its goal, but far exceeded expectations and released to some notoriety on steam. That game is Rabi-Ribi. Hell, it got half of it’s 20 grand goal.

    https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/rabi-ribi-2d-exploration-platformer#/
    http://store.steampowered.com/app/400910/RabiRibi/

    If it were on kickstarter, it -MIGHT- have gotten funding and then some. Though they’re going to put it on PS4 and Vita soon, so that’s a plus. Good on them.

    If you look at the page, you can see why it might not have met its goal:
    1. Called it a 2D Exploration Platformer rather than the more marketing friendly “Metroidvania” title.
    2. Most of the page is in non-english.(Taiwanese?) The better Crowdfunders either have an alternate page for a different language from English or the non-english campaign explanation is at the bottom. They did not do this, not even for tier rewards.
    3. Most of the page is pictures. It does have a trailer, but I mostly see t-shirts and mugs…I’m not even sold on the game yet!
    4. While it’s good to have your website and “If you have questions” parts in there, but at the very beginning? Why not explain first?

    There’s probably more wrong, but this is a great example of how not to do a crowdfunding campaign for a game. If I had seen this with that art style of which I’m not a fan of at all and the best I could go off of was that trailer, then I would have stayed FAR away from it. I’m glad I saw it on steam, saw the ridiculous amount of praise and did an impulse buy. That’s honestly the best case scenario with this game. It’s a great game, but damn they should have hired Sekai Project or someone to assist with that Indiegogo campaign. Just thinking about what would have happened if it got more funding actually makes me salivate. Yes, the game was that great for me.

    • Flexible funding has got to go! We’ve seen this happen far too many times, as several campaigns that have fixed fundings fail to calculate their cost properly, and end up failing to deliver even if they met their crowdfunding goal. It’s illogical to believe that a crowdfunding campaign that didn’t meet it’s original goal, can still deliver on any of it’s promises.

  • Nice article, I have been using some of these rules myself the last couple of years when considering going for a bigger “reward” but mostly If i like the concept I try to donate just the minimum for the digital game.

    As a general rule try to avoid Campaigns with many physical rewards, that seems to be the thing that most people miscalculate and end up costing a lot of money.

    If the campaign is mostly digital rewards and the extra money goes to adding things to the game then it sounds solid.

    Just don’t get greedy for those “$1000 we get your face in the game” i know not a lot of us have $1000 to spend on ideas 😛