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Question on Kickstarters

Posted By: Winfrey

Question on Kickstarters - 07/06/20 11:45 PM

I was wondering if someone could explain the concept of this. I see the statement of not only a go if 100 percent. I understand games cost to make but aren’t you counting on what the game makes afterwards when on sale. In the old days there weren’t Kickstarters. It’s like paying for something before you know what it is like. Just wondering.
Posted By: Jenny100

Re: Question on Kickstarters - 07/07/20 12:09 AM


Originally Posted by Winfrey
I understand games cost to make but aren’t you counting on what the game makes afterwards when on sale. In the old days there weren’t Kickstarters.

A successful Kickstarter is a gauge of interest.
With an unsuccessful Kickstarter, for example If you ask for $5000 and only get $500 in pledges, lets you know there's not much interest in your game and you shouldn't quit your day job.

Also it helps to have some money up front, even if you hope to get the bulk of your money later after the game is released. It's something like an interest-free loan.

Originally Posted by Winfrey
It’s like paying for something before you know what it is like.

It's worse than that. It's like paying for something when you don't know if it will ever exist.
That's why you shouldn't pledge more than you're prepared to lose.
And you should probably only pledge to developers who you know can do the job, usually those who have already completed other games that you've enjoyed.

Posted By: Winfrey

Re: Question on Kickstarters - 07/07/20 12:14 AM


All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Sat, July 18 2020 2:00 AM CDT. Taken right of the Kickstarter page.
Posted By: Mikael

Re: Question on Kickstarters - 07/07/20 01:50 AM

You can cancel your pledge before the project ends. So, if the goal isn't reached by July 17 (to use your example), you can cancel your pledge and get your money back. If the goal is reached, the creator is responsible for completing the project and fulfilling each reward "to the best of their abilities". In other words, there are no guarantees.

Jenny's final advice is so good that it deserves to be repeated in bold text:
Only pledge to developers who you know can do the job, usually those who have already completed other games that you've enjoyed.
Posted By: Draclvr

Re: Question on Kickstarters - 07/07/20 02:29 AM

And every Kickstarter I've backed that didn't make it's pledge goal, I was not charged and got a notification to that effect.
Posted By: Mikael

Re: Question on Kickstarters - 07/07/20 04:07 AM

Originally Posted by Draclvr
And every Kickstarter I've backed that didn't make it's pledge goal, I was not charged and got a notification to that effect.


Which means that you were backing decent developers. But, sadly, all of them are not.
Posted By: BrownEyedTigre

Re: Question on Kickstarters - 07/07/20 12:22 PM

Originally Posted by Winfrey

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Sat, July 18 2020 2:00 AM CDT. Taken right of the Kickstarter page.



Kickstarter is an all or nothing fundraising platform. If their goal is not reached, they cannot get your money. That has always been the case. Other platforms, like Indiegogo has a flexible option which means they can keep whatever you pledged, whether or not they reach their goal.
Posted By: Draclvr

Re: Question on Kickstarters - 07/07/20 03:46 PM

That's what I thought too, Ana. The Kickstarter platform itself has control of whether money is exchanged or not. I know my credit card is not charged unless the goal is reached.
Posted By: Winfrey

Re: Question on Kickstarters - 07/07/20 05:16 PM

Good to know Thanks
Posted By: Simon

Re: Question on Kickstarters - 07/07/20 05:25 PM

Originally Posted by Winfrey
I understand games cost to make but aren’t you counting on what the game makes afterwards when on sale.


Yes on KS you pay before the release, and you never know exactly what you will get!
BUT all projects are explained (or should be explained) in detail. If the explanation is detailed enough and if the devs look serious (they should appear in a video to tell their intentions), then you should be able to imagine what the game will look like and if it's worth paying for it.
If you can't even imagine it from the explanation that was given, then don't pay for that game. It can look nice with beautiful artwork, but you should be able to sense if the background is rich or empty.

Also a good point is that you pay the game only once (I mean on Kickstarter, and not on another store again after the release), and most of the time the game is cheaper when you take it on KS than on a store day 1.
Even if there is a risk to lose money or to be disappointed, it's also a chance to get it at a lower price, to support a dev that you like, and to get some collector goodies that will never be seen elsewhere.


Originally Posted by Winfrey
In the old days there weren’t Kickstarters.


Indeed in the old days there weren't Kickstarters, but in the old days there were no indie devs, and AAA devs were still making adventure games. Today how many 'big' publishers are still releasing adventure games?

Many indie devs work at home with no funds (others have small studios but can hardly pay themselves).

That's what I've been doing since 2012, working in my attic, but I lose more money than I earn, even after 4 commercial games released with good reviews. I just can't get money from them to live from. You could think that after 4 games I have a bit of money in reserve for my old days, but I have nothing, and I have to rely on social aids and on my garden to get some free food.
That's why it is very useful to get some funds on Kickstarter: during the development you can pay your bills until the game is finally released (there's no income during the production process)! And in addition, thanks to KS you have a base of loyal followers who support you, and who are interested in your game.

The only KS campaign I did was in 2017 for Myha (RealMyha) and we succeeded. It was a good experience, we were happy, but the amount of money was quite low and didn't refund the expanses we had. In addition, please be aware that the total money (goal) that you see for a game on Kickstarter is what people have given for it, but not what developers get. You have to remove the cost of the physical rewards, Kickstarter fee (5%), shipping, etc.

Another thing to know is that most KS campaigns ask a lot *less* money than what they really need to make their game in comfortable conditions. Because if we ask more, usually we're not funded. We have to show a "realistic" target. It's rare to see a KS campaign funded with a million dollar (except famous people, like Cyan for Obduction).

How devs are supposed to find the good amount to ask? It's very difficult.
Think about this: when you have a job, you are paid let's say $1000 every month (I know it's more). Making a game will take like 2 years (from pre-production to release). If you have 2 people in your team (artist and programmer) and want to hire a musician (which is the minimum), with some quick calculations you easily reach $60 000 of development costs, and it is a strict minimum (human resources only).
But a small team of 3 devs can't ask $60 000, it wouldn't seem to be very serious. So they often prefer to ask $6 000 and not get paid while they work, hoping that the sales after release will be good (which is rarely the case).
Some devs find other funds in their country, it depends of the situation.

Don't take it wrong, I don't want to complain because I'm very happy to be able to tell stories to people around the world through my games, and challenge them with my puzzles. But many people *do* like to complain about games prices. They try to get the games the cheapest possible and would still complain even if it was free (it is understandable, there are too many games). The problem is that at the same time there are many indie devs who can't even live from their work. Are we supposed to stop making games?

I was recently talking on Twitter of the fact that my new game Boinihi sold only 50 copies in the first month after release. It is ridiculous because it is the month where games usually sell the most (press release, influencers, etc), and where the developer is supposed to refund himself after all his hard work and start to think of the next game. (Games sell the most: on month 1, during special events, when the price drops a lot)

Well, of course I'm proud of the 50 copies sold, and very thankful to my supporters, but look at it that way: the game is at $19,99 (-15% if you choose the bundle). If you calculate (50 copies x $20), that reprents approx a total of $1000 for this month. You could think it's quite good but it's not even what I will receive for real. Steam takes a 30% fee: so they will send me something like $700 ($1000 - 30%). There are international transfer costs, so that will be maybe $680 on my bank account ($700 -$20). And then I pay 25% of taxes on any income for my activity (French taxes). So it only remains $510 in the end to live from ($680 - 25%).
So I keep about half the amount paid by players.
But that's not all: this money is most of the time split when I give something to the music composer and to the voice actors (or other collaborators). It depends how we dealed our cooperation, if there are royalties, etc.
Well I hope it wasn't too complicated but I wanted to try to give a concrete example.

According to what Jan Kavan (CBE Software) said regarding his new game Someday You'll Return, it would seem that they are also facing big issues because of piracy and that as a result they can't live from their work too.
And I know of many other indie devs in the same situation... Through my collective of creators "The Icehouse" I heard a lot of sad stories: some talented and motivated people who couldn't continue to create, and who had to take small jobs in fast foods, web design... And their situation never improves in the end, it's a vicious circle.
In addition the current game market is saturated with a very lot of games (of quality... or not!!), so people can't be aware of all the releases, and they can't buy ALL. Add to that the fact that the adventure market is a niche compared to other genres, and you see that all of your support is of utmost importance!!

What I'm trying to say concretely is that working with the money of a successful Kickstarter is not a luxury (contrary to what some people think), because the market, and the way people buy, have both changed. In addition, succeeding with a Kickstarter campaign is a huge lot of work, it doesn't just happen by clicking a button and waiting for the end of the month to receive money. It's very complicated and requires a huge investment of time and energy to convince, contact people, spread the word...

Sorry that it was so long and maybe sounded pessimistic, but this is what happens behind the scenes. Overall it is a very complicated situation for many of us, and as you can see Kickstarter is not a perfect solution, it's not a bad one either, it's just a way for us (among others) to try to 'exist'. It's sad that some people abuse of it while others don't have the chance to even complete their first campaign with success.

I hope it's clear that I wasn't criticizing anybody (players or devs or KS or Steam...)
I'd be happy to read the opinion of other adventure developers around.
Winfrey it wasn't directed to you, I just took this opportunity to explain from my own experience.
Posted By: Winfrey

Re: Question on Kickstarters - 07/07/20 05:44 PM

Thank you Simon for your response, no offense taken. It helps to read your comments. It helps to understand better, again thanks.
Posted By: Draclvr

Re: Question on Kickstarters - 07/07/20 06:06 PM

Thank you, Simon. Words from an insider and your real life experiences really help to understand the life of a game developer. You and Mikael have really helped!
Posted By: oldbroad

Re: Question on Kickstarters - 07/07/20 07:27 PM

I agree Simon, that hearing some facts about this stuff (especially from somebody we "know") is helpful to the rest of us. Thank you!
Posted By: dianne

Re: Question on Kickstarters - 07/08/20 02:48 AM

rally intresting and yes a good idea only back from game developers that you can trust bye the way when can we have another carol reed game waiting with fingers crossed hint ,Dianne wave2
Posted By: Simon

Re: Question on Kickstarters - 07/08/20 08:43 AM

Thanks for your kind words of support wink
I have slightly updated my previous message, I wanted to fix a few things that I wrote too fast yesterday evening.
Anyway it remains difficult for me to explain the situation properly in English (you know it's not my first language, so even it I write it quite properly, I need to think twice before I write).

In my opinion, from what I understand of the current situation, the adventure genre could face a new crisis soon... Well I can't say it for sure and certainly hope the contrary (let's not be alarmist). But when I look at it... Many of the devs who started in the 2010s and became "famous" with their projects have now realized that they can't really earn their life properly or pay their bills. There are of course new devs who work on adventure games, so there's still hope to see new fascinating adventure games, and the genre will survive. But I find that lately there are TOO many adventure games released (we can't even play half of them), and many that don't have the quality level that most players expect to find. It's never good when a market becomes saturated like this, people don't trust the devs and the press (reviews) anymore, and they buy less (and there's less money for more games...).

I'm not an analyst, so maybe I'm talking nonsense? I'm just wondering.

I see 3 different things globally that worry me:
- good old adventures are not appealing younger players, so they don't buy them (even some more "modern" retro games like the ones of Wadjet Eyes will probably stop existing sooner or later. They are for nostalgic people)
- many current "big" adventure devs have taken a virage to leave 2d and make 3d games instead (Daedalic for example). It could be good, but it could also mean they'll put everything in the graphics and less in the content/story/gameplay. Anyway it increases production costs for sure.
- people globally don't want anymore to spend time thinking to solve puzzles! I don't know if we've become lazy or brainwashed, but let's be honest, how many of us still think that a good game should require a brain and spend some time thinking? It's all about adrenaline and reflexes, and spectacular graphics.

I really hope I'm wrong, and I see some pretty interesting new adventure games coming all the time, but I wonder how it can continue for many more years. Again I don't want to sound pessimistic, I'm just trying to be objective and analyze the echos that I hear and read.
We will see what happens with the next generation of consoles (it usually has a strong impact even on PC games): new technology, techniques and engines are developed, and it could make it easier and cheaper for us to create adventure games, and as a result we could see more and more of the games we love. Or the contrary: more development costs, more technical challenges, and people bored of cheaper graphics.

But even if indie devs can continue to make good adventure games, the question of people's tastes still remains unanswered. To be honest, I'm worried... I see that my games can only reach a niche and they are not for the new generation of players (the other ones have a job and don't have much time to play anymore).

What do you think? I'm very interested. Is the passion still there for you? Do you see around you if younger people continue to buy adventure games? Do they love them, or are they disappointed by the experience?

Mmmh, sorry it would seem that I have deviated from the original thread. For me Kickstarter is still included in this reflexion, but it's just a small part of the whole thing.
Posted By: Jarkeld

Re: Question on Kickstarters - 07/08/20 08:01 PM

Out of 9 kickstarters that I backed which haven't delivered yet, 6 are for games with 2 dead in the water (not enough cashflow to start or keep going), the rest are coming along (some a bit behind schedule, some quite a bit).
3 movie/webseries kickstarters: 1 is status unknown, but they took our money and 0 to schow for it, 1 didn't deliver what was promised but the creator has gone silent. 1 was a cluster**** after the team spilt with the remaining "director" taking the money and doing nothing with it. Hasn't communicated in years and doesn't react well to people calling her out on it.

11 kickstarters succeeded and delivered as promised.
Haven't backed anything new in ages as there are risks of getting scammed or pseudo scammed.
The 2 dead in the water games don't count as 1 was a longshot with the developers being upfront about not securing additional funding and not being able to continue as planned and the 2nd one has a lot of money issues (not that much money collected with KS and issues in their personal life).
Posted By: Mikael

Re: Question on Kickstarters - 07/09/20 01:13 AM

I stand corrected on my previous implication that you don't necessarily get your money back if the goal isn't reached. However, it was based on my personal experience when I backed an unsuccessful project, and never got my money back. But that was a long time ago. Maybe they've changed the rules, or something simply screwed up on that particular occasion? I didn't investigate it back then, and it wasn't much money involved.
Posted By: BrownEyedTigre

Re: Question on Kickstarters - 07/09/20 03:10 AM

Mikael, they nevertook any money at any time. Your credit card would be charged if successful only. Could you be thinking of Indiegogo? They can keep your money even if not successful.
Posted By: Mad

Re: Question on Kickstarters - 07/09/20 03:22 AM

I've stopped doing Kickstarter for now.
Some that I backed eons ago are STILL in development so I'm waiting for those to come to fruition before jumping in for any more 🙄🙄🙄
Posted By: Jenny100

Re: Question on Kickstarters - 07/09/20 09:40 PM

Originally Posted by Mad
I've stopped doing Kickstarter for now.
Some that I backed eons ago are STILL in development so I'm waiting for those to come to fruition before jumping in for any more

Most Kickstarters seem to get delayed by years, even those that eventually come through for you. I've had very few Kickstarter games stick close to their release schedules.
Posted By: oldbroad

Re: Question on Kickstarters - 07/09/20 10:35 PM

The only one I have left open now is The Mystery of Oak Island. I was thinking about backing Saint Kotar but still have not made my move. There's 8 days left. I've only backed 5 to 10 games, probably closer to the 5.
Posted By: Mikael

Re: Question on Kickstarters - 07/09/20 10:54 PM

Originally Posted by BrownEyedTigre
Mikael, they nevertook any money at any time. Your credit card would be charged if successful only. Could you be thinking of Indiegogo? They can keep your money even if not successful.

Oh boy, I'm getting old... I don't remember anything nowadays. As if not remembering wasn't irritating enough, remembering incorrectly is even more annoying. It probably was Indiegogo, yes.
Posted By: oldbroad

Re: Question on Kickstarters - 07/09/20 11:08 PM

Welcome to the club Mikael! lol
Posted By: Draclvr

Re: Question on Kickstarters - 07/10/20 01:32 AM

Same here, Mikael! Welcome to the CRS club!
Posted By: dianne

Re: Question on Kickstarters - 07/10/20 04:28 AM

hadnt backed to many kickstarters but backed st kotar they have about 8 days left i think they need a bit more to go it will be well worth it when the game comes out so iwent ahead and supported them , Dianne wave
Posted By: oldbroad

Re: Question on Kickstarters - 07/14/20 05:59 PM

Okay, question. On July 9th the Kickstarter page for Saint Kotar said there were 8 days to go, but today, July 14th, the page shows 10 days to go ?????
Posted By: Marian

Re: Question on Kickstarters - 07/14/20 06:04 PM

Oldbroad, I found the following on Twitter from the company:

Quote
Great News: Campaign Extended by 7 Days
The Kickstarter team saw the potential of the project and the efforts put into the campaign, and a great community of backers... and so they agreed to extend the campaign until July 25.
Posted By: oldbroad

Re: Question on Kickstarters - 07/14/20 06:08 PM

Hm. Thanks Marian!
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