Kickstarter campaigns take too much time, and are harder to market than they used to be
Square Enix Collective, an offshoot of the software giant Square Enix started to help indie developers find success, has announced they'll no longer be supporting Kickstarter campaigns for the foreseeable future.
This was announced in a blog post from the Square Enix Collective, have said that they are backing away from Kickstarter support for two reasons: the time it takes to run several concurrent campaigns with the Collective's team of four, but also because, crucially, crowdfunding is getting harder.
"When we first started supporting campaigns back in 2014, we knew we had a lot to learn, and we were determined to keep getting better. I wouldn’t say that we had a clear expectation that, with practice, crowdfunding campaigns would somehow become easy but I think it’s fair to say we didn’t really anticipate them becoming harder."
The blog post says that crowdfunding is getting harder because of the general strength of offering on Kickstarter. With so many great teams pushing promising games, there simply isn't enough cash to go around.
Square Enix Collective say that when they support a Kickstarter campaign, they provide both due diligence — aiming to make sure a game can be delivered, although they don't own the company and can't guarantee anything — but also in raising awareness with emails, social and community support.
"However, over time, as we track the open rates and click-through rates, it’s become clear that there’s less and less interest in supporting Kickstarter campaigns in the wider community," said the blog post. "To be clear, this isn’t about those people who regularly back projects; but that much larger layer of gamers who might be drawn in by an interesting idea. Whether crowdfunding has just become less interesting, or they have less money to spare – or maybe they’re just tired of waiting a comparatively long period of time to get their hands on a game they see in this process… it’s harder to see that we’re adding the degree of value that we’d like to."
They're key to say that they don't think crowdfunding as a whole is in decline, and that they still expect plenty of projects to succeed. 2016 did see a big decline in videogames-specific funding, but Square Enix Collective highlight this and mention that that decline is largely in the $1m+ band, rather than the $50-$250k bracket the Collective mostly work with.
"If you combine those two factors mentioned above," the blog post says, summing up the team's decision. "We’re looking at less available time at a point where we’re having to work harder to maintain a consistent level of success. And when we think about the commitment we’ve made to teams with respect to launching games this year, we want to make sure we’re not taking on too much."
Square Enix Collective haven't ruled out a return to crowdfunding in the future, but for now this is the end for the Collective-approved Kickstarter campaigns.