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Crowd Funding for Self-confident Game Developers

Reset game successfully reached its funding goal this week thanks to Indiegogo. It took game developers several years to come up with this puzzle game, and 65,000 euro. Indiegogo users did not seem to be extremely excited: the game reached its goal only a few hours before the campaign’s end. In fact, game developers were about to drop the fund-raising idea.

Xsolla has looked at the crowdfunding experience of Theory Interactive and other game developers only to find out that no one should ever give up.

Two years ago Theory Interactive published the first Reset trailer. It was a great success, and thousands of players said they want to buy the game. The 2 developers, however, did not have enough time and resources to finish the game and launch it on Steam. By the end of 2013, however, they set up a campaign on Indiegogo and received the money they needed to finish the project by the end of 2014.

Theory Interactive says they had a wrong approach toward PR and marketing, which nearly caused the fund raising campaign to fail. In his  interview to Polygon, Alpo Oksaharju, a team member of Theory Interactive, admits they almost pulled the campaign:

“It was really not looking that good. There is always sense of a sports match in a crowd funding campaign. And I guess it’s only natural for the brain to start cooking up all kinds of silly ideas, like folding, when the situation is not the best possible. But we managed to push all silliness aside and focus on the task at hand.”

In their  official release, Theory Interactive listed all the mistakes they made when marketing Reset. Among the most important ones are: lack of live gameplay videos, lack of a playable alpha-version of the game, and, finally, insufficient communication with the community and the media.

“Effective communication is vital. Through every possible channel. Though especially for us Finns, it’s an effort to keep vocal about something for extended periods of time, when it’s sometimes hard to blurp out even two words. But it just cannot be stressed enough. In this age of noisiness, you must make more noise to stand out from the noise.”

We have to admit, however, that each and every crowd funding campaign is different. Sometimes effective communication is of no help at all, as it was the case last year with  Wildman, RPG game by Chris Taylor (Gas Powered Games). The campaign on Kickstarter aimed to raise $1 million, and despite all efforts, it was canceled with four days and another half-million dollars in funding required to reach its goal.

On January 27, 2013 Taylor  talked to Matt Barton, a video game journalist and historian. He almost cried talking about the fall of Gas Powered Games. He confirmed he had to cancel the campaign on KickStarter. This failure, however, eventually turned out good for him: Wargaming took over the game development studio and offered Taylor to work on a new project.

A couple of days ago we have discussed free distribution of games and were surprised to hear that many game developers are not 100% in the success of their products. Christine Love (Digital) told us she never ever considered selling her game. Hopefully, the situation will change and improved availability of monetization options will make crowd funding easier.

Read about us at:  Xsolla Blog 
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