If you’re looking to get some extra funding for your new video game project and you believe that you have an exciting product that can get some heads turning, crowdfunding is probably something that you should look into. Platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo allow you to showcase your game, development progress and future plans in hopes of securing community backing and much-needed cash.
All you need to do is get together a strong promotional material that will convince people that they absolutely need to get their hands on the finished game as soon as it goes live. It also helps to convince them that you are someone worth investing in and will keep the excellent quality content going for a long time after you publish your first game.
But before you dive into any platform and start posting everything there is to know about your project, let us give you some tips on how to establish an effective campaign that will go viral (fingers crossed) and get the attention needed to properly take off.
Here are our 5 tips & tricks for successful crowdfunding
1: Research, research, research!
Look at other successful video game campaigns and see what worked for them. Then turn it around and look at all the campaigns that are not doing so well. What is the difference between them? What is missing? Is there something you can learn from the people that failed?
Make notes of what you should include and avoid. If you see a really great project that failed, try and find out what happened and why, so you don’t make the same mistakes they did.
It’s almost too easy to focus only on the top achievers and pick out all the great little things that you wholeheartedly believe will make your campaign into a commercial juggernaut while completely forgetting about the big things that your audience is looking for. That is why you need some perspective.
2: Set a realistic goal (or even better – have a few milestones)
The most obvious point of any crowdfunding campaign that almost everyone fumbles on is the funding goal. How much money do you need and how are you going to spend it? If you are not sure – now is the time to think about it.
Think about all the costs involved in your game making process. Do you need to hire Developers? Do you have writing, sounds, and art covered? Is the voiceover something you were seriously considering but didn’t quite have funds for? Don’t try to be optimistic here. Check the average industry prices, come up with a rough figure. If you are completely lost this calculator may help you out.
With the rough development cost in your mind, you will have to decide which platform is the right one for you and if there’s a possibility of having milestones to reach alongside your real goal.
Different crowdfunding platforms work on different principles. Some are all or nothing kind of deal, where you only get your money after you hit your goal, and others let you keep what you got from the community. It entirely depends on the platform that you’re using.
You can try and work around it with milestones. For example, to complete a basic finished version of your game, you need X (which is your official goal). But if the community loves the idea of a voiceover, they can supply you with extra funds, making an optional milestone of Y. Just something you think about.
3: Offer original, cool rewards that matter to your audience
The whole point of crowdfunding is to get money for your project while giving something awesome in return to people that backed you up. If the rewards for supporting your video game suck, no matter how great how your video game is, it will probably never get any funding.
So look into your audience. Who is this game for? What are they into? What would make them go ‘Wow, I NEED to get that!’?
Crowdfunding platforms allow people to contribute to your project as little or as much as they want, so also make sure that your rewards and support tiers make sense. Be realistic in terms of what can you actually offer without going out of pocket, but bear in mind that no one will give you $500 for a generic ‘Thank you’ email.
4: Get your marketing pitch right
People don’t invest in ideas that don’t have any tangibility. If your game doesn’t have a working prototype, full story, artwork or anything particular to showcase – maybe it’s not yet ready to crowdfund for it.
Visuals, demos, gifs showing bits and pieces of characters and locations, anything and everything helps. Why? Because you gain credibility in the eyes of your audience.
So when you assemble your marketing information to put on your project page, remember to not only talk about you, your story, and your ideas on the game and its future development. Make it all about the product. Make it exciting. Show what you’ve done so far with this project and where it can potentially lead if you get some much-needed funding.
5: Promote, promote, promote!
Help yourself out and spread the word about your campaign. Go talk about it on social media, send your marketing materials to bloggers, get streamers to try out your prototype. Make buzz.
Hype very rarely happens by itself. You can’t get excited about something you have no idea existed.
If you have a playable version of your game, you are in luck. There are some websites like Keymailer and Terminal.io out there that allow you to distribute game keys to streamers and Adshot recently introduced a new campaign type that is great for promoting crowdfunding-ready games. Just share your game keys with our influencers, select actions they should perform to unlock your key or they can do after receiving your keys, and see your game being played on Twitch, Mixer and YouTube (this two minute video learns you the ropes). Using influencers to promote your game and get gaming communities excited about it, is one of the most effective promotion tactics, so be sure you’re using it to its full extent.
And never forget to update your backers on the progress of your project. If anything changes – let them know. Word of mouth and excellent reputation of keeping your community updated may bring your campaign the additional funds it needs to succeed.