26 March 2020 | 30 Comments
Before I jump into the topic of today’s article, I’d like to share the big news that Charterstone Digital releases today! This full-AI app from Acram Digital is available on iOS and Steam (and Android later today), and you can play against the app or against other humans. It’s been really neat to see my village-building worker-placement legacy game come to life in digital form.
Last week I read an interesting article from Nick Bentley at Underdog Games about their decision to continue with their planned launch of Trekking the World despite data indicating that Kickstarter campaigns have seen a significant funding decrease during the coronavirus crisis.
If you’ve been planning a Kickstarter launch for the near future, you might be considering a delay as well…or not. Here are some factors to consider:
- Large and established versus small and new: Cephalofair Games, the publisher of Gloomhaven, is proceeding to launch Frosthaven on March 31, and it’s going to be very successful. They have a huge following, a great track record, and excellent marketing reach. If you don’t share those characteristics, your success potential on Kickstarter right now is probably in question.
- Joy of utility versus joy of togetherness: Especially in this difficult time, I think people are buying things that bring them joy when they stay at home. This doesn’t bode well for Kickstarter–if I need entertainment now, I’ll buy something I can receive in a few days, not in 8-12 months. However, the experience of participating in a crowdfunding campaign–particularly one that is engaging and community-focused–can also provide people a feel of togetherness that they might be missing right now.
- Pleasure versus necessities: Many Kickstarted products are things we want but not things we need. Put yourself in other peoples’ shoes: In a time of crisis, are they thinking about wants or needs? As I mentioned above, I think we’re valuing distractions right now, but we’re budgeting for necessities.
- Cash flow: A successful Kickstarter campaign can provide a big boost to a company’s cash flow. As Chad from Boardgametables.com said in his recent enewsletter, “New products are a big chunk of our income. It’s how we pay our bills and pay our employees.” If that’s the case for you too, you might consider proceeding with a Kickstarter now even though it could attract more backers later.
- Today’s certainty versus tomorrow’s uncertainty: While it may not be ideal, you know where you stand today. But tomorrow? A week from now? Next month? A lot could change. Nick mentions this in his article, saying, “We expect the economy to be tough for a long time, and possibly get worse.” That said, there is hope for the future. We can beat this pandemic and emerge much stronger, at which point your project may be far more successful–but are you willing to wait?
Is now an okay time to launch a Kickstarter campaign? There so are many factors and variables that I don’t have a universal answer for everyone. If you see an opportunity to thrive now and bring joy to people, go for it. If not, maybe postpone your campaign, focusing for now on improving your product and building community.
What do you think? As backers and creators, are you viewing Kickstarter through a different lens during the coronavirus crisis?
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