Many indie developers consider crowdfunding as an option and Kickstarter is one of the most famous platforms on which to do so. Done well, it can be a fantastic way to cement your community and improve cash flow for an indie studio, potentially reaching ambitious stretch goals for the project. This approach, however, isn’t without its potential pitfalls. There are certain expectations and parameters for Kickstarter pages, and executing your page well will definitely increase your chances of success. This article will give you the rundown of what your page needs to show your game in the best possible light.
It’s all in the pitch … video
Many Kickstarter campaigns have a pitch video at the top of the page, and no, that isn’t necessarily just a trailer. Pitch videos are an excellent way to communicate to people why you’re doing a Kickstarter, and to connect the project to human faces. Usually, a good pitch video will intersperse clips of gameplay with talking-head interviews with the developers and perhaps some behind the scenes footage of things like concept art creation. Explain your passion for the project, and why you need the Kickstarter support to take it to the next level.
Make your campaign page visually appealing! Part of this is knowing what to include and how much writing you should have. Don’t rely on large blocks of text going deep into the lore of the game. You want to give readers the blurb, not the whole book! Use techniques like highlighting quotes in bold, short paragraphs, and bullet-point lists to avoid information overload for readers of your page.
Gifs, gifs and more gifs
As with all things in gaming, we love a good gif. Think character models moving, dynamic scenes of combat, explosions and excitement. Gifs are an excellent way to embed gameplay footage into your Kickstarter and make the page really come to life for the viewer. They also help to break up text and vary the layout of the page. As with all imagery, make sure you’re really showcasing the best of the best of your game.
Reward your backers
It should go without saying, but we’re going to anyway. Make sure your rewards are good and make sense! Think through what people want, perhaps even ask your community what kinds of things they would like to see in the reward tiers when you’re putting them together. Do early birds get a discount? Would your project benefit from physical swag? Can you offer in-game Kickstarter exclusives? Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something people actually want.
Don’t forget to stretch
Sometimes projects overlook stretch goals, but actually these can be transformative. They are often the difference between just scraping past your target and utterly smashing through it. Since Kickstarter funding is all or nothing, you’re far better off setting your overall goal conservatively and letting your stretch goals catapult you further. Think carefully about what kinds of stretch goals make sense for your project, and how achievable they are. A stretch goal should be something that tangibly improves the product, but isn’t inherent to its function. Things like extra levels, new side quests and mini-games, and additional character customisation make brilliant stretch goals for indie games.
No.1 most important thing: Community
All that being said, the one proven ingredient to Kickstarter success is a strong community. To develop one, you need to work on community growth and engagement over a period of months if not years. This can be tricky when balanced with game development, so it’s important to find a way that works for you, whether that’s carving out time each day to community build yourself; hiring an in-house community manager; or working with an established agency.