5 Brief Tips To Successfully Leverage Kickstarter To Fund Your Video Game

September 16, 2014

It’s impossible to ignore just how successful Kickstarter has become in only 5 short years. From Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune’s new Mighty No 9 to even an Android based video game console by the name of Ouya, Kickstarter has certainly taken the gaming industry by storm as the most popular crowdfunding platform available.

Projects of all kinds that would have otherwise not seen the light of day have the Kickstarter community to thank, and perhaps this is the case with your game project. Not many of us have several grand to spend on making a game, after all. The following is a list of a few tips to consider should you ever want to fund your game via Kickstarter without ending up a failure like so many poorly-run campaigns.

1. Make A Captivating Page!

A big mistake many Kickstarter campaigns make is not putting the necessary time and effort into creating a project page that stands out and catches the attention of viewers.

More importantly, potential backers want to see ‘evidence’ that the project is actually already in the works and will definitely be made.

Whether they were asking for a good sum of money like Yacht Club’s Shovel Knight ($75,000 goal) or they set the bar low like Castle Pixel’s Rex Rocket ($6,000 goal), all Kickstarter campaigns that reached their goal featured a good video and plenty of eye-catching images.

Ask a friend to help out or pay someone to do it. We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to have a video that shows your game in action, or at least images of what it will play like. Concept art and any in-game art is just as important to have as it provides viewers with something fun to look at.

Trust us, few will offer support if all they see are large blocks of text. This is a video game you’re making, after all!

2. It’s All About Pledge Rewards!

Most backers don’t have a problem tossing between $5 and $20 toward your project, even if they’re only slightly interested in your game. However, you’ll need many backers to pledge more than that if you want to reach your goal, especially if it’s a high number you’re after.

This is where pledge rewards come in handy as they can tempt backers into donating more than they were expecting to by offering awesome goodies.

Some simple ideas are to have their name in the ending credits or somewhere in the game, letting them join the development team in Skype meetings, or even offering them an extra copy of the game or the soundtrack. Many Kickstarter campaigns give away physical rewards like T-shirts, plushies, etc., or you let players become involved in the game’s development process.

For instance, Castle Pixel’s Blossom Tales has pledge rewards where players can beta test early versions of the game, design a character, and even design a quest in the game.

Everyone loves getting goodies so make sure your pledge rewards are enticing enough that you’ll get several backers donating $50, $100, and more as opposed to only $10 for a digital copy of the game.

3. Advertise Your Kickstarter!

You’re going to have a rough time if you think that people are going to magically swarm onto your page out of nowhere and fund your project without a lick of work from you. Many say running a Kickstarter campaign is a full-time job for one simple reason; you’ll be spending A LOT of time trying to spread the word and getting people to visit your page.

Besides sending e-mails to websites and gamers with popular blogs and YouTube channels, social networking sites will be your greatest tool. You’ll definitely want to make a Facebook and Twitter page to get some attention and start growing a community of fans for your game.

Of course, friends and family are usually some of our more reliable supporters so be sure to shoot them a message!

4. Get Your Backers Into It!

Instead of coming off as a beggar, focus on taking an enthusiastic approach where you make backers feel as though they’re going to be responsible for the creation of something amazing. This is done by sending backers frequent updates that inform them of any progress and excite them about the donation they made.

This is important because backers tend to tell other friends about projects they supported, which could result in even more backers as well.

Send out updates with cool new pictures or ideas to keep it fun and motivate them to spread the word. Who knows, maybe you’ll even motivate a backer to donate even more money than they already pledged!

5. Stay Busy When Things Slow Down!

Aside from a few exceptions, your Kickstarter will probably follow the same pattern as most other campaigns: you’ll start off strong but eventually slow down, and if you’re lucky (or worked hard), you’ll end strong as the last days come to an end.

Considering that the huge influx of donations will come from friends and family at the start of your campaign, it’s silly to get depressed when you start seeing only a few bucks a day come in after a while.

Instead of considering your campaign a failure already, stay busy by offering new rewards and stretch goals. Send out more news releases to sites and gamers while continuing to update your social media pages. The gaming community is amazing in that you can find yourself doing interviews, podcasts, and other attention-grabbing events on many sites if you simply asked.

Most Important Of All…

Hopefully these brief tips will help you run an amazing campaign where you’ll not only reach your goal but see it doubled and tripled!

But more important than anything on this list is this simple truth: your game needs to be good, or at least unique.

You can have the most spectacular Kickstarter page ever made, but if viewers can tell that your game is going to be a stinker, forget about receiving funding. Make sure you’ve got a solid, well-designed idea before you set off on your Kickstarter adventure!