The gaming industry is changing, and traditional publishers no longer hold all the cards.
Crowdfunding exploded onto the gaming scene in 2012 thanks to Double Fine’s Broken Age. By 2015, game crowdfunding had reached the gaming mainstream with the launch of a Kickstarter for Shenmue III.
Fig launched in 2015 as a game-specific crowdsource platform. Now it’s a popular way of raising funds for unknown indie studios and big-name developers alike.
Crowdfunding on Fig shares a few traits with other platforms, but also has its own unique considerations.
If you’re planning to launch on Fig, then you’ll need the 10 tips we’ve put together below.
Show Your Credentials
Game crowdfunding is a form of investing, and bad investment is a form of gambling.
It’s vital that backers see why you’re a trustworthy investment and not a slot machine with bad odds.
If you’re an established studio with previously published games, that’s great. Those are your credentials. Promote that as part of your pitch so people know exactly who you are.
Don’t have a catalog you can point to?
Highlight the experience of your team. That could be their qualifications or their contributions to a previous project. Anything to cement backer confidence will help move your project along.
Even better, when you are just getting started and want to ensure the success of your game crowdfunding, creating a prototype goes a long way to get that needed credibility. There is no excuse with tools like BuildBox that allows you to create game prototypes easily.
Be Real with Your Goals
Investors need confidence in your end goal, or they won’t bother.
Be clear about your goals, and make sure they’re realistic. Don’t pull a number from the ether: cost up your campaign and work out where the budget will go.
Create a detailed blueprint for the final shape of your game. Dream too big, and you’ll overpromise and underdeliver.
Unless you’re part of a major studio, you’re unlikely to produce the next AAA bonanza, so don’t promise it. You need to avoid the dreaded accusations of ‘feature creep’ if you want to maintain confidence.
Get Friendly with the Calendar
Planning your launch date is a tricky balancing act. Try to use other big dates in the gaming calendar, and you may boost your profile. Get it wrong, and a landslide of noise will bury your campaign.
If you’re planning to launch around a major convention, make sure you’re in attendance. Talking about your new campaign on a major stage could mean you hit the ground running. Even high-profile titles use this tactic, like the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter launched at E3.
Otherwise, try timing your date to coincide with an exposure piece from a publication.
Don’t switch your campaign on when you feel like it. Set a date well in advance so you can bring the hype machine up to speed before you even launch.
Gamers love to get hyped. The industry has arrived at a place where the hype for new releases often overshadows the end result.
Broadly speaking, gamer hype falls into three camps: excitement for a new IP, continuation of an existing series, or the revival of a beloved-but-dormant franchise.
Chances are good your game falls into one of these categories. Make it part of your hype. Hit your pitch hard. Outline your exact missions statement and tell gamers why they should care.
Here are three tips for promoting your game crowdfunding: exposure, exposure, exposure.
It’s in the name: the bigger the crowd, the more funding you’ll get. It’s vital that your campaign casts a wide net.
Social media makes a huge difference here. Push your campaign on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch. Run active information campaigns and use paid promotional tools to give it visibility.
You don’t have to rely on self-promotion for your game crowdfunding.
Try to approach gaming publications with a wide readership. A featured article could bring thousands of new eyes to your campaign – and games journalists are always looking for more topics to cover.
Contact influencers who can help you promote. Their loyal fanbase could bring in a huge number of new backers. Influencers are a huge cog in the modern marketing machine, so if you’re hoping to be the next PUBG, you’d better work with them.
No News Is Bad News
Investors get nervous when their investment goes silent. Communication and transparency are key to a successful crowdfunding campaign.
Keep your investors happy with frequent updates. This doesn’t have to be in-game content. It could be concept art. It could be your notes about prototype systems. It could be a video message from you as the developer.
The point is to ensure your backers know the campaign is still alive and kicking. Backers will support a live campaign by telling their friends and writing about it online. Let it go dormant, and your coverage will soon dry up.
Give Back to Your Backers
Your backers are another key part of your hype machine. It’s important to keep them happy so they’ll promote your campaign through word of mouth.
Along with providing updates, try to engage your backers more actively. Run polls, Q&A sessions, and ask for feedback on forums. You could even run some fun online activities like AR games or puzzles to solve.
Find out what your backers want from you through comments and forums. Are they showing any grievances? Work out what you can do to head off complaints before they sabotage your campaign.
Speak to Your Investors
Fig splits game crowdfunding into two major camps. One is the traditional Kickstarter-esque model of backers who contribute and receive rewards. The other is “accredited investors” (read: rich people) worth over $1m, who invest in return for equity.
If you’re using the mixed funding model, you need to appeal to both kinds of backers.
Accredited investors are more likely to show interest in a game’s long-term success. Show confidence in your ideas and point out what success means to you – and them.
Unaccredited backers will care more about the fundamentals. They’ll want to know more about how the game will feel to play. They’ll also care about the backer rewards and stretch goals.
There are tools out there to track when someone mentions your brand or game online. Try to use these to get a handle on your success and look for new promotional opportunities.
If you see someone covering your campaign, make sure their info is accurate and that they’re providing links.
Seeing negative coverage? Find out what’s causing it, and what you can do to address it. Your campaign will live and die by your positive press, so pay close attention to it.
Game Crowdfunding – Make It Happen
So if you want to turn an idea into reality, crowdfunding on Fig may be the way forward. Keep these ten tips in mind, and you can run a successful campaign to turn a daydream into a game-changer.
Looking for more crowdfunding tips? Why not let us know what you’d like covered?