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Microfunding - A new model?


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#1 worldalpha   Members   -  Reputation: 177

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 09:37 AM

My Game WorldAlpha

Well, I am in the process of completing my social strategy MMO WorldAlpha.  It has been quite the ride.  One of the biggest questions I've had is will people be willing to pay for this. So, I did the things other devs do, and started an IndieGoGo fund, as KS doesn't work here in Canada.  It was mildly success with 44 contributions totaling $1,781. I've also just recently started to sell Founder's Packs at my site, in just a couple of weeks, I've had 5 contributors for $150.
 

Microfund idea

So, it is a beginning, but really as I have been in development for over a year, I wish there would have been an opportunity to crowdfund over the whole time, as well as build a bit more of a community that has shown support by funding it, even small amounts.
 

That's why I came up with a funding model that I don't think exists.  An ability for devs to crowdfund throughout their whole dev cycle, and the ability for gamers to fund even small amounts of money if they like a game.
 

Steam Greenlight is a good way to get infront of gamers, but doesn't give gamers a chance to fund it.
Kickstarters and other sites allow a short time of crowdfunding, and requires funding of $5+ (I know there are some $1 levels, but that isn't typical)
 

Surely, there is a mix where indie gamers purchase microfund “coins” and give them out to lots of small projects that they are interested.
Devs get invested gamers and funding, and gamers get a chance to get behind lots of games that interest them.

 

Here are some advantages I see:

 

Developer Advantages

 

Ongoing - Unlike other crowdfunding that have specific timelines, we want to provide an ongoing presence during the life of development, so people can contribute as momentum builds.

 

Worldwide - This service will not be limited by geography, so any developer will be able to microfund.

 

Community Building - Unlike set timeframes for community building in other crowdfunding options, this will allow a continuous presence that will allow you to continue to crowdfund and community build on an ongoing basis.
 

Microfunding - Most crowdfunding starts at $5 or $10, which can be a barrier, this will let lots of gamers fund as small at $0.10.  Sort of like the "bundle" ideas where a lot of people funding a small amount can raise big time money.

 

Gamer Focused - Most crowdfunding happens on a much broader site with much more than just gaming, this will focus purely on indie games.  All types of games from Flash games, Browser games, Mobile, iOS, client games, and much more
  
Gamer Advantages

 

Accountablity - Gamers can choose to have funds held until developer has created a playable demo or beta release, or they can also choose to have it released immediately.

 

Microfunding - With the ability to fund as little at $0.10, gamers can get behind many projects with just a $5 or $10 contribution.

 

Anonymous - Gamers can choose to fund a campaign truly anonymously with no email or contact given to developer if desired.

 

So what are your thoughts?  Would this be of interest to you as a developer?  Before I go down this path, I need to get an idea if indies would support something like this.


Edited by worldalpha, 02 March 2013 - 09:40 AM.

I am currently working on a social strategy MMORTS WorldAlpha.
More details can be found here: http://www.worldalpha.com
DevBlog: http://www.worldalpha.com/devblog
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/worldalpha
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/worldalphagame

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#2 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 16162

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 11:44 AM

The minimum contribution needs to be greater than transaction fees (credit card companies need to be paid) and your own costs. A minimum transaction would need to be a little higher, perhaps $0.50 or $0.75.

That said, development costs are not in the hundreds or in the thousands. When estimating the costs for a startup, the standard formula in the US is $10,000 per developer per month. So three developers for three months would be approximately $90,000.

You're talking more about a hobby project, so it is more like a donation box.

No, your idea isn't very new. It has been used for donations and post-development payments for things like the Humble Indie Bundle where the money goes to a charity. It just is not practical to run a business that way.
Check out my personal indie blog at bryanwagstaff.com.

#3 Rattenhirn   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1540

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 12:16 PM

I don't see how this idea is different from just accepting donations, which is a viable funding options for quite a few games, especially those with high replay / continuous play.



#4 Servant of the Lord   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 14870

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 01:13 PM

100 people donating $0.10 is a nice gesture, but almost useless.

 

Have you seen Flattr? Every month you put in money into your Flattr account, and then when you are browsing the web or checking out projects, you can hit the 'Flattr' buttons those sites have. At the end of the month, each sites gets: (yourMonthlyMoney / numberOfFlattrsYouDidThatMonth).

 

No, your idea isn't very new. It has been used for donations and post-development payments for things like the Humble Indie Bundle where the money goes to a charity.

Some of the money goes to charity. You get to customize what percentage of your donation goes to whom, and I think the humble bundle is very profitable to the developers as well - depending on whether your game is one of the feature games, or just a add-on bonus revealed later.

Personally, I always give 90% to the developers, and 10% to the Humble Bundle itself, leaving 0% for charity. (I wanted to support the developers who made the games - I'm not against charity or something)


It's perfectly fine to abbreviate my username to 'Servant' rather than copy+pasting it all the time.

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#5 worldalpha   Members   -  Reputation: 177

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 02:10 PM

The minimum contribution needs to be greater than transaction fees (credit card companies need to be paid) and your own costs. A minimum transaction would need to be a little higher, perhaps $0.50 or $0.75.

That said, development costs are not in the hundreds or in the thousands. When estimating the costs for a startup, the standard formula in the US is $10,000 per developer per month. So three developers for three months would be approximately $90,000.

You're talking more about a hobby project, so it is more like a donation box.

No, your idea isn't very new. It has been used for donations and post-development payments for things like the Humble Indie Bundle where the money goes to a charity. It just is not practical to run a business that way.

 

Lets try to explain again.  A gamer would say contribute $10 to the microfund, and gets say 100 coins ($0.10 per coin).  He then goes through and sees different projects some he gives 1 coin to others, he gives 20 coins to.  Some would have perks, if you contribute 50 coins, you get into beta, etc.

 

So, yes the transaction fee would have to be considered on $10, but not on the individual coin contributions.

 

In regards to amounts raising, yes, it could take a lot, but as you mentioned Humble Bundles (for finished games) has raised millions at $5 averages for 5 games.  So, if scaled, this could raise significant money.


I am currently working on a social strategy MMORTS WorldAlpha.
More details can be found here: http://www.worldalpha.com
DevBlog: http://www.worldalpha.com/devblog
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/worldalpha
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/worldalphagame

#6 worldalpha   Members   -  Reputation: 177

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 02:11 PM

I don't see how this idea is different from just accepting donations, which is a viable funding options for quite a few games, especially those with high replay / continuous play.

 

It is centralized, and it allows for very small donations as well as bigger ones.  It also allows for concepts or pre-alpha stage games to get some community behind it.


I am currently working on a social strategy MMORTS WorldAlpha.
More details can be found here: http://www.worldalpha.com
DevBlog: http://www.worldalpha.com/devblog
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/worldalpha
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/worldalphagame

#7 Rits   Members   -  Reputation: 259

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 02:02 PM

I like the idea. I see what problem worldalpha is trying point at, and the solution does sound like a direct one. 

 

I have a question though, can this help converting more people into game supporters that donates? 

The situation I see currently is that crowd sourcing supporters although large by number and proven capable of gathering big sum of money,

these financially stable supporters only support a narrow genre of games. 

If you're creative in designing games not in their taste, even with quality it wouldn't get you a lot of support.

 

But then, $5, for 1 project, that you don't know how long you need to wait, i find it only reasonable for discouraging a mass amount of supporters. 

If $5 can allow them to support 10 games, maybe they'd think more about it?



#8 mdwh   Members   -  Reputation: 741

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 07:39 AM

Lets try to explain again.  A gamer would say contribute $10 to the microfund, and gets say 100 coins ($0.10 per coin).  He then goes through and sees different projects some he gives 1 coin to others, he gives 20 coins to.  Some would have perks, if you contribute 50 coins, you get into beta, etc.
 
So, yes the transaction fee would have to be considered on $10, but not on the individual coin contributions.

I think this is roughly how Flattr works?
 
Another way round the transaction problem is virtual currencies like Bitcoin. Also no reason to limit yourself to one option (the biggest problem is probably that most people haven't signed up to things like Flattr or Bitcoin, and they don't bother to do so - but you might as well try to take advantage of all possible solutions out there, as some will use one, but not others).
https://freecode.com/projects/erebus - Erebus, Open Source RPG for Windows/Linux/Android/Symbian
https://freecode.com/projects/conquests - Conquests, Open Source Civ-like Game for Windows/Linux

#9 shadowomf   Members   -  Reputation: 319

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 03:38 PM

I believe Minecraft did get it right (at least for their kind of game) and get funding as well as publicity at once.

his however as Rattenhirn already said only works if your game has a high replayability. If it's more story centered and you have see pretty much all of it after playing through it once you can't release your alpha to the public.

 

 

Regarding your microfunding idea:

 

There are already crowd funding sites that target games and gamers.

 

Having an account that you can preload with some investment value isn't new for crowd funding as far as I know.

 

I believe the only new thing is the long runtime instead of a limited funding campaign. However most businesses or project need a certain amount of money before it makes sense to actually start them.

If you start because you have 1 month of 6 month planned development time financed and then don't get the money to continue you have a lot of disappointed investors. If the only feasable way for you to finish the game is by depending on more crowdfunds in the future I would say you are screwing the investors.

 

 

Pre-Alpha or concept stage games will always have a hard time to get funding, anywhere. (Not impossible but almost.)

You will always have to give the investors something to convince them that you can make more with their money than they would get by just earning interests on their bank account.

If you don't have the name, the rich uncle, or something to show that you can actually realize your project, it's hard to get anything. Everybody has a game idea and most of the time people don't want to hear about them.

 

And regarding niche games or creative designs. If the investors are interested it will get funded and will probably also make money.

If you can't get enough investors to pay 5$, how will you get customers to pay for the finished product?






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