• # Why Kickstarters Fail and How to Avoid It

As an introduction let me just say I've been working as a liaison between Nintendo and indie developers for the past few months and have succeeded in bringing over around 15-20 new indie games to Wii U and 3DS. I've emailed back and forth developers who were running Kickstarters and through this I started to get some insight as to why many promising Kickstarter campaigns fail. They may seem like simple common sense (and they are) but they still seem to be overlooked too often. I wrote this so hopefully I can provide some insight to indie developers who may be starting a Kickstarter campaign in the near future. I hope it helps.

# Why Kickstarters Fail

I've had the opportunity of observing a fair few video game Kickstarter campaigns over the past few weeks from a close proximity. Some succeeded, others didn't. Being in touch with many of the campaign starters has given me a bit of insight into why some Kickstarters fail and others succeed. It's too often that you see a really great concept fail to build any kind of steam in their funding. Extremely talented developers will be baffled when they see their projects never make it past lift-off. And yet others seem to glide towards their funding target with the simplest of ease. It's not magic or voodoo. Having a really good idea just doesn't cut it on Kickstarter. There are some clear-cut factors that should be taken into account from the start. Of course, it's never completely in one's hands and there are many outside factors that you just can't control. But before anyone starts a Kickstarter campaign I'd advise them to sit down with their development team and figure out how they will avoid these 3 pitfalls.

## 2. The Project Isn't Far Enough Along

So, in summary: don't start a Kickstarter campaign unless you'd be ready to let fans try a demo of your game already at this point.

## 3. The Target Is Too High

This rule is simple. Sometime you see two very similar projects and one succeeds on Kickstarter and the other doesn't. The difference? One aimed for $5,000 and the other aimed for$10,000. Or one aims for $10,000 and the other for$50,000. They both could end up raising \$45,000 but the second one loses it all when they don't reach their target by the end of the campaign. I know this is easier said than done because at the end of the day, those numbers are real. The teams sits down and crunches numbers. They know that the project won't get done without this kind of money. But the question they have to ask themselves is, what will happen if we fail the Kickstarter? Did we succeed in getting the money we needed because we set a high-enough price? It's better to aim a bit lower than what you hope for but make the target one that is easy to reach. There is no set formula for doing this because every game is different. So, you should take a look at recent Kickstarters that seem somewhat comparable to your own and make a proper estimation of what you can target and still succeed. And remember: Kickstarter campaigns that succeed, almost always get funded considerably above their target. I just took the last 12 video game Kickstarter campaigns to get funded and calculated their average funding. The average between them was to reach 256% of their target funded. So, whether your success will end up being 110% of your target or 400% of your target, you should find a way to include that in your target plans. Drop your initial target by a little bit and assume that if you succeed you will get a that extra bit added on to the final funding.

## 4. Lack of PR

• indiegames.com
• Jayisgames
• Rockpapershotgun
• TIGSource
• Indiegamemag
• DIYgamer
If you want to really go thoroughly through all the decently-sized indie sites that would talk about your game this is a great list: http://www.pixelprospector.com/the-big-list-of-indie-game-sites/ B) These sites are massive but they are the ones that also report on Kickstarter campaigns pretty often. As long as a Kickstarter looks promising or has an interesting twist or innovation, they're willing to report on it:
• Venturebeat/Gamesbeat
• Kotaku
• Joystiq
• Gameinformer
• Shacknews
• Eurogamer
• Destructoid
• Escapist Magazine
• VG247
• Videogamer.com
• Gamezone.com
• PC Gamer
• Gamasutra
• Polygon
C) Finally, there are a ton of Youtube channels that cover indie games and Kickstarters. Youtube channels are a very powerful source of exposure on the internet. You can contact these "indie"-coverage Youtube channels on this list via your youtube channel: http://youtubers.pixelprospector.com/ Don't give up after a week if you don't see the campaign succeeding. Keep on doing relentless PR or look for another angle to get the engines started. Reprinted with permission from NintendoEnthusiast.com and Menashe Kestenbaum at http://nintendoenthusiast.com/15245/kickstarter-feature-part-1-why-kickstarters-fail-and-how-to-avoid-it/

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