Thursday, 11 October 2012

Kickstarting the games industry from October

In July Kickstarter tweeted that it would open up to UK-based projects for the first time this autumn.

Today Kickstarter announced that that day has finally arrived.  

Beginning October 31, people in the UK will be able to launch their projects on Kickstarter.  But they don't have to wait that long to get themselves on the wagon for kickstarting their project.  People in the UK looking to crowdsource their funding can get started building their projects by clicking on the "Start a new project" button on the Start page and selecting the UK as their country.
Come 31 October, Kickstarter will send an email letting them know that they can hit the launch button whenever they're ready. 

The runthrough from Kickstarter,

Let's run through the basics on how things will work.
So UK creators can start building their Kickstarter projects as early as today, and launch them beginning October 31? Yes. We thought the three-week gap would give everyone plenty of time to build and tweak their projects before launching. Beginning October 31, they can launch and share their projects with the world.
Will there be a UK-specific Kickstarter site? Nope. UK-based projects will be listed alongside all the other Kickstarter projects.
Can people outside the UK pledge to UK projects? Yes! Just like every other project on Kickstarter, backers can pledge to UK-based projects from all around the world.
What currency will UK projects be listed in? All UK projects will be listed in pounds sterling. If you are pledging from outside the UK, you will see the approximate conversion rate to US dollars before you complete your pledge.
Will backing UK projects be similar to backing US projects? The mechanics of Kickstarter (all-or-nothing funding, rewards, etc.) are identical for US and UK projects. When pledging, however, backers of UK projects will enter their payment information directly on Kickstarter rather than through Amazon Payments. All pledges will be processed securely through a third-party payments processor.
Are the fees for UK and US projects the same? Like the US, Kickstarter will charge a 5% fee to successfully funded projects and no fee to unsuccessfully funded projects in the UK. Payment processing fees for UK projects are similar to those for US projects. For UK projects, the processing fees are: Pledges less than £10 are charged 5% + £0.05 Pledges of £10 or greater are charged 3% + £0.20
Any other changes to go along with this announcement? Today we also launched a streamlined international shipping option for both US and UK projects. Creators have been asking backers to add international shipping costs to their pledges for years, and it wasn’t uncommon for backers to miss the instructions. Today’s update makes it clearer when the creator has requested that international backers add an additional amount to their pledges. We’ve also made it easier for creators to limit rewards to domestic backers only, as international shipping can be a difficult part of the process. We felt it was important to get this change out with this international expansion. This feature is available to both UK and US projects that launch starting today.
 As the gaming industry has begun to use this form of financial backing quite extensively such as Mantic's Kings of War and Dreadball, Mike McVey's Sedition Wars, Chaosium's Horror on the Orient Express, and Reaper Miniatures Bones to name a few of the big companies using it.

Is it a good thing? Is it a bad thing? A type of pre-ordering to give these companies a cash injection to do the things next year that may have taken them 5 to 10 years normally.  Do Kickstarter reward levels justify the money pumped into a project?

The projects previously mentioned certainly show that Kickstarter works, Sedition Wars being the highest funded boardgame on Kickstarter.  But for every success there are around 95 disappointments.  Kickstarter has an all or nothing style of funding.  You say how much you want from the crowd and if you reach your target you get the money (less the cut to Kickstarter), if you don't you get nothing.  Indiegogo, also a crowdfunding website gives you two options, the all or nothing option like Kickstarter, or the i'll take what i can option, where even if you don't reach your target you get what people have pledged (again less the cut to Indiegogo).

Will we suddenly see vast swathes of gaming/hobby industry companies or individuals flooding Kickstarter in the vague X-Factor like hope that their project will grasp people's imaginations and propel them towards earn vast amounts of money?  We suspect there will be a flood to begin with but the chaff will be culled from the wheat once the crowd begins to makes its decisions on who will get financial backing or not.

Whatever or however people feel about it, every hole in the hedge will have someone or company with an idea on Kickstarter looking for that funding nirvana.  It can't be stopped.  Self deluded people or dreamers? Well, we all have to keep a little bit of the dream going.

You never know, you may see a Wee Gamers kickstarter at some stage. You never know........

What do you think?

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