Should you Kickstart your new game idea?

As I began work on a new game idea yesterday (Society of Man), I started thinking about whether it would be a good idea to Kickstart this game or not. You’d think it’d be a simple proposition. You get a change to prove out your game by putting in front of thousands of potential eager customers and seeing if they’ll pay you 20, 30, or 50k upfront to reserve a copy. Where’s the negative?

How big is your game?

Society of Man is a small game. Believe it or not running a Kickstarter can be a job in and of itself (see Guide for Video Game Projects on Kickstarter ). It takes a large amount of planning for things like reward tiers, budget, design and marketing. It requires a good amount of constant interaction with your backers. It also typically requires that you have a working demo, proof, or vertical slice of your concept. If your game isn’t large enough, you just might find that the effort required to execute a successful Kickstarter is actually more than it would take to build and finish most of the game!

Overcommitment and Scoping

Another thing which frequently happens even to the most experienced teams Kickstarting is over-commitment whether through reward tiers or community postings. Often times you’ll feel as though you need to add goals or reward levels for things that would have otherwise been ‘nice-to-haves’. Something as common as ‘support additional platforms’ which is nearly always expected can be a very large stretch and easily lead to a large amount of additional work that you could have otherwise ignored until there was sufficient demand.

TL;DR

You should seriously consider whether your game is large enough to warrant a kickstarter and whether the money your asking for will pay for the large amount of additional effort you’ll have to put forward to really market the kickstarter and game. What would have been small, private 3 month project can easily turn into 2 months of pre-development and marketing followed by 6 months of integrating dozens of features you would have skipped otherwise.