Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Crowd funding

Have you ever heard of Kickstarter, Indiegogo or Ulule? They are all websites for crowd-funding. People who have creative ideas put their project there and other who like the idea are backing it up with an amount of money. Every project has a financial target. If this goal is met, the project creator(s) get the money and the people who 'sponsored' the project get their promised reward. That is pretty much how these crow-funding platforms are working, as a direct interface between project makers and their target audience. Board games are becoming increasingly popular on these platforms. Some of the most successful or well known games raised as mush as $1 million and newcomers on the board games market managed to raise usually above $10,000. The increasing popularity of these crowd-funding platforms caught the interest of the big names in the industry. Some of the most famous publishers are now using Kickstarter and the best example is Queen Games. Most of their releases in the past six months were first 'kickstarted' before they were  commercially available.

Using a crowd funding platform comes with a few very important advantages for the publishers. First of all, this is a good way to measure the impact of your game and to decide if your game will be economically viable to produce. Also, judging by the number of pledges, a publisher can adjust the quantity they produce to meet the need of the market and to avoid stocking. Furthermore, by "shorting" the distributing companies and the retailers, the publisher will get the money directly from the final customers, having better margins. And this takes us to the advantages for the customer.

As people who play board games, we - the NSKN team - were looking to see how we can get the newest and the coolest games as soon as possible and for a good price. Crowd funding platforms are again the right answer. Most publishers offer a significant discount to all those who are willing to pledge their money and wait for a few months before getting their product. The usual discounts are somewhere between 10% and 25%. And this can happen just because some link on the distribution chain are skipped.

But these are just the most important advantages of using crowd funding platforms. Some others are less visible, but they can still make a difference. Because the publisher really wants to sell and has full control over the information they are providing, the clients will find there pretty much all there is to know about the board game they are considering to support. There's a video from the publisher, a video review, most of the artwork of the game and the rule book and a lot of comments from the other people who are supporting the same project. As a final bonus, the collectors will have a pleasant surprise,  as some of the publishers offer signed copies of their games or entire prototypes.

If you are looking for more information about crowd funding platforms like Kickstarter, I  recommend you to check The Game Whisperer Board Game Industry Analysis where you can find more information on the current projects and how Funding the Dream is happening. There are many amazing board game and card game projects on the Kickstarter in the process of being funded. I do not want to miss any of them, so I will just share with you a search link for 'board and card games' on the Kickstarter page

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