Tuesday, May 4, 2010

More Kickstarter info

I got a response back from another Kickstarter-funded project, the game Inevitable designed by Jeremy Bushnell and Jonathan A. Leistiko. Like my earlier post on Jim Taylor's Gentlemen of the South Sandwiche Islands project, I asked Jeremy what his results had been, and what percentage of his donors were known to him. My guess was that most of the Kickstarter donors were going to be friends and family or other folks connected to the project authors. In the case of Jeremy's Inevitable Kickstarter project, it looks like it's more like 50-50. Here's what Jeremy said:
In terms of the percentile mix that you're asking about: I have a pretty supportive social network, and a number of the contributions were from that group. We have one $500 backer who is a friend, and another $150 backer who is also a friend.   But our largest contributor -- offering $700 -- was a stranger to me.
A lot of the continued support we've been getting has been from strangers-- people who I assume found us through the Kickstarter page. The site has a good buzz on it right now, and a lot of people really are visiting it just because they want to find good projects. I haven't crunched the numbers on this, but I'd say that around 50% of the contributors are people who neither Jon nor I know personally, and when all is said and done we will definitely have gotten more money from strangers than from friends (the $700 donation from our mystery donor certainly helps to tip the scale that way).
Our $75 price point is far and away the most popular among strangers. It effectively works as a pre-order for people, with a few extras. (People are open to paying $50 for a game, and so getting your name in the credits and a feeling of good will for an extra $25 seems attractive to people.)
Like other projects, they've structured the Kickstarter project in tiers. The lower tiers provide low-cost rewards, like buttons and PDF versions of the game. To get a copy of the actual printed game, you have to put in $75. Roughly half of their funding is from that level, with the other half from three big donors (one at $350+, two at $500+).

They're doing a very small print run (100 games), so the relatively high donation level to get a game probably reflects the higher printing costs to make such a small print run. Their game is complex and has a lot of components, so I'd bet the printing and parts costs take up the majority of the $75 donation, depending on the quality of the board and packaging they use.

This makes Kickstarter look more promising as a way to whittle away at the huge start-up cost for printing games.  It's more suited to small production runs, like this one and Gentlemen, than to something larger, like starting a business, but most indie designs probably won't sell that many.  The PDF version of Inevitable also offers a low-cost, high profit-margin alternative for marketing the game, and the Kickstarter funds probably allow them more latitude when funding artwork and design.

Neat stuff to consider. My thanks to Jeremy for responding to my questions.

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