RPG Crowdfunding - What a year and 150 projects brings to light
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  1. #1

    RPG Crowdfunding - What a year and 150 projects brings to light

    In my own quest to do a Kickstarter I decided that to do it right I needed data so I could make some evidence based decisions on how to go about it.

    Over a month of work and I've got two reports I've done after collecting data from 150 RPG related crowdfunding projects from April 2011 to April 2012.

    Part One deals with the broader numbers of the survey as a whole.
    Part Two looks more closely at what occurred at various funding levels with backers. Along with that I look at key rewards that are offered for the RPG market.

    I have a part three in the works, and I'll once I get my spreadsheets cleaned up I'll post the raw data files and then the real statisticians can tear this stuff apart.

    I hope it helps people to figure out their own projects and how to get them off the drawing board and into people's hands through crowdsourcing.

    Enjoy!

  2. #2
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    Thanks for doing this. One thing that I'm curios about is if you got a good idea of what good pricing levels are for the custom art and content. I know I struggled with figuring this out for my recently concluded project.

  3. #3
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    1&2 are great reads looking forward to #3!!

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by MatthewJHanson View Post
    Thanks for doing this. One thing that I'm curios about is if you got a good idea of what good pricing levels are for the custom art and content. I know I struggled with figuring this out for my recently concluded project.
    The quick answer I'd give is $150, but there are a swirl of factors that play into that.

    Part of it is that there is a lot of variation in what kind of custom artwork was being offered. One might ask for a backers likeness that then gets incorporated into the book, another might have a backer describe a character, while another might just let the backer pick a monster to be included in the book and then art would be created for that entry.

    There is also the scope of the art piece. Quarter page, half page, color, B&W, etc. How much is the artist on call charging, etc.

    But if you're offering something substantial, say a half page image that requires a decent amount of backer input in one form or another then $150 was the highest fund level for the offering, while also seeing a lot of healthy backer activity. I don't have a direct correlation from how I collected the data, but that funding level sees a lot of overlap on both backer and creator behavior.

    That price might not yield much to the funding pool, but it should easily pay for that piece plus the book to be sent to the backer, so that one backer alone took care of an art asset.

    There is still plenty of variation and other levels can fit the needs of the project in different ways. If your book has lots of quarter page or smaller sketch art that isn't expensive to pay for then you might make a $50 funding level so the backer gets input on a image plus the book. Once again a single backer takes care of a piece of the book.

    On the flip side, with Mythic Hero the creator was able to get a $2000 funding level backed with a prominent feature being:

    You’ll also get to help Steve create a sample god, as with the “Major God” reward — and if you want, this character will be illustrated, and the illustration will be based on a picture of you so everyone can see how god-like you are!
    That totally works within the context of the book he was trying to make.

    But yeah, $150 is a nice healthy value to start from and then adjust to the specific demands of the project.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for sharing this info, and I'm definitely looking forward to your raw data, too.

  6. #6
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    One of the things I've noticed is that super-premium reward levels (things like the Shadowrun Returns "Mike Mulvihill will come to your town to run a Shadowrun game for you and your friends" $10,000 level) seem to add excitement and interest in a Kickstarter, even if no one actually buys them. Some Kickstarters don't have any support levels above $150 or thereabouts, but I think those miss an opportunity to generate buzz. I'm curious whether you have data about those questions that would support (or negate) my hypothesis.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Cerebral Paladin View Post
    One of the things I've noticed is that super-premium reward levels (things like the Shadowrun Returns "Mike Mulvihill will come to your town to run a Shadowrun game for you and your friends" $10,000 level) seem to add excitement and interest in a Kickstarter, even if no one actually buys them. Some Kickstarters don't have any support levels above $150 or thereabouts, but I think those miss an opportunity to generate buzz. I'm curious whether you have data about those questions that would support (or negate) my hypothesis.
    I don't have specific data on the "I'll run a game for you" reward level. I did not collect that data point.

    However, just from general observation it was a fairly common type of reward to be offered, but that is also is one that was rarely backed. After grinding through all of those projects, my impression is that it is over used and over valued.

    Overall, enthusiasm seemed to come more from moving past the funding goal and into an area where stretch goals could be implemented. While I don't have data on specifics of timing, it can be assumed the quicker you reach your funding the goal the more time you have to implement stretch goals.

    I suspect the more modest funding goals exhibited by successful projects plays a vital role in getting that good vibe out there. When you reach it early the creators can broadcast good news, along with stretch goal updates. The more that can be broadcast through that month period that is positive news the more it markets the project. People are naturally drawn to siding with successful things and so more people are willing to back a project that not only is guaranteed to happen, but which might even get you more stuff just by backing.

    The flip side is a project that is struggling and which at best can broadcast pleas for funding with as much of a positive spin as the creator can muster. Those pleas may work, but aren't really generating buzz and interest.

    I do think there is room for novel funding rewards to create buzz. However it all comes down to having a fresh idea and also one that ideally fits with the specific project.

    One good example is the Stealing Cthulhu project, which has the rather unique approach of sending out a early copy of the book to all backers and then have the backers add annotations into the book, which then gets sent back to the creator and then aggregated into the final product. It was a surgical strike in terms of fitting with the theme of the product and ended up handsomely rewarding the creator.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerebral Paladin View Post
    One of the things I've noticed is that super-premium reward levels (things like the Shadowrun Returns "Mike Mulvihill will come to your town to run a Shadowrun game for you and your friends" $10,000 level) seem to add excitement and interest in a Kickstarter, even if no one actually buys them. Some Kickstarters don't have any support levels above $150 or thereabouts, but I think those miss an opportunity to generate buzz. I'm curious whether you have data about those questions that would support (or negate) my hypothesis.
    I don't know about it specifically in Kickstarter, but there's also a pretty common practice to have a high priced option to encourage more people to spend a little more on the middle priced option because it looks better by comparison. If your buying wine and you there's a only a ten dollar and a thirty dollar bottle, the thirty dollar one looks expensive. If there's also a hundred dollar bottle on the rack, that thirty dollar bottle looks a lot better.

  9. #9
    Part Three of the Crowdfunding Report is now up!

    This time around I look at general observations I noted as I went through the survey, focusing on broad issues that were not methodically tracked, but struck me as important in the larger picture. Enjoy!

  10. #10
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    This may have been obvious, but I may have missed it. What was your definition of success? Is success:

    1. The project's funding goal was reached.
    2. The end product was created and released.

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