Critical Role's Kickstarter Breaks $1,000,000 In About An Hour!

For those hoping for a new D&D cartoon, Critical Role has just launched a Kickstarter for an animated show based on their livestream campaign. It broke a million dollars in about an hour, and has 45 days left to go...

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"Critical Role's The Legend of Vox Machina reunites your favorite D&D heroes for a professional-quality animated special!"

Also on offer are theme song MP3s, production art prints, sticker sets, dice, playing card sets, plushies, pin sets, canvas bags, and more.
 
Russ Morrissey

Comments

akr71

Explorer
There's a lot to unpack in that article.
Yes, "Critical Role’s massive crowdfunding success is kickstarting some interesting conversations."
It's clearly kickstarting some rather boring ones too.
Originally Posted by The Polygon Article
According to industry publication ICV2, retail sales of TTRPGs accounted for only $55 million of the $1.5 billion hobby games category in 2017. If those estimates are true, then Critical Role has already earned more than 12 percent of the revenue of the entire TTRPG retail sector in just a few days.

How much of that will Wizards of The Coast (WoTC), publisher of Dungeons & Dragons, receive? According to Critical Role’s Kickstarter page, nothing.
*groan*
Every other article, tweet or mention talks about this being a TV & Film Kickstarter, but this article goes to great lengths to try and paint it as a TTRPG Kickstarter, which it is not. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

I also think comparing a Kickstarter's success to an industry's revenue is a bad idea. I view a Kickstarter as an attempt to raise capital for a venture. The fact that the backers get something at the end other than a stake in the end product is irrelevant. Critical Role is NOT selling a game, they are selling the promise of an animated show.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I think it’s interesting that, give the sheer size of CR fandom, they could possibly consider launching their own Critical Role RPG which could rival D&D. Even if it didn’t, it would probably be the second biggest RPG in the world.
 

Hussar

Legend
Every other article, tweet or mention talks about this being a TV & Film Kickstarter, but this article goes to great lengths to try and paint it as a TTRPG Kickstarter, which it is not. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

I also think comparing a Kickstarter's success to an industry's revenue is a bad idea. I view a Kickstarter as an attempt to raise capital for a venture. The fact that the backers get something at the end other than a stake in the end product is irrelevant. Critical Role is NOT selling a game, they are selling the promise of an animated show.
Not really. I'm not sure why you would think that. The issue is that we're looking at a single kickstarter that is worth a significant portion of the entire TTRPG industry. And, remember, Critical Role is a business that sells more than just this single kickstarter.

It kinda bemoans the fact that people are willing to spend a considerable amount of money on watching someone play a game, but, aren't really willing to support the game itself.

Which has all sorts of implications down the road.
 
I think it’s interesting that, give the sheer size of CR fandom, they could possibly consider launching their own Critical Role RPG which could rival D&D. Even if it didn’t, it would probably be the second biggest RPG in the world.
I smell a stretch goal...
 
I think it’s interesting that, give the sheer size of CR fandom, they could possibly consider launching their own Critical Role RPG which could rival D&D. Even if it didn’t, it would probably be the second biggest RPG in the world.
That's certainly true. Reading through some of the comments on the Kickstarter, I get the impression that a good number of backers are helping to fund this project out of a desire to "give back" to Critical Role. There are lots of heartfelt stories about how CR helped people through a hard period of their life, or helped inspire them to start a game of their own, or made them feel "cool" for playing D&D, etc. They've captured lightning in a bottle.

I hope they don't try to create their own RPG, though. While I'm sure it would be successful, I worry it would split their community. But CR seems content to roll with 5E D&D. (I'm not even going to apologize for that pun.) Their Tal'Dorei Campaign Guide is quality work and has been generally well-received; I hope they stay on that trajectory instead.
 

Kurotowa

Explorer
I think it’s interesting that, give the sheer size of CR fandom, they could possibly consider launching their own Critical Role RPG which could rival D&D. Even if it didn’t, it would probably be the second biggest RPG in the world.
I don't see that as a likely move. The CR crew are actors, not game designers. There's not exactly a lot of skill overlap there. I mean, maybe they could commission a CR branded RPG to be designed for them, but why? They'd basically have to build an entire design, publishing, and distribution chain. Right now WotC does all that for them. Symbiosis is easier, more efficient, and lets everyone focus on what they do best.

I mean, CR will want to retain their independence because they want creative freedom, sure. But not everyone wants to be a monolithic vertically integrated multi-media behemoth. Disney is not a reasonable aspirational model for most people. :D
 
I wonder just how many people CR has brought to the table, particularly how many new GMs it has created. Because I bet it is a lot, and that's the real benefit to the hobby.
 

MarkB

Hero
Not really. I'm not sure why you would think that. The issue is that we're looking at a single kickstarter that is worth a significant portion of the entire TTRPG industry. And, remember, Critical Role is a business that sells more than just this single kickstarter.

It kinda bemoans the fact that people are willing to spend a considerable amount of money on watching someone play a game, but, aren't really willing to support the game itself.

Which has all sorts of implications down the road.
What people are paying to see is a story and a performance, not a game. Bemoaning that is like bemoaning the fact that people spend huge amounts of money to watch pop groups playing guitars, but aren't investing nearly as much in supporting the poor guitar manufacturers.
 

Hussar

Legend
What people are paying to see is a story and a performance, not a game. Bemoaning that is like bemoaning the fact that people spend huge amounts of money to watch pop groups playing guitars, but aren't investing nearly as much in supporting the poor guitar manufacturers.
Considering the guitar manufacturing industry in the US alone is some 650 million dollars, I'm thinking that guitar manufacturers are pretty well supported.

IOW, the bemoaning would be a lot quieter if the TTRPG industry was ten times its current size.
 
I wonder just how many people CR has brought to the table, particularly how many new GMs it has created. Because I bet it is a lot, and that's the real benefit to the hobby.
Indeed. My wife started her own D&D campaign after binge-watching all of Campaign One. She was nervous and excited and terrified at first, but she took to it like a fish to water. We've been hosting regular game nights for over a year now.
 
Indeed. My wife started her own D&D campaign after binge-watching all of Campaign One. She was nervous and excited and terrified at first, but she took to it like a fish to water. We've been hosting regular game nights for over a year now.
That XP was for your wife. Tell her she leveled up!
 

jmucchiello

Adventurer
The irony of the article is the CR crew is well aware of diversity issues. Mercer said he didn't know if he should voice Gillmore on the cartoon because he's a white actor and Gillmore is not white. Now, anyone who has seen the streams know Matt is Gillmore. But his first thought was the optics of him portraying a POC in a cartoon.

(Anyone wanting a reference for that can find it on the Mar 5 Q&A video. I don't know the time offset.)
 

MarkB

Hero
Considering the guitar manufacturing industry in the US alone is some 650 million dollars, I'm thinking that guitar manufacturers are pretty well supported.

IOW, the bemoaning would be a lot quieter if the TTRPG industry was ten times its current size.
It only got to be its current size due to a large influx of new players brought in by the streaming shows.
 

Kite474

Villager
Indeed. WotC itself attributed over 50% of new players to streaming shows.

http://www.enworld.org/forum/content.php?4677-Over-Half-Of-New-D-D-Players-Got-Into-Game-From-Watching-Online-Play&p=7280454

The medium is outgrowing the game.
Which is both great and kind of worrying. Great in that thats a crap ton of people and its always good to see more people. Worrying In the sense that what little success there is built on something kind of fragile... I guess it only serves to show how tiny this industry kind of is.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Which is both great and kind of worrying. Great in that thats a crap ton of people and its always good to see more people. Worrying In the sense that what little success there is built on something kind of fragile... I guess it only serves to show how tiny this industry kind of is.
Is it fragile? Or is it just where the hobby is going?
 
Which is both great and kind of worrying. Great in that thats a crap ton of people and its always good to see more people. Worrying In the sense that what little success there is built on something kind of fragile... I guess it only serves to show how tiny this industry kind of is.
You say "what little success there is," but D&D alone has been played by tens of millions of people, who have spent billions of dollars on it. There are hundreds of RPG channels on YouTube, and dozens of tabletop RPGs streamed live on Twitch at any given moment. Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes was a national bestseller.

Take heart. This industry hasn't been tiny for a long, long time.
 

Hussar

Legend
Is it fragile? Or is it just where the hobby is going?
Well, how would that actually work?

You have a small fraction of people playing RPG's and putting that content out there for people to watch. The hobby cannot survive solely on streamers. It's not like any of the streaming dollars are going into RPG company hands. And, it's not like streamers need to play the current edition or game to put out content.

It is a concerning trend. But, hopefully, there will be enough handoff with stream watchers becoming gamers that it will keep the industry going. Certainly looks healthy right now.
 

Galendril

Explorer
Well, how would that actually work?

You have a small fraction of people playing RPG's and putting that content out there for people to watch. The hobby cannot survive solely on streamers. It's not like any of the streaming dollars are going into RPG company hands. And, it's not like streamers need to play the current edition or game to put out content.

It is a concerning trend. But, hopefully, there will be enough handoff with stream watchers becoming gamers that it will keep the industry going. Certainly looks healthy right now.
It’s called free advertising. Any company would love to have fans streaming their products weekly.
 

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