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[SWADE] Super Powers Companion Crowdfunding


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dbm

Adventurer
More stretch goals to come, apparently :)

If nothing else, it should be possible for them to send out the PDF reward quicker than via Kickstarter as they won’t have to wait for funds to be collected and transferred.
 


MGibster

Legend
I wonder if more companies will attempt to crowdsource via their own platform. It seems like a good way for them to keep more of the profits.
 

dbm

Adventurer
I guess it becomes a visibility-versus-percentage equation? This product is probably mostly aimed at existing Savage Worlds players who are on PEGINC’s mailing list and have an account with them already.

For a product more aimed at new people it would probably be better to go with something like Kickstarter where you are in a ‘public space’ that potential new customers hang out?
 

PEG_Landauer

First Post
Howdy folks!

The main reason we're adding a self-hosted crowdfunding option to our toolbox is that it better allows us to meet the wants of our customers in a market that is changing. It's more of an all-of-the-above or multi-platform strategy than anything against Kickstarter or any other platform. We're still on KS as much as we ever have been, so it's not at all a move away from that platform.

Consider that we have DECADES worth of a back catalogue and that a lot of those products continue to sell well, and the best place to get those is on our webstore. So it's a natural fit to allow folks to take advantage of shipping savings, etc. like they would in a pledge manager but give them access to ANY of our products that are in print versus only those products we can manually enter into a post KS-campaign management platform (that's not technically ON Kickstarter itself anyway).

Kickstarter fees aren't really high on the list of reasons to try self-hosted crowdfunding. Consider the cost to have custom code to recreate a lot of functionality that isn't available off-the-shelf, the server demands of a first day rush, the testing and the upkeep. I think if you polled folks in our industry about KS, too, that the fees aren't high on the list of issues with the site or the paradigm.

Heck, "issues with kickstarter" isn't really high on the list either. You'll see that we're as active as we've ever been on the site and will continue to be. Pathfinder for Savage Worlds, Rifts: Atlantis, and the upcoming Holler: An Appalachian Apocalypse are MAJOR productions for a company our size, and they're all Kickstarters this calendar year.

And that's about right for Kickstarter's stated policy of open campaigns and fulfillment schedules, and about right for the extra effort it takes to run a Kickstarter. Taking some projects like ETU: Study Abroad and Flash Gordon: Moons of Mongo to Game On Tabletop, and doing the Super Powers Companion on our own site has allowed us the necessary runway space to keep our invigorated publishing schedule humming along. That, much more than pros/cons of any one platform or fees is the reason for our diversification of platforms. A little experimentation, a little getting access to the right tools, getting some new tools that no extant platform or management package has, mentally separating the projects so we're not clogging any one avenue with all-the-things, etc.

As a fan and a customer, I didn't think a lot about the other side of the business, but consider that when an RPG company funds and sells a book on Kickstarter, that becomes a storefront for a little while. You have to manage the comments and concerns and bugs there. And then you have to open up essentially a second storefront during the pledge management phase. And then there's the digital versions of all the physical products to go along with the physical. KS doesn't manage or allow "delivery" of those goods. And then there's maintaining hosting and delivery of the digital goods on your company site, and then possibly other third party sites like DriveThruRPG. And also how are you integrating your customers from KS into your own site if they just got the physical product? How do you keep track of those folks? And also how do you communicate to all those folks on all those platforms when there's an update or error with a file or they're in the EU and have new contact regulations to deal with? And then there's trying to maintain accurate numbers and access of your stock in stores and in several distributor databases and your own website, etc. Your business suddenly exists and operates in a dozen different places.

And none of our crowdfunders are straight pre-sales, the books and products are absolutely improved and changed dynamically because of the campaigns and the feedback. And even that feedback is a logistical challenge, can you really run all of that on a comment section on a KS without threading and moderation and ability to move or merge and lock threads? Not really, we really need a forum for that. Ok, so how do we bridge the KS backers to forum users? How do we provide version-control so that during that playtesting and public feedback period folks know they have the most current material? How do we lock that down when it needs to go to print?

And when you're still providing customer service for that product in 5 years. How do you remember if this person is a KS customer, webstore customer, DTRPG customer, pledge manager late backer, store customer who got a comp PDF, etc. etc. etc.

Those and other questions are much higher on the "how do we survive and thrive" list than third-party fees or "money."

Thanks for coming to my PEG talk. LOL. Cheers!

Christopher Landauer
 

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