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4 Steps For Crowd-funding Your Indie Game

This goes over the ways to fund your Indie game as funding is usually one of the biggest challenges one faces.

Chris Grasso, Blogger

October 14, 2013

4 Min Read

Developing a game independent of any publishing or development company has become extremely popular as of late. The only problem with developing a game on your own is finding a way to fund your project for publishing and distribution.

Thanks to Kickstarter and other crowd-funding sites, though, this has become significantly easier. Whether you are a gaming startup or offer low-cost door hanger printing there is a person who will help fund your venture. Here are a few steps to take to ensure that your game will get funded.

Step 1: Share With Communities

One of the most important aspects of crowd-funding is making sure that the right people are aware of your game's existence. There are some people that actively seek out new games to fund, but for the most part, you're going to have to get out there and actively promote your game.

For example, take a look at Double Fine Adventure, an unnamed title provided by Tim Schafer. Schafer is well known for his work on the Escape From Monkey Island series, as well as Full Throttle and Grim Fandango. When he had an idea for a new game, he didn't pitch it to big companies. Instead, he tried something that several others had success with. He went to Kickstarter and hoped that his fans would fund his next game.

After posting his game on Kickstarter, he began to actively promote it in different communities. The word quickly spread to other communities, websites, and more. Schafer was only looking for $400,000. The game ended up grossing $3.3 million dollars. 

Step 2: Provide Information on Your Project

If you're not someone like Tim Schafer and don't have an extensive portfolio, you're going to need to offer as much information about your project as you can. One of the things that helps the most is an introduction posted on the main page of the project. In this video, you can pitch your product, show it off a bit, explain how the game will work, and whatever else you feel is necessary.

If you can, include a takeaway of some sort. It could be something as simple as offering a sample of the music or an offer to sign up for a newsletter. If you're looking for help on the project, mention it here. List out exactly what you need help with and who you're looking for. 

Step 3: Offer Useful Rewards

This is where a lot of projects go off the rails. Don't offer a useless reward like a thank you on a website. Give a real and unique incentive. Let the person interact in some way with the game. Offer artwork or music or other exclusive downloadable content.

One of the biggest trends right now with indie games is allowing alpha gameplay. Players will understand that, since the game is in alpha, there's going to be a massive amount of development errors. Most won't care: They're just excited to play something that isn't due out for several months. A few years ago, this wouldn't have been possible, but thanks to fast services like Verizon FiOS Internet, it's no longer an issue.

Offer a low buy-in price for access to the game, but make rewards at top tiers something valuable, as well. Or offer to let the player name a character or choose the design of one.

Create stretch goals. These should be goals to encourage players, such as extra levels in the game, extra characters, or even offer console support of the title, should it reach a certain amount.

Step 4: Keep People in the Loop

Provide updates on the progress of your game. Be completely transparent with all of your backers. Add links to all of your personal accounts, like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. People tend to feel safer when they have a more personal connection with the people involved behind the project.

Kickstarter has a section for you to provide update to your backers. In addition to that, it gives your backers a chance to ask you one-on-one questions. Take the time each day to answer any and all questions they have. Potential backers will see this and know that you support your project, so any concerns they have will be addressed quickly. This could be posting screenshots or just answering questions that concerned investors would have. Think of it as a renovation project like seen at iloverenovations.ca where there would be checkpoints for a client and check in with your funders frequently.

Crowd-funding isn't easy, and in no way does it guarantee success. The only way that your title will see the light of day is if people open up their wallet and donate, and there's no way to guarantee that will happen. However, by giving them a reason to donate and by being transparent with all game progress, you'll be more likely to get donations.

If you have a great gaming idea that you've been sitting on, now is your chance to pitch it. Don't expect immediate success, but be prepared just in case your idea gets funded!

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