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Crowdfunding Fatigue, What is it?

This article discusses crowdfunding fatigue, what it is, when it occurs, how it affects a project and how to use crowdfunding fatigue within a project.

Crowdfunding Fatigue, What is it?

Crowdfunding fatigue is an effect that was first mentioned to me during an interview that was conducted with Paladin Studios, where Derk de Geus used the term Kickstarter Fatigue. Kickstarter fatigue was used to describe the resistance of consumers to support several crowdfunding projects at once. Derk explained how his company was tasked with creating a Kickstarter campaign for a client, who previously had completed two Kickstarter project: “This caused a backlash in the community, as many backers had not yet received their rewards from the two earlier campaigns.” While this expresses the outcome of the term, the actual term encompasses more.

In this article, I will be discussing my own definition of crowdfunding fatigue, when the fatigue occurs, what the fatigue can mean for our own crowdfunding projects, and how crowdfunding should be used with the fatigue in mind.

Defining Crowdfunding Fatigue

Crowdfunding fatigue is a feeling of unwillingness for consumers who have recently funded a project, this feeling may instill resistance to fund another project in the near future. The heavier the  crowdfunding fatigue is, the longer funders will not be interested in funding new projects. Both failures and successes in crowdfunding can instill fatigue within funders. However, the effect of failures can be much more severe. For the purposed of this article a failure is not a project that did not reach its goal but a project that was unable to deliver on its promises.

Occurrence of Crowdfunding Fatigue

Crowdfunding fatigue occurs when a crowdfunding project was recently completed. The success of the crowdfunding project will affect the intensity of the fatigue that consumers might experience. There are two areas in which crowdfunding fatigue can occur, the first, being the industry the recent project was in, i.e. the games industry. The second area is the genre the project was in.

Successful Projects Fatigue

The effect of a successful project can be more focused on the genre of the industry. For example, when a consumer has funded a project in a specific genre and is either waiting to play the game or is currently playing the game.The consumer will feel less interested in funding different projects that fall within the same genre. A successful project might make the funder less interested in similar projects since they already have a game in that specific genre to play. On the other side, after the consumers are done playing the game they have funded and were satisfied with their experience they might actually feel more inclined to buy into another crowdfunding project.

Failed Projects Fatigue

Failed projects will most likely cause a greater effect in the relevant industry, a big failure can cause a fallout within the crowdfunding community and might make funders doubt/mistrust the game developer (or game developers in general).

No Man’s Sky(Hello Games , 2016) was a large game that ended up not delivering on its promises made before the game's release. Due to this, the final product was met with bitter disappointment. Based on the failure of Hello Games(Frank, A, 2016) to deliver on their promised content a great deal of consumers felt mistreated by the company behind No Man’s Sky. In an interview with Eurogamer (Robinson, M., 2016), the developer of Dual Universe states that “No Man’s Sky has hurt us, very clearly.” Jean-Christophe Baillie, also stated that “there is a huge amount of distrust in the community.” The research done has shown signs of funders developing a less trusting relationship with game developers, much like Jean-Christophe mentioned, these funders will likely be less interested in supporting a game in the future.

Crowdfunding Fatigue’s Effect on our own Project

Now that we have discussed what crowdfunding fatigue is and when it occur, we can start thinking about how it will affect a project. Whenever a crowdfunding project is started, research needs to be done into recent or current crowdfunding projects done by other companies. It is important to know how good previous projects have done and how current projects are doing in the same sector/genre.

The most important aspect of crowdfunding fatigue is knowing how fatigued our own target audience is. This can have a big impact on our own project sales, regardless of the success or failure of another project. If a project was very successful and players will be busy with it for a long time, funders might not be interested in our project since they are content with what they have. If the project was a failure (did not deliver on its promises), the funders might be weary of investing money in something that they cannot trust.

Using Crowdfunding for our project(s)

A team should create/change a crowdfunding strategy after research has been done into the target audience to find out how fatigued this group is and why it is fatigued to such a degree. The factors that are important to figure out during this research are:

  • How many projects happened around you?

  • How much did a funder on average fund?

  • What are the similarities between projects?

    • Target audience

    • Genre

    • Features

Knowing this will allow us to make better decisions in our strategy. The way we present our own crowdfunding project should depend on what trends and developments can be seen and our sector of the games industry.

Depending on the outcome of the research done we must decide how to proceed with the crowdfunding project. If there has recently been a successful project it might be a good idea to talk about features that are different to convince the funder that, while the game might look similar, there are differentiations between the two. If a crowdfunding project recently failed to deliver on its promises, we might not want to focus as much on the features of the project but more on all the work behind the project. As to explain why we will be able to fulfill all the promises and how we are going to do achieve them.

Conclusion

So far I have done research by discussing the way crowdfunding works during several interviews. From the information provided by these interviews we have been able to establish what the term “crowdfunding fatigue” means, when it can occur, how it will affect a project and how we can use the knowledge we have about it now. I believe that if more research is done, we can clarify how strong the effect is and show to our fellow game developers that it is something to seriously consider when starting a crowdfunding project. For this reason I believe future research should look for an answer to questions like: “How big is the effect on funders?” “Can a potential funder be affected even if they did not fund a project?” “does the funded amount increase/decrease based on how heavy a funder is effected?” “Does the negative effect get completely cancelled out by the influx of new funders?” “Does the effect actually exist?”

I would like to thank you for taking the time to read this far! Please leave me any notes, feedback or questions you deem fit, you can reach me at [email protected]. This article was part of a book that is being written and will be done around June/July. Please contact me if you are interested!

Bibliography 

Frank, A. (2016). No Man’s Sky Under Investigation For False Advertising. Retrieved on January 18th, 2017, from: http://www.polygon.com/2016/9/28/13093588/no-mans-sky-advertising-standards-authority-false-advertising

Hello Games. (2016). No Man’s Sky [PC game, Playstation 4]. Guildford, England: Hello Games, Sony Interactive Entertainment.

Robinson, M. (2016). Building a space sim in a post-No Man’s Sky world. Retrieved on January 23rd, 2017, from: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2016-10-07-building-a-space-sim-in-a-post-no-mans-sky-world

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