On Kickstarter, consider asking for as little money as possible

Born Ready Games ran a successful Kickstarter campaign recently. Studio CEO James Brooksby discussed the dos and don'ts he learned from Strike Suit Zero.
Born Ready Games ran a successful Kickstarter campaign recently, and as part of a talk at Develop Conference today, the studio's CEO James Brooksby discussed the dos and don'ts that he learned from Strike Suit Zero's successful Kickstarter campaign. Brooksby's key point focused on how much a studio is asking for with its Kickstarter -- in particular, companies planning a Kickstarter should take a good, hard look at their concept, and consider whether they can potentially cut it down to make the asking target budget more feasible. "If you didn't pay yourselves, you rented out half the office, you didn't get these new PCs, you didn't do everything you desire into the game, but you'd still be happy with it... what is that [dollar amount]?" he asks. "You really have to think about what that is," he adds. In other words, could you sacrifice parts of your concept to make a Kickstarter campaign that makes more fiscal sense? Brooksby says that what he often finds with Kickstarter campaigns is that developers should be asking for far less than they actually are -- usually around a third of what they actually think, he argues. And doing this culling can be a real soul-searching moment -- what encapsulates your idea, but isn't as large-scale as you imagine it now?

Before you even start out

Before you start your Kickstarter, you should be 100 percent certain that your funding campaign is going to succeed. Brooksby says that when his team was gearing up to launch its Kickstarter, they simply weren't 100 percent happy with their video and their promo materials. It became a nerve-wracking moment, to the point that they eventually decided to stop preparations, go back to development on the game, and make it just that little bit better before the Kickstarter came. The videos and the materials have to come across so strongly, he reasons, to the point where you simply know that the Kickstarter is going to do well -- else, it will fall apart. If you think it could be better, make it better. Note also that it takes at least a good two months to set a Kickstarter up -- you have to make a video, then you decide it's not good enough, then you go around and around in loops until you finally settle on what you believe is the best. The worst thing a studio can do, says Brooksby, is email around asking for advice when their Kickstarter has already started. Get tips before you begin, he says, and also make sure you have a community built up. In particular, it's worth paying for cheap Facebook advertising to get lots of Facebook likes, Brooksby reasons. By doing this, you can then message each of them and ask for money once the Kickstarter launches. For much more on Strike Suit Zero's Kickstarter, read the studio's extensive postmortem here.

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