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I hope you're not tired of me yet. We have already talked about prices, discounts, wish lists, page design and community participation, regional restrictions, third party stores, distributors and alternative open platform options.
Now let's talk about other great tools at your disposal: packages, foundations and supplier support. We will see how crowdfunding works in 2018 and if there is still life on Kickstarter.
We will also tell other people's money again and we will make grand plans to conquer the world.
Third party packages
We are going to discuss various formats now, including third-party packages and Steam packages. People who are not familiar with the package layout format see it this way:
Reality? Nine to twelve months after the launch of your game, you have sold most of your copies on Steam. Now is the time to group. The format is simple: you sell many copies at wholesale prices or you get a fixed bonus for participating. There are many companies that offer packages.
I'm sure you've seen or heard about packages from stores like Humble Bundle, G2A, IndieGala, Green Man Gaming, GamersGate, Fanatical and Gamivo. By 2018, virtually all large (and many medium-sized) third-party platforms use this format in one way or another, and operate in accordance with a uniform set of rules.
Keep in mind that it is very likely that all the unused keys you generate for the packages will be resold, which basically puts an end to your organic sales. Keep in mind that third-party packages should only be used after you have used up all of your organic sales and discounts.
Below you can see the failed experience of a studio that put its game in HB packages three months after launch. As you can see, they essentially buried their own game.
Anyway, these stores pay a flat fee for each key included in a package. The rate is approximately $ 0.25-0.35 per key for Class B games, $ 0.70-1.20 for BB or A games, and $ 2- $ 4 for AAA games. The package size is usually in the range of 5,000 to 30,000, or $ 2,000 to 10,000 for class B games. Of course, the prices can vary (a lot) and depend directly on your negotiation skills.
What advantages do the packages offer, apart from the money? On the one hand, having many keys and activated copies installed on Steam will increase your organic traffic. You will receive more comments (they do not affect the ranking) that the friends of the players see through the notifications in the social network of Steam. The number of installations increases and this affects the "Similar Products" section.
When it comes to the package format, Humble Bundle (HB) is perhaps the most recognized platform among developers. The news about this store is often accompanied by the sarcastic designation of "humble lose package". In the last year and a half, HB stopped focusing on having 1-2 relatively new AAA games per package. And there's nothing strange about this: since 2015, the company has been actively promoting a subscription service ($ 12 per month) that gives players access to a new selection of good games every month, including an AAA game.
Between 2010 and December 2013, HB launched 70 packages, and in 2014 began to actively promote books and music. They have released more than 650 packages to date. If you are not familiar with The Humble Visualizations, go check it out now (2011-2016).
File is under "for what it's worth": I know the developers whose games were in four packages in 2017 and two in 2018. All are decent indie games that were released between 2016 and 2017. The average participation bonus was $ 14,000. The average number of copies sold was around 25,000.
How does an HB subscription work? He gets in touch with his manager and, if his game meets the quality requirements or the format of a sale, he is inside. Humble offers a fixed amount to add your game to your subscription service, regardless of how many people actually get it. At the beginning of 2018, the number of subscribers exceeded 200,000 and, judging by current trends, it will double in 2019.
At the beginning of the year, the subscription bonus for the BB and A class games totaled between $ 10,000 and $ 90,000 ($ 0.05 to 0.45 per copy) depending on the quality of the game and the internal evaluation policy of Humble Bundle. , which is based on the number of copies sold. the number and quality of reviews on Steam, and conjecture.
This tool is quite simple: you take your games and DLC packages and sell them as a package. These come in two varieties: packages that allow players to buy items they do not have yet ("complete the set") and packages that do not ("must be purchased together"). You need the latter if you want to make a special edition of your game.
In the first article, we talked about discounts and the fact that Weeklong Deals and its own discounts have an unpleasant limitation: you can only run them once every 60 days. This is where the packages come in. Let's talk about packages that consist of several games, including games from different developers.
These packages are shown in the "Specials" section, and have a separate automatic feature option in Steam. This format has a fundamental difference with respect to the sales of individual games: packages with multiple games are not subject to any restrictions to change the discount. You can change it every five minutes if you want. You can even sell your game as part of several different packages simultaneously.
With this format, you will feel almost as good with Steam as with the restrictions on the price change and discounts, as the kid above does. Careful package selection allows you to increase your sales and use the time between discount windows efficiently.
It is a tool that every decent game publisher uses. It's great to make proper sets that include your own games and those of your partners.
This is also a good reason to make friends. If you have embarked on the path of desktop publishing, look for other types of "desperate club" and try to negotiate joint packages with them.
You're not alone
You are not alone: this is an important point that, oddly enough, many people forget or do not even seriously consider. If you are developing a game on Unreal or Unity, remember that the companies behind those engines have more to offer than the awards at conferences and exhibitions in the industry.
Epic supports developers with grants (Unreal Dev Grants, $ 5,000-50,000). Xsolla has an investment fund for developers called Xsolla Capital. Mail.Ru has a special division called Mail.Ru Games Ventures and invests in developers and game projects. Wargaming.net and LVP have created an investment fund for game developers. The Dutch publisher Good Shepherd raises capital for game projects. Nvidia offers support, training and even public relations through the Indie Spotlight program. The same services (except PR) can also be obtained from AMD.
You can get assistance from Epic, Nvidia and Radeon engineers if the game you're doing is interesting or uses advanced engine and hardware capabilities. They can help you optimize your game, deal with a complex rendering or solve those small trivial problems that you can not solve.
Hardware providers such as Nvidia and AMD have their own developer support format called "Featured Games." These companies and engineers are quite active and open. You should know them. They can help you.
And do not forget a less common, but no less important, way to get exposure: new hardware presentations. A vivid example of this kind of support is the presentation of Nvidia at the recent GamesCom conference, where they used the Atomic Heart game to demonstrate their latest technology.
There are also foundations, associations and national and regional programs that support game developers in their respective countries. I know developers who have received help from:
· The United Kingdom (UK Games Fund): grants worth up to 25,000 ₤
· The European Union (European Federation of Game Developers) – several programs with scholarships from € 10,000
· Germany (Fund of the German Games): subsidies of up to 2 million euros.
If your study is from one of these regions, you should take a closer look at these options. You can find a more complete list for Europe in the Game Finance Guide.
When it comes to Russia (my first step), the situation of the subsidy is downright serious: there are no government programs (which could be the best), and private investment foundations are reluctant to enter the gaming industry due to the difficulties to evaluate the profitability and High risk associated to the deterioration of the economic situation.
Modern crowdfunding focuses on three platforms: Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Fig. The latter stands out a bit from the rest. Actually, Fig is more about "collective investment" than collective financing. As a general rule, 50% of the funds raised on this platform are essentially "bonuses" that entitle their owners to a portion of their future earnings.
If you can come to an agreement with Fig, they could allow you to use their Backstage Pass Program, which is essentially a private campaign for the most loyal sponsors of Fig. This platform is especially interesting because it helps with public relations and actively promotes games for Figs. that raises funds.
During the last years, they have charged 25% before completing the investment coverage and then 15% for three years for projects that try to increase amounts of up to $ 100,000. For large projects, they charge between 12 and 13% of pre-coverage and then 10% for three years. With everything else the same, I would consider Fig an investment fund instead of a crowdfunding platform.
In 2015, an employee of mine raised a little less than $ 70,000 in Kickstarter for a game called Exoplanet, and in 2017 I did a successful campaign for Ash of Gods. I also helped several projects in early 2018. They managed their campaigns themselves, but it was a good opportunity for me to evaluate the validity of the recommendations I wanted to give.
Kickstarter has not been a gold mine for games since 2014. If you plan to raise at least $ 300,000 (gross), your advertising budget will total at least $ 75,000.
A Kickstarter in 2018 is not about public relations. The journalists of the games write almost nothing about the KS projects these days. Protip: raise a lot of money quickly (preferably in the first days of your project). This will be newsworthy and will increase your chances of obtaining coverage.
Active members of your audience (super supporters) do not like to invest in projects that have a chance to fail. Concentrate on raising enough money or establishing a confidence trend in the first 5 to 7 days. You do not want to take too long, it's not about your project, but about participating in a successful company.
If you intend to raise $ Х, set your goal at $ Х / 3 (So if you want $ 100,000, aim for $ 30,000) and invest enough time in planning the additional goals and bonuses for the sponsors.
If you plan to raise less than $ 30,000 and do not have a fiercely dedicated audience that is ready to give you financial support, do not even bother. A campaign involving public relations studies, specialists and / or agencies will cost you a considerable sum of $ 15,000 or more.
Start talking to your Kickstarter manager on the "Project We Love" badge at least two months before the launch. It's very important. Active KS users will be notified when the game starts and will appear on the main page.
Forget text. GIFs and great photos are the way to go.
High organic visibility on Kickstarter Pages of the game and the main page: you want to have at least 5% of your goal arriving every day or traffic of at least 10,000 page views per day (regardless of whether they support it or not).
The last 48 hours of the campaign are crucial.. All your sponsors will receive a 48 hour reminder. Additional goals, additional rewards, is when everything happens. If you have 10-15% shyness about your goal, you will probably achieve it in the last two days.
Cross promotion works. See which projects are coming out or intend to leave at the same time as yours. Meet the developers, make joint plans and write about others in the updates. Think about when, how and from whom you can get a content plan with publications every two or three days.
Kicktraq It is an incredibly convenient service. It is one of the few with very efficient advertising, both in the main promotion section and elsewhere.
Do not trust too much in the assistants such as BackerKit, BackerClub, C-Club, CrowdCrux, etc. They work very well with the hardware, but not also with the games.
File is under "for what it's worth": The average ROI of FB ads for game projects on Kickstarter in 2017 was 0.9 (at the end of my campaign, I conducted a survey of 31 projects that took place between May and August 2017).
Ads for Reddit It works very well I deliberately refrain from writing about how to get your publications to reach the top. Sure, it gives you up to 40,000 unique visitors a day in "Gaming" and about 12,000 in "Gamedev," but getting to the top of these subreddits is not an easy task.
Imgur It is your secret weapon Its objective is to ensure that its publication is at the top of the "Games" label at the end of the week (Friday or Saturday). To do this, you must get at least 600 likes (points) during the first hour and at least 5,000 in the first six hours, by any means necessary. If it appears on the first page, you will get at least 300,000 visits with a conversion of 5 to 7% in visits if you use this "call to action" correctly.
If your goal is the "Funded with Kickstarter" badge, prepare to get tangled, but you should know that it would take only 15 minutes for someone to discover it.
Kickstarter is increasingly used as a proof of concept for investors. A shining example of this is the success story of Kingdom Come: Deliverance.
Your Kickstarter project could be closed for a million reasons, including a spam complaint if you use another person's email database.
Almost all supporters who give you money. represents your main audience In other words, these are the people who are interested in buying your game. If you give the game to some users as a reward, you will have to send them keys, so that the revisions you receive from them do not affect your rating.
Finally, if you are planning a crowdfunding campaign, you should take a look at the Square Enix Collective. Also, if your goal is a proof of concept for investors, choose this option: it will not cost you a dime.
The rules are as follows: every month, the project team chooses four games from those who made a pitch during the previous period. Then the users of the platform vote for your game. If you get a high score, Square Enix will help you for free during the period of your campaign. They will send an email to collective users, write a story about you and share a link to their campaign on Twitter and Facebook.