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Kickstarter and the Potential Decrease of an Audience

Kickstarter and the Potential Decrease of an Audience

As someone who has backed his fair share of Kickstarter projects last year, it’s understandable why the platform gained traction. The independent gaming scene is one of the most bustling and, due in part to various services, the creation of unique experiences is made that much more possible. One of the services in question has been Kickstarter. With “crowdfunding babies” the likes of Shovel Knight and Faster Than Light, it’d be out of the question to assume that Kickstarter’s traction would falter.With that said, this is exactly what’s happening. According to an article on Gameplanet, money raised on Kickstarter projects in 2014 is expected to be be significantly lower than that raised in 2013. ICO Partners, a consultancy firm, detailed that $13.5 million was made, across Kickstarter-funded video game projects, during the first half of 2014. Even with the expected year-end total of $27 million, it still would not come nearly as close to last year’s $57.9 million as Kickstarter would most likely desire.To put it simply, consumer desire has decreased somewhat between last year and this year. For those who are curious as to why this is, here are a few ideas to consider.Many backers on Kickstarter have been victims of poor deals and unfortunate circumstances surrounding highly-anticipated projects. One of the best examples of this was Yogventures, which managed to raise over $560,000, more than double of its initial goal set at $250,000. Unfortunately, the project was cancelled and the money itself was not returned to the backers. Fortunately, YouTube partner Yogcast was able to work out a deal where backers would receive free downloads for a game named TUG. In this case, at least, those who backed the project were not left in the proverbial cold.However, instances like these speak volumes about Kickstarter and its regulations. If companies aren’t obligated to return money following a failed project, why should potential consumers back such projects? It’s important to note that a good number of gamers are either teenagers or young adults. Financially speaking, they aren’t the most well-off individuals, despite the expensive nature of their beloved hobby.  To them, their money has to be smartly spent. It’s unfortunate for those who are legitimately looking to make their mark in the video game industry but money, in this day and age, is tight.What if products are released but fail to live up to expectations? This has been the story of the Ouya, a smaller video game console built around the Android operating system. The Ouya promised a slew of free-to-play games as well as the possibility of modification for the technologically-savvy. Unfortunately, the results have underwhelmed. Not only was the Ouya’s game library paltry, to put it simply, but the specs it released with did not lend themselves to the most stunning possibilities in software. For a Kickstarter project that made over $8.5 million – one of the most successful on Kickstarter, overall – the follow-up failed to move audiences on the tech front.I’ve heard many people refer to Kickstarter as an investment platform, though I’d argue that “investment” is the wrong word. When an individual becomes an investor, it’s assumed that he or she will make money based on a project’s success. The individuals backing these projects are, more or less, donors. However, while quite a few projects have seen success, there have been one too many failures for many gamers to stick with Kickstarter. It’s easy to assume that this is why less money has been made this year compared to last.Will the appeal of Kickstarter pick up during 2015 for gamers? Those who have spent ample time in the gaming world can tell you that anything is possible. However, unless consumer guidelines receive an overhaul, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kickstarter’s 2015 projection winds up being even less.



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